TOMB OF DRACULA ISSUE NUMBER SIX

"THE MOORLANDS MONSTER"

Cover Date: January 1973

Writer: Marv Wolfman

Artist: Gene Colan

Inker Tom Palmer

Colorist: ?

Letterer: John Costanza

Editor: Roy Thomas

Main Characters: Dracula, Lenore, Frank Drake, Rachel Van Helsing, Taj, & the Moorlands Monster

Synopsis: Dracula and his vampiric companion Lenore flee 19th Century Transylvania and return to the English Moors of the 20th Century.  Hot in pursuit are Rachel Van Helsing, Frank Drake, and Taj.  The vampire hunters are thrown off Dracula's tracks until Scotland Yard Inspector Chelm notifies them that a blood-drained body has been discovered in the Moors.  

The vampire hunters scramble to the Moors where they battle Lenore and Dracula.  Lenore is killed when Dracula uses her as a shield against one of Van Helsing's crossbow bolts.  Dracula escapes and the vampire hunters then question Lord and Lady Dering, a wealthy couple residing there.  The Derings are elusive at first but they eventually reveal that their son is cursed with a medical condition that gives him the appearance of a shaggy hunchbacked monster.  They are concerned that their son may be falsely accused of the murder. 

The vampire hunters track Dracula to Hagscroft Castle, an ancient building on the Moors. Dracula surprises them and trap Frank and Rachel in an oubliette, a pit used in medieval times to starve one's enemies.  Trapped in the pit and certain that they will die, Frank reveals his love to Rachel.  Then to their surprise, they are rescued by the Moorlands Monster.  Reunited with Taj, the vampire hunters thank Randolph Dering for saving them while Frank wonders how his love for Rachel can last as long as the legacy of Dracula hangs over his head.

NOTES: This issue almost reads like one of Stan Lee's 1960's superhero books where the hero has some hangup about his worth to his girlfriend.  Here, Frank Drake fears that his love for Rachel cannot last since he is afraid that being Dracula's descendant may eventually transform him into a vampire.  This is obviously ignorance on Drake's part as the vampire mythology in TOD clearly states that vampirism is not a geneti condition.

We also see Rachel employ a whitethorn stake against Lenore.  In some vampire legends and books, whitethorn is the only wood capable of killing vampires.  Of course in TOD, just about any kind of wood can be use to stake a vampire and silver is useful for that purpose as well.

No explanation is given as to why Dracula traps Rachel and Frank but not Taj (other than to further the Frank/Rachel romance).  One possibility is that the Moorlands Monster arrived and scared Dracula off before he could throw Taj in.

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