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ToD #23
      Brutal!  That's the first word that came to mind after finishing issue #35.  I recently bought a bunch of Tomb of Dracula issues.  
     I once read that ToD was not only the best horror comic ever, but arguably the best comic of the 1970's.
     Big words.  Surprisingly ...  the latter is very accurate.
     The first few issues were nothing great in my opinion as Dracula would show up and someone would unsuccessfully try and kill him.  Dracula would then laugh and fly away.
     As issues progress, events unfold, characters develop, and you actually start to care for the monster known as Dracula

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ToD #23
     It doesn't hurt that Gene Colan's art is spectacular.  His  hand can do marvelous things.  It can convey mood.  It can depict violence.  It can draw hot women!
     Marv Wolfman's writing is also really good.  I tend to admire art way before writing.  I usually only notice writing if it is particularly bad.  In this case, I have found myself saying, "Man, that line was so descriptive." or  "Aww Geez, I can believe she is falling for Dracula" or "Wow!  These characters are so believable.  The writing in this comic is awesome!"
  (Stuff like that)
He paints pictures with his words and Gene creates poetry with his brush.  They are a great team!

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MVS #50 - ToD 23
     There's more than just Vampires, stories, and vulnerable ladies.  Look!  It's Marvel Value Stamp #50.  Black Panther.
     An ongoing trend in my "reviews" is to also scan other elements of the issue.  

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     What makes this comic so cool, is that you start to care about Dracula.  In the first couple story arcs he is really powerful and basically does what he wants.  After a bit, he actually has a difficult time in some fights.  And, you don't want him to lose.  He starts living in a haunted house and he tangles with some jerk, ghost guy who is in cahoots with Satan.
     There's another guy, Dr. Sun, who I don't know much about, but I already want Dracula to kick his but.  Lilith, his daughter also is trying to kill him.
Her story is quite tragic, and you feel bad for her too.  (Good job Marv!)
Dracula is really mean to her, and it's those times, you begin to hate him.
     Everyone is after him.  Bad guys, good guys, and men stuck in the middle.  There is a human element that is hunting him down consisting of Quincy Harker, Rachel Van Helsing, Dracula's descendant Frank Drake and a tall mysterious Indian mute.  Oh yeah, and Harker's dog, Saint.  
     Blade shows up now and then.  Also, Hannibal King and the unknown threat known as Dr. Sun.
     Strangely, there are also characters, like Sheila that care for him and even offer him protection.

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ToD #24
     In these next two pics, Dracula is terrifying.  He lies and manipulates a dancer then tries to kill her.
     She barely makes her way to Blade's house who is the only one who believes her story.

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ToD #24
Sweet.  Another Marvel Value Stamp!

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Dracula vs. Gorna! ToD #29 - (This is the only Double Page Splash I have seen.)
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ToD #29 - MVS 27 - Black Widow
     The image above is when another vampire named GORNA  giveS Dracula a hard time.  Unable to control one of his creations, Dracula struggles in this fight as he realizes his powers are dwindling.  The mystery begins!

     

Ewwww!   It's all yellow!  I started using color correction when I scan images from my comics.  I forgot this time and I was too lazy to go back and redo it. 

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ToD #35 - Poor Girl
     Issue #35 was really good!  That's where I am at in the series so far and I just had to scan a bunch of pics from it.
     Dracula is trying to figure out why his power is waning, and the whereabouts of Dr. Sun.
     A bitter woman named Miss Von Wilkinson has this info and will trade it to Dracula for services.
     She is a fashion designer.  Early in her career she was burned by four different men.  They stole her designs and made lots of money without ever crediting or helping her.
     If Dracula kills these four men, in return, she will give him the information he desires.
     She will also help feed him while he completes this sinister job.

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So, Dracula kills all these men and returns to Wilkinson.  She gives him the info.  Dracula double checks and then leaves.  Wilkinson's confirmation is waiting at her front door.
     Yes, Dracula "killed" them, but he also turned them into Vampires.  Little did she know he would tell each of them her name.
     After reading this issue I was kind of shocked.  Cleverly written, and savagely brutal!

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ToD #35 - The Stranger MVS
  Hey Look!  It's um ...  err ...  you know, ...  it's that crazy Marvel villain ... The Stranger!

    Can't wait to read the rest of the series.
As I stated earlier, the Art, writing, tone and characters is really great.  I recommend going back and checking it out.

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ToD #24
 
 
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     It sure is hard to root for Morbius.  We are meant to sympathize with him due to his condition.  He is a creepy monster that murders lots of people.  His BLOODLUST is uncontrollable and he is often not to blame.  I'm just saying, ... he is hard to root for and the cover to FEAR #24 does him no value in portraying him nicely.
     The cover is quite glorious upon inspection.  BLADE the VAMPIRE SLAYER stands defensively above a young damsel.  Protecting her from a swooping Morbius, BLADE has a WOODEN KNIFE cocked back, ready to toss it down this fancy vampire's throat.  Morbius' is practically embracing Blade as his fangs hope to satisfy his BLOODLUST!

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Story by Steve Gerber + Art by Craig Russell
     What better place to begin a story than smack dab in the middle?  Once past the cover, we find Morbius in a very strange place.  Stan Lee supposedly intended every comic he wrote to be somewhat of a stand alone issue.  That is not the case here as this  zany tale spans five issues or so.
     Morbius has partnered with a creature named 'I' and is on the latter part of his space demon-dimensional-alien journey.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Morbius has not had much time to rest, as he lost his lover, got played by a guy named Daemond, fought a demon Monkey-Cat named Balkatar and now finds himself here ...  watcing the sun set on the 4th planet from the sun Arcturus.  
     Steve Gerber depicts an interesting human/android barbarian-mutant civilization and Craig Russel does a good job rendering this tale with his pencils.  Morbius is led to a rocket ship by 'I'.  Together they hatch a plan to overthrow  a mysterious group known as "the CARETAKERS".  
     "I" is proud of the last starship and tells the vampire about it telepathically.  Morbius only cares about one thing.  Will it get him to earth?
     Not far away, a group of mutant-android-barbarians worship the rocket.  They get in a little argument with Morbius and "I".  "I" tells them to pipe down as his race built the androids in the crowd, and the spacecraft they all worship!  This enrages the crowd to which they call "I" a blasphemer and quickly become aggressive.

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No cup holders?
     Morbius acts quickly and begins to run expecting "I" to follow.  He turns only to see "I" strolling casually.  Morbius quickly zips back, grabs I, and scolds him for blowing their lead.  Now they are backed in a corner and it's time for Morbius to be a hero.  It's time for Morbius to take center stage and find a away of of this!  It's time for Morbius to grab a nice attractive female and MURDER her in front of everyone.  Wait ...  what? ! 
     Yes!  Backed into a corner, Morbius decides a hostage would be good.  He sees a pretty blonde and is correct when he assumes she must be their queen.  He glides above and grabs her.  Intending only to use her as a means to escape, his BLOODLUST kicks in.  He bites her neck and has sucked her dry before landing back on the ground.  
     More angry, the men throw rocks and seek greater vengeance.  Morbius and "I" escape to the ship where they are safe inside from the puny stones and spears.

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Blade is short for 'Wood Blade'!
     Morbius and "I" blast off in the ship that was an idol to so many mutant-android-barbarians.  As the ships thrusters blaze heavy amounts of fiery propulsion, the worshippers that did not run are burned up in an offering to their rocket-god.
     After a bizarre recap page which sums up how Morbius got into his current predicament, we finally get to see BLADE!  Steve Gerber lets us know that not even our murderous hero gets all the comforts of super space travel as it takes several WEEKS for them to return to earth.  "I" tells Morbius to relax and enjoy the view.
     Blade is out successfully hunting vampires.  We first hand get to see Blade's prowess and skill.  Far upon a rooftop, Blade launches a dagger into the back of a vampire.  Mere moments before feeding on a pretty lady, the vampire's heart is struck by BLADE's precision.  She is saved.  As the woman flees, Blade finishes the job by severing the vampire's head with a second knife.  The splurting blood hasn't landed before we hear "CRASH"!
     Right around the corner from Blade's good deeds of killing vampire jerks, is the same ship Morbius was in.  But, now the spacecraft is destroyed and there is only one passenger to be found.  It's "I", and he's DEAD!  Though one might think he died in the crash, Blade is a bit more perceptive than that.  Not shocked that a green alien with a giant eye for a head lies before him, he immediately checks "I"s neck and is amazed to find two small puncture marks.  The trip was too long to bear and Morbius made "I" his in-flight meal.  Blade's first thought?  Must be a SPACE VAMPIRE!

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     Cool!  Check out the Marvel Vallue Stamp!  It's RED SONJA!!!  The worst thing ever is to buy a comic and have a big square hole cut out of it.  :(

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     Blade quickly scans the area hoping to find a clue to back up his hunch.  In the distance he sees Morbius looming.  While being pursued, Morbius thinks that DAEMOND has somehow already learned of his arrival.  He assumes Blade must be a cultist.  
     Blade catches up and they begin to fight.  Morbius thinks his attacker is delusional as he talks about 'real' vampires such as Dracula.  Morbius deals a swift kick to the face of Blade, and tells him to "get some help".

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     Blade uses all his will and his able to regain his bearings.  He catches up with Morbius who had fled to a nearby rooftop.  Diving, Blade tackles this rare breed of vampire from behind.  Grabbing his hair, Blade lifts the head of the pale creature and forces him to look at a holy cross fixed atop the building.
     To Blade's surprise it has no effect as Morbius' curse is 'scientific and not supernatural'.  With Blade now confused, Morbius is able to toss his persistent assailant to the edge of the roof leaving him there to dangle.  When Blade finally pulls himself back up, Morbius is long gone.

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     Blade searches every nook of the city, not paying attention to local or national news.  If he had, maybe he would have heard about the string of railroad murderes from Chicago to Los Angeles!
     Elsewhere, the CARETAKERS keep an eye on Morbius' every move.

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     I absolutely LOVED that "Adventure into FEAR".  With everything going on in both their lives, fate still found time to allow MORBIUS and BLADE to get tangled up for a bit.  Even though it was the middle of an insane arc, it was still an absolute thrill of a read.  As a kid, I rarely had consecutive issues of comics and had to imagine what happened if flashbacks were not provided.  
    ... the comics not done?  SWEET!


      "FEAR" was a reprint comic up until issue #9 with #10 featuring new material.   MAN-THING got a go at the title before MORBIUS with the title ending at #31.  Even while the new monsters got to romp around most of the time, the title stayed true to it's original concept and reprinted an old 'FEAR' tale from comics Golden Age of Horror.
     This tale was originally printed in "WORLD OF SUSPENSE" #1 with art by Joe Maneely.


     It's a strange tale as we find ourselves at the performance of 'CYRANO de BERGERAC'.  Joel the janitor loves Belle, the lead actress.  Knowing she must love John Sheridan the lead actor, Joel comes up with a plan to get some lovin'.


     Dressed as CYRANO with nose and all, Joel tells Belle he loves her.  Thinking CYRANO must be John, she says, 'Sorry, but I love another!  I love Joel ... the janitor".  Excited, the imposter yells, "I'm Joel!" but, to his horror the nose won't come off.  He runs away forever deformed.  So let that be a lesson to all you cowardly lovers.  Speak your mind or get stuck with a deadly magic nose.


    And now the comic is over.  
     

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Back Cover to FEAR #24