TOMB OF DRACULA ISSUE NUMBER FIFTEEN

"FEAR IS THE NAME OF THE GAME!"

Cover Date: December 1973

Writer: Marv Wolfman

Artist: Gene Colan

Inker: Tom Palmer

Colorist: Tom Palmer

Letterer: John Costanza

Editor: Roy Thomas

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Main Characters: Dracula

Synopsis:: Just two nights after being restored to undead life, Dracula reflects on past adventures and the adversity he has suffered.  As he writes them down in his journal, he draws inner strength from the experiences he recalls.

The first story deals with a hunter who shoots down Dracula while he is in bat form.  Unaware of Dracula's true nature, the hunter believes he has shot down some sort of giant flying creature.  Dracula soon turns the tables on the hunter and like the story of "The Most Dangerous Game", the hunter becomes the hunted.

Dracula recalls how the hunted became the hunter when the warrior Turac slew Dracula centuries ago only to fall prey to Dracula after Dracula was first transformed into a vampire. He remembers how Turac killed Dracula's wife Maria, his one true love through the ages.

Dracula next remembers how he helped a wife revenge herself on the husband who tried to kill her by throwing her from a cliff so he could avoid divorce and thus gain her money.  

Another story deals with an ancient man kept alive by a magical river of blood that provided him with youth for over 1700 years. The magical blood has lost its potency for the man though and he wishes to pass its secret onto Dracula before his death.  However it is a trick.  The man wishes to destroy both the river and Dracula.  The river explodes but Dracula lives on, thankful that he did not gain an unlimited supply of blood.  For the thrill of the hunt (for blood) is what keeps Dracula's spirits high and make his "life" so vivrant.

The final story deals with a battle between Dracula and a warrior Scotsman.  The Highlander waits for Dracula in Castle Dracula in Transylvania, hoping to gain revenge for Dracula killing his son.  A fierce battle ensues and Dracula is staked by the Scotsman.  However, the blow misses Dracula's heart long enough for him to throw the Scotsman into Dracula's Pit of Death.  Dracula musters all his strength to limp to his coffin where he collapses, waiting for the inevitable day when he is brought back. (NOTE: This story shows how Dracula was killed prior to the events of TOD #1)

Dracula's reflections on his past convince him that the occassional defeat means nothing to him. He will always find a way to return from the dead.  Nothing can stop him from his eventual triumph.

NOTES: Dracula's journal became a popular feature amongst many TOD fans (myself included).  Not only did it show Dracula's adventures in different times and with people besides the Drac Pack, but these stories also showed Dracula's beliefs and perceptions of both himself and those around him,  

Like many men and women, Dracula needs to put down his thoughts and reflections so that someday people will understand the real him.  For the most part, Dracula's journal is a frank, honest discussion of his adventures.  One might wonder how much of the journal is truthful, given Dracula's propensity for lies.  However as he writes, "There is no place for lies here in my personal ledger, and though the very precepts of truth-telling sickens me, still it must be written as the facts themselves were presented. These notes must speak with no need of interpretation .  They show at times my innate greatness, and also the still-human frailities that must course forever through my blood'

This story also illustrated that the character of Dracula could be placed in many different situations with many different characters and settings. The book did not have to limit itself to non-stop tales of vampire hunters pursuing Dracula.  The stories could take many twists and turns as seen here.

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