TOMB OF DRACULA ISSUE NUMBER EIGHTEEN

"ENTER: WEREWOLF BY NIGHT"

Cover Date: March 1974

Writer: Marv Wolfman

Pencils:: Gene Colan

Inker: Tom Palmer

Colorist: L. Lessmann

Letterer: John Costanza

Editor: Roy Thomas

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Main Characters: Dracula,, Jack Russell, Topaz

Synopsis: Jack Russell, a man cursed with lycanthropy travels by rail with his female companion Topaz to the land of Transylvania:where he hopes to find answers to his curse. In nearby Transylvania, Dracula has returned home.  He reflects how he is hunted and cursed around the world but in Transylvania, he his lord and master.  He thinks back to how he has ruled Transylvania as both human and vampire.  

Elsewhere in the catacombs of Paris, Quincy Harker discovers the fallen body of fellow vampire hunter Blade.  Blade's body lies lifeless before him and Harker realizes that Dracula has claimed another life.  Harker prepares a stake so he can prevent Blade from returning as one of the undead.

Jack Russell and Topaz find a room at an inn in Transylvania but not before Jack Russell has to punch out a drunken sailor who tries to make moves on Topaz.  As they go to their room, Jack says he is concerned for that night will have a full moon and he will be transformed into a werewolf.  Topaz assures him that she can control him and he has nothing to fear.  However when the sailor Jack punched out seeks revenge and confronts Jack with a wife, he discovers the werewolf by night.  Russell attacks the drunken man who is armed with a knife and savagely subdues him, quickly ending his life.  Topaz uses her empathic powers to calm the werewolf, telling him that there was no reason to kill the man.  She tells the werewolf that Jack Russell's mind is somewhere inside the beast and she must find it before the werewolf kills again.

Topaz then brings the werewolf and prepares to summon the authorities to tell them of the sailor's death when she is confronted by Dracula. Dracula prepares to quench his vampiric thirst when he is startled by the power he senses in Topaz.  She seems to be looking right into his soul.  The werewolf then attacks Dracula but Dracula tosses him aside and prepares to attack Topaz again.  However some force inside the woman calms Dracula and he finds he cannot attack her.  He leaves the area where he finds a more accommodating victim.  

Nearly a day later, Jack (now back in human form) and Topaz explore Russoff Manor, former home to Jack's late father .  He tells Topaz how he has dim memories of his father who loved him but who too was cursed by lycanthropy. Unfortunately Jack's father was killed with silver bullets and Jack knew little of him other than he too was a werewolf.

Jack and Topaz search Russoff Manor further, discover a locked diary, apparently written by Jack's father.  They also discover a secret passage that leads them to the grounds of Castle Dracula. From what Jack can ascertain, his father was observing the castle for some reason. The two then set out to explore Castle Dracula.

As the couple approach Castle Dracula, Dracula watches intently.  He is fascinated by Topaz and the strange power she commands, power which of course must be his.  He flies towards them and grabs Topaz, taking her up to the castle.  There Topaz tells him she cannot answer his questions about her powers, answering Dracula's question before he asks it.  Dracula is impressed and tells her she must realize what will happen to her if she does not cooperate.

Just then, the werewolf bursts into the room, attacking Dracula.  A pitched battle ensues as Topaz looks on.  Then as Dracula is gaining the upper hand, she confronts Dracula only to be knocked unconscious by the vampire lord.  No longer distracted, Dracula turns towards the fallen werewolf to finish him off.

(CONTINUED IN WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #15)

NOTES: This story was the first crossover between Marvel's monstrously successful horror books The Tomb of Dracula and Werewolf by Night.  The story is well done although it is little more than a retelling of the old Universal horror movies pitting one monster against another.  However the meeting between Dracula and Jack Russell does not seem forced.  Russell is in Transylvania seeking answers to the curse of lycanthropy and his search for answers leads him to Dracula.

One thing that is interesting is Topaz's comment that she must report the sailor's death to the local authorities.  Judging from the lack of any trouble they get from the authorities, attacks by werewolves must be nothing out of the ordinary for Transylvanians.  Then again, Russell did act in self defense and the village has the King of Vampires overlooking their humble village so werewolves must be par for the course.

One thing about the story that was somewhat annoying was the way that artist Gene Colan drew Jack Russell and Topaz.  In this issue, they have an uncanny resemblance to TOD regulars Frank Drake and Rachel Van Helsing.

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