TOMB OF DRACULA ISSUE NUMBER SEVEN

"NIGHT OF THE DEATH STALKERS!"

Cover Date: March 1973

Writer: Marv Wolfman

Artist: Gene Colan

Inker & Colorist: Tom Palmer

Letterer: John Costanza

Editor: Roy Thomas

Main Characters: Dracula, Frank Drake, Rachel Van Helsing, Taj, Quincy Harker, & Edith Harker

Synopsis: Dracula creates a blinding snowstorm with which to hide himself as he hunts for fresh blood.  He attacks a young woman in London but is repulsed when she displays a cross.  He flees but not before summoning rats to kill the woman.  However she is rescued by a wheelchair bound man and his German Shepherd.

Meanwhile Rachel, Frank, and Taj return from the Moorlands.  Along the way, Rachel explains that Frank is going to meet Quincy Harker, a man who uses scientific means to hunt down vampires.  Drake is skeptical, even after he sees one of Harker's anti-vampire weapons, a garlic treated net which will trap a vampire and weaken it to  prevent it from escaping.  Drake is unimpressed so Harker explains how he has spent the last sixty years hunting down vampires.  The son of John and Mina Harker (the couple who battled Dracula in the novel Dracula), Quincy was trained by Abraham Van Helsing to fight and destroy vampires.  He carried on a lifelong crusade against vampires until he was confined to a wheelchair after a battle with a vampire coven.  He then used his energy and resources to assist and direct other vampire hunters such as Rachel Van Helsing.  

Meanwhile, Dracula plots the destruction of his enemies.  He confronts his servant Clifford Graves who as usual, is not living up to Dracula's standards.  Dracula then gathers and hypnotizes a band of young boys for what he believes will be the end of his foes.  He lures them to a mansion where they find and subdue Clifford Graves.  They search the mansion and find a coffin with Dracula's sleeping body.  Unfortunately the body is only a disguised corpse and Dracula surprises them.  After a pitched battle, Dracula escapes but not before being wounded by a poison wooden dart fired from Harker's wheelchair.  However the vampire hunters find that they are trapped by a mob of armed children who have been hypnotized to kill them.  They are stuck with the dilemma of being forced to kill the children or being killed by them.

NOTES: This issue marks the introduction of two major players in the Drac universe-TOD writer Marv Wolfman and Dracula's arch nemesis Quincy Harker.  While TODís writing was fairly good before Wolfman's arrival, Wolfman raised TOD to a higher level, producing a solid horror series with complex characters and exciting plots.  His work sustained the book throughout the rest of its run and he kept the stories fresh and exciting despite the fact that the comic revolved around a villain.  Quincy Harker's arrival in this issue introduces a new foe for Dracula who proves to be one of his greatest adversaries.  We learn a little about Harker in this issue but not all of it is accurate.  The true  reason for his paralysis is revealed in later issues.  It can be speculated that he does not tell Frank Drake the true reason since he does not know him well enough yet.

This book shows us a couple of Dracula's special abilities.  First, the ability to control weather. Here he summons a blizzard to bury London in.  Second, he gathers rats to attack Edith Harker and then a male victim.

We also see two of Dracula's weaknesses.  First, that garlic can be used to weaken a vampire and second, that poison can affect a vampire.  In some of the Dracula black and white magazines as well as in the comics, we see that poisons can sometimes harm Dracula.  

This issue also introduces Edith Harker, Quincy's daughter.  We learn more about her in future issues.

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