TOMB OF DRACULA ISSUE NUMBER NINE
"DEATH FROM THE SEA!"
Cover Date: June 1973
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artist: Gene Colan
Inker: Vince Colletta
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Roy Thomas
Main Characters: Dracula, David,
Synopsis:: A fisherman takes in a surprising catch-the body of Dracula! A group of people from the small town of Littlepool take what they believe to be a corpse to a local church. When Dracula awakens he finds himself tormented by the image of the cross. He attempts to leave by transforming into a bat but fails. He finally escapes when a priest opens the door, allowing him to escape. There, a young man named David, his girlfriend, and the local priest ask Dracula what happened (they have no idea who he is).
Dracula (posing as a Mr Drake) distorts his story to hide his vampiric nature but in a clever flashback, we see that a weakened Dracula (after his battle with Dr Morte) was assaulted by a motorcycle gang and thrown into the sea where he was fished out by one of Littlepool's residents. The priest offers to have Dracula stay at his church but Dracula instead accepts the off of the youth David, whose mother runs a boarding house. David tells Dracula that he wants to leave Littlepool as it is isolated from the rest of the world.
Later that night, Dracula hunts Littlepool for blood and turns a local woman who in turn turns a local barfly.
David pleads with Dracula to take him with him to London. Dracula refuses, telling him that the path he walks is too dangerous. They are interrupted by the scream of David's girlfriend Angela. David runs to her and discovers two vampires (the ones created by Dracula) hunting his girlfriend. He bravely attacks them but is defeated. However Dracula arrives and commands them to leave.
In a brief interlude, we see Quincy Harker and the vampire hunters practicing when Harker receives a phone call. He says that while the matter does not have to do with Dracula, he and Edith must leave immediately as it is a matter of life and death
After returning home, a mob arrives outside his home demanding "Mr Drake". Led by the town priest, the mob is intent on destroying the stranger who they believe to be a vampire. David asks Dracula if that is true and he tells him that he is more than a vampire-he is Dracula, Lord of all Undead. Fully aware of Dracula's nature, David misleads the mob so that Dracula can escape. The mob destroys the two new vampires but Dracula is safe. Before he leaves, Dracula invites David to join him as a member of his army. David refuses, opting to stay in Littlepool with Andrea. Dracula smiles and says he understands but he also knows that David will one day see the wisdom of joining Dracula's new order. Dracula tells him that until then, he has the protection and friendship of Dracula.
NOTES: This is one of my all time favorite TOD stories. Here we get to see Dracula without Harker and his band tracking him down (which makes sense as they would not always be right on top of Dracula) as well as to see Dracula interact with a human in a non-adverse way.
The character of David is very interesting. He knows what Dracula is and yet he saves Dracula from the angry mob. There are many possible reasons for David saving Drac but no answer is given. David is not sure if he did the right thing but it is a choice he did not have to make. Dracula points out that if the mob had found him, he would have been destroyed. Whatever his reason for saving Dracula, it does not seem to stem from fear of the vampire lord. It is also not because he feels Dracula is his ticket out of Littlepool for David remains there after the story. Instead, I think he respects Dracula and he does not want to see him cut down by the same people who refuse to change with the times. Dracula reflects David's dynamic spirit and desire to explore the outside world. This is all the more ironic since David remains in Littlepool.
Even more interesting is Dracula's respect and friendship for David. Typically, human beings are little more than food or tools for Dracula. Here, Dracula offers to turn David, rather than doing it without his permission. Dracula is very impressed with the youth as well as grateful to him for saving his life. Dracula is a notorious liar but one gets the feeling that he would keep his promise (of protection) to David unless he were close to death.
Sadly, this is the only appearance of the David character in TOD.
Dracula's two victims turn into vampires immediately after death. In future stories, it would take 3 days before a victim turned vampire but Marv Wolfman was still tinkering with the vampire mythology. The fact that Dracula survives his drop into the sea also goes against certain legends that vampires cannot survive immersion in running water. Of course as mentioned before, TOD did not strictly adhere to all vampire legends.