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Cover Date: July 1972
Cover Price: US $0.20
Issue Tagline: Man into Bat.. at Midnight! To Stalk a Vampire!
Format: Color; Standard Comic Issue; 32 pages
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Letters Column: Tomes to the Tomb!
Horrified by his encounters with his immortal vampire ancestor, the legendary Count Dracula, and witnessing the transformation of his lover Jean into a vampire and her subsequent destruction has driven Frank Drake to the point of suicide. Before Frank can throw himself off a bridge into the Thames river, he is stopped by Rachel Van Helsing and her assistant Taj Natal. Rachel introduces herself as the great granddaughter of Abraham Van Helsing, the man who slew Dracula centuries ago. Van Helsing explains that she has sought out Drake after hearing of his inheriting and subsequently selling Castle Dracula. Taking Drake into her car, Drake explains that he and his former friend Clifton Graves are responsible for unleashing Dracula upon the city of London. Elsewhere in London, Clifton has spent his night drinking himself stupid, when closing time finally comes around he is thrown out of the pub he is staying in. He is confronted by Dracula, who in "thanks" to Clifton resurrecting him, uses his hypnotic powers to put Graves under his thrall. While Dracula stalks another would be victim, Clifton is dispatched to recover Dracula's coffin from the hotel he was staying at with Frank. Meanwhile, learning that Drake had taken Dracula's coffin, Van Helsing decides that this would be an ample time to attempt to destroy Dracula once and for all. Arming themselves with a crucifix and wooden stakes they go back to the hotel to try and use the coffin as bait to lure Dracula. While in the storage area, the hired help aiding Clifton in removing the coffin accidentally drops it on the ground causing it to break open and all the gold coins stored inside to come rolling out. The greedy helper attempts to collect the coins, however Dracula interrupts and feeds upon the man. When Drake, Van Helsing, and Taj Natal enter the room shortly after they find only the coffin, however when they open it up they only find the deceased porter inside. They are then ambushed by Dracula and Clifton Graves. During the fight, Graves aids Dracula in knocking the crucifix away, however Dracula is forced to retreat when Rachel pulls out a crossbow that fires wooden stakes. Transforming into his bat form, Dracula makes an escape, with Clifton following far behind. In order to stop the heroes from following them, Graves bolts the door trapping them inside.
When Taj Natal finally breaks through the door he finds Scotland Yard (led by Inspector Chlem) waiting for them. Van Helsing and the others try to explain the situation, however they the Yard are not willing to believe in their tale of vampires and takes them into headquarters for questioning. While they are detained, Dracula is sleeping in his coffin which is being transported by Clifton Graves to the location of the person who purchased Castle Dracula from Frank Drake. Meanwhile, in the morgue of the Scotland Yard the porter suddenly rises from the slab as a vampire. However before he can go out and get his first meal he is attacked and staked by Rachel Van Helsing. Witnessing the entire spectacle Inspector Chlem is more inclined to believe their story and asks what the Scotland Yard might do to help. Finally, Dracula arrives at the home of the one who purchased his home: Ilsa Strangeway, an aged model. Spying through the window, Dracula listens as Ilsa tells her lawyer that she had purchased the castle hoping to learn the secrets to eternal life she she believes she can get from the Castle so that she can restore herself to a more youthful age. When her lawyer dismisses the legend of Dracula as fiction, Ilsa angrily dismisses him. After the lawyer is gone, Dracula makes his presence known, realizing who Dracula is, Ilsa invites him in, hoping that the vampire lord can give her what she truly desires.
by Nick Peron
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