TOMB OF DRACULA ISSUE NUMBER ELEVEN

"THE VODOO MAN"

Cover Date: August 1973

Writer: Marvin Wolfman

Artist: Gene Colan

Inker: Jack Abel

Colorist: P. Goldberg

Letterer: Tom Orzechowski

Editor: Roy Thomas

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Main Characters: Dracula, Blade, Quincy Harker, Jason Faust, Brand

Synopsis:: Dracula flies to one of his coffins, racing against the rising sun.  He summons his servant Clifton Graves only to remember that he left Graves behind to die aboard an exploding ship.  As Dracula enters his coffin to rest, there is no remorse for the loss of his bungling servant.  Instead, Dracula plans his revenge against the motorcycle gang that attacked and nearly killed him.

Elsewhere, a man (Faust) in an iron lung device meets with Brand, the leader of a motorcycle gang (Coincidentally, the same gang that Dracula is hunting).  Brand and his gang are paid by Faust to kill the men who put Faust in the iron lung.  Faust instructs them on their latest victim and Brand leaves.

Brand's hunt takes him to Whitehall Trust, a financial institution where the next victim Oliver Gordon works.  Brand tells Gordon that Faust could have been spared the iron lung if Gordon would have cashed some bonds owned by Faust that would have paid for special surgery.  Gordon replies that he could not cash the bonds and that he was unaware of Faust's predicament.  Elsewhere, Faust sticks a pin into a voodoo doll of Gordon and Brand watches as Gordon collapses in pain. Brand tells Gordon that his agony is only beginning. While Gordon is uncertain of what caused his pain, he threatens Brand that his office's surveillance camera will reveal Brand's participation in anything foul that happens to him.  Unfortunately for Gordon, Brand signals Faust by phone to finish his voodoo assault and Faust leaves the needle in Gordon's doll, a move that supposedly will leave him in eternal pain.  Brand and his gang then destroy the surveillance camera and Brand returns for his next assignment.  

      The next night, Dracula interrupts a man's mugging attempt of a wealthy woman, turning the would be robber into his victim.  Back at Faust's home, he instructs Brand on his next victim-Faust's ex-partner Laswell. Faust recounts how he and his partner traveled to Haiti for a business trip.  Natives attacked them and Laswell left Faust behind to fend for himself.  Faust was then tortured by practitioners of voodoo for three months until he was finally rescued by government troops.  The injuries he sustained left Faust in the iron lung. Trapped in the iron lung, Faust began to remember the voodoo used against him and began to teach the black art to himself. For leaving him to his fate, Faust orders Brand that Laswell must be the next victim.

Elsewhere, Dracula tracks down a former member of Brand's gang who quit after they starting turning to murder. Dracula scares Brand's location out of the young man and leaves him behind. Dracula's search for the gang leads him to Laswell's corpse where there are no signs of a struggle and Laswell appears to have been literally frightened to death.  He suspects that there is more to Brand and his gang then meets the eye.  He follows their motorcycles' tire treads to their next victim-Quincy Harker.

Harker is relaxing in his home when Brand and his gang bust in.  Brand tells Harker that Faust took Harker's advice to try doing business in Haiti and as a result, suffered the voodoo torture.  Harker is unable to fight off the gang but before they can carry out Faust's revenge, Dracula bursts in and quickly subdues the gang, putting them under his hypnotic thrall and ordering them to drive themselves off the cliffs of Dover.  However he saves a special fate for Brand.  Dracula spares Harker's life, saying that his bloodlust has been satisfied.  Harker vows that Dracula will  rue the day he spared his life but Dracula reminds Harker that Dracula has lived 500 years while Harker has only a few remaining.

Back at his home, Jason Faust is surprised to see Brand return without any word of his mission Faust tells Brand that he suspected treachery so he constructed a voodoo doll of Brand.  Brand replies that the doll is useless since he is now a vampire.  Brand attacks Faust but as he does, Faust plunges the needle into the voodoo doll, killing Brand in the process. Faust in turn lies helpless in the iron lung as he waits for the sun to rise and burn his now undead body.

NOTES: Here we have a story of revenge that focuses on the revenge of two men.  One of course is Dracula, who seeks revenge on the motorcycle gang who nearly killed him in TOD #9.  The other is Jason Faust, a man who blames his friends for his being stuck in an iron lung.  The two men's lust for revenge ends up with them crossing each other's paths (though indirectly). And while Dracula plays a role in the story, this stoiry showed that the book could focus on many different characters as well as types of stories besides the traditional "Stop Dracula before he gets his next victim".  This story differs from future TOD stories in that it depicts a person beccoming a vampire as soon as they are bit by another vampire.  Here, Faust is turned into the undead immediately after Brand attacks him.

The exact nature of Faust's voodoo attacks seems to be that his victims endure so much pain that they die of shock.  Faust claims that the victims will suffer eternal pain but it is clear that none of his victims can endure the pain for long before they die.  Another contradiction to TOD myth is that Faust is able to see his reflection while a vampire.  In the last panel of page 28, Faust is shown as seeing a reflection, fangs and all, of himself in his iron lung's mirror.

This story differs from future TOD stories in that it depicts a person beccoming a vampire as soon as they are bit by another vampire.  Here, Faust is turned into the undead immediately after Brand attacks him. Somewhat interesting is the idea that a vampire could be affected by voodoo.  Here, a needle is placed into a vampire's voodoo doll.  Apparently the pain is so great even for a vampire that it can kill him or it could be assumed that through voodoo, the needle acts like a stake, killing the vampire. This is not the last appearance of Brand however as we shall see in later issues.

One final question, why does Dracula refrain from attacking his arch nemesis Quincy Harker when Harker is basically helples after Brand's motorcycle gang attacks him?  Dracula has said time and time again that Harker is one of his most dangerous foes and even when Harker tells Dracula that he will regret not killing him when he had the chance, Dracula tells him that his lust for revenge is satisfied for now.  A look at the next issue suggests that Dracula has more planned for Harker than a quick death.  He is saving him for something far worse.