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Comic Book / The Tomb of Dracula

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Dracula sinks his fangs into yet another victim.

"The years have been long, and I am weary of them. I yearned for those things for which I once lived... The clouds across a glowing moon... The baying of night's children... And most of all, I yearn for that most pleasing taste... The sweet nectar of life itself!"
Dracula, the first issue

The Tomb of Dracula is a 1972 Bronze Age horror comic book from Marvel Comics, based on Dracula. It follows Count Dracula's exploits throughout Europe and America as he tries out various evil schemes while fighting with vampire hunters and various monsters. The series is most well known today for introducing vampire hunter Eric Brooks, a.k.a. Blade. Most issues were drawn by Gene Colan and written by Marv Wolfman.

The first volume of the series ran for over seventy issues in the seventies. After its cancellation in '79, it was immediately followed by a black and white volume 2 that only had six issues. A Spin-Off series named Dracula Lives! ran alongside the main book for twelve issues (and one annual issue of reprinted stories).

There have also been two four-issue miniseries bearing the book's name afterwards; a Darker and Edgier tale titled Day of Blood! Night of Redemption! in 1991 (which resides in its own continuity) and the other one in 2004, which was mostly to show how badass Blade can be. Dracula himself is still a recurring villain in the Marvel Universe.

This series was also the basis of the anime movie Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned, which is a... loose adaptation at best.

The Tomb of Dracula provides examples of:

  • All Bikers are Hells Angels: Brand's biker gang, which Dracula comes across two times.
  • The Alleged Car: Harold Harold's car.
  • Arab Oil Sheikh: In the tenth issue, a group of elites Dracula tries to intimidate/recruit includes a dark-skinned man wearing both Arabic headgear and a suit and tie. Unlike most examples of the trope, he practices Christianity rather than Islam, which also means that he has a crucifix to deploy against Dracula.
  • Artificial Limbs: Juno has a silver stake in the place of his left hand.
  • Attempted Rape: Dracula saves one woman from being raped, only to feed on her blood.
  • Badass Boast: When Dracula is dueling Brand for the status of Lord of Vampires, he gives this boast:
    Dracula: For 500 years I've defended what is mine against insipid upstarts as you, Brand — for 500 years I've clawed my way past the mindless minions who have ever sought to take what is mine. But never shall my lien be taken by one such as you. I am lord of evil, little man — forever and always!
  • The Beastmaster: Dracula is shown to have power over rats and wolves.
  • Big "NO!": Cried out every now and then. First example, it's Clifton's reaction when he sees freshly resurrected Dracula in the first issue.
  • The Blank: The one-issue villain Faceless Fiend, who was a man who lost his features when he was dropped into nuclear waste.
  • Brain in a Jar: Dr. Sun was part of a project in China to develop this technology, but when his superior thought he was stalling, Sun was subjected to the process himself. It worked rather too well, as Sun’s brain was hooked up to computers whose energy he was able to tap and use to give himself superhuman mental powers.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: One issue has Dracula hypnotizing a bunch of children to attack the vampire hunters.
  • Breaking and Bloodsucking: In issue #2, an unconscious Jeanie is left as bait on a bed in Castle Dracula, a crucifix around her neck to protect her. Dracula returns from a hunt and finds her in one of his rooms. He attempts to attack her when Frank counterattacks, but he is overpowered and left for dead. Jeanie awakens and Dracula hypnotizes her to throw away the cross. Once she is defenseless, Dracula drains her dry.
  • Breakout Character: Blade, who went to become one of the most recognized vampire hunters in Marvel universe, and whose feature film helped to bring superhero movies back to public consciousness.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Satan turns Dracula back to human as a punishment for bringing Janus, a creature of both Heaven and Hell, into the world. It actually lasted a good 10 issues.
  • Classical Chimera: The Chimera is a central plot element in issues #26-#28, this time appearing not as a creature, but a powerful, cursed statue made up of three pieces, one for each animal, created 30,000 years ago by a mad wizard in Atlantis. In the wrong hands, it can cause disasters, plagues and death. It is almost used by Dracula, before being destroyed by Sheila.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Dracula's appearance was originally modelled after Jack Palance, who did play Dracula in a movie after the comic had started.
  • Compressed Adaptation: Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned tried to fit the entire 70-issue comic into an hour and a half of film.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: After a lengthy process of defeating Blade's Evil Knockoff and separating the two from each other, he and Hannibal King come across a dozen of them made from themselves when they go after Deacon Frost, and defeat them with ease.
  • Continuity Nod: When Dracula fights the literary version of Frankenstein's Monster, he mentions his fight against "the real one" from the pages of The Frankenstein Monster.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: A number of the fights in the series pit Dracula against other famous Marvel characters for no other reason then it sounding cool. Dracula vs the Silver Surfer is the best example.
  • Covers Always Lie: Various covers would show Dracula in a brink of peril, only for the actual action to play out differently.
  • Dem Bones: One of the issues had Dracula fight the skeleton of a man who was moved from his grave for occult purposes and was seeking revenge.
  • Demonic Possession: Inverted with an angelic possession when Domini resurrects Janus with divine assistance.
  • Does Not Like Men: Daphne von Wilkinson, head of the Wilkinson fashion house. She picked up her disdain for men initially because of her overbearing father grinding down her mother, then had a string of men steal her designs, refuse her employment or otherwise cross her. In the present day, she hires women in preference to men whenever possible, even if they're less competent. She also fails miserably at seducing a banker who holds her loans because she can't hide her disgust. She makes a deal with Dracula to have him kill her enemies in exchange for information she can give him, but it does not end well for her.
  • The Dragon: Vampirized Brand and later Juno to Doctor Sun.
  • Duel to the Death: Dracula has to duel for the title of The Lord of Vampires with its new holder after losing it due to being turned into human.
  • Enemy Mine: Just when it seems that everything is finally over upon Dracula's death, Doctor Sun puts his plan into motion to conquer the world and the vampire hunters are forced to resurrect the Lord of Vampires to stop the doctor.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Dracula actually does have some degree of standards. He saves a woman from a rapist, and helped a woman get revenge on her murderous husband by making her into a vampire, healing her injuries in the process. He also expressed disgust when a father killed his wife for obscenely petty reasons.
    • In the Sovereign of the Damned movie, the leader of the Black Mass—who, remember, is allied with Satan himself—is horrified when he accidentally shoots and kills Dracula's infant son Janus instead of the Count.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies:
    • Frank Drake is attacked by "zuvembies" while visiting South America. Luckily, Brother Voodoo is there to help him.
    • Dracula raises one graveyardful of undead in the final book of the 90's miniseries.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Quincy's guard dog Saint.
  • Evil Knock Off: A vampire version of Blade is created by his nemesis Deacon Frost.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Dracula will often fight other monsters/villains, on his own or by teaming up with the hunters, that challenge him or that he deems a threat to his plans.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: In Dr. Sun’s lab, the vampire Brand tackles Dracula into some electronic instruments, which immediately begin exploding.
  • Fur Against Fang: Dracula's fight against Werewolf by Night.
  • Ghost Memory: Dr. Sun uses a device to implant Dracula’s memories into Dracula’s vampire spawn Brand.
  • God Guise: One major story arc started as a result of Count Dracula appearing before a Satanic cult that was preparing a sacrifice to give to their dark master. Afterwards, Dracula says that he is in fact the Devil, and that the cult should serve him.
  • Halloween Episode: After his death in the middle of the series, Dracula is resurrected on Halloween.
  • Hero of Another Story: Dr. Mortte from the eighth issue has spent several years as a vampire, living off blood donations while clinging to his humanity and genuinely working for the welfare of his patients.
  • Hollywood Satanism: The Scion of Satan led by Anton Lupeski is a typical human-sacrificing cult from fiction.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: One issue had a paralyzed man using this to exact revenge upon those who he felt had wronged him.
  • Hostile Weather: A storm is raging when Frank and company arrive at the Castle Dracula in the first issue.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Lilith. Unsurprisingly, when Dracula comes begging for help she not only tells Dracula to fuck off but tries to murder him as well.
  • Immortality Immorality: When there's vampires about, there's also people wanting immortality from them. First example in the series is the aging model Ilsa Strangway, who seeks to rejuvenate back to her younger appearance.
  • Interrupted Suicide: After the death of vampirized Jeanie, Frank attempts to kill himself by jumping off a bridge. However, Rachel and Taj stop him.
  • It's All About Me: In one issue, Dracula reminisces about the time he spoke with a perfectly charming little girl who displayed no fear whatsoever of him. He enters her home with her permission to meet the parents of such a delightful child, and finds her parents are a pair of jerks who insult Dracula. The expected happens and Dracula tells the girl that he 'liberated' her from these oafs. The weeping child curses him and a miffed Dracula walks off, musing sourly on humanity's ingratitude and how he's had such a trying day.
  • Motive Decay: Dracula's motives range from killing the hunters chasing him to causing a full scale Vampire Apocalypse.
  • Murder by Mistake: Janus' death, as the bullet was meant for Dracula.
  • Must Be Invited: True to the legends, vampires can't enter someone's home unless they are invited. If in a hurry, Dracula would bypass this by crashing through a window.
  • Off with His Head!: When Smirnoff confronts Dracula to be turned into a vampire in the 90's miniseries, Dracula simply rips off his head and kicks it away like a football.
  • Oh, Crap!: There's a collective Oh Crap moment when the combined forces of the vampire hunters and Anton Lupeski attempt to defeat Dracula, and Anton accidentally shoots Dracula's infant son Janus. Dracula is not pleased.
  • Pet the Dog: Dracula has his moments of helping and caring for others than himself.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: When the action moves to Boston, we're introduced to bumbling novelist Harold H. Harold and his ditzy co-worker Aurora.
  • Questioning Title?: Title of the third issue; "Who Stalks the Vampire?"
  • Refugee from TV Land: In one story during Dracula's reign of Scion of Satan, he comes across a woman who can bring people from books to life. Since All Girls Want Bad Boys, she wants Dracula to be her lover and summons him. He isn't amused that he is mistaken for a fictional character, especially the one created by Bram Stoker, and starts fighting her other companions, which include Zorro, D'Artagnan and Frankenstein's Monster.
  • The Renfield: Dracula turns Frank Drake's backstabbing friend Clifton Graves into his slave for the first dozen issues. His servitude ends when he is caught in an exploding cruiser at the sea.
  • Role Called: The title was extended into The Tomb of Dracula: Lord of Vampires! halfway through during the book's run in the Seventies.
  • Scotland Yard: Featured in some of the issues set in England.
  • Silver Bullet: One of the means to fight vampires.
  • Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: After his son's death, Dracula climbs up a skyscraper to scream his plea for death to the heavens.
  • The Speechless: Taj, whose throat was damaged when vampires attacked him and his family in India.
  • Staking the Loved One: Quincy is forced to stake his daughter Edith after Dracula has turned her into a vampire.
    • The book uses this trope endlessly. The reader quickly realizes that any prisoner who's not one of the mains is done for.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: The satanists try to summon a big monster to kill Dracula; what they get is the Silver Surfer.
  • Super Smoke: Dracula can turn into a mist. He usually does it to dodge projectiles and to escape from tricky situations.
  • Super Window Jump: Dracula has a knack for jumping in and out of windows.
  • Take Over the World:
    • Doctor Sun's primary goal.
    • Dracula at times mentions wanting to take over the world by placing vampires at the top with himself as the Lord of Vampires ruling. This is more of a long-term deal since he only takes a step every now and then such as creating a few new vampires or enslaving someone who might be useful later. He spends most of his time fighting threats to himself such as hunters or other villains.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Just because there's a fight going on, doesn't mean that Dracula can't gloat and boast at the same time.
  • Thriller on the Express: One of the issues has Dracula on-board a train, along with his chasers and (at the moment) an unknown third party who thinks they are after them.
  • Thrown from the Zeppelin: In the tenth issue, Dracula gets himself invited on a luxury cruise to intimidate the wealthy passengers into supporting his cause. When one man refuses and tries to shoot Dracula, he gets thrown overboard. Unusually for the trope, everyone who doesn't get thrown from the zeppelin later finds the courage to attack and help drive off Dracula.
  • Time Travel: The black-surfaced mirror that appears in the early issues has the power to send its user back in time when proper incantations are used. Dracula attempts to kill Professor Van Helsing in the past through it.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: An angry mob from a village near Dracula's castle burn the place down in the first issue.
  • Transformation Sequence: Dracula is shown turning into a bat every now and then.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Dracula assaults attractive women in nearly every issue, and when he bites them the act is typically described in sexual terms.
  • Vampire Detective: Features Hannibal King, the very first.
  • Vampire Doctor: Dr. Deacon Frost, the doctor summoned to help Blade's mother during childbirth, was a vampire. He was in the process of draining her when Blade was born, resulting in Blade having vampire enzymes in his bloodstream that made him a Dhampir and immune to most vampiric powers.
  • Vampire Hunter: Most of the good guys.
  • Villain Protagonist: Dracula is both Big Bad and the protagonist of the book.
  • Virgin Power: Fallen vampires can be resurrected with the tears of those of virginal purity.
  • Weakened by the Light: Vampires can't stand sunlight.
  • Wham Line: " went through my husband. And it hit Janus! That bullet killed our son!"
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: One anthology issue featured a short story where a man tricks Dracula into helping him end his immortality.
  • Worf Effect: Taj, The Big Guy of the vampire killers, suffers from it fairly quickly.
  • The X of Y: The comic's title. Doubled up later when the Role Called subtitle is added.
  • "You!" Exclamation: Dracula's response when he's greeted by resurrected Clifton Graves.