Tomb of Dracula 1

The Return Of Dracula

I've just come from reading the Tomb of Dracula No. 1 for the first time. Story by Gerry Conway and art by Gene Colan. It's a good read, worthy of inclusion in Comics Recommended.

The cover was good, with the slimy mist-covered bog and the castle in the distance but what really got my attention was the splash page just after it, a castle in a stormy night simply cannot be beat.

Tomb of Dracula 1 : castle dracula in the storm

Gene Colan is an artist whose style really fits tales of horror and darkness; he's perfect for Dracula. The art isn't consistent though, losing a bit of quality at the end - maybe signs of a looming deadline. But the beginning pages are truly wonderful. You know how a well pencilled piece looks like - fine, masterful lines and delicate shades of gray; you can really appreciate the skill of the artist with these bare sketches. Well, Colan's art is both inked and colored but he still manages to evoke the raw power of a beautifully pencilled page - he did the inks and colors himself. Here's a sample panel. I'm very impressed with the fine linework of the old man in the foreground.

Tomb of Dracula 1 : village bar

The tale begins with the introduction of three protagonists as they make their way through Eastern Europe under a stormy sky. Conway mirrors the wild weather with the equally stormy relations between these three, one of whom is a descendant of the legendary Count Dracula. It's an approach that works, allowing Conway to flesh out his characters within the space of an issue.

Ultimately, Tomb of Dracula entertains because it combines two of the most potent ingredients of pulp horror: suspense and sex.

Conway takes care of the suspense, dialing it up steadily as our trio approaches and goes into Castle Dracula. I actually found myself tensing up as my eyes moved from panel to panel - wonderful stuff!

Colan takes care of the sex aspect with some subtle pencil work.

Tomb of Dracula 1 : tasteful cleavage shot

I've read the original novel and seen some of the movies and this issue holds up very well. I love the way Dracula is drawn - noble and beastly at the same time. And the comic is permeated by an Eastern European feel to it which just enhances the read. I heard that when Marv Wolfman joined Gene Colan in issue no. 7 this series really hit its stride. I'm looking forward to that, but Conway and Colan have started things right.

Posted by  Pete Albano - March 2, 2011

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Tomb of Dracula 1 and other Tomb of Dracula comic books

Here's what the Tomb of Dracula Omnibus looks like :


1 : The Return of Dracula

2 : London

3 : Rachel Van Helsing

4-6 : Ilsa Strangway

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