Blood Work

Continuing in the vein (!)  of my last post, today we’ re looking at my Hallowe’en reading: specifically, the Dracula Lives Super Annual Issue from 1975.

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This was the last issue of the title but it comes with a lurid Gray Morrow cover. You can see a movie billboard for George Pal’s Doc Savage immediately t0 the right of Drac:  a subtle advert for the Man of Bronze’s own Marvel magazine.

This was a reprint collection of stories previously published in the fledgling issues of the mag.

That Dracula May Live Again:Wolfman and Neal Adams depict the fanging of Dracula and the tragedy that ensues in a violent historical melodrama. It’s visually dynamic but the reproduction is murky. Adams’ Dracula is a glamorous, heroic figure.

Lord of Death, Lord of Hell: Wolfman, Buscema and Syd Shores provide the next chapter. It’s a slightly more racy adventure with a seductive vampiress and a bare-chested battle with Nimrod, the vampire king. Squint and it might be an issue of Conan the Barbarian.

Look Homeward Vampire: Gerry Conway, Marvel’s first Dracula scripter and Jonah Hex artist Vicente Alcazar produce an opulent but violent battle with a vampiric priest.

Castle of the Undead: Thomas and Weiss pit Drac against REH’s Puritan adventurer Solomon Kane. There seemed to be quite a big push in the 70s to establish this “modern” sword-and-sorcery hero, especially the rather dashing Chaykin version. I think he might actually be the third-most visible Howard hero at the House of Ideas- more memorable than Kull, despite the ornate art. (Red Sonja being the second, I should point out.)

A Duel of Demons: Conway and the late Frank Springer deliver the story of Drac’s rivalry with Cagliostro in the court of Louis XVI. This is the “origin” of the enmity hinted at in the Conway/ Colan story we discussed last time.

Shadow over Versailles: Tony Isabella, one of the second-stringer authors of Bronze Age Marvel teams up with John Buscema and Pablo Marcos.This is the climax of the French Revolution storyline, featuring Drac in the Bastille. The artwork is remisicent of some of the Savage Sword Conan stories.

I think the variety of time periods is interesting but since you know from the cover that Drac will survive into at least the Seventies- and since none of the other characters have any redeeming features, apart from the dour, driven Kane- it’s not a very compelling series.

Another iteration of the ruler of the undead, this time from the previous decade can be seen in ABC TV’s Mystery and Imagination series. Broadcast on November 18, 1968- two days after episode 3 of The Invasion ( of the Cybermen)- Dracula starred Denholm Elliott.

 dracula-susan-george

The lord of vampires is introduced playing Moonlight Sonata on the piano as Jonathan Harker makes a dramatic entrance into the Westenra household- through the French windows. Susan George plays a sensual Lucy and Bernard Archard is Van Helsing. This studio-bound ITV version is a bit Dark Shadows in places but it moves at a swifter pace than the 77 BBC version. Elliott doesn’t have Jourdan’s elegantly restrained ferocity: his is a more melancholy presence. Also this version ends with a clear indication that Mina Harker has not been released from the Count’s influence…Worth a look, if you are interested in Sixties tv.

Coming soon: more chiropteric shenanigans, this time with the Gotham Guardian.

All images presumed copyright of their respective owners

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One comment on “Blood Work

  1. Kid Robson says:

    Dougie, turns out I’ve also got the other Spidey album – Rock Reflections of a Superhero – on CD (forgot I had it). I can send you a copy of that just now, and send on the other album once I’ve taped it from the LP. Better give me an address again – it’ll save me spending hours trawling through my emails.

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