Hello and welcome to to another great installment of Ye Olde School Café! In this week’s installment, we’ll be taking a look at a book that I’ve personally been after for a while, and just recently acquired. Giant Size Dracula #4 is the book I’m referring to, and the reason is not what you’d probably think. Typically, in the regular run of Tomb of Dracula, Dracula was this powerful being, fearless, strong, and everyone around him was at a major disadvantage. In this story, he is the one at a disadvantage, and not because of crosses or holy water, but because he doesn’t understand what he’s fighting.
Another reason this book is intriguing, is because its creators are not the regulars on the book (Wolfman & Colan), but a team that had not previously even worked with this character. David Kraft (writer) and Don Heck (artist) brought this gem to us, and now I’ll present it to you! Giant Size Dracula #4 (1975) begins now!
Our tale begins with Dracula on a cruise ship (look out Carnival!) as he has bled someone dry, and tosses their body overboard. As the ship’s crew shouts “man overboard,” the body gets swept under and into the props. This gruesome fate rattles a female passenger, and Dracula moves in to console her. Beverly Carpenter tells Dracula how she’s even more shaken up than usual, because of the recent death of her mother. She returns from her trip, and her father is less than pleased. He rebuffs her advances to reconcile, and she storms out of the family farm.
Across town, Dracula has arrived in Devil’s Lake, South Dakota. He remarks that he’s been drawn to this place by some unseen force, and it’s one that is more powerful than anything he’s ever felt. He immediately feeds on a nearby woman, and now is invigorated for more investigation. Back with Beverly and her friend Stuart, as she wants to go back and confront her father again. They’re interrupted by Dracula, and Beverly asks him to come with them. However, Beverly’s father isn’t home when they get there, and we see him at the local church, seeking advice from a priest.
He tells the priest of how recently he’s been losing control of his faculties, and committing terribly violent acts. He tells him of how he’s killed a bird, and a dog, for no apparent reason. The night of his wife’s death, they had a terrible fight that turned violent, and when his wife ran out of the house, she fell down and died in the winter snow from hypothermia. He seems remorseful, and the priest initially wants to help, but then turns on him, and attacks him right in the middle of the church! The man eventually uses a candle holder to bludgeon the priest, and he dies. He runs out of the church screaming that he’s certainly damned now.
Back at the residence, Beverly, Stuart, and Dracula are talking about her father, but then Dracula abruptly excuses himself to go indulge on some more blood. As he does, he’s mentally assaulted, and the weather is also turned against him by this unforeseen power. As this is going on, Beverly is talking with Stuart, and he suddenly turns evil, just as Beverly’s father did when he killed those poor animals. She tries to defend herself, and then door swings open, startling them both. It’s her father, and he has that same insane look in his eyes. A terrible scream is let out by Beverly, and that ends the page.
The next scene shows us the enthralled members of the community, with Beverly’s father, Stuart, and the priest leading the pack. They head towards an abandoned farm, and specifically the well. They crawl down the well, and make their way into a cavern. Dracula also finds this same cavern, and makes his way inside. He nearly falls to his knees at the site of the source of this evil. A giant, pulsating heart is at the center of this cavern (and mountain) that is controlling the townspeople.
Dracula shouts to the people and commands them to release Beverly, for she belongs to him! The enthralled humans tell him to keep away or he’ll die! They attack him savagely with knives and fists. He swats them aside, but then one of them gets the idea that he’ll just kill Beverly, and end it all. You see, the “heart” is seemingly commanding them to bring Beverly to this spot for a sacrifice. As Beverly’s father lunges at her, Dracula grabs him and tosses him aside, but Beverly is in the way, and the knife is plunged into her heart. The giant heart throbs, and then seems to fizzle out of life. Beverly’s father begs Dracula to end his life, but he tells him that he’s repulsed by him, and he departs. Beverly’s father then commits suicide, and a familiar bat flies through the night!
Well, that’s it! This book also had a few back up stories in it, as well, from old school horror books like Adventure into Terror, and the like. Great issue overall, and the page with Dracula and the heart is absolutely unbelievable! See you next time!