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Oct 8 16 3:02 PM
deejayway wrote:Not treading on any toes at all Noetic. It's a beautiful page indeed. Wonderful technique by Tom Palmer, but as I said earlier, he was still noodling a lot and using a pen, to great effect. It was more illustrative than his later, more fluid work.
Oct 9 16 2:35 AM
Tomb of Dracula #8:
by Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan & Ernie Chua
Changing of the guardPart two of Marv’s debut tale sees a changing of the artistic guard, with Tom Palmer exiting for a while, only to be replaced for one issue by Ernie Chua. Chua (nee Chan) is a fine inker in his own right, but completely incompatible with Colan. Whereas Palmer’s inks are slick and fluid, Chua’s are chunky and grainy. They worked well over Buscema on a cruder character like Conan, but Dracula needed a more subtle brush.Perhaps to compensate for Palmer’s absence, we get our first Colan cover and it’s a beauty, a welcome relief from all the horrors perpetrated by Gil Kane hithertofore.
issue opens with Dracula seeking the aid of a local physician, Heinrich
Morette, because he desperately needs a total blood transfusion after being hit
by a poison dart in the previous issue. Drac materializes at his practice and
it’s immediately obvious that Drac and the good physician are old
acquaintances. Morette quickly sends his lovely daughter Adrian and his devoted
patients away to confront the dark count alone.
Those pesky kids!Meanwhile,
the Drac Pack manage to extricate themselves from their sticky predicament by
outfoxing the mind-enslaved youths. It takes a very keen mind indeed to
outsmart young kids whose thoughts have been clouded by Dracula’s hypnotic
powers. To prove just how smart Quincey and co are, they leave the kids behind
and race to his nearby car. But wait, the car has been disabled and the kids
are quickly approaching. What to do? What to do? Get out and runaway perhaps?
But no, where would the drama be in that? Much more suspenseful to remain in
the car like sitting ducks until they are completely surrounded again. How can
Dracula ever hope to prevail against such razor sharp intellects. Oh well, it
was only Marv’s second issue so I’ll cut him some slack for his muggy thinking.
Going all KeifElsewhere,
Morette is revealed to be one of Drac’s vampiric minions, who managed to live a
secret life in the shadows by only using blood donated by his willing patients.
He administers the total blood transfusion, after which the revivified count
demands that Morette handover ‘the projector’, a special device which raises
the dead as vampires.
A gripping climaxThe
issue races towards a gripping climax, as the vampire hunters are rescued in
the veritable nick of time by the timely arrival of Quincey’s charming
daughter, Edith, in a helicopter as Drac raises a new horde of mindless vampires
to do his bidding. Morette’s daughter, Adrian, arrives on the gruesome scene.
Her unexpected appearance causes the goodly doctor to have second thoughts.
snatches ‘the projector’ from Drac and takes to the sky. The evil count gives
chase and a sort of vampiric dog fight takes place. The projector falls to
earth, shattering on the ground, thereby shattering Drac’s latest
megalomaniacal plan, but poor Morette pays the ultimate price for betraying his
vampire lord. The story’s ending is particularly moving as the noble Morette
plunges to his death before the horrified eyes of his beloved daughter. It’s a
memorable scene, which is expertly staged by Colan.
in all, Marv’s maiden script was an auspicious beginning.
Irony and subtly are the first casualties
in the eternal battle of wits between people divided by a common language. So read between the lines or you'll fall through the cracks...
....Quoting other people is no substitute for thinking for yourself...
Oct 9 16 3:19 AM
Oct 9 16 3:45 AM
garuda wrote:I'm curious to see if you can change my mind about his Daredevil and also to see what else he's done over the years.
Oct 9 16 5:06 AM
Oct 9 16 7:46 AM
edulopez wrote:Dejaa, perhaps I am mistaken, but I seem to infere that you dont like Gil Kane?
Oct 9 16 7:54 AM
Hacks from HellTom
Palmer is sorely missed at this juncture in the mag’s history. At the time,
Palmer was completely irreplaceable on ToD. There was nobody in the business
who could bring the same kind of lush linework and sophisticated strokes to the
mag, never mind two hacks like Vince Colletta and Jack Abel. How disheartening
it must’ve been for Marv to join the mag, only to have the likes of Colletta
and Abel hamstring his attempts at gothic suspense. Sigh!
Lovecraft and incestOh
well, the story itself is pretty good I have to say. Drac is waylaid by a rowdy
group of bikers, led by a vicious thug called Brand, who kick his noble ass
into the drink. Later he washes up at a tiny fishing hamlet, where the
sulphurous whiff of Lovecraft and incest mixes with the tangy sea breeze.Drac
strikes up a friendship of sorts with one of the local youngsters, who wants to
run away from the stifling, little community with his young Lover. Drac takes
his young protégé under his wing and gives him some sage advice on life and
women. It’s an interesting twist, offering a hitherto unknown aspect of
Dracula’s personality as a man wise to the ways of the world…and women.
Absurdity in the UKSadly
most of the so-called British dialogue is excruciating. Marv’s portrayal of
Seventies Britain is off base most of the time and his dialogue is clichéd and
anachronistic. It’s obvious he really didn’t know much about the country or the
way its population behaved or spoke.
It’s like all Wolfman knew about Britain he gleamed from outrageous
Monty Python caricatures, but Wolfman’s portrayal is a caricature of a
locals are more often than not depicted as hysterical, easily-manipulated
pitchfork wielding villagers from Universal Monster movies.Or
they are invariably portrayed as provincial yokels, Dick van Doik rejects or
toffey-nosed twats. Marv depicts them as being prone to superstition, devoutly
religious and susceptible to mid-western American-style evangelisation, whereas
the you’d be hard put to find a more secular, agnostic mob than the Brits.
Itsa a fair cop gov'nerSome
of Marv’s notions are quite quaint I guess as he describes certain consumables
as still being rationed, whereas rationing ended in 1957.This
has nothing to do with the reality of 70s Britain. It is Ye Olde England, an
alternate/mythological Britain filtered through decades of Hollywood
stereotyping. Everything is quaint and homey. The tiny English fishing hamlet
seems more like New England by way of Lovecraft, than anything resembling
Britain in the throes of glam rock and on the cusp of the anarchic Punk
movement. Then again, why complain about flights of fantasy when reviewing a
mag about someone who can change into a bat and suck blood.
Oct 9 16 6:14 PM
Oct 10 16 1:47 AM
Muldoon wrote:It's likelier Wolfman was more a follower of the Hammer films of this period...just like Blade owed his existence to Shaft and the then-burgeoning Blaxploitation phenomena...
Oct 10 16 2:09 AM
Tomb of Dracula #10:
His Name is Bladeby Marv Wolfman,
Gene Colan & Jack Abel
sea-faring tale is inked by the misnamed Jack Abel, who proves to be anything
but. His weak, grainy inks completely dissipate any mood created by Colan and
dilutes their impact. Such a shame, as the story introduces one of the most
important characters in the mag; Blade the vampire hunter. Even Abel’s weak
inks can’t diminish the power of Shade’s introduction.
though Shade was obviously an exponent
of ‘blaxpoitation’, I always liked the character, much more then Luke
Cage for instance. He was fiery and independent and had a certain street
savviness that made him different from the run-of-the-mill goody-two-shoes, who
populated most Marvel mags at the time. He could get down and durty if need be.
Here was a hero willing to go over bodies (literally) to fulfil his mission.
With his afro, jodhpurs, crazy shades and wooden daggers, he may look
hopelessly outdated today, but I still dig him. Visually, psychologically and
physically, he was the only member of the supporting cast who could match Drac,
dagger to fang.
Ennui of everyday livesBlade
tracks Drac to a cruise ship, where the idle rich seek to escape the ennui of
their empty lives by flirting with drugs and danger in the guise of Dracula,
who wishes to enslave the mover and shakers to his cause. Blade puts the kibosh
on his scheme, which goes up in smoke as the cruiser erupts into a ball of
flame, capturing Dracula’s lackey, Cliffton Graves, in the blast. Shade just
manages to escape…by the skin of his teeth (giggle).
Oct 11 16 4:14 AM
Tomb of Dracula #11:
The Voodoo Manby Marv Wolfman,
Gene Colan & Jack Abel
The Wild OnesThis
is a great little tale, despite Abel’s incompatible inks. Dracula seeks revenge
on the bikers who attacked him in issue 9. It turns out that Brand and his pack
of leather-clad Marlon Brando rejects work for a rich businessman called Jason
Faust. With a name like Faust, you just
gotta know he has a pact with the devil or some
other green (or blue) meanie. The unscrupulous entrepreneur is condemned
to live in an iron lung after his partners abandoned him to the dubious mercies
of a voodoo priest while on an expedition in Haiti.Faust
uses the gang to exact his vengeance on those we betrayed him.While
the Wild Ones are carrying out his instructions, Dracula tracks them to the
White Cliffs of Dover, which Marv and Gene portray as being completely covered
in chalk like snow-covered mountains, instead of just the sea-exposed
cliffs. Drac even manages to follow the
motorbike thugs by following their tyre tracks in the white chalk. Oi…
of Faust’s victims turns out to be none other than Quincey Harker.In
one of those typical uncanny twists of logic that populate the mag, Dracula
rescues his old adversary and even spares him even though he is completely at
his mercy. Of course, Dracula’s motives make no kind of sense at all. It’s such
a ludicrous, anti-climactic denouement that you’d think Marv or Roy (the
editor) would have had more sense than to include Harker at all, as his
presence did nothing to enhance the scenario. Quite the contrary, Dracula’s
cop-out dilutes the suspense. Wolfman would be guilty of this kind of fuzzy
logic throughout the mag’s history, as Drac time and again spares his arch foes
on some kind of flimsy pretext. I guess it was the 70s and you couldn’t just
kill vampire hunters willy nilly. It has to be said, however, that Marv did do
a great job of making the Drac Pack viable characters in their own right, who
the reader could identify and relate to so I understand his reluctance to kill
unceremoniously leaving Harker to his fate, Drac finally exacts his revenge, on
Brand and the bikers by turning them into vampires. The tale’s ending is an
absolute classic, as Brand quenches his all-consuming vampiric thirst on Faust,
losing his bloodsucking cherry as it were. Faust too is transformed into a
creature of the night, doomed to rise in
three night’s time, cursed with an unquenchable thirst for blood, fever boiling
in his veins, howling with bloodlust…only to be trapped in the iron lung.The
horror and irony are delicious. Kudos Marv!
Coming next issue: A new era of excellence dawns!
Oct 11 16 11:08 AM
Oct 11 16 11:23 AM
Oct 13 16 9:20 AM
Tomb of Dracula
#12: Night of the Screaming House
by Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan & Tom Palmer
This is a pivotal issue in the mag’s history as everything slowly starts to gel. Wolfman and Colan are reunited with the superlative Tom Palmer and the titanic trio would go onto forge an unbroken run of 58 excellent issues.
Depth and pathosBesides that, Marv had settled in nicely into the mag and was slowly making its voice his own, making more room for greater depth and pathos. Marv started investing in and fleshing out the supporting cast, giving the mag an extra focus than the imposing, but unsympathetic count. It was a savvy move. Evil, as we all know, has a certain seductive attraction, but it is hard for a reader to maintain a relationship with a character as cruel and aloof as Dracula, which is why it was so smart of Marv to broaden the cast, giving the reader various characters to relate to.
A new era of excellenceThe
new era of excellence is heralded by an amazing splashpage by Colan and Palmer.
The urgency and drama of the harrowing scene is palpable. Gene’s inventive,
slanted angle enhances the scene’s tension by the directing the viewer’s
attention to the bottom right-hand corner, where all the action is taking
place. It’s a masterful piece of staging and quite counter-intuitive because
westerners read from left to right. By flipping that, Gene forces the reader to
first read the dramatic title, then focus on Quincy before moving down and
discovering the count’s bloody deeds. Fabulous stuff.
Whispering hell The
issues starts off in top gear as the Drac Pack confront the cruel Count just as
he is about to sink his fangs into delicate little morsel. Drac escapes, taking
Edith as a hostage. He leads them to an ancient mansion called Whispering Hell.
Even the heavens open up to pour out their outrage at such wanton cruelty
we are reintroduced to Blade and meet his girlfriend, the sexy and sassy
Saffron. Gotta love that name and the foxy lady attached. Was there ever a sexier more street savvy couple than
Blade and Saff?
You could actually imagine them having sex, even though at the
time as a young kid, I could barely imagine what sex was. This scene is
one of the most steamy and suggestive scenes in mainstream comics since Fury
and Val got it off courtesy of Steranko.
SizzlingThe sexual tension just sizzles. I
mean, dig the first panel in which Blade is honing his weapons. Freud would be
having conniptions. There is no doubt that Blade and Saffron were doing more
than practicing Blade’s thrusting and parrying. It was this kind of mature
content – without being lewd - that quickly put Tomb of Dracula in the
forefront of Marvel’s more mature titles, along with Master of Kung-Fu and
however, before Blade gets to sheath his knife, he has to heed the call of duty
and join the Drac Pack as they confront their foe.
Blade and Drac go toe to toe
in the darkened confines of the catacomb-like mansion. They manage to drive him
off, but not before he has prepared an exquisite vengeance. The vampire hunters
find Edith crouched in the shadows.
She slowly emerges from the darkness, only
to reveal her red-hued eyes and fangs. Fear and revulsion strikes the onlookers
like a sledgehammer as the utter horror and hopelessness of her plight sinks
Edith too knows there is no hope and in a moment of true bravery she decides
to take her own life rather than to succumb to the depravity of an existence as
a blood-sucking vampire. It falls to her heartbroken father to finish the task.
and Gene tackle the scene with great sensitivity. It is moving and dramatic
without go for the jugular. In fact, it’s understatedness underlines the
horror. This is real tragedy on a human level for what is more terrible than
the death of a child?
Baptism of fireIssue
12 was Drac Pack’s true baptism of fire, forging iron-bound bonds in the
red-hot crucible of joint loss. The issue proved for once and for all that the
Count played for high stakes. Real death was a very rare thing in mainstream
comics at the time and this one placed the book in the major leagues, sending
the message to fangdom that anything could happen. And next issue it would.
Oct 13 16 12:24 PM
Oct 13 16 12:56 PM
Oct 13 16 2:03 PM
supersteel wrote:But Tomb of Dracula, everyone kept saying it was brilliant. Maybe it was but i found the first omnibus to be really hard to slog through. Like most of the 70s comics outside of X-Men.
Oct 13 16 7:17 PM
Oct 14 16 1:13 AM
supersteel wrote:no problem with the art. like it a lot.
Oct 14 16 7:38 AM
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