Is there a more iconic horror figure than Dracula? Probably not, and after acquiring another issue of this spooky mag, it’s time to dive into it! October is here, and the horror mags from the Bronze Age are a great way to celebrate the season. Vampires, witches, a gargoyle, and Solomon Kane! A great issue for sure that brings a solid spotlight on Dracula not only in the Marvel universe, but also in contemporary fiction and film.
The Dracula story is one that dives into the history of the character in reference to the actual continuity of the Marvel Universe (written by Marv Wolfman, and art by ‘Big’ John Buscema and Syd Shores). A battle with another vampire, Nimrod, to be specific, who was the previous lord of the undead. The second story is a reprint from the 1950s. It involves a vampire and a slasher, à la Jack the Ripper (art by Larry Woromay). This story is followed by a great puff piece about Bela Lugosi with some fantastic photos from his films (written by Doug Moench).
Next we have what is probably the best piece of the book. A story about a chance encounter between Dracula and the sword wielding Puritan, Solomon Kane (written by Roy Thomas, with art by Alan Weiss and the Crusty Bunkers)! Another reprint from the Atlas era follows with an interesting take on the Shakespeare story Macbeth (art by C. A. Winter). Finally, we get a super story about Dracula in Paris, and this time he must do battle with a stone gargoyle (written by Gerry Conway, and art by Alfonso Font)! There is also a neat story by Chris Claremont that features some love for Hammer studios! All of this is kicked off by a wonderful painted cover by Neal Adams!
As a long time Marvel zombie, I thought it would be prudent to broaden my horizons, so about a year ago (I think), I bought something from DC comics. Now, keep in mind, I’ve read some DC in recent years, and didn’t think very much of it, also the word on the street isn’t anything to get excited about either, as far as everything else they’re offering. So, what did I do? I grabbed some Alan Moore “Swamp Thing,” that’s what! I’ll admit, I had some preconceived notions about the book (negative), but they were dashed away in mere minutes. Moore took this character to new heights (from what I’ve read), and the book really opened my eyes to another comic book legend. My next thought was…”OK, but what about the beginnings of this character?” So, not long after reading the Moore run, I found a reprint copy of House of Secrets #92, Swamp Things first appearance. I knew it would be good, just from the creative team, and I wasn’t disappointed. It was a short story, and the issue had some good stories in it as well, featuring creators like Dick Dillin, Alan Weiss, and Tony DeZuniga, just to name a few!
I know the original is pretty high-priced, so grab a copy of the reprint or a trade, this issue is required reading! Story by Len Wein, art (and cover) by Bernie Wrightson, colors by Tatjana Wood, and edited by Joe Orlando! With creators like that involved, you know it’ll be a slam-dunk! One last note, and I’ll get out of here. There is a foreword by Robert Greenberger, and he explains the details of how the idea came about for this specific story. It describes the behind the scenes for this one, and really is a super cool story involving Wein, Wrightson, Louise Simonson, Mike Kaluta, and others. This story is worth the price of admission alone!