Volume 5, Issue 44!
One of my earliest nerd memories was getting a Dracula action figure from the Real Ghostbusters cartoon. I still have no idea why Dracula was in that line of action figures, but ol’ Drac fought many a battle against Spider-Man, Wolverine, Batman, Superman, He-Man, Skeletor, and even a few Ninja Turtles. So you can imagine my surprise when I found out the Count was also heavily featured in comic books, especially from the big two.
My first experience with Dracula in comics was seeing an ad for Batman & Dracula: Red Rain, the Doug Moench and Kelly Jones one-shot special that had, well, Dracula fight Batman. I was still a little too young to read that book, but pretty soon I came across Dracula’s Marvel comic appearances, and was blown away. Here were some of the battles I had imagined, but they counted in the world of Marvel! Plus his battles against Spider-Man and the X-Men were awesome (well, the Spider-man one wasn’t that great, but the X-Men is fantastic).
Which brings me to my big question: where the hell is Dracula in Marvel? He featured pretty prominently in Marvel’s Fear Itself tie-in where he fought the Hulk for some reason, but now he’s next to impossible to find. Not even the upcoming Monsters Unleashed is going to feature the Prince of Darkness, instead focusing on the gigantic Kaiju monsters of the Marvel Universe. Like everything with current Marvel, Dracula was a flash in the pan that they tried to make work, but abandoned just as quickly as they started up the hype train.
That hype started with the “Curse of the Mutants” storyline, which tried to make vampires into a new threat to mutants. That story was pretty ridiculous (I mean, Wolverine became a vampire during the course of the storyline), but it at least brought Dracula back in a major way. Of course, that “major way” meant that Dracula was used in the Fear Itself marketing, but then he disappeared from sight (which, judging from the character design, might not be a bad thing). But Dracula has had a long history in comics, Marvel especially. From Tomb of Dracula to the underrated Captain Britain and MI-13, the count has been a pretty major (if unseen) threat, and it would be really cool to have him come back in a huge way. At the very least, it would be something different for Marvel to try, as opposed to doing another relaunch.
The use of Dracula in the Marvel Universe is really cool, and the versatility of the character in that universe is apparent. I mean, he’s tackled everyone from Doctor Strange to The Hulk to Apocalypse, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Marvel Studios considered bringing him to the big screen at some point to terrorize one of their supernatural heroes. In the long history of villains, Dracula remains the top dog, and it’s only fitting that he should be made into a credible threat. Now if only Marvel would resurrect him from the crypt again.