The Tomb of Dracula
The Tomb of Dracula #40 (Jan. 1976)
Cover art by Gene Colan & Frank Giacoia
Dracula (center) with (l. to r.) recurring guest-character Harold H. Harold, and cast-members Rachel van Helsing, Frank Drake, and Quincy Harker
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Ongoing series
Genre Vampires in comics
Publication date April 1972 – August 1979
Number of issues 70
Main character(s) Count Dracula
Creative team
Writer(s) Marv Wolfman
Penciller(s) Gene Colan
Inker(s) Tom Palmer
Collected editions
Essential Tomb of Dracula: Volume 1 ISBN 078510920X

The Tomb of Dracula is a horror comic book series published by Marvel Comics from April 1972 to August 1979. The 70-issue series featured a group of vampire hunters who fought Count Dracula and other supernatural menaces. On rare occasions, Dracula would work with these vampire hunters against a common threat or battle other supernatural threats on his own, but more often than not, he was the antagonist rather than protagonist. In addition to his supernatural battles in this series, Marvel's Dracula often served as a supervillain to other characters in the Marvel Universe, battling the likes of Blade, Spider-Man, Werewolf by Night, the X-Men, and the licensed Robert E. Howard character Solomon Kane.

Publication historyEdit

Original seriesEdit

In 1971, the Comics Code Authority relaxed some of its longstanding rules regarding horror comics, such as a virtual ban on vampires. Marvel had already tested the waters with a "quasi-vampire" character, Morbius, the Living Vampire, but the company was now prepared to launch a regular vampire title as part of its new line of horror books. After some discussion, it was decided to use the Dracula character, in large part because it was the most famous vampire to the general public, and also because Bram Stoker's creation and secondary characters were by that time in the public domain.

At first, The Tomb of Dracula was plagued by an inability to keep a steady writer, with the first half-dozen issues written by Gerry Conway, Archie Goodwin, and Gardner Fox. But the title gained stability and hit its stride when Marv Wolfman became permanent scripter with the seventh issue.

The entire run of The Tomb of Dracula was penciled by Gene Colan, with Tom Palmer inking virtually all (although Gil Kane drew many of the covers for the first few years, as he did for many other Marvel titles). Colan based the visual appearance of Marvel's Dracula not on Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, or any other actor who had played the vampire on film, but rather on actor Jack Palance. Palance would play Dracula in a television production of Stoker's novel the year after The Tomb of Dracula debuted.

Colan, already one of Marvel's most well-established and prominent artists, said he had lobbied for the assignment.

When I heard Marvel was putting out a Dracula book, I confronted [editor] Stan [Lee] about it and asked him to let me do it. He didn't give me too much trouble but, as it turned out, he took that promise away, saying he had promised it to Bill Everett. Well, right then and there I auditioned for it. Stan didn't know what I was up to, but I spent a day at home and worked up a sample, using Jack Palance as my inspiration and sent it to Stan. I got a call that very day: "It's yours."[1]

The Tomb of Dracula ran for 70 issues, until 1979. As cancellation loomed, Wolfman made to wrap up the storyline and lingering threads by issue #72. But Jim Shooter, then the editor-in-chief, retroactively cut two issues after the artwork had been completed for three. As Wolfman recalled,

I think I realized we were doing a finite story and to continue that storyline would have pushed it into repetition. ... I wrote the final three issues and they were drawn. Jim was someone that when he liked you there was nothing he wouldn't do for you, and when he didn't, there was nothing he would do. He and I had butted heads often since I had been editor-in-chief before him ... and I was also the editor of TOD, which rankled him as I didn't have to listen to his ideas. Anyway, I said the stories were done and I needed the room. He gave me a double-sized last issue, I really needed a triple-sized book. I was stuck and had to find a way to cut 14 pages from the printed book. Thank God I hadn't dialogued them all yet, so I cut [up] pages, rearranged stuff then dialogued it so it read smoothly.'[2]

Twelve of those pages, which Wolfman had saved as photocopies, appeared in the hardcover reprint collection Tomb of Dracula Omnibus Vol. 2. The series culminated with the death of Quincy Harker and Dracula's apparent death and dispersal.

The color title was succeeded by a black-and-white magazine, with stories also drawn by Gene Colan, that lasted six issues. An earlier magazine, Dracula Lives!, published by the Marvel imprint Curtis Magazines, ran from 1973 to 1975. The color comic was also supplemented by a "Giant-Size" companion quarterly that ran for five issues in the mid-1970s.

Post-series Dracula appearances Edit

Several years later, Dracula resurfaced in an issue of The Uncanny X-Men. Although Dracula (and all other vampires in the Marvel Universe) were eventually destroyed by the mystical Montessi Formula in the pages of Doctor Strange, the vampire lord was revived. Marvel published a four-issue Tomb of Dracula miniseries, reuniting Wolfman and Colan, under its Epic Comics imprint in 1991, and revived Dracula and his foes in the short-lived Nightstalkers and Blade series in the 1990s. Some unresolved plot threads from The Tomb of Dracula were addressed in the final three issues of Nightstalkers. These included the fates of Dracula's bride Domini, their son Janus, and vampire-hunter Taj Nital. Dracula took the title role in the miniseries Dracula: Lord of the Undead.

Two more four-issue miniseries followed. Stoker's Dracula continued and concluded the adaptation of the original Bram Stoker novel Dracula by writer Roy Thomas and artist Dick Giordano, which had begun in Dracula Lives 20 years prior. Another Tomb of Dracula miniseries followed found Blade joined a new team of vampire hunters to prevent Dracula achieving godhood. Apocalypse vs. Dracula featured Dracula battling Apocalypse, an immortal foe of the superhero team the X-Men, in Victorian London.

Major charactersEdit

Rachel van Helsing

Dracula attempting to "vampirize" Rachel van Helsing in The Tomb of Dracula #40 (Jan. 1976). Art by Gene Colan & Tom Palmer.

  • Dracula
  • Dr. Quincy Harker, son of Jonathan and Mina Harker, and disabled leader of the vampire hunters; he died in battle with Dracula.
  • Dr. Rachel van Helsing, granddaughter of Abraham Van Helsing, and leader of the vampire hunters upon Harker's death; she was turned into a vampire by Dracula and subsequently given a mercy killing by Wolverine of the X-Men.
  • Blade, son of a woman bitten by a vampire during pregnancy and a valued, yet reluctant ally to Quincy Harker's band of vampire hunters. Blade possesses quasi-vampiric abilities, including a greatly prolonged lifespan and the ability to sense supernatural creatures, as well as an immunity to complete vampirism.
  • Frank Drake, descendant of Dracula and charter member of Quincy Harker's vampire hunters. Note: Drake's bloodline is based on one of Dracula's marriages prior to his vampirism.
  • Hannibal King, a vampire hunter and private investigator who is himself a reluctant vampire, frequent partner of Blade & Drake. He subsisted solely on blood he acquired from blood banks or corpses he found and had never taken blood directly from a human being. Thus he was able to survive the Montesi Formula and be restored to normal human status.
  • Taj Nital, a mute Hindu vampire hunter of considerable strength (sufficient to temporarily restrain Dracula) whose son was vampirized, and who was later transformed into a vampire, and destroyed in Nightstalkers #18.
  • Lilith, the daughter of Dracula, an immortal vampire who was cursed to never die until her father was permanently destroyed; when slain, she was reborn into the body of a woman who was full of hate.
  • Deacon Frost, the vampire responsible for the death of Blade's mother and Hannibal King's vampirism. He was an upstart contender for the title of Lord of the Vampires, a title held by Dracula at the time.
  • Harold H. Harold, a hack writer who befriended the vampire hunters in an effort to get material for a book he was writing. He fell victim to Dracula and became a vampire (in Howard the Duck Magazine #5)—though this did not stop him from becoming a successful Hollywood film producer. However, like all vampires, he perished as a result of the casting of the Montessi Formula.
  • Anton Lupeski, a Satanic priest through whom Dracula manipulated a cult while impersonating Satan.
  • Domini, a member of Anton Lupeski's cult whom Dracula chose as his bride.
  • Janus, the son of Dracula and Domini, who was possessed by an angel. He was returned to his child form, and at age five was kidnapped by the vampire Varnae (in the back story of Nightstalkers #16–18).
  • Varnae, the first vampire (and, at one point, enemy of Conan the Barbarian). He was the Lord of the Vampires prior to Dracula, and although he died in the process of making Dracula his heir, he was later revived. He was inspired by the 19th century character Varney the Vampire.
  • Nimrod, another Lord of the Vampires prior to Dracula, who killed him in Nimrod's first appearance (Dracula Lives! #3). When Dracula's origin was revised in Bizarre Adventures #33, Nimrod was no longer the true Lord of the Vampires; instead, he was a mentally imbalanced servant of Varnae, and had been empowered by his master as a test of Dracula's worthiness.

Collected editionsEdit

From 2003 to 2005, as part of its Essential Marvel series of trade paperbacks, Marvel published a four-volume, black-and-white Essential Tomb of Dracula collection, with the first three collecting the 70 issues plus selections from the black-and-white Tomb of Dracula magazine. The fourth reprinted the comics stories from Dracula Lives and the remainder of the stories from the Tomb of Dracula magazine. In 2008 Marvel launched the first of three Marvel Omnibus reprinting Tomb of Dracula.

The comics have been collected as part of the Essential series of trade paperbacks. The volumes are:

Some of the nudity was removed from the fourth volume. Publisher Dan Buckley explained, "That wasn't because we were going to bookstores, or because we were exclusively going to hobby shops. It probably had more with where we were at from a ratings standpoint and the editors felt that was the appropriate thing to do, considering how we communicate what's going on in our books from a packaging standpoint. ...We generally avoid nudity, unless it's a MAX title. We don't want to take an Essential volume and start calling it MAX; then you get into branding issues."[4] Retailers' opinions on the matter are split.[5]

A Marvel Omnibus collecting The Tomb of Dracula #1-31, Werewolf by Night #15, Giant-Size Chillers #1, and Giant-Size Dracula #2-4 was released in November 2008. The second volume, collecting The Tomb of Dracula #32-70, Giant-Size Dracula #5, and Dr. Strange #14 was released in October 2009. The third volume, collecting Tomb of Dracula Magazine #1-6, Frankenstein Monster #7-9, and Dracula Lives! #1-13 was released in January 2011.

In 2010, Marvel began publishing the series as full-colour trade paperbacks. The volumes are:

  • Volume 1 (264 pages, July 2010)
    • Collects Tomb of Dracula #1-12
  • Volume 2 (272 pages, October 2010)
    • Collects Tomb of Dracula #13-23, Werewolf by Night #15, Giant-Size Chillers #1
  • Volume 3 (248 pages, January 2011)
    • Collects Tomb of Dracula #24-31, Giant-Size Dracula #2-4

Other mediaEdit


The Tomb of Dracula
闇の帝王 吸血鬼ドラキュラ
(Yami no Teiō: Kyūketsuki Dracula)
Genre Horror supernatural fiction
TV film anime
Dracula: Sovereign Of The Damned
Directed by Minoru Okazaki
Produced by Yoshiaki Koizumi
Yoshifumi Hatano
Takeyuki Suzuki
Written by Tadaaki Yamazaki
Music by Seiji Yokoyama
Studio Toei Animation
Network TV Asahi
Released August 19, 1980
Runtime 94 minutes
Anime and Manga Portal

In 1980, an anime television movie based on The Tomb of Dracula was released.[6] The film was called Yami no Teiō: Kyūketsuki Dracula (Dracula: The Vampire Emperor of Darkness). Much of the main plot was condensed and many characters and subplots were truncated or omitted. The film was animated in Japan by Toei and sparsely released on cable TV in North America in 1983 by Harmony Gold dubbed into English[7] and under the title Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned.[8]



Blade, a character introduced in The Tomb of Dracula, has been featured in a series of three films: Blade (1998), Blade II (2002), and Blade: Trinity (2004), as well as a short-lived television series titled Blade: The Series (2006). Other Tomb of Dracula characters, Deacon Frost and Hannibal King, have been featured in these films (Frost in Blade, King in Blade: Trinity), albeit in heavily revised forms. Reference to the Tomb of Dracula series is made in Blade: Trinity when King shows an issue of the comic to Blade.

Dracula himself does not appear in the series until Blade: Trinity, in which he goes by the name of "Drake" and features an origin and powers that differ from the comics. He is played in the film by Dominic Purcell. Given Drake's age and origin, he, more than any other vampire that followed, can harness a much greater and more dynamic range of abilities. He possesses superhuman strength, much greater than that of Blade, as well as incredible speed. Like those he sired, he is capable of leaping great distances and seems to be knowledgeable of sword fighting techniques, even rivaling Blade himself. Drake's true power, however, is derived from his origin as the first of his species. The manipulation of energies which lead to his first resurrection left Drake with two forms: human and a demonic alter ego. In this form, Drake is much stronger, resilient to all forms of damage and much taller than his human form. He also possesses very keen senses, allowing him, for example, to catch an arrow in mid-air.

The Curse of DraculaEdit

Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan returned to Dracula comics with The Curse of Dracula, a three-issue miniseries published in 1998. The miniseries was published by Dark Horse Comics and was not officially associated with Marvel's Dracula series.[10][11] A trade paperback collection was published in 2005.[11]


  1. Greenberger, Robert. "Inside the Tome of Dracula", Marvel Spotlight: Marvel Zombies Return (2009), p. 27 (unnumbered)
  2. Greenberger, p. 31 (unnumbered)
  3. Giant-Size Chillers was renamed Giant-Size Dracula starting with issue #2.
  4. "Interview with Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley, Pt. 3",, November 27, 2006
  5. Rogers, Vaneta. "Talking Shop: Age Appropriate", Newsarama October 3, 2006
  6. Jones, Stephen. The Essential Monster Movie Guide. Billboard Books, 2000. p. 119
  7. "Yami no Toei Kyuketsuki Dracula (1980)". 2009-08-16. Retrieved 2011-01-08. 
  8. "Buried Garbage - Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned". Anime News Network. 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
  10. Latta, D.K. Review: The Curse of Dracula, Pulp and Dagger, n.d.
  11. 11.0 11.1 The Curse of Dracula (1998) at the Comic Book DB


External linksEdit

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