Hey everybody, welcome back to another edition of Ye Olde School Cafe’! This time around I’ll be checking out a comic book that Dark Horse Comics produced back in the late 1990’s, called “The Curse of Dracula.” This story was an homage to the Tomb of Dracula comic from Marvel in the 1970’s, and this was brought to us by the very same creative team that took that title and made it a masterpiece! Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan reunited to bring us more vampire goodness, and they didn’t disappoint. Along with Dark Horse colorist extraordinaire, Dave Stewart, we were given a three issue limited series that was one for the ages! Let’s get right down to the story, shall we?
In modern times, we see a man, Sebastian Seward (a relative to the Seward that hunted Dracula in the Bram Stoker story), as he’s being chased down a dark street by vampire bats. Just as they descend upon him, a car pulls up, and four occupants jump out. Simon (last name unrevealed), driver/vampire hunter, Jonathan Van Helsing (distant relative of Abraham Van Helsing), CEO, and vampire hunter, Hiroshima (a blind, half human/half vampire) vampire hunter, and Nikita Kazan (ex-KGB agent), vampire hunter. These four have apparently been working together for some time now, weeding out vampire covens because of motivations that are all rooted in the curse of vampirism. They quickly dispatch the horde of vampires, but keep one alive for questioning. He won’t give up any information, so they kill him. They then take Seward back to their headquarters, and question him about his motivations for wanting to join their little troupe.
After a scene change to a police investigation into the recent string of murders and disappearances, we next see that Dracula (thought to be dead at this point), is making love to a woman. We see that she is in love with him, but of course, he has ulterior motives. As she leaves Dracula’s home, across the city, Seward then takes his new friends to a spot where he found some vampires congregating. It’s some kind of nightclub (yes, very “Blade”), but they gain access through a back entrance. As they get inside, they’re horrified to see that the recent kidnapping victims have been strung up, and are being used as a blood bank for the vampires. Seward also remarks that Dracula is not dead, and that he’s behind all of the recent shenanigans.
We see that Dracula is planning with his minions, and orders them to get some dinner for the evening, and to also go and destroy the team of vampire hunters, but to bring Van Helsing to him. Hundreds of bats descend on the club, and the team fights off most of them, but Simon is gravely injured during the battle. As the remaining bats flee, the team rushes Simon to their facility to get medical attention. It is now that we realize that Dracula is playing a different game than we are typically used to seeing. The woman that he has in the palm of his hand is married to a man, a Senator, that is running for President. By controlling her, we’re given the impression that he will control her husband (or so we’re led to believe initially).
Her husband, throws a party to gather some momentum for his aspirations, and Dracula is among the guests. He slips away with Carole (the Senator’s wife), but another guest notices this, and tells him. As the two have an intimate moment, her husband bursts into the room, and attempts to assault Dracula. Obviously this is a fool’s errand, and Dracula easily deflects his attempts at physicality.
I’ll stop at this point, because there might be some out there that haven’t read this yet, and I definitely don’t want to spoil it for you.
This was a great homage to the Tomb series from the Bronze Age. Wolfman and Colan don’t miss a beat from those days with this story. The story is more visceral, and does contain some nudity (nothing crass), so this one is definitely for the mature readers.The story is a different angle for a Dracula story, but one that everyone who’s a fan should definitely check out. You get a solid story. strong artwork from Gene Colan (RIP), and very eerie colors from Dark Horse stalwart, Dave Stewart!