Monday, October 19, 2015

Vampire Tales #6 - Legacy Of Blood!


Vampire Tales #6 is dated August, 1974 and features a striking portrait cover of Lilith, Dracula's Daughter by Boris Vallejo. This is one of his best compositions, but the figure of Lilith is pretty memorable. 


Lilith had been introduced in Giant-Size Chillers #1 one of Marvel's earliest forays into that format which was a mere thirty-five cents. In a story which is fully within Dracula's continuity by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan (with Frank Chiramonte inks) this story introduces us to Angel the abused daughter of an Irish brute who in a fit of rage kills her lover and attempts to beat her when the essence of Lilith rises from the grave and inhabits the poor girls form giving Dracula's daughter new life. It turns out Lilith is the pre-vampire daughter of Vlad Dracula by his first wife who killed herself when he rejected them both. Lilith is then transformed into a vampire by way of a gypsy spell and so is not quite the same as her estranged undead father.


In the story by Marv Wolfman with art by Bob Brown and Tom Palmer in Vampire Tales we meet her after she has migrated to New York City and we find her once again assuming the role of Angel to meet and seduce a man named Alan Gold who has himself just lost his fiance to a malicious axe murderer. The axe murderer returns to menace Angel and Lilith appears and takes care of the threat.


"A Novel Way to Die" by Chris Claremont is the fifth and final part of his long-running review and summary of The Vampire: His Kith and Kin by Montague Summers. This time the focus is on fictional vampires specifically Polidori's The Vampyre and the most famous of all Bram Stoker's Dracula which Claremont seems to have limited regard for save for the initial chapters comprised of Harker's famous journal. I cannot agree with this assessment, but it's surprising given the focus on vampires this magazine reasonably has that the iconic novel is held such limited esteem. The adaptation by Roy Thomas and Dick Giordano (which wouldn't be finished for many years to come) is suggested as a good way to access the story.

"Angie's Soul" by Claremont and the artist Balcells is a grim tough modern story of a vampire who is cleaning up the mean streets of New York City and with some grudging support from the local populace. This story had a glimmer of the magic of The Night Stalker in it, and I don't know if that was intentional or not.



"Blood Death" with shimmering artwork by Alfredo Alcala is a splendid little horror opus about a disgruntled husband who seeks out a vampire to help him cheat death and his spouse. That it doesn't go as planned will not be a surprise to most readers.


"Dark Shadows" by Gerry Boudreau takes a long look at the very popular daytime soap opera which made Barnabas Collins one of the most famous pop culture icons of the time. How that show rose to fame and then went away is detailed.

"The Color of Crimson Gold" by Doug Moench and Vincente Alcazar is a period piece about a vampires in a deep cavern and the deal they make with a avaricious human to deliver them their necessary repasts. A gypsy gets involved and ends up regretting it.


"Devil's Den" by Carla Joseph closes the magazine with info on movies such as The Exorcist and Hammer's Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunters among other flicks. Books and even a college course are also reviewed briefly.


More to come next time.

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8 comments:

  1. After starting – and not finishing Bram Stoker’s Dracula a few different times in my life – this past summer I stuck with it and finished the whole novel. I liked it a lot. The ending in particular was quite satisfying with the rush through the snow across the Transylvanian countryside with the 3 different teams of vampire hunters to overtake the Count’s casket-bearing wagon….I need to go back and re-read Stoker’s short story now (Dracula’s Guest.)

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    1. Me too. I read it when I was very young but in later years always got stopped. A few years ago I read it and found it a rousing yarn. Better to my mind than its rep.

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  2. I finally read Bram Stoker's Dracula as an e-book about 18 months ago and I thought it was far, far too long - it could have cut by half at least. The long drawn-out death of Lucy Westenra was just interminable. And it really annoyed me that there was no explanation for how Jonathan Harker had escaped from Dracula's castle - Dracula departs for England leaving Harker trapped in a forbidding castle in the middle of nowhere with wolves guarding the entrance and three female vampires waiting for sundown so they can feast on him - but then later on he turns up in hospital safe and sound - even Houdini would have had a hard time getting out of that scenario !! But the voyage of the Demeter from Eastern Europe to Whitby is genuinely chilling with the captain's log documenting the crew disappearing one by one and I agree with RickM that the ending of the novel was quite thrilling - I just wish it hadn't taken so long to get there. In December 1977 BBC TV did an adaptation of the novel with the French actor Louis Jourdan as Dracula - it's on YouTube but the version I saw had Portugese subtitles at the bottom.

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    1. The fragmented nature of the storytelling by means of letters and journals is what I like best about the book, though it does have gaps. Louis Jourdan's Dracula is delightful and his wall-crawling is downright creepy.

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  3. The journals-letters-newspaper-captain’s log-phonograph entries and POV changes could be a challenge at times…As far as Harker escaping Drac’s castle you’re right that Stoker didn’t quite spell that out - but I just figured he (Harker) was able to manually scale down the castle’s outer wall – as he had done that earlier in the narrative to the floor immediately below the one where he was locked in (after seeing Drac himself do it in a much more macabre - yet effortless fashion). Likely this wasn’t without some injury to himself as he’s (again, somewhat vaguely) found by the locals (presumably) and entrusted to a hospital-type institution where he’s a bit raving and ultimately Mina goes there to be with him…I read in the Wikipedia entry that Arthur Conan Doyle was a fan of Stoker’s book…Definitely a product of its time though (1897). But yeah, Stephen King would have done some trimming & clarifying here…

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    1. I must have been in the mood for that type of narrative when I read it a few years ago, it really struck my fancy. I'm reading Night Stalker again right now and it has a similar structure though cast in modern terms.

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  4. Angie the vampire next turns up in the Claremont/Rogers Daughters of the Dragon story "Safe Streets" in 1981's Bizarre Adventures.

    I thought the Lilith story was really ugly and exploitative and its nebbish hero was deeply unsympathetic. But I'm not a great fan of unleavened Wolfman.

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    1. That's news to me. I'll have to see if I have that one.

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