DRACULA



Introduction

During the horror craze of the 1970s, vampires in general--and Dracula in particular--were a hot commodity in comics, just as they were in other mediums. Television at the time featured a lot of vampires, including the original telefilm "The Night Stalker," and even an episode of the cop drama "Starsky and Hutch" had a vampire. And there was, of course, the Dracula telefilm featuring Jack Palence as the Lord of the Undead. And, of course, Hammer's Dracula movie series was still running in the early '70s. The decade was indeed kind to the Vampire Lord and the rest of his brethren.

Hence, it isn't surprising that vampires were so popular in comics, and that no less than three comic book companies had a Dracula series featuring their own unique interpretation of the Vampire Lord. Marvel had a popular four-color series called TOMB OF DRACULA and a quarterly four-color comic called GIANT-SIZE DRACULA, along with a black and white mag titled DRACULA LIVES. Their version of Dracula was undoubtedly the most popular to appear in comics, as the four-color series was the second longest-running horror comic that Marvel published during that decade, and their version of Drac was an amalgam of traits taken from the Universal and Hammer film series, combined with inspirations acquired from Bram Stoker's original novel. Let's also not forget that Marvel had an entire black and white mag, VAMPIRE TALES, devoted exclusively to stories of the Undead.
Skywald published several Dracula stories in a series that had no sense of interconnected continuity at all, but merely featuring different vampires who called themselves "Dracula," reinterpreting the legend with each tale.

Warren was quick to jump into the fray with its own Dracula series. Their main interpretation of Dracula was distinct from the popular Marvel version in that he was a basically noble man who fought virulently against the bloodlust which caused him to commit an endless series of evil acts, and he was also an agent of the demonic god-like entity known as Chaos (more on this entity down below). In other words, he was evil, but constantly guilt-ridden over his blood-sucking ways.

In fact, Dracula had a fairly long history in the Warren chronicles.
He first appeared in a two-part story, "The Coffin of Dracula," which ran in CREEPY #8-9 [both parts reprinted in CREEPY #48], which can barely be called a series, and it ran in the pages of CREEPY many years before its companion title EERIE began shifting from stand-alone tales to series stories. This two-part story was largely a gimmick of a tale, featuring a soul-clone of Dracula who can best be named "Dracula-Varney" [I now thank Prof. Chuck Loridans of the MONSTAAH website for first describing in an online article the nature of Dracula's soul-clones; but more on this down below]. That version of Dracula was introduced by the late Archie Goodwin. The next time Dracula appeared in a Warren comic was in an entirely unrelated manner. EERIE #13 featured a reprint of the comic-adapted version of the Bram Stoker short story "Dracula's Guest." Since that story did appear in a Warren comic, I will index it below.

By the early '70s, Warren's version of Dracula was returned by Goodwin, this time making the decision to connect his past with that of Warren's vampiric super-star, Vampirella. Yes, Warren's interpretation of the Vampire Lord became a blood-sucking extraterrestrial, much like Vampi herself was then depicted as in the years before Harris revealed her--and Drac--to be the victims of a game of false memory implants courtesy of the "mad god" Chaos. The Warren Dracula's history was tampered with further by T. Casey Brennan, and the Lord of the Undead spent several issues both battling and courting Vampirella in her own mag.

From there, Warren moved Dracula into his own short series in EERIE, which ran concurrently with the Marvel and Skywald versions. This series was interesting (though complicated by time travel elements, something author Bill DuBay seemed to ignore) but was hampered by the fact that it ended right in the middle of an exciting cliffhanger, and was never resolved. This series ran in EERIE #46-48, one of Warren's early continuing series in EERIE, before the mag began devoting most of its pages to continuing series. The next time Dracula was seen in a Warren comic, a mere two issues after the series ended, it was an entirely different version of Dracula with an entirely different origin--once again making him a human being transformed into a vampire by Satanna, the first vampire of Drac's particular strain of vampirism. This must have irked the many readers who were likely hoping to see the cliffhanger in the series resolved. Instead, they got a well-crafted but entirely unrelated story, featuring a version of Dracula completely different from the one they were just recently following in a series.

Warren's main version of Dracula (i.e., Dracula-Mordante) returned for another, equally short-lived but completed series in VAMPIRELLA #39-41--the only series devoted to a male character to appear in that mag--this time scripted by Gerry Boudreau in a series that acknowledges events from the first series but occurring well after the unseen resolution to the aforementioned cliffhanger had ensued.

Following that, an unidentified version of Dracula appeared in THE ROOK #10, in the Sherlock Holmes story. After this, Dracula was seen no more in the Warren chronicles, though the Dracula-Mordante version of Dracula would appear again in the Harris chronicles many years later. Since this is the same version of Dracula that appeared in Warren Comics, the Harris appearances of Dracula will be indexed below.

"The Coffin of Dracula" was not a good story in this author's opinion, but the Vampirella stories featuring Dracula were quite good, and the two solo series showcasing Warren's Dracula were both very interesting. They contrast terrifically with Marvel's very different version of Dracula.

I should note right here and now that this particular index will be more Wold Newton Universe [WNU] centric than the other indexes on this site, because Dracula is an important character in the WNU. This index will present a thorough overview of Warren's interpretations of Dracula, but since the Warren chronicles actually go a long way towards validating Chuck Loridan's soul-clone theory--a theory designed to explain the disparate versions of Dracula seen in movies, prose novels, comic books, TV series, and video games all occurring on a single coherent timeline--I will be using this index as a means to make a case in favor of Chuck's soul-clone theory as well as describing the place of Warren's Dracula in the greater WNU. I will also be making an effort to tie in the particular soul-clone from the Warren chronicles--a soul-clone I call Dracula-Mordante--with the version of Dracula seen in Konami's popular, long-running video game series 'Castlevania.'

Warren's two "Dracula" series, along with all of the Vampire Lord's appearances in the Vampirella stories, were obviously not, in my estimation, Dracula-Prime, i.e., the original Vlad Tepes Dracula and Lord of the Undead. Rather, this version of Dracula was, as per my theories backed up by much available evidence, one of Dracula-Prime's soul-clones. Of course, the Warrenverse is a sub-section of the WNU, and the crossovers between Warren's Dracula and Vampirella officially bring the former into the WNU. As described above, the soul-clone theory, developed by creative mythographer and monster expert extraordinaire Chuck Loridans, chief caretaker of the MONSTAAH site (check out my Links on the home page), is a means of bringing all the many different and seemingly conflicting versions of the Prince of Darkness that we see in the plethora of movies, prose books (both stand-alone and series novels), comic books, video games, etc., together under one coherent timeline. This idea is popular with some creative mythographers, monster fans, and theorists (such as myself), but disliked by others for various aesthetic reasons. Though I do indeed endorse the soul-clone view, I am hoping this will not deter those who dislike the theory from reading this Index, particularly die-hard Dracula or Warren Comics fans who are looking for info on the infamous Count in his many different incarnations across the spectrum of pop culture. I have attempted to write this index so that it will be accessible to all who are simply looking for info on how Warren Comics interpreted the character of Dracula, and has no real interest in any theories or who may harbor different theories.

Since creative mythographer Mike Ongsingco is one of the foremost experts on 'Castlevania,' his work has proven invaluable to my ability to establish the still somewhat murky connections between Dracula-Mordante and Dracula-Mathias (the soul-clone appearing in the 'CV' saga), connections made more complicated due to the time travel elements inherent in the back stories of both entities. Hence, much of what I present here along those lines, including the capsule timeline that I have tried to work out linking the two divergent soul-clones, are entirely speculatory, and future creative mythographers and other pop fiction theorists/parascholars may have other, equally valid ideas for linking the two, or even valid arguments towards not linking the two. As such, this particular Index is likely to be updated and amended more often than almost any other Warren series to be indexed on this site.

I also must thank Win Scott Eckert for his contributions here, particularly the extensive chronology on Dracula he has created for his own website, and I strongly appreciate the time he has taken to review and offer his advice on this Index despite (at this writing) his being very busy at work on his first published book, and he was kind enough to offer his input during the time shortly before the deadline.

Of course, as explained above, this Index owes much to the efforts of Prof. Chuck Loridans, and the work he has done towards establishing the soul-clone theory that effectively links the many disparate versions of Dracula from prose, cinema, illustrated fiction (a.k.a., "comic books"), and even video games into a single coherent timeline for the "consensus" WNU. Chuck has already detailed some cinematic evidence to back up his soul-clone theories [a soul-clone was actually seen being created onscreen in the Hammer film "The Seven Brothers vs. Dracula"], and the "Dracula" series from Warren offers the first written evidence to back up those theories of his.

Finally, I certainly need to thank my fellow creative mythographers Ivan Schablotski and Jay Lindsey for their important input on this Index, as well as the rest of the MONSTAAH crew and correspondent Dave Ruscula.

Suspected appearances of the Dracula-Mordante character completely outside the Warren and Harris chronicles, such as in GHOSTS OF DRACULA #1-5 (mini-series) from Eternity Comics and FRIGHT #1 from Atlas/Seaboard Comics will not be indexed at this time, as they are completely outside the purview of a website covering Warren Comics material (and, by necessity, certain Harris material) but they will be included on the Dracula-Mordante timeline following his indexed stories below, as they are rather important to his backstory, IMO.

It should again be noted that the story of Dracula-Mordante begins in a two-part story that appeared early in the run of CREEPY, which featured a different soul-clone, Dracula-Varney, and provided evidence that further validates Chuck Loridans's soul-clone theories outside of the 1974 Hammer film "The Seven Brothers vs. Dracula" (a.k.a., "The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires"). Since it also deals with characters from Bram Stoker's original novel, it provides strong evidence in favor of the soul-clone theory that is central to the Dracula chron of the "consensus" WNU, and in fact takes place very soon after those events, quickly following Mina Harker's appearances in the two MINA novels, and her divorce of Jonathan Harker and later becoming the distinguished leader of the 1898 version of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (not published by Warren, of course, but four decades later under Alan Moore's America's Best Comics line, though it took place in the WNU), it more than deserves to be synopsized here, especially since Warren published those stories.

Please note that making sense of the time travel aspects of Dracula-Mordante's backstory will be difficult, and will result in some conjecture on my part that other creative mythographers and/or chroniclers of Warren Comics' output in the future may disagree with (and their opinions will be as valid as my own, so my opinions on this matter are subject to change in the future depending upon what additional evidence may be uncovered). I will begin the Index with "The Coffin of Dracula" two-parter from CREEPY #8-9, then I will index Warren's adaptation of "Dracula's Guest" from EERIE #13, and from there move into indexing Dracula-Mordante's appearances in the Vampi strip in VAMPIRELLA #'s 16, 18-21, then on to his solo series in EERIE #46-48, from there to his solo series in VAMPIRELLA #39-41, concluding the Warren indexed stories with the Sherlock Holmes tale from THE ROOK #10, and moving into the Harris stories from VAMPIRELLA (1st SERIES) #1-4 and two of the tales from VAMPIRELLA/DRACULA: THE CENTENNIAL, all of which feature appearances of Dracula-Mordante.

Finally, I will index the single story from EERIE #50 featuring Satanna, the Devil's Daughter (not to be confused with Satana Hellstrom, who first appeared in Marvel's VAMPIRE TALES #2), as I believe it's one of only two stories published in a Warren comic to feature an appearance of Dracula-Prime, and it also presents an important addition to the original Vampire Lord's origin.


"The Coffin of Dracula" series


CREEPY #8
[Reprinted in CREEPY #48]

"The Coffin of Dracula" [Part 1]

Story: Archie Goodwin

Art: Reed Crandall

In the city of London in the 1890s (shortly after the events of Bram Stoker's DRACULA), a wealthy nobleman named Lord AdrianVarney [likely a relative of the vampire who carries that surname; see WNU Connections below] directs a gypsy named Koslak, whom he had hired, down a foggy London street away from the docks and towards an abandoned building left to him by his deceased uncle, albeit against Koslok's better judgment [I believe that Koslok is likely to be a member of one of the mystically oriented gypsy tribes known as the Kalderesh, noted for appearing in the first two Universal films featuring the Wolf Man (Larry Talbot), Warren's "Curse of the Werewolf" series, the TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and the Stephen King novel THINNER; they were officially named in the "Buffy" series]. Varney intends to liven up his forthcoming costume party by selling the various items his uncle had left him, including the article that had aroused Koslok's concerns…a wooden coffin with the name "Dracula" inscribed on it. Opening the coffin, Varney saw nothing but dust inside, and on a whim, he laid inside the coffin to see if it would serve the purpose of playing a joke on his party guests, despite Koslok's panic-stricken protestations. Upon laying in the coffin, however, Varney was taken over by Dracula's spirit, and he quickly killed Koslok.

Meanwhile, as the party commences, Jonathan Harker and his wife Mina are in attendance [their young son Quincy was nowhere in sight, and never even mentioned], and it was revealed that Jonathan was solicitor of the estate for Varney's late uncle, and the young couple were invited to the party for that reason. Both of the Harkers dislike Varney, finding his personality unnerving. Meanwhile, one of the other guests reveals to the Harkers that a real gypsy fortune-teller was in attendance at the party, and both agreed to allow the old woman to read their fortune. Looking into her scrying globe, the woman divined the recent horrific events that the Harkers had experienced [see DRACULA by Bram Stoker], and the events of that novel were briefly recapped. The gypsy woman then revealed that she was Koslok's wife, and that she, her husband, and many other gypsies were hired to transport Dracula's casket from Transylvania to London. The Harkers were startled when Lord Varney finally appeared, and insisted that Mina dance with him. Using the powers of mesmerism he acquired from the spirit remnant of Dracula, Varney rendered Mina insensate and carried her away, while a gust of wind under his control blew open the doors leading to the terrace, blowing out the candles and distracting the other members of the party. Jonathan desperately attempted to stop the possessed Varney [now a de facto soul-clone of Dracula-Prime, but possibly possessing the essence of Dracula-Mordante, which would make him a soul-clone of a soul-clone] from absconding with the unconscious Mina, but getting upon his horse and carriage, Varney viciously clubbed Jonathan into submission with his cane [Varney had not at that time acquired Dracula's superhuman strength].

Desperate, Jonathan went to his old ally, Dr. John Seward, and they were met at the psychiatrist's asylum by Abraham Van Helsing, who by chance had traveled to London from Amsterdam to investigate reports of vampiric activity, including sightings of a spectral figure walking the seacoast beaches near Whitby. Seward noted that Dracula first arrived in England at Whitby, and that the vampire in that area may be a victim of the dreaded Count that they hadn't yet discovered. Though Jonathan insisted on looking only for Mina, Van Helsing convinced him that by destroying this other vampire, they would prevent Mina from being turned into one of the undead, as that other vampire's trail would likely lead them straight to Dracula-Varney and Mina.

The three men searched the seacoast at Whitby all night fruitlessly, and an irate Jonathan queried as to what this other vampire had to do with Adrian Varney, to which Van Helsing replied, "Count Dracula is king among undead…we kill his body, destroy his power, but not his spirit! That lives among soil and ashes in his coffin…waiting…waiting" [is it possible that Van Helsing suspected Dracula-Prime's ability to create soul-clones, but the doctor didn't completely understand the intricacies of the process at this time? See WNU Connections below]. Van Helsing then said, "Lord Varney's evil nature makes him easy host for this spirit…Dracula's desires become his own" [another hint that Van Helsing was aware of Dracula-Prime's ability to place his consciousness in the body of another man, and this also suggests that the more banal and evil a man was, the easier he was for Dracula-Prime's consciousness to subsume his original personality once Drac transferred his memories to him directly with the Star Stone ring, or indirectly via the enchanted coffin of Dracula-Mordante]. The three men finally located a cave, and Jonathan realized to his horror that Dracula-Varney was likely using it as a hide-out. Upon entering the cave, Van Helsing mentioned that Dracula-Varney did not yet possess the full power [or something close to it] of Dracula-Prime, but instead had to be bitten by an actual vampire for this to occur [see below for my speculations on this].

Upon arriving at the end of the cavern, the three intrepid vampire hunters discover the unidentified vampire that Van Helsing was seeking as it rose from a coffin.

[Note: Since both parts of "The Coffin of Dracula" were written and illustrated by the same creative team, both parts had precisely the same tone/style, and Part 2 occurred immediately after Part 1, I will analyze both parts as if they were a single story, which essentially they were, but simply too many pages to run in a single issue; hence, I will deconstruct both parts together in terms of Comments, WNU Connections, Classic Dialogue, Time Frame, etc., following the synopsis for Part 2 below.]

CREEPY #9
[reprinted in CREEPY #27 & 48]

"The Coffin of Dracula" [Part 2]

Writer: Archie Goodwin

Art: Reed Crandall

Acting quickly, Van Helsing, Seward, and Jonathan Harker manage to drive the vampire back into the coffin, and stake the undead creature to death. Van Helsing informs them that now that this was done, Dracula-Varney will have to stay mortal, and he will not be able to utilize a version of Dracula-Prime's power. However, Varney then appeared from behind them, and they realized that the vampiric servant of Dracula that had been left behind to vamp the Count's new soul-clone/human host had already bitten Varney and completed the transformation prior to their arrival. Dracula-Varney then quickly fled the cave, and morphed into bat-form to flee the area. Realizing that Dracula-Varney would have to find a place to hide from the sun during the daylight, Jonathan recalled that part of Adrian Varney's inheritance from his late uncle included a castle that was located up coast.

Traveling to Castle Varney, the three men searched the huge estate fruitlessly all day long, finally locating the unconscious body of Mina. Though she had been drained of blood, Van Helsing quickly arranged for the woman to be given an emergency transfusion of his own blood to save her, much as he had done months earlier [see DRACULA]. As evening fell, the three men noticed more gypsies loading the coffin onto a funeral coach, but before the three men could fully react to that, Dracula-Varney appeared and attacked. Seward stopped this inferior soul-clone's charge by hitting him in the face with a cross, burning the flesh on his face. Fleeing the castle with inhuman speed, Dracula-Varney made it to the funeral coach that was holding the cursed coffin, and the errant count began departing the area. Jonathan managed to leap upon the back of the coach as the vampire fled, and though he was thrown off, he nevertheless managed to spook the horse to such an extent that the coach went off of a cliff surrounding the seacoast, and Dracula-Varney plunged over 50 feet down along with the wooden vehicle. Upon crashing into the rocks below, Dracula-Varney was impaled on a sharp piece of wood and perished. Seward then caught up to Jonathan and informed him that Mina was now conscious, and seemed to have recovered.

In the meantime, Dracula's cursed coffin floated to the bottom of the sea, awaiting discovery by the unwary.

Comments: This two-part story, sadly, was not one of Archie Goodwin's better efforts, despite the fact that he was one of Jim Warren's top scripters at the time. Though published in two parts, the story was written as if both parts were completed overnight, as it seemed to have been plotted in haste. The dialogue was acceptable, but the story ill-conceived, with the only memorable aspect being what was perhaps the first print evidence leading to the validation of Chuck Loridans's soul-clone theory, appearing a decade before Hammer provided further evidence for this theory on the silver screen in the 1974 film "The Seven Brothers vs. Dracula" (a.k.a., "The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires").

The characters outside of Dracula-Varney were fairly well-realized, though Mina Harker had nothing more than a victim role with only a small amount of dialogue, and she displayed none of the brave spunk we saw in regards to her character in Alan Moore's LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, or even in the two MINA novels by Marie Kiraly (the pen name of Elaine Bergstrom), which actually occurred before "The Coffin of Dracula." The next chronological appearance of Abraham Van Helsing, Jonathan Harker, and Mina Harker was in the two-part Vampi story arc in VAMPIRELLA #19-20 (which also gave us the final final fate of Lucy Westenra, which didn't end in DRACULA), and they all appeared there shortly following the events of "The Coffin of Dracula."

The additional traumatic experiences of Mina Harker with two Dracula soul-clones, Dracula-Mordante (in VAMPIRELLA #19-20) and Dracula-Varney (in CREEPY #8-9); see entries for those issues below), along with her much more positive (to say the least) encounter with Dracula's most unique soul-clone of them all in Fred Saberhagen's novel THE HOLMES/DRACULA TAPES, may have led her to later divorce Jonathan, though there must be more to the story than that, since by all accounts, Jonathan was an honorable and even heroic man when it came to the defense of his wife, and there was no doubt that he truly loved her. See the novels MINA: THE DRACULA STORY CONTINUES and BLOOD TO BLOOD: THE DRACULA STORY CONTINUES, which precede the Warren stories, along with the Warren appearances of Mina Harker to view the chain of events which led her to transcend the rather weak-willed woman of the 19th century she was in Bram Stoker's DRACULA and the Warren stories to become the strong-willed, independent minded, and inveterate leader and investigator she was by the time she appeared in THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN Vol. 1.

There was ample evidence in this story that Abraham Van Helsing was aware that his great nemesis, Vlad Dracula, was able to create soul-clones of himself, thus enabling the Vampire Lord to perpetuate his plots even when he was (temporarily) destroyed or otherwise indisposed. Nevertheless, Van Helsing seems to have been unaware of precisely how Dracula-Prime accomplished this extremely useful feat, and simply assumed that the coffin was the only way the Count achieved this, as the good doctor may not have had any knowledge of the Star Stone ring, nor did he have any knowledge of the soul-clone responsible for the coffin, i.e., the then insensate Dracula-Mordante (who was then an agent of the Lovecraftian entity called Chaos).

It would seem, therefore, that either Dracula-Prime used the Star Stone ring to infuse the coffin with its energies, thus enabling the Vampire Lord to indirectly create a soul-clone of anyone who lay within the coffin, or, more likely, Dracula-Mordante utilized the magicks of the Crimson Chronicles to enchant the coffin in this manner, for the purpose of creating interim soul-clone variants of himself when warranted. In either case, he was likely able to achieve this in part due to the natural mystical properties of the wood from Transylvania (it may have been previously infused with Chthonic energies, as was the case of the wood that was found in the nearby Balkan nation of Transia), and its sympathetic contact with Dracula-Prime's native soil.

Nevertheless, due to this indirect method of creating soul-clones, while the person would be infused with Dracula-Prime's personality, memories, and desires, all of which would mostly "overwrite" the man's original persona (depending upon that person's strength of will), the person in question remained fully mortal, and possessed only a bare minimum of Drac's power (including minor mesmerism and control over the weather). In order for the transformation to be made complete, another vampire (or possibly even a bat, according to one unlikely account) had to bite the mortal soul-clone and introduce the vampiric virogen enzyme into the bloodstream…this would result in a near-instantaneous metamorphosis into a full vampiric soul-clone, with much of Dracula-Prime's powers (and all of his supernatural weaknesses, also). If one were to assume that Dracula-Prime had anything to do with the creation of the coffin, it can be surmised that due to the inefficiency of this indirect method of creating soul-clones, the prime Vampire Lord appeared to have abandoned it altogether following the destruction of his original coffin shortly after it created the Dracula-Varney soul-clone and revived the Dracula-Mordante soul-clone after the latter was destroyed in VAMPIRELLA #16, and relied almost entirely upon the Star Stone to directly create soul-clones after this.

However, should it turn out that Dracula-Prime had nothing to do with the coffin, and it was entirely the creation of Dracula-Mordante utilizing the Crimson Chronicles to infuse the coffin and the already enchanted wood and soil with further Cthonic magicks, then it would appear that Dracula-Mordante himself would later abandon the coffin in the early 1970s.

It should be noted, however, that Reed Crandall's artwork was more than competent, and it elevated an otherwise lackluster story up a notch or two.

Both chapters of "The Coffin of Dracula" were reprinted in CREEPY #48 (CREEPY #27 only reprinted the second chapter).

WNU Connections: As noted above, here we see the first suggestion of a Dracula soul-clone in the print (albeit illustrated story format) medium, as advanced by Prof. Chuck Loridans over on MONSTAAH, to explain all the myriad versions of Dracula we have seen in print and on the silver screen (and elsewhere, such as video games like the Castlevania series). As noted above, it appears, as per my theories, that prior to simply using the Star Stone ring to directly create soul-clones, for a time either Dracula-Prime or Dracula-Mordante (see the following entries in this Index for much more on this particular soul-clone) infused his coffin, containing wood and soil from his native land, with its power, and if Dracula-Mordante was destroyed or in a catatonic state at the time, any human being of an immoral nature and possessing relatively weak willpower who laid in the coffin would become infused with Dracula's consciousness and memories. However, due to this very indirect manner of soul-clone creation, such soul-clones would remain largely mortal until they were bitten by another vampire. There are no known appearances of Dracula-Varney after this…beginning with the next appearances of Dracula in VAMPIRELLA, a new soul-clone, Dracula-Mordante, had appeared, owing his genesis, I have conjectured, to Dracula-Prime's Star Stone ring. Most other soul-clones, such as Dracula-Lejos and Dracula-Denrom (see the "Children of the Night" timeline on the MONSTAAH site), were created directly by the Star Stone ring, as described in detail by Chuck Loridans on the latter timeline.

Adrian Varney was likely related in some manner to the Lord Varney who was also a vampire, and who appeared in the mid-19th century penny dreadful novel VARNEY THE VAMPYRE; OR, THE FEAST OF BLOOD. I would opine that the similar name, and the fact that Adrian Varney just happened to be drawn to the coffin as an intended vessel for Dracula's consciousness, was too much to be a mere coincidence, and the death of his uncle leading to the inheritance of the coffin was likely part of a contingency plan of the Prince of Darkness should he meet his demise after returning to Transylvania from London (though I'm not certain at this time which version of Dracula planned this contingency). The familial connection between Adrian Varney and his vampiric forebear obviously had something to do with Dracula's choice, though I will let other Dracula historians and creative mythographers figure out the full connection.

Also seen in this story were members of the famous Kalderesh gypsy tribe [though not named as such; see above].

Classic Dialogue: When first looking upon the paraphernalia that his late uncle left to him in Part 1, Adrian Varney warm-heartedly says, "Junk…bric-a-brac…all waiting to be sold by my uncle's auction house! Thoughtful of the old boy to die…now it's all mine!" Nice of Mr. Varney to show such appreciation for his unc's generosity.

Time Frame: This story took place shortly after the events in Bram Stoker's DRACULA, likely no more than several months to two years afterwards. Author and creative mythographer Win Scott Eckert has placed the events of DRACULA in 1887, ten years before the publication of the novel (with Chuck Loridans following suit on his "Children of the Night" timeline). This story likely took place sometime following Mina Harker's appearances in the two MINA novels by Elaine Bergstrom, possibly in the year 1890.

[Warren's adaptation of "Dracula's Guest"]

EERIE #13
[reprinted in EERIE #26]

"Dracula's Guest"

Story: E Nelson Bridwell [adapted into illustrated form from the short story by Bram Stoker]

Art: Frank Bolle

As the introductory text to this adaptation of Bram Stoker's story explains:

"This story was intended as the opening episode in Bram Stoker's novel, DRACULA, but was excised because of the length of the book. As readers of DRACULA will recall, it opens with the entry for May 3 in the journal of Jonathan Harker, a young English solicitor, on his way to transact business with a client in Transylvania-Count Dracula. But let us go back and read the entry for May 1…" [see Comments below.]

Before arriving in Transylvania for his scheduled business meeting with Count Dracula, Jonathan Harker began his trip over the border in Munich, and began traveling to Dracula's home village via a horse and carriage that he rented from the Maitre D'Hotel in the Quatre Saisons. Before leaving, the hotel manager, Herr Delbruck, ordered the cab driver, Johan, to make sure he returned before nightfall. Harker noticed anxious behavior from both Johan and the two horses pulling the carriage while en route, especially when they came near a certain road that cut through a "little, winding valley." He was also surprised to hear what sounded like a wolf howling from somewhere in the woods, even though he knew that no wolves were supposed to live in this part of Europe any more.

Johan wanted to avoid the road, saying that this evening was Walpurgis Nacht (German for "Witch's Night") and Harker, who wanted to see what type of scenery it had, asked his carriage driver to explain his fear and why he was constantly making the sign of the cross as they traveled this way. The driver replied that the village down the road where Harker now headed was "unholy," and that no one other than groups of gypsies had lived there for a very long time. The reason for this was because a few hundred years ago, several people started dying there, sounds were heard under the clay covering the graves, and when the lids were lifted, the corpses were seen perfectly preserved and with trails of blood down their mouths; "and so, in haste to save their lives (aye, and their very souls!) those who were left fled away to other places, where the living lived and the dead were dead and not-not something else."

Intrigued by what may lay down that road, Harker sent Johan home and decided to walk the rest of the way. As Harker observed the departing carriage, he saw a "tall and thin" man dressed in a flowing black cape suddenly appear before it on a hill top. The horses became extremely agitated at the sudden appearance of this strange man, and the terrified animals sped down the road to avoid that figure. After Harker turned his attention away from the fleeing carriage for a few seconds, he turned back to realize that the cloaked man had vanished.

As Harker continued to walk through the valley towards the Transylvanian village of Bistritz, he was caught in a sudden violent snowstorm, and was forced to seek shelter in a nearby mausoleum he happened upon, which held the body of a woman named Countess Dolingen of Gratz, Styria, who was listed as having been "sought and found dead, 1801." As Harker entered the tomb to escape the biting wind, snow, and hailstones outside, a sudden flash of lightening revealed that the body of a young woman was laying, apparently dead, down upon a bier. Fleeing from the tomb as if by a sudden psychic compulsion, Harker saw a bolt of lightening strike a metal spike stuck in the top of the marble mausoleum, destroying it and setting the body of the woman on fire…only to see the seeming corpse of the young woman rise up and scream in agony as her body was set ablaze by the lightening strike.

Then, as if seized by another such psychic impulse, Harker saw approaching him what appeared to be a moving "mass" of mist…he then fell unconscious, only to wake up and see, to his horror, a huge wolf sitting upon his chest and licking his throat. The wolf then began barking incessantly, as if deliberately trying to attract attention to the vicinity. This seemed to succeed, as a group of soldiers from Munich strode into the snow-covered wilderness bearing musket rifles. They shot at the wolf, but the animal ran into the woods unharmed, and Harker heard one of the soldiers mention that they saw, "a wolf-and yet not a wolf!" and another mention that it was "no use trying for him without the sacred bullet" (a silver bullet? That's my theory). Upon checking Harker's neck for possible injuries, since blood was found on the shattered marble of the mausoleum, they could see that no injury to the man was in evidence, and the wolf was apparently licking his throat to keep his blood warm until the soldiers found him. They then resolved to quickly leave the "cursed" area and return the young solicitor to his hotel in Munich.

When Harker was returned to the hotel, the grateful young man invited both the soldier who rode him there and Herr Delbruck to retire to his room with him and to have some drinks on him. There the soldier told Harker that he couldn't accept the thanks for saving his life because it was Delbruck who notified them as to his predicament. When Harker asked Delbruck how he knew what his dire situation was, the man stated that not only did Johan tell him what happened on the road when he returned, sans his carriage (the horses crashed it in their haste to flee the figure they encountered in the valley), but he was sent a telegram from Bistritz that read:

Be careful of my guest. Should he be missed, spare nothing to find him and insure his safety. He is English and therefore adventurous. There are often dangers from snows and wolves at night. I answer your zeal with my fortune. ---Dracula

As Jonathan Harker noted to himself via first person narrative in this May 1 journal entry of his, "The room seemed to whirl around me. From a distant country had come, in the very nick of time, a message that took me out of the jaws of the wolf."

From here, Harker's story leads into Bram Stoker's famous novel [see Comments].

Comments: This story originally appeared in an illustrated story formatted paperback called CHRISTOPHER LEE'S TREASURY OF TERROR, published in 1966 by Pyramid Books. This collection was bought up by Warren, and all the stories within the paperback were reformatted and reprinted in various Warren mags.

Cousin Eerie hosted this tale, his head pasted over the original vignette image of Dracula on the title page.

This was a laudable adaptation of Bram Stoker's deleted-first-chapter-cum-self-contained-short-story into the illustrated story format, courtesy of E. Nelson Bridwell's faithful pen and Frank Bolle's fine artwork. It was a good early effort for Jim Warren's then-fledging anthology horror line, and it was reprinted a mere ten issues after it first appeared, possibly a result of Warren trying to cash in twice on the name value of its feature character, as the story appeared long before EERIE began running continuing features.

Common belief has it that this short story was originally penned by Stoker more or less as-is and intended as the first chapter of his famous novel, but he was forced to delete it by his editor in order to save page space. In actuality, this short story was pieced together from various sub-plots and situations that Stoker had originally written for different portions of his novel, but which ultimately ended up on the literary equivalent of the cutting room floor. In fact, this was not without precedent, for it was common for Stoker to recycle deleted or single chapters--along with other such material--from his novels as stand-alone short stories (evidently, in his eyes, as little of his written material as possible should go to waste), and he also did many revisions of the material during the lengthy production of the book--a process begun as early as 1890 (the final version we are familiar with today was published in Stoker's native England in 1897). This was confirmed when Stoker's original 541 page manuscript was found in the early 1980s (it's owned at this writing by industrialist Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft). This was also evident from a careful study of Stoker's notes for the novel, which were finally published in print form with annotations by Robert Eighteen-Bisang and Elizabeth Miller in 2008 as BRAM STOKER'S NOTES FOR DRACULA: A FACSIMILE EDITION. The short story featuring this collection of deleted material from the novel strewn together into a new single narrative involving the character of Jonathan Harker was posthumously published by Stoker's widow Florence as a short story entitled "Dracula's Guest" to take advantage of the Vampire Lord's name value (even though this choice of title ruined what was apparently intended as a surprise ending by Stoker). The story was billed as an official prequel to the novel, and has often been published in a single volume with the novel in this manner. The whole story behind "Dracula's Guest" is told in the excellent article "Dracula's Guest Revisited" by Bob Statzer from SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE #77.

This yarn was among many literary tales from famous horror authors that were adapted into illustrated story format in the pages of EERIE and CREEPY during the '60s and early '70s. Other authors who had their stories adapted to illustrated format by Warren for its horror mags included Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and Ambrose Bierce, as well as others.

It was quite clear from this story that Dracula went out of his way to save Jonathan Harker from dying in the snow storm he was caught in…because he needed him alive for his own sinister purposes, as described in detail in Stoker's novel.

WNU Connections: The events of Bram Stoker's short story "Dracula's Guest" obviously occur in the "consensus" WNU, since it leads right into Stoker's novel DRACULA.

This was one of only two stories in the Warren annals to feature Dracula-Prime, the other being the Satanna, Daughter of the Devil story from EERIE #50 (indexed below).

Time Frame: This story takes place two days prior to the events begun in the published version of Bram Stoker's DRACULA, thus featuring chronological appearances of Jonathan Harker and Dracula-Prime that slightly precede the events of the novel, and which constitute Harker's first journal entry regarding those events.

Dracula's sojourn in the Vampirella stories published in VAMPIRELLA [#'s 16, 18-21]


VAMPIRELLA #16
[reprinted in VAMPIRELLA #'s 55, 81; and Harris's VAMPIRELLA CLASSIC #5 and VAMPIRELLA VS. THE CULT OF CHAOS (TPB)]

"…And Be A Bride of Chaos"

Story: Archie Goodwin

Art: Jose Gonzalez

At the international airport of the island republic of Cote De Soleil [just after the adventure in the Vampi story from VAMPIRELLA #15], Vampirella steps in front of an aircraft that is moving down the runway in preparation for take-off, halting its progress. Vampi was under the mistaken impression that her close friend and frequent ally, the aged professional prestidigitation showman Pendragon, was being kidnapped on that aircraft. However, the stage illusionist happily greeted her at the door of the aircraft, and told her that the note that had been left for her at the bistro where she and Adam Van Helsing had left him, was a practical joke by both Pendragon and the man who had hired them to put on a show at his European castle…a wealthy nobleman named Count Mordante. After Vampi asked where their host himself was, Pendragon said that he was in the rear compartment of the airplane resting…though he neglected to mention that the only thing in that compartment was a coffin.

Meanwhile, while recuperating from his recent gunshot wound in a nearby villa, Adam Van Helsing asked his father, Conrad Van Helsing, where his lover and ally was. Conrad responded that she left the island nation with Pendragon… "or so she claimed." When asking what he meant by that, and why his father was sharpening wooden stakes in front of him, Conrad replied that he was preparing to do battle. When Adam jumped to the defense of Vampi for saving his life with a recent blood transfusion, Conrad handed his irate son the letter left at the bistro for her by Count Mordante…the seal at the bottom of the letter had the coat of arms belonging to the Dracula family embossed on it. Since Adam was still too weak to travel, Conrad was forced to go and seek out Dracula himself [who, I conjecture, is a rogue soul-clone of Dracula-Prime; see WNU Connections below, and also note the rest of this synopsis for more obvious clues and conjectures by this author].

Hours later, Vampi and Pendragon arrive at Castle Mordante, where it was situated in a remote area of the Carnic Alps, separated from the surrounding woodlands by a black lake several miles long, which required visitors to travel to by boat. Little was Vampi aware, however, that the other guests at the opulent castle were wealthy people from across the globe who belonged to various branches of the mystical Cult of Chaos, who worshipped a powerful, dark, apparently god-like entity [an Elder God? See Comments below], and they had today traveled to Castle Mordante for the purpose of witnessing the long awaited "marriage" of a certain woman to this being, the former of whom would spawn a child that would eventually enable Chaos to return to the Earth dimension, and once again claim this reality as his own.

Upon settling into their rooms, Vampi swore that she saw a coffin being dragged into the castle many flights below, but Pendragon merrily assured her that it was probably just a case of nervousness on her part, due to their upcoming performance. To assuage Vampi just before she left his room to rest up for the upcoming performance, after she had asked him just how much he knew about the mysterious Count Mordante, Pendragon reminded her that he would never lead her into danger…though the departing Vampi evidently never noticed the two prominent bite marks on the magician's neck.

The many wealthy people from across the world who comprised the Companions of Chaos, an apparent triumvirate of the various factions of the Cult of Chaos, particularly an ambitious woman named Lucretia, convened in a single room awaiting the arrival of the Cult's leader, as tonight was to be the night that he would officially choose a bride for Chaos. The aforementioned leader and owner of the castle soon arrived, and was addressed by the cult members as Count Dracula [Mordante was evidently his original name, before Dracula-Prime transformed him into a soul-clone, and before the Elder God (???) Chaos had co-opted the soul-clone for his own purposes, thus having a being possessing Dracula-Prime's own powers under his control to lead the mostly all-human Cult(s) of Chaos; see Comments and WNU Connections below]. Lucretia made it clear that she expected herself to be chosen by Dracula as the bride of Chaos, and she had kept herself free of all sexual activity in anticipation of remaining "pure" to bear the Elder God's child. To quote Lucretia: "And now we may choose! The one woman among us worthy to become bride to him whom we worship…the woman who shall have the honor of honors…who shall bear the Child of Chaos! Who shall loose the seed of the mad god upon the Earth that he and his may rule again!" Dracula told the anxious Lucretia that he was not ready to announce his choice just yet, but had first prepared a "small entertainment" for them. It turned out to be the performance that Pendragon and Vampirella were hired to conduct for Mordante's party [it should be noted that at this point, Lucretia mentioned a book they all utilized to master various magickal spells, which she called the Crimson Chronicles: "To we who have mastered the spells of the Crimson Chronicles, bible of Chaos, you present some barely competent trickster?"]. As Pendragon and Vampi conducted the performance, Dracula announced that Vampirella would be his choice to become the Bride of Chaos. As the soul-cloned Vampire Lord ordered the rest of the Cult to seal all doors and entrances, Vampi urged Pendragon to quickly flee the castle, only to find her friend in a trance-like state. Dracula informed her that Pendragon was now one of his unwilling converts due to a bite on the neck, and having served his purpose, he promptly reverted to his entranced zombie-like state. Vampi attacked Dracula, but the Count was stronger and a more experienced combatant, and he easily rendered her unconscious.

Lucretia vehemently protested Dracula's choice, noting, "I, who have garnered more souls than any [other] priestess…who have denied myself the love of any mortal that I might remain unspoiled for the mighty Chaos himself! If any is fit to be his bride, to bear his child…it is me!" But Dracula denied Lucretia's request, apparently turned off by her rampant ambition, and he revealed that he chose Vampi because she was superior to any human or vampire on the Earth, since she was of "the race that spawned Count Dracula." As Dracula carried the insensate Vampirella to the underground chamber of Chaos where the ritual to summon the dread Elder God would commence, he began to recite his origin [which, in my opinion, is a bogus origin, mostly the result of Chaos imprinting more false memories over that of the equally synthetically imposed memories of Dracula-Prime, thus resulting in a set of memories for Dracula-Mordante that were a combination of the faux memories of a life on the "planet" Draculon imposed by Chaos, the duplicate of Dracula-Prime's memories imposed by the latter, and a small dispersion of Count Mordante's original memories and noble personality that was constantly battling…always fruitlessly…against the imposition of two separate and powerful evil influences that had been imposed upon his psyche; see Comments and WNU Connections below]. The following is the "origin" account as Dracula-Mordante related it in this story:

Dracula claimed that ages ago, he was born on the distant planet [as later revealed, an alternate dimension] of Draculon (spelled "Drakulon" at this point in time), a world surrounding a binary star system, where a technologically advanced race of humanoid beings with fangs and bat-like wings thrived, and who fed upon blood that was readily available to all in great streams of the crimson substance that flowed across that world [the faux memories imposed by Chaos evidently made Dracula-Mordante perceive Draculon as if the vampiric race there did indeed possess advanced technology that resembled the sci-fi devices from pulp magazines in the 1930s and '40s; more on this in WNU Connections below]. However, the increasing heat of the twin suns was apparently slowly evaporating the streams of blood from the "surface" of Draculon. Though most Draculonians were relatively peaceful, the being now known as Dracula evidently followed an old tradition of "Draculonians" who were hunters, and received their nourishment not from the blood streams of that world, but by attacking and draining the blood from living Draculonians, in the ritualistic belief that they were acquiring the strength of those whom they killed. Held before a [simulated] legal tribunal for his crimes, the "future" Dracula defended his actions by saying, "I was raised to love the hunt, the kill, the excitement…better that than wallowing at some stream like a farmyard animal" [why were there farms on Draculon if their sole means of nourishment was blood that was readily available in the world's abundant streams, rather than culled from meat or crops? Obviously, this term was a "fill-in" conceptual point of reference by the human memories of Mordante, as something that a human who grew up on Earth could relate to, but something beings like the simulated "Draculonians" would likely have no personal conception of, let alone a linguistic term for]. For his crimes, the tribunal declared that the "future" Dracula be executed via a hi-tech looking disintegration chamber. But upon being reduced to his component atoms by this "technology," his body was saved from this disintegration process by an unknown force that dragged him into a nether-dimensional realm instead, as per this verbatim quote from the Lord of the Undead: "But so great was the force that struck me, my body was not disintegrated, but displaced…forced from one plane of existence into another. Forced by cosmic accident into a dimension where a mad god and his seven demon servants endure banishment…the Nether-Void" [again, could this be a member of the Cthulhu Mythos, who was also a direct ally of the forces of Chaos, and seven of his lesser "progeny"?]. As he drifted in the featureless Nether-Void, the "future" Dracula encountered Chaos himself, and explained, "…the mad god saw in me a servant, one to aid in his battle to regain the world he had lost…Earth…though lacking power to free himself, Chaos was able to pierce the dimensional barrier enough so I could come to Earth…and in his name, loose vampirism upon the world!"

Next in the tale, the "future" Dracula arrived on Earth at some point in ancient Egypt, and during his very lengthy time on this world [according to the faux memories placed in his psyche by Chaos], the power of the Elder God altered his body so that he lost his bat-like wings in humanoid form, but retained the "Draculonian" ability to shape-shift into a bat [Dracula-Mordante evidently lacked Dracula-Prime's ability to shape-shift into a wolf or into a gaseous, i.e., dispersed etheric state], and his bite now became "infectious," thus breeding a new race of vampires on Earth through the human victims he obtained his blood from. As a further alteration to his form, he (and the human vampires he created) could no longer tolerate the sunlight (something that is not a problem for Vampirella, or the "native Draculonians" of Dracula-Mordante's faux memories). By the 15th century, the Count claimed that he had taken on the human name of "Dracula" in honor of the world from which he was born [which probably seemed like a clever idea to the writers at the time; in actuality, however, the dimension of "Draculon" was evidently named for Dracula, not the reverse, and at this point in time, the imposed memories of Dracula-Prime remain more or less intact, with the "Draculon" memories superimposed upon his psyche so that he perceives these memories as events that occurred "prior" to those he had imposed upon him from the real Vlad Dracula].

Dracula went on to say that he reached the peak of his powers by the late 19th century, and he then reiterated the events recorded in the famous novel by Bram Stoker, where he "recalled" the imposed memories of Dracula-Prime, when he victimized Lucy Westenra and was defeated in battle by Prof. Abraham Van Helsing, Jonathan Harker, Dr. John Seward, Lord Goldalming, and Quincy Morris [see Bram Stoker's DRACULA].

The Vampire Lord then mentioned that despite the destruction of his body after that adventure, the power of Chaos kept his "spirit" alive, and his spirit took control of a young wastrel named Adrian Varney, who laid in the coffin as a joke [see the two-part story "The Coffin of Dracula" from CREEPY # 8 & 9]. After reminiscing over how Dracula-Varney's funeral stage coach fell from a cliff in London in the 1890s and impaled the errant soul-clone [the memories of the short-lived soul-clone Dracula-Varney had evidently been passed on to Dracula-Mordante], the Count mentioned that sea-going smugglers located the coffin, and as a lark, the amoral captain of that ship also laid within the coffin [it appears that the enchanted coffin of Dracula-Prime, its mystical wood empowered by either the Star Stone or the magicks of Chaos to create inferior soul-clones by this indirect means, could somehow "compel" dark-minded individuals into laying in the coffin, which they believed to be a flippant whim on their part; as Dracula-Mordante explained, "For any of an evil nature who lie in the coffin are susceptible to my will, become hosts to my spirit!"]. He then recounted that the possessed captain had himself bitten by a vampiress servant of Dracula-Prime, thus enabling him to become a new host body for Dracula [I believe these last memories are false, and I do not think that the enchanted coffin had anything to do with the genesis of Dracula-Mordante…this may be a personally interpreted faux memory that Dracula-Mordante imposed upon himself; see my article on Dracula-Mordante, and WNU Connections below].

As his origin tale drew to a close, Dracula stated, "So I have survived through to the present. So I obtained this host-body you, my companions in Chaos's cult, know as Count Mordante. So I never ceased to serve the greater glory of the mad god…!" [In actuality, I believe that Mordante is the real, original mortal surname of this particular soul-clone.]

His [apocryphal] origin tale finished, Dracula and his fellow cult members had the still unconscious Vampirella chained to a stone altar under a huge, demonic looking symbol hanging from above the stone structure that would be used to summon an aspect of Chaos to the Earth plane, and Dracula explained that it would be centuries before all astrological factors would be ideal for this ritual to be conducted again. Dracula decreed once more that Vampi would be the ideal Bride of Chaos, and once again Lucretia protested on the grounds that as the most devout female follower of Chaos in the world, this honor should go to her, and not an outsider from the cult. Dracula disagreed once again, saying that as the leader of the Cult of Chaos, he had made his final decision: "Vampirella shall be Bride of Chaos! She will bear the child who will return the ancient ways…who shall plunge Earth back to the days before the force of Order held sway!"

Meanwhile, with a combination of money and threats (i.e., a wooden stake held at the stomach), Conrad Van Helsing, who had just arrived in the Carnic Alps near Castle Mordante, convinced a nearby fearful villager to take him across the moor to the castle via row boat. As Dracula retired from the underground chamber while his minions prepared Vampi for the ritual, the Count was about to feast upon Pendragon until the sound of the boat approaching the castle caught his attention through the open window of the illusionist's room. Pleased that he would have the opportunity to deal with the descendant of his "old" foe Abraham Van Helsing [as per Dracula-Prime's retained memories], Dracula-Mordante transformed into bat-form and quickly killed the villager whom Conrad left behind, thus cutting off his transportation away from the castle moors. Using his highly developed psychic abilities, the blind vampire hunter snuck into Castle Mordante through a storm drain.

In the meantime, the lengthy ritual had begun, and the now conscious Vampirella cringed in terror as she saw the huge demonic symbol suspended over the stone altar become incandescent.

Upon entering the castle, Conrad's psychic abilities confirmed the presence of Dracula [i.e., a Dracula soul-clone] within the environs, but the edifice was so huge, he was unable to locate the Vampire Lord throughout the day, as dusk comes quickly in the alps. When night fell again, Conrad noticed that the rest of the Cult of Chaos were all sequestered in their rooms, and chanting words in a language he did not understand. Finally locating the coffin where Dracula lay at rest, Conrad quickly hammered a wooden stake into the vampire's heart. Though this would ordinarily prove fatal for the Lord of the Undead, to the aged vampire hunter's astonishment, Dracula rose from his coffin and pulled the stake out of his chest, with no sign of any discomfort, and no blood flowing out of the gaping hole. A sneering Dracula explained to his mortal enemy that in providing Chaos with the ideal bride, he was rewarded with a new increase in his powers…immunity to the stake, and he allowed Conrad to plunge the sharpened stick into his chest so that he could startle him in just this fashion. Dracula admitted to the inquiring Conrad that he planned this whole venture, realizing that Conrad would follow Vampi here: "As the girl followed Pendragon, so I knew you would follow her! In choosing Vampirella to be the great god's bride I served myself as well as Chaos! I attain my greatest power ever and extinguish the line of my most hated enemy!"

But before Dracula could slay Conrad, he himself was startled when Vampirella suddenly appeared and pounced upon him. As they grappled, an incredulous Dracula was informed that Lucretia freed Vampirella so that she could take her place on the stone altar as the Bride of Chaos, an honor that she believed no one else deserved more than herself. Throwing Vampi from him, Dracula decreed that Lucretia must be stopped, but the slinky adventuress told him that he would have to get through her first, a feat that Dracula informed her would be easy for one whose strength and experience were superior to her own.

Meanwhile, in the underground chamber, Lucretia lay on the altar in rapt anticipation of the appearance of the aspect of Chaos to claim her as his bride, something she had been hoping to come to pass for a very long time now. However, when the shadowy entity appeared to take her, it turned out that the determined woman's physical form, not being of vampiric origin, could not withstand absorbing the essence of Chaos, and she screamed in agony as her physical body quickly disintegrated into a husk of rotted flesh.

Just as Dracula and Vampi were about to battle, Chaos's gift to the Vampire Lord was withdrawn, and the gaping hole in his chest made by Conrad's stake began spewing a fountain of blood, as the wound now became fatal. With this swift realization that his machinations were thwarted, Dracula-Mordante then quickly disintegrated into a heap of crumbled bones on the castle floor. Conrad told Vampi that they must promptly leave the castle, as the fury of Chaos would now be taken out on the entire Cult as a result of their abject failure to provide him with a suitable bride.

Quickly retrieving Pendragon, who was now freed from Dracula's control with the latter's demise, Vampi grabbed her two allies and leapt from the window of the illusionist's room into the waters below. Almost immediately afterwards, the full rage of Chaos came down upon Castle Mordante, as the entire huge structure was destroyed, killing all of the Companions of Chaos in the process.
In this tale's epilogue, a straggly human corpse scavenger was found looking around the ruins of Castle Mordante, where he located the coffin. Opening it in order to pilfer whatever corpse may be laying within, he found the coffin empty…but leered to himself at the thought of showing "his contempt for death and the dead" by laying in the coffin as a jest.

Comments: Though Dracula-Mordante first appeared in the Vampi story in VAMPIRELLA #15, the latter appearance was at the very end of the story and merely served as a teaser for the story in the next issue [thank you to Mike Grace for this tidbit of info], so that story will not be indexed here. The above indexed tale from VAMPIRELLA #16 was the first to feature Dracula-Mordante as an actual part of a story, and this tale also featured the beginning of his long adversarial role with Vampirella. He appeared next in the Vampi story in issue #18, in a three-part story arc, and on one other occasion immediately after that, and their enmity would be revived two decades later, in "The Dracula War" story arc from Harris's VAMPIRELLA (1st SERIES) #1-4 (now collected in THE DRACULA WAR TPB), and the story "Vampirella vs. Dracula" that appeared in VAMPIRELLA/DRACULA: THE CENTENNIAL, both published by Harris Comics during the 1990s and indexed below. This tale was a good early scripting effort from Archie Goodwin, much better than his tepid "Coffin of Dracula" two-parter from CREEPY # 8-9, and the art work of Jose Gonzalez was quite fine.

It should be noted that the Nether-Realm appears next, outside of flashback, in the Vampi story "Slitherers of the Sand" in VAMPIRELLA #21.

In the 1990s it was revealed that Lucretia and Chaos did indeed "conceive" a child in this story despite the former's grim fate, and this child became the deadly Mistress Nyx, one of Vampi's most lethal foes, who first appeared in Harris's VENGEANCE OF VAMPIRELLA #23. She later teams with another of Vampi's enemies from the '90s, Haemorrhage, and also later gains access to the dimension of Draculon, where she unleashes hordes of vampires upon the Earth. Nyx even temporarily succeeds in destroying Vampi and Adam Van Helsing at one point. She was born in the ruins of Castle Mordante.

This story was not the first appearance of the Cult of Chaos. One of the Cults first battled Vampi in VAMPIRELLA #8, the first Vampi story that is definitively considered to be "in continuity" (and the first scribed by Archie Goodwin). The Vampi stories penned by Forrest J. Ackerman in Warren's VAMPIRELLA #1 & 2 depict rather silly events that are mostly false memory implants. The appearance of Vampi in the Evily story in VAMPIRELLA #2 is also rather problematic, but I'll leave that one to future creative mythographers and Vampi experts to hash out.

WNU Connections: As noted above, this story introduced what I believe to be a new Dracula soul-clone, Dracula-Mordante. Chuck Loridans from the MONSTAAH crew first conceived of the idea of soul-clones created from Dracula-Prime's Star Stone ring to explain the myriad versions of Dracula seen in the print, comic book, silver screen, small screen, and video game mediums, and to unify most of them under a single cohesive timeline (see his "Children of the Night" timeline on the MONSTAAH home page for a detailed description of the creation of these soul-clones, as well as for the origin of Dracula's Star Stone ring). As I speculated in my entries for "The Coffin of Dracula" two-part story, I believe that either Dracula-Prime used the mystical wood and soil of his Transylvanian homeland to hold an enchantment from the Star Stone, or Dracula-Mordante himself utilized the power of Chaos by invoking the various spells in the demonic tome known as the Crimson Chronicles that would enable the vessel to compel certain men of an evil disposition to lay in that coffin upon opening it if Dracula was then involuntarily "indisposed," with their psyche believing that this compulsion was all in jest. Upon laying within the coffin, the memories and consciousness of Dracula were transmitted into the psyche of the man in question, dominating their original persona in the process. However, due to the indirect means of creating a soul-clone by the coffin (as opposed to the direct means of vamping the person and then finishing the creation with the Star Stone ring), this new soul-clone would initially lack most of Dracula's powers outside of minor mesmerism and rudimentary weather control. In order to gain the bulk of Dracula's vampiric power, he would need to be bitten by another vampire. Since this ersatz soul-clone possessed Dracula's consciousness 'super-imposed' over his own, he would be able to command any vampiric minion of Dracula-Prime to do so. Within moments after the vampiric enzymes entered his bloodstream, he would then gain a large portion of Dracula-Prime's powers, and basically become a full-fledged soul-clone, though he would be inferior inasmuch as he would not possess the Star Stone ring and its requisite attributes. Following the late 19th century, it appears that the coffin ended up in the possession of Dracula-Mordante, assuming it was ever in the possession of Dracula-Prime, and if it was ever possessed by the latter, he may have abandoned it due to its inefficient means of creating soul-clones in comparison to the Star Stone ring. Nevertheless, no real evidence was presented in the Warren chronicles (or the later Harris chronicles) to suggest that Dracula-Prime ever had possession of the coffin, but it's still possible that he once did.

I do not believe that the coffin had anything to do with the creation of Dracula-Mordante, despite his stated memories that it did (which I believe to be apocryphal), even though he does seem to have knowledge of the soul-clones created through the coffin, including Dracula-Varney (memories of the soul-clones created via the coffin may have been automatically "passed on" to all of the soul-clones created more directly by the Star Stone ring), and it's also quite possible that either Dracula-Prime or Dracula-Mordante intended the coffin merely for the purpose of expediency, and he may never have intended any of the soul-clones created in that manner to be a long-term affair. This may also have had something to do with the fact that Dracula-Mordante seems to have gained possession of the coffin himself at some point in the 20th century, possibly with the assistance of Chaos, assuming that Mordante didn't actually possess it from the onset.

As it was revealed in all of his subsequent appearances, Dracula-Mordante was depicted as having a noble persona that was constantly at odds with his "evil" vampiric nature. This strongly implies that he could not have fallen victim to the coffin's mystical lure in the first place. Also, he retained his original Count Mordante appearance when he was revived after this tale (i.e., a middle-aged gentleman with gray hair at the temples), and Dracula-Varney continued to resemble Adrian Varney upon becoming an ersatz soul-clone via the coffin's enchantment. This is yet more evidence that Dracula-Mordante was directly transformed into a full-fledged soul-clone by the power of the Star Stone. I believe that Dracula-Prime coveted Mordante as a soul-clone due to the latter's wealth and position in his remote region of Europe, and hoped that he could form a vampiric power base over there through this soul-clone. However, Mordante was a noble man, and the soul-clone process was most successful on those individuals who were evil or amoral in character before being transformed. Though Mordante was a noble man, he was not particularly strong-willed, so although remnants of his original personality "leaked" into the super-imposed memories and personality of Dracula-Prime, he was not fully able to resist his vampiric bloodlust or the ambitions of Dracula-Prime that were now a part of his psyche. The later time travel aspects of Mordante's back story complicate matters greatly, as does his divergent connection to Dracula-Mathias from the 'Castlevania' video game series, and I do not purport to have all of the answers at this writing, but I conjecture that Dracula-Prime transformed Count Mordante into a soul-clone sometime in the mid-19th century. This may be how he later acquired the memories of Dracula-Varney, when they were "passed on" to him as were all of the interim soul-clones created by the coffin. Hence, I do not think that the corpse scavenger who discovered the coffin in the epilogue of this story became Dracula-Mordante, as implied here and suggested in a later story, but rather he may have become an interim soul-clone that simply revived Dracula-Mordante by transferring his essence into him, thus killing the human and resurrecting Drac-Mordante. The constant conflict between Dracula-Mordante's noble side and his super-imposed Dracula-Prime persona, along with his strong desire for romantic and sexual companionship, were very unlike that of Dracula-Prime, and I contend that this is further evidence that the Warren and Harris stories featuring Dracula (barring the Satanna story from EERIE #50) do not depict Dracula-Prime, but rather a heretofore undiscovered soul-clone (I will go into more detail about this in my forthcoming article on the character, and my timeline elsewhere in this Index).

At some point shortly after Mordante's transformation into a soul-clone, he came to the attention of the "mad god" Chaos, who, I speculate, may have been an Elder God, a.k.a., one of the Cthulhu Mythos, who had wedded himself to the actual universal force of Chaos, thus perceiving himself as being synonymous with that force.

It is my current conjecture that the "mad god" Chaos may actually be the Lovecraftian entity referred to as Azathoth in Lovecraft's mythos. This is because Azathoth has been described in various sources as being an entity that metaphysically exists within the "realm" of Chaos itself, and may actually rub shoulders (metaphorically speaking) with the Lords of Chaos. One such source provides a good example in describing Azathoth: "Azathoth is the blind, idiot god who sits on a black throne at the center of Chaos."

Like most other members of the Lovecraftian dark entities of often tremendous powers, Chaos wished to find his way back into the Earth dimension to re-establish control over that reality, but the "closest" he could ever get on his own was the interdimensional void simply referred to as the "Nether-Realm" by Dracula-Mordante. As such, this Elder God was an avowed nemesis of the rival universal force of Order, and any agent thereof (such as the Conjuress, who debuted soon after this as a major part of Dracula-Mordante's life).

However, the 'Castlevania' video game series offers strong implications that Chaos was not trapped in that nether-void, but this was simply as "close" as he could get to the Earth dimension, and this entity, like many other Elder Gods, could access the Dreamlands (described in detail in THE DARK TOWER series of novels by Stephen King, but depicted in many other places, and where I think Uncle Creepy and Cousin Eerie originate, as well as the WNU versions of Cain and Abel, the House of Mystery and the House of Secrets, and the Tower of Shadows; see my article on Horror Hosts for much more detailed info on this). The construct of Castlevania, much like the trans-dimensional constructs such as the House of Mystery, could manifest in different locales in different time periods, depending upon various factors connected to that time and place, but the purpose of Dracula-Mordante's later control of the Castlevania construct, under the auspices of the forces of Chaos, was one of conquest, not to teach abject morality lessons to various human beings and other sentient entities, as was the House of Mystery and the House of Secrets, with Cain and Abel as respective curators, or Castle Creepy, the trans-dimensional home of Uncle Creepy, nor was it a repository for human nightmares, as was the Tower of Shadows, sometimes inhabited by the strange grave-robbing criminal known as Digger.

I postulate that shortly after his appearances in the Harris Comics Vampi tales in the 1990s, Dracula-Mordante first gained control over the other-dimensional realm of Draculon (behind the scenes), which had actually been named after the Dracula legend, not the other way around, as implied by Mordante's origin tale in this story (see my synopsis above). From Draculon, he acquired enough power to later access the Dreamlands, where Chaos gave him control over the Castlevania construct as a manifestation of the forces of Chaos itself. I believe that Dracula-Mordante didn't take control of Castlevania until sometime later in the 21st century, which he first used to acquire various allies and minions from many dimensions across time and space, and then manifested it sometime in the 11th century, prior to the human birth of Vlad Dracula, where he hoped to begin the "Dracula" legend himself. This was where he ended up creating a divergent counterpart of himself, who was distinguished as Dracula-Mathias based upon the research of fellow creative mythographer and 'CV' expert Mike Ongsingco. Dracula-Mordante and Dracula-Mathias, despite being divergent counterparts of each other, nevertheless frequented the same timeline, though they were different from each other in many ways, as Mordante represented this soul-clone "prior" to gaining control of the Castlevania construct, regardless of what time period he happened to be active in at any given time, and Mathias represented the divergent version of this soul-clone "after" taking possession of the construct of Chaos, even though his history officially begins (when the divergence actually occurs) in the early 11th century. I understand that this is complicated, and I try to make my conjectures as simple as I can, but it may not be possible in this case due to the complexities of time travel that both Mordante and Mathias were subjected to (see my capsule Mordante/Mathias timeline towards the end of this Index, before the entry for EERIE #50).

The plan to start the "Dracula" legend two centuries before the birth of the real Vlad Tepes Dracula was thwarted, however, due to the intervention of the Belmont family, whose lineage became the most prominent hereditary family of vampire-hunters in the WNU outside of, perhaps, the Van Helsings. But this is getting way ahead of an already complicated back story, and for much detailed info on the 'Castlevania' story, you have only to peruse Mike Ongsingco's timeline on the MONSTAAH site, which contains all relevant historical details of the lengthy storyline included in the course of that classic video game series.

Upon being recruited by Chaos sometime in the mid-20th century as one of his agents (assuming this didn't occur in the 19th century at some point, which I doubt), I believe that Dracula-Mordante was fully freed from Dracula-Prime's control, and Chaos super-imposed further false memories into his psyche, thus creating a set of memories that were a strange hybrid of a life in the dimension of Draculon that never occurred along with the implanted memories and personality traits of Dracula-Prime (which Chaos evidently could not fully remove, nor fully "overwrite"). These memory implants depicted Draculon not as another dimension inhabited by vampires, but rather as another planet revolving around a binary star system in the WNU many light years from Earth, inhabited by a race of fully biological, winged, and fanged blood-drinking humanoids, and possessing technological marvels that appeared to be culled from pulp magazines of the 1930s and '40s, which Dracula-Mordante may have read. The statement in his origin tale that Dracula was once a hunter and killer of other "Draculonians" is contradicted by later stories where Dracula-Mordante is depicted as having a noble mien that constantly conflicts with his vampiric compulsion to kill for blood, and this suggests that his pre-Dracula days were not spent as a person who ever took a life. It was during the mid-20th century that Dracula-Mordante appears to have become the global leader of the Cult of Chaos, comprised of mostly human mystics, and they also possessed a tome called the Crimson Chronicles, which may have been a somewhat re-written textual version of the Necronomicon. Dracula-Prime was never known to have any connection to such a group, nor would he ever follow any entity other than himself, no matter how powerful that entity may have been. In fact, Dracula-Prime has defied and challenged the likes of Mephisto and even Death hirself, and would never allow himself to be a pawn of any other being's machinations.

It appears that the purpose of this Cult of Chaos was to secure a human "mate" for an aspect of Chaos who would birth a child in the early '70s, during a time period when many demonic entities in the WNU were very active, including Pazuzu (see THE EXORCIST and the film series based upon the novel, particularly the first two films), and many others were taking human minions (e.g., Mephisto, who merged the demon Zarathos with the human stunt cyclist with the stage name Johnny Blaze; see the GHOST RIDER series, begun in MARVEL SPOTLIGHT Vol. 1 #15, from Marvel Comics), or attempting to birth a human/demonic child that would be an adult by the Millennium, during a time where the legendary "Anti-Christ" was fated to take over the world, thus providing tremendous power over the Earth to the sire of this demonically-powered human. Other examples of such children were Andrew Woodhouse (see ROSEMARY'S BABY and the two films based upon the novel), Damian Thorne (see THE OMEN and the film series based upon the book), Daimon Hellstrom (see the Marvel Comic SON OF SATAN, a series which, like GHOST RIDER before it, began in MARVEL SPOTLIGHT Vol. 1, specifically #12), the arch-demon Trigon birthed a female child for this purpose who grew up to became the strange goth teen named Raven (a fictionalized version of her was presented by DC Comics in their TEEN TITANS title of the early 1980s from a WNU context), the girl Satana Hellstrom, twin sister of Daimon Hellstrom (who first appeared in her own story in VAMPIRE TALES #2), the demon-spawned girl Catherine Verney from TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER (poorly adapted into a 1976 Hammer film), and the child born in the story "Anti-Christmas" from CREEPY #68 (reprinted in COMIX INTERNATIONAL #2).

It appears that Chaos was likewise using Dracula-Mordante and the Cult of Chaos to birth his own potential "anti-Christ," something that many demonic entities and their human minions/cults were competing to create for the coming Millennium where the "Anti-Christ" was prophesized to enable his non-human father to take control over the Earth. Eventually, however, Chaos simply attempted to use Dracula-Mordante himself, in his divergent aspect of Dracula-Mathias, while time-traveling in the Castlevania construct to just before the Millennium, as his personal "anti-Christ" to compete with whatever other contenders for that dark title may have been extant at the time (to my knowledge, Damian Thorne was slain well before the coming of the Millennium in the WNU, Daimon Hellstrom had long rejected and heroically opposed his own demonic sire's evil, Andrew Woodhouse meekly wanted no part of his demonic heritage or purpose, Satana Hellstrom never had any interest in following in her demonic father's footsteps, Raven's physical body was destroyed by her former teammates in the "Teen Titans" branch of the Legion of the Strange in the 1980s, and Catherine Verney's soul was "purified" by the heroic actions of the excommunicated priest Father Michael Rayner when she turned 18; whatever became of the demonic child birthed in "Anti-Christmas" from CREEPY #68 has yet to be determined, but he evidently never fulfilled the role of the "Anti-Christ").

Finally, I believe that Dracula-Mordante was also the version of Dracula who sired the dhampir Adam Lucard in the one-shot FRIGHT comic that was published by Atlas/Seaboard Comics in 1976. I would conjecture that Drac-Mordante's appearance in the flashback sequence in FRIGHT #1 chronologically takes place in the late 1950s, and Adam Lucard may have represented an early attempt by this now rogue soul-clone to secure a "son" of Chaos, a plan that was since apparently abandoned.

Some of the connections between Warren's Dracula-Mordante and Konami's Dracula-Mathias are evident in this story, thus underscoring my conjecture that they may be divergent counterparts of the same soul-clone interacting with the same timeline (i.e., the "consensus" WNU). I have since consulted with Mike Ongsingco on these possibilities, particularly regarding the similarities between the entity Chaos that Dracula was serving in both the Warren and 'CV' series, the similarity in name between the Crimson Stone from 'CV' and the Crimson Chronicles in the Warren/Harris series, and a human cult serving Dracula in both series. Other connections appear later, but I will deal with them in each entry as they come up.

This is what Mike O had to say regarding Chaos in a public message correspondence with me after reading the first draft of this Index:

The god Chaos is very intriguing! Why? I mention in my Castlevania chron that in the year 2035 ('CV: Aria of Sorrow'), a high school teen named Soma Cruz was sucked into the Demon Castle, which in turn was trapped in a solar eclipse. This was so because during the secret but massive 1999 Demon Castle War, Japanese priests were able to seal Castlevania within an eclipse, ending its regeneration cycle. But they sealed it only after the Count was defeated by the then 19-year old Julius Belmont.

Near the end of "Aria of Sorrow," Soma Cruz discovers that he is actually Dracula- Mathias' reincarnation. He is slowly falling to the Count's chaotic spirit, and if that spirit wins, Soma will fully become Dracula- Mathias. Soma was able to save his own soul and destroy Castlevania by accessing a gateway to a Chaotic Realm that only he, as Dracula reincarnate, could open.
At the end of that Chaotic Realm, his final battle was with the giant entity Chaos itself! Soma could actually have been fighting the god [mentioned in the Warren/Harris chronicles]...and won!

Regarding the Cult of Chaos that appeared in this story, Mike had this to say:

I strongly believe the Cult of Chaos, if they're long lived, played a role in the Castlevania saga at one point! In 1792, a cult led by the dark priest Shaft resurrected Dracula-Mathias by sacrificing a woman over his coffin. This could actually have been the Cult of Chaos, and this would make sense since Dracula-Mathias is connected to Chaos himself. Then in 1797, Shaft was responsible for temporarily turning Richter Belmont to evil and bringing about the Count's resurrection. Alucard killed him here.

As for the Crimson Chronicles, it not only bears a resemblance in purpose to the infamous Necronomicon, a cornerstone of the WNU's foundation, but also to the mysterious Crimson Stone utilized by minions of Chaos, and which was an important cornerstone to the 'Castlevania' saga. Along with it was the Ebony Stone, utilized by minions of Death, and which suggest an alliance between Death itself and Chaos, as well as with all of the latter's minions (which would explain why avatars of Death were allies of Dracula-Mathias, but why Death and hir human minions were adversaries of Dracula-Prime, as depicted in a story arc from Marvel's four-color TOMB OF DRACULA series).
This is a quote from Mike Ongsingco's 'Castlevania' timeline explaining the origin of these two powerful mystic stones: "The Crimson Stone and the Ebony Stone are accidentally created during efforts to create the Philosopher's Stone. The Crimson Stone turns the souls of vampires into power for its master (but will turn the owner into a vampire himself). The Ebony Stone contains the vile spirit of the Grim Reaper and gives the power of eternal darkness, of Chaos, to the owner. This stone, however, chooses its master. When combined, these two stones will give their owner eternal life."
Is it possible that there is a direct connection between the Crimson Stone and the Crimson Chronicles? I think the available evidence, though incomplete, certainly points in that direction.

Time Frame: I believe this story took place early in the year this mag was published, 1972.

VAMPIRELLA #18
[reprinted in VAMPIRELLA #81]

"Dracula Still Lives"

Story: T. Casey Brennan

Art: Jose Gonzalez

A dreary and melancholy Dr. Conrad Van Helsing finally returns to his home at the Van Helsing family mansion following his adventure in the island nation of Cote De Soleil [see the Vampi stories in VAMPIRELLA #'s 15, 17] , with one overriding thought on his mind…hatred for Vampirella. Conrad's psychic sixth sense informed him that Vampi had given into her vampiric bloodlust and bitten his son, Adam, who had trusted her with his life [see the Vampi story in VAMPIRELLA #17]. Believing that his son was now a vampire himself, the distraught Conrad enters the manse with a wooden stake and mallet in hand, ready to end what he believes to be his son's vampiric existence. Upon entering his son's bedroom, where Adam was lying asleep, Conrad's enhanced hearing detects the young man's breathing and heartbeat, and the beleaguered vampire hunter quickly moves to end what he believes to be his son's undead torment. However, Vampirella quickly appears behind the aged adventurer and physically prevents him from driving the stake into Adam's chest.

Meanwhile, at the ruins of Castle Mordante in the Carnic Alps [this time referred to as "the Transylvanian Alps"], Dracula-Mordante rises among the animate once more [upon re-capping the events in the Vampi story "…And Be A Bride of Chaos" from VAMPIRELLA #16, he states that it was the corpse-scavenging derelict's body he now inhabits, mystically transformed by the power of Chaos into a duplicate of Mordante's original form; as I noted in the synopsis and WNU Connections section of my entry for VAMPIRELLA #16, I believe this to be inaccurate…rather, I think the derelict was indeed temporarily taken over as a new interim, albeit fully mortal, soul-clone of Dracula, and he revived Dracula-Mordante by transferring his own life force into the dusty and skeletal remains of the latter, which caused the derelict's body to disintegrate…Dracula-Mordante also states that the possessed derelict telepathically summoned vampire bats to bite him so as to fully transform him into a vampiric state, an assertion that seems rather ridiculous…I believe that this, along with the fact that Dracula-Mordante is seen rising to his feet in the rubble of Castle Mordante when he first appears in this story, provides evidence in favor of my above speculation; see Comments below].

Now rising fully intact amidst what was left of Castle Mordante, Dracula vows vengeance upon Vampirella for thwarting his plans to provide a bride for Chaos, and destroying the human Cult of Chaos that he led. Locating the copy of the Crimson Chronicles that survived the destruction of the castle [obviously due to the tome's mystical resilience], the Vampire Lord resolves to call upon certain spells of Chaos to assist him in exacting revenge upon Vampi.
Just as he was about to proceed, however, he was suddenly interrupted by the appearance of the powerful sorceress that he allegedly had a long and close history with…the Conjuress [she refers to herself repeatedly as a goddess somehow indigenous to the dimension of Draculon, but I believe all the evidence points to her being a powerful human mystic long ago recruited as a benevolent agent of the forces of Order, who has formed a close personal relationship with Dracula-Mordante in order to try and bring about the triumphant ascendance of the noble persona of Count Mordante, which is trapped beneath the evil persona of Dracula-Prime and the further evil implanted into his soul by Chaos; see Comments below].

Immediately upon the Conjuress's appearance, Dracula begins feeling a painful agony that she explains is the guilt of his inherently noble personality coming forth and trying to deal with all of the evil and death he has wrought upon so many innocents over the "centuries" as a result of becoming Dracula and an agent of Chaos [if the Conjuress is aware that Mordante is actually a soul-clone, she feels no need to reveal this to him, as she seems to believe that his status as an agent of Chaos is her overriding concern, and his being subject to a previous possession by the consciousness of Dracula-Prime appears, at best, a secondary concern to her that is not relevant to the apotheosis she hopes to initiate in the once benevolent and caring Count]. As Dracula-Mordante explains to the Conjuress [providing further evidence that this once-noble personage is not Dracula-Prime]: "How strange! After so many centuries of evil, I look into your face just once and…all that I was returns to me! My sense of justice, the once noble ideals…my perception of beauty…can you understand the anguish I feel then? Knowing these things are lost to me forever? Realizing the horror of what I have done-now, when it is too late? Oh, Conjuress, why did you not come sooner?" [Since Vlad Dracula was never a benevolent individual with a sense of justice or nobility, despite his obvious courage and unmatched determination against the Turks and many other adversaries, he seemed to have no aesthetic appreciation for the beauty of a woman, and because he very rarely, if ever, suffered any guilt over the evil he wrought to humankind due to his feelings of superiority to all others, I again contend that this provides further evidence that the Dracula of the Warren and Harris chronicles is not Dracula-Prime].

In response to Dracula's above query, the Conjuress replied that the universe is vast, and she "traveled to its outermost edge," which prevented her from catching up with him sooner [this is, in my opinion, doublespeak on her part to cover the fact that she was likely away on other, unrelated missions for Order, in many different locales across the multiverse].

Attempting to bring Mordante's original noble personality permanently to the fore, something her very presence alone appears to do temporarily, the Conjuress tells the Vampire Lord that she will assist him on his long, difficult road to absolution for his past evil, if he is willing to allow her to help him help himself down this path. As Dracula, obviously very smitten with the beautiful "goddess," tells her verbatim: "Yes, I accept whatever ordeals I must face, for your sake, and yours alone! For with you at my side, hell itself would become paradise, and its sulfhurous [sic] flames lapping at my flesh would be as the sunshine on a summer's morning! I am ready! Let the journey begin!" [Hmmm…since when would Dracula-Prime ever wax the poetic like this?]. The Conjuress then informs Dracula that he must take the Path of Atonement for the sake of his own soul, not for her, but she still decrees that his heart is "ready" for the long journey, and she bids that the time to start down that path is now.

Using her great sorcerous power, the Conjuress transports both herself and Dracula to the other-dimensional pocket universe known as the Realm of Atonement, where Dracula's journey to absolution will begin.

Simultaneously, at the Van Helsing mansion, the now awakened Adam Van Helsing informs his father that not only is he okay, but still fully human, not a vampire, and that he arrived here just after battling the forces of Chaos alongside Vampirella in the Florida Everglades [see the story "Beware, Dreamers" in VAMPIRELLA #17; it would appear that the Florida Everglades of the WNU, like that of the Marvel Universe (MU), is a dimensional nexus to other realities where much mystical forces can be brought to bear from a powerful multiversal focal point, but for unknown reasons, Vampi and Adam didn't encounter the WNU counterpart of the Man-Thing (who actually made a cameo appearance in the story "Let's Hear It For Homo Sapiens" in EERIE #92, thus providing further evidence that the famous muck monster does indeed have a counterpart in the WNU)]. Conrad was extremely distressed over what he almost did, and also perplexed, as he noted that his sixth sense informed him that Adam had been bitten and turned into a vampire by Vampi, and his formidable psychic faculties had never been wrong before. The guilt-ridden Conrad then stated that the mere fact that his enhanced hearing detected a heartbeat and breathing in his son should have made it clear to him that he hadn't been vamped, as true supernatural vampires do not have a heartbeat, nor do they breathe, in their catatonic trance-like state during the daylight hours. Adam tried to assuage his father by telling him that it was simply a mistake due to his anxiety, but the remorseful Conrad exclaimed that this mistake almost caused him to murder his own son, and he opined that if his once all-reliable sixth sense was beginning to fail him now, perhaps he had become too old to battle the undead any longer. However, standing beside them wracked with guilt herself, Vampi informed Conrad that she had to tell him something…to which Adam hastily pulled her aside in another room before she could say a single word. Speaking to her lover and ally in private, Vampi reminded him that his father's sixth sense had not failed him, for when the two of them were trapped within the dream-like world in the EverGlades as they battled the forces of Chaos [again, see "Beware, Dreamers" in VAMPIRELLA #17], she did indeed give into her bloodlust and bite Adam, resulting in his suffering the illusion of being inflicted with vampirism, but since it only occurred in that dream-like realm, the "damage" was undone upon their return. Adam protested, saying that she dare not tell his father what occurred, because his animosity and mistrust of Vampi would then be renewed, and he would again endeavor to keep the two of them apart.

Little were they aware that in the next room, Conrad's enhanced hearing, which Adam failed to take into account, picked up the entire conversation. He noted to himself that despite the fact that the damage was somehow undone, Vampi nevertheless did indeed attack and bite Adam, and the aged vampire killer concluded that despite her "good intentions," she remained every bit as dangerous as he initially believed.

Suddenly, Conrad's contemplations were interrupted by a sharp psychic "pain" resonating deep within his psyche. As Vampi and Adam ran into the room upon hearing Conrad scream, the aged vampire hunter told them that his sixth sense had made it known to him that Dracula-Mordante had just been resurrected. When Vampi pointed out that he had just been killed months ago, Conrad replied that his sixth sense was never wrong (which Adam correctly deduced to be a comment alluding that Conrad was now aware that Vampi did indeed attack the young man for his blood in the dream-realm). When Vampi asked how they should proceed against Dracula, Conrad procured an occult item that he had in his possession, the Mirror of Merlin. Resembling a human-sized antique mirror, it could be used as a highly efficient scrying tool, so that in the hands of a psychic or mystic, even those who lacked those powers or abilities themselves could view the actions of individuals of concern to them no matter where they were located, including into other dimensions [the existence of such an occult item must be a very uncomforting thought to those who know of it whenever they happen to be in the shower or using the toilet]. Removing the large cloth covering the mirror, the three adventurers saw an image of Dracula and the Conjuress standing within the Realm of Atonement (but did not understand exactly where they were, or what they were doing there, of course). Conrad's sixth sense discerned that Dracula was now in an other-dimensional realm, so they couldn't reach him by simple travel, but the Mirror of Merlin could also be used as a teleportation device [where does Conrad get his hands on all of these fantastic mystical items?]. Conrad then stated that Vampi must enter the mirror and be transported to that other dimension to finish off the Vampire Lord once and for all. Adam insisted he go instead, or at least go with her, but Vampi exclaimed, "No! I'm sorry, Adam! We don't know what that other world beyond the mirror is like! Someone lacking superhuman powers might be only a hindrance!" Ultimately persuaded by his lover's logic (albeit barely), Adam agreed to temporarily stay behind, as Vampi, determined not to let her paramour take a risk that she believes should be incurred by her alone, entered the mirror to access the Realm of Atonement. Adam expresses concern when the mirror's image then clouds over, and Conrad points out that the mirror is ancient, and its use as a teleportation device seriously drains its mystical energies for the time being.

Meanwhile, in the Realm of Atonement, the Conjuress presents the very modest looking Altar of Repentance to Dracula [it looks like a simple wooden altar that any amateur carpenter can build in a day, with steps leading up to it on two sides, and it's surrounded by four tall candelabra with three lit candles in each to provide lighting; the entire Realm of Atonement appears to be uninhabited, and resembles the interior of a large stone cavern]. The sorceress of Order then bids Dracula to make the choice of laying on the altar, after which he will then enter a trance-like state where he will be forced to re-live, and experience the emotions of, the many people whom he has victimized throughout the "centuries" [in other words, he will have to re-experience not only the deaths of those people whom he actually killed himself, but also the numerous people killed by Dracula-Prime throughout the centuries, via the memory implants of the latter that he possesses; pretty harsh, and frankly, it wasn't very kind of the Conjuress to continue to ignore the fact that Mordante was not the "real" Vlad Dracula, and hence shouldn't have been held culpable for the latter's atrocities, but I digress]. Determined to expunge the evil from his soul, Dracula-Mordante lays upon the Altar of Repentance, and the Conjuress uses her magick to transport herself away, telling Dracula that he must do this alone, but she will continue to watch him from afar [harsh, indeed!]. After laying on the altar and entering the trance state, Dracula screams in horror as he begins to re-experience the many lives he has taken [and the many lives taken by Dracula-Prime, of course!] from the perspective of the victims, as he takes the first very difficult step to extricate the evil of Dracula-Prime and Chaos from his mind and soul.

Soon after this, Vampirella arrives, and finds Dracula laying upon the altar in a vulnerable trance-like state, deliriously speaking to himself periodically as the images flash through his psyche. As Vampi approached him, Dracula, barely conscious and in extreme delirium, mistakes her for the Conjuress having returned. As Dracula continues to "talk in his sleep," Vampi sees no harm in listening to what she considers to be his dying words before she would move in and kill him.

In his delirious verbalizing, Dracula-Mordante begins to recount more of his life long ago on the "planet" Draculon [obviously more bogus memory implants by Chaos, something that Vampirella, an avowed nemesis of Chaos, was herself alleged to have been subjected to regarding her previous "life" on Draculon during her various series by Harris Comics in the 1990s-2000s; see Comments and WNU Connections below…in fact, it should be duly noted here that the particular "memories" of Draculon recounted below are not only even sillier than the ones recounted in the Vampi story in VAMPIRELLA #16, but they also contradict them at some points…these new "recollections" are seemingly designed to be more in concert with Dracula-Mordante's establishment in this story as a noble being struggling against the evil in his soul, something not previously intended by Goodwin when he scribed the first appearance of Dracula-Mordante, and are further evidence that Dracula-Mordante, like Vampi herself, was subjected to conflicting sets of memory implants by the forces of Chaos].

As his delirious narration begins, Dracula "recalls" how many millennia ago on the world of Draculon, he peacefully drank from the streams of blood that flowed on his homeworld, just as all "Draculonians" did, and he was a devout student at one of that world's great universities, apparently studying stellar phenomena. One day, while studying charts on Draculon and its twin suns that he had apparently made himself, the "future" Dracula realized that the two stars were exponentially drying up the life-sustaining rivers of blood on Draculon, and if this continued, all life there would be forfeit [in this bogus flashback sequence, he actually exclaimed to himself, "Great Galaxies!" (I kid you not!) Now you know that these memory implants were clearly designed to emphasize the then human cultural idiosyncrasies about what advanced humanoids on an alien planet would be like, with the assumption that all would have a cultural fixation on outer space that would carry-over into their linguistic colloquialisms; despite the alleged advanced science of Draculon, the table he is sitting at clearly resembles an old-fashioned slab of Earth design, and he even has a small and simple container with writing utensils in it! No equivalent of a computer monitor at all! This clearly implies that these memory implants were "built" from Count Mordante's own memories of items of an Earthly design that he was familiar with, and the entire series of conflicting "Draculon" scenarios implanted within his psyche reflected his own understanding and personal conceits regarding what an advanced technological civilization would look like, which was highly anachro- and terracentric]. Taking his findings to the High Council of Draculon [*groan*], the "future" Dracula pleaded with the council that they needed to conserve their natural resources, or all life on their world was doomed, but the council members predictably scoffed at the young man's concerns [I detect echoes of 1970s ecological concerns implicit in a somewhat veiled manner here, as well as allusions to a certain scientist named Jor-El from another advanced humanoid-inhabited world called Krypton].

Resolving to do something about the problem himself, the young man decided to turn to the "old ways" for a resolution to Draculon's plight…magick [which he generically referred to as "witchcraft," a common error made by many in the Western cultures of Earth, which is equivalent to someone referring to all styles of the martial arts as "karate" or "kung fu"]. Drawing the mystical symbol of the pentagram on the ground, and surrounding himself with five lit candles at each point of the star to represent the five elements of antiquity [yet another sign that these were not true memories of an alien civilization, but rather memory implants culled from Mordante's own knowledge of terran systems of magickal practice], he made an effort to call upon a legendary benevolent goddess of an alleged Draculonian faith system known as the Conjuress, whom he did indeed succeed in summoning to physical manifestation in his presence [and are we to believe that a young man who studied science can gain such incredible results from his apparent first effort at a magickal conjuring, considering how difficult and demanding it is to master the techniques of magick, even in a reality with "relaxed" magickal laws such as the WNU? More evidence still that these memory implants are false, and were psychically constructed by Chaos out of Mordante's own subconscious conceptual conceits]. Upon making his request to the Conjuress, she finds his stated wish to be honorable, and she agrees to help him. Upon studying his stellar maps, she concludes that with the "proper application of magic[k]," he can indeed save Draculon. She then points out that such magickal efforts will take years, and since she has other missions to undertake [at "the outermost edge of the universe," of course], she says that she will teach him the magick, and he will utilize it to save his homeworld himself. After an apparently hasty lesson in magick [again, more evidence that these memories are bogus], the Conjuress bids the young man adieu, and leaves for parts unknown. She was evidently unaware that the young man was predictably in love with her, and he was emotionally devastated that she, as a "goddess," would not be inclined to return that love to him [this appears to have been borne out of the natural effect that the Conjuress always appears to have had on Dracula-Mordante simply by being in his presence, in concert with the deep passion for love and affection that his original human persona always seems to have possessed].

As the delirium induced narration continued, the "future" Dracula revealed that he was unable to conduct the ritual that the Conjuress taught him properly, because his emotional distress and extreme bitterness over the unrequited love he felt for the "goddess" interfered with his emotional status. As a result, instead of the spell being conducted correctly, the heart-broken young man instead inadvertently attracted the attention of the "mad god" Chaos, who manipulated his extreme emotional vulnerability by telling him that not only did the Conjuress feel nothing for him, but his fellow Draculonians also scorned him, and as such, his devotion to them was "pathetic." "Let all of Drakulon die-for…if you serve me, you shall live on!" was the final pronouncement of Chaos [according to this set of memory implants].
Then, due to his deep level of despair, Dracula gave in to Chaos and began killing fellow "Draculonians" in the name of the "mad god." This explanation was then combined with the origin tale he spoke of before, where he was executed for those murders, and was then "renewed" by Chaos and sent to Earth [here, he is obviously conflating the two separate sets of memory implants concerning his previous "life" on Draculon, possibly due to his subconscious trying to make as much sense of these conflicting memory implants as it can].

He then mentions aloud how he desperately wants to mend his evil ways to win the respect of the Conjuress, and Vampi realizes that Dracula obviously mistakes her for the woman that she and the Van Helsings saw standing beside the Vampire Lord in the Mirror of Merlin. Despite her sympathy with the story she just heard, Vampi is determined to go through with her goal of killing Dracula once and for all, and she elects to take advantage of his vulnerability by draining his blood from his body when he was lying there barely conscious and helpless [since when can one vampire feed upon another vampire in that manner, despite what the author here would lead us to believe? Vampiric blood is saturated with ichor, which will likely make it unsuitable for vampiric consumption; my conjecture on this matter is that perhaps Vampi intended to sink her fangs into his jugular vein not to consume his blood, but just to kill him by causing him to bleed out].

Meanwhile, at the Van Helsing manse, Adam was becoming very anxious for Vampi's return, and he resolved to follow her through the mirror if she did not return within several minutes. Conrad then complained of feeling faint, and asked his son to fetch him a glass of water from the kitchen. As Adam left the room to do so, Conrad picked up a candelabra on his mantle, and wanted to shatter the mirror to trap Vampi in the other-dimensional realm forever, as he believed that if she reverted to type again, his son and every human on Earth could be her victims. However, just as he was holding the candelabra above the mirror, ready to shatter it, he discovered that he couldn't bring himself to do it, not after getting to know Vampirella personally. At that moment, Adam returned to the room, and seeing his father holding the candelabra over the mirror, yet not realizing that Conrad had just changed his mind, the young man rushed forth to stop his father. As a result, the two men stumbled into the mirror, and it fell and shattered, thus barring Vampi's return to the Earth dimension after all.

Just as she was about to kill Dracula, Vampi was suddenly hit with a psychic wave that made her realize that the mirror was destroyed, and she now knew that she was trapped in that other-dimensional realm. Despite her extreme disconcertment, she was still determined to at least carry out her mission to kill Dracula, and as she was about to rip his jugular with her fangs, Dracula, still thinking the Conjuress was there, reached out and gently took her hand. With that surprisingly tender move on Dracula's part, Vampi realized that she could not bring herself to kill him, musing to herself, "He is evil incarnate, but is he truly more evil than I? I too feel the bloodlust which courses through his veins! I too have betrayed my own soul for he sake of that bloodlust-how can I ever forget what I did to Adam, even though it was undone?!…perhaps Dracula deserves to die…but I am unworthy to kill him!"

Just as Vampi turned away from the still insensate Vampire Lord, to find whatever destiny awaited her amidst the caverns of the dimension she was stranded in, the Conjuress suddenly appeared before her. The sorceress explained to her that the she-vampire had also passed a test, and was now free to go. Vampi then retorted that though she was aware that this reality was a dimension where sentient beings came to atone for their sins, her arrival there was a complete coincidence, with the intent to kill Dracula. The Conjuress then informed Vampi that in the full schema of the universe, nothing happens entirely by random chance, and that she was fated to have arrived in this reality when she did, and all along, she was being tested by the hands of Fate. As for the test she passed, the Conjuress explicated, "You have learned well, Vampirella! You have learned to subdue the Drakulonian instinct to solve every problem by killing! You have learned a quality of mercy-even to your enemies-that you did not know before!" Though Vampi admitted that she was close to killing Dracula, the Conjuress said that she would have stopped the she-vampire had she not stopped herself, and for killing a defenseless man, she would have been left stranded in this nether-dimension as punishment. Reminding her to remember the lessons she learned this day, the Conjuress used her sorcery to send Vampirella back to the Earth dimension, who thanked the kindly sorceress immediately beforehand.

Materializing in front of Adam, Vampi embraced her lover, both extremely happy to see the other, though she did confess that she could not bring herself to kill Dracula. After relating the tale to Conrad, he said he couldn't fault Vampi for her actions, because he nearly caused her death himself. Vampi was forgiving, reminding the aged vampire hunter that she realizes that he was only trying to protect Adam, and that she was determined to prove to him, someday, that he could trust her despite her vampiric nature (though she silently noted that she needed to fully convince herself of that, also). Pendragon then entered the room, lamenting that it seems he napped through something interesting, and then expressed regret over the shattered Mirror of Merlin, saying it was a shame and bad luck that such a nice antique mirror was broken, to which Adam flippantly replied, "Pendragon-you don't know the half of it!"

Meanwhile, back in the Realm of Atonement, Dracula awakened from the first phase of his penance, and found the Conjuress standing before him, and she told him that he was now ready to begin the second step to his atonement. Dracula mused that he learned a great deal while in the trance state, and the Conjuress silently noted to herself that she also learned much…including the fact that Dracula loved her "not as a goddess, but as a woman," and cursed herself for her blindness. Now free from the stupor of the trance, Dracula then recalled that Vampirella was there, rather than the Conjuress, and he stated that he could have destroyed her then. The Conjuress cautioned him, reminding the Vampire Lord that his hatred for his opponent was causing him to revert to his old ways, the very thing he was now working to eliminate from his soul. Dracula responded by saying that after so many "centuries" of evil, he felt there was no way he could be reborn or salvage his soul to return to his former noble ways. The Conjuress reminded him that he only committed those acts under the spell of Chaos [she still neglected to mention his previous possession by the consciousness of Dracula-Prime], but he interrupted her with the following angry declaration: "Chaos?! What does Chaos matter? It was my hand which carried out those foul deeds! The name of Chaos is known to no one! My name brings horror to the hearts of all who hear it! How can I ever become what I was again--even for your sake? I am the very personification of evil-I am Dracula!"
The Conjuress simply looked down with an expression of distress on her visage, as Dracula-Mordante seemed determined to believe that he could never become anything more than a conduit of pure evil.

Comments: This story was a major turning point for the Warren/Harris version of Dracula, as not only did new author T. Casey Brennan tweak the already ridiculous "Draculon" origin for the Vampire Lord to make it more silly than before (and Archie Goodwin made it plenty silly to begin with!), but he also decided to take the character of Dracula in an entirely new direction. Specifically, he introduced not only the Conjuress, the sorceress "goddess" who became an important component in the life of Warren/Harris's Dracula, but also the concept of Dracula having been a noble man prior to his transformation into the Lord of the Vampires, rather than an unequivocally evil man from the start (as was the case with Dracula-Prime and numerous other interpretations of the Count). In fact, this origin story violates the major precepts of most other depictions of Dracula in popular fiction outside of the even stronger twist on this theme by Fred Saberhagen's series of Dracula novels, also published during the 1970s, which purported that Dracula was actually a benevolent and noble man, and that reports of his evil were incorrect.

As was revealed in the various Vampirella series published by Harris during the 1990s, Draculon is not another planet inhabited by a technologically advanced, blood-drinking race of bat-winged humanoid beings. Rather, it's an otherdimensional realm inhabited by vampires, the progeny of Lilith, the mother of at least several vampire strains on the Earth of the WNU, who evidently co-opted one of the various nether-realms frequently referred to as "Hell's" to create her otherdimensional haven for vampires. According to one 1990s account, Vampirella was evidently a unique vampiric being spawned by Lilith herself in Draculon to oppose the primal vampiress' progeny who run rampant on the Earth dimension, though this may eventually turn out to be yet another fully or partially faux memory implant, as Vampi's past is convoluted and still shrouded in mystery, a past rivaled only by Wolverine in this regard. Nevertheless, the true status of Draculon as a nether-realm inhabited by vampires who feed off its naturally flowing rivers of blood is very likely to be accurate.

Though the Elder God Chaos and his many other agents continued to plague Vampirella throughout the rest of her career to date, Dracula ceased being one of those agents with this story, and was his own man--or vampire--from this point onwards.

As fellow creative mythographer Crazy Ivan Schablotski has suggested, it's likely that many of Dracula-Mordante's ever-changing memory implants of his origin on the "planet" Draculon were altered by his own personal psychoses, as most befit any immediate circumstance in his life (e.g., his perceived Draculonian origin prior to the Conjuress coming back into his life and afterwards are filled with two entirely different conceits).

Ivan also had this to say in regards to a possible WNU friendly connection for the mysterious but palpable effect the Conjuress appeared to have over Dracula-Mordante: "I also wanna point out that her ability to make Dracula feel guilt may be connected to her human sorceress background. Perhaps she was trained by the Kaldersh gypsies in restoring a vampire's soul. This spell, seen in practice on episodes of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'Angel,' would have placed Mordante's own soul in front of the Drac-Prime overlay. As he is not an Aurelius vampire, there's no reason to believe he had no soul anymore, but I'm certain the spell would have a big effect on any vampire that has a life force other than its own (in this case, Dracula-Prime's) in charge."

Later still, as per my conjectures, Dracula-Mordante was to gain access to the Dreamlands through Draculon, and in the early to mid-21st century he started down the path that would enable him to gain control of the trans-dimensional Castlevania construct as a result of receiving more power from Chaos, as well as from the Crimson King and an avatar of Death hirself, and due to time travel ventures to the 11th century, he eventually had his essence merged with the formidable alchemist/warrior known as Mathias Crongvist, to become the mega-powerful Dracula soul-clone known as Dracula-Mathias. The extraordinary story of Dracula-Mathias was depicted in the 'Castlevania' video game series [see WNU Connections in the previous entry, and the Dracula-Mordante timeline down below].

The particular story arc appearing in this issue of VAMPIRELLA would carry into the next two issues of her mag, and was concluded in a semi-stand alone Vampi story in issue #21, before Drac moved onto his own series in EERIE and another solo series a few years later in VAMPIRELLA.

I also believe that the flashback sequence stating that Dracula-Mordante was revived by taking direct possession of the derelict who lay in his cursed coffin was apocryphal, and the idea that common vampire bats [do they even exist anywhere in Europe? They are indigenous to South America!] could bite the still mortal interim soul-clone and vamp him was really inane [real vampire bats never bite human victims on the neck, but almost always on their toes, and in very rare occasions, on their chest area].

WNU Connections: Many of the WNU connections from this story were described in my various observations in brackets that appear throughout the above synopsis. With this story, it's more clear than ever that this version of Dracula was not Dracula-Prime, but a soul-clone, whom I think should rightfully be called 'Dracula-Mordante,' as I believe the latter suffix was the real surname of the man who was transformed into a soul-clone by Dracula-Prime. Count Mordante appears to have been a very noble man, dedicated to principles of justice, before he was deemed a useful soul-clone due to his wealth and influence, and this caused him to constantly question his vampiric tendencies and the Xerox copy of Dracula-Prime's consciousness, personality, and ambitions that were super-imposed over his own, though he appears to have lacked the requisite unusually strong willpower that enabled some soul-clones to quickly become their "own" vampire, such as Prince Mamuwalde, a.k.a., "Blacula" (from the eponymously named 'blaxploitation' film released during the same time period, and its one sequel, "Scream, Blacula, Scream"). It seems that Dracula-Mordante's emotional conflicts and vulnerability made him the perfect Dracula soul-clone for the Elder God Chaos to co-opt as an agent. The conflicting sets of "Draculon" memory implants, which Dracula-Mordante appears to have conflated, via various attempts by his subconscious to make sense of all of the contradictory sensory data, appears to be similar to what occurred to Vampirella herself, though this wasn't made clear until her Harris Comics days in the 1990s, though there were many clues throughout her Warren days. As noted in the synopsis above, many of the clues that this was the case with Dracula was the contradictory and obviously conflated sense of events in his flashback narrations regarding the Draculon memory implants, the sheer absurdity of those memories, and the many anachronistic and terracentric details within those stories.

Specific details about the "mad god" Chaos are a bit difficult to pin down, but certain theories can indeed be formulated based upon the available evidence seen in both the Vampi stories and in the 'Castlevania' video game series, where the presence of Chaos was quite prominent.
Strictly speaking, I believe that the entity appearing in these stories wasn't actually a true avatar of the universal force of Chaos (as was Lord Chaos of the MU), but rather a Lovecraftian entity who aligned himself in some unknown (and possibly unfathomable) manner with that universal force, and his "motives" were to thus foment chaos across the multiverse, including on Earth. Like many Lovecraftian entities, he not only took on less powerful entities as underlings, but also human sycophants and worshippers who worked to enable him to manifest on the Earth plane at various intervals, or to insure that his influence and machinations were carried out there, in exchange for various supernatural empowerments and gifts to those loyal human servants for successfully carrying out his will on Earth. Like many of the fabled members of the Cthulhu Mythos, Chaos appeared to have a strong desire (if any human emotional terminology is truly apropos) to re-take the Earth, and Chaos appeared to have a particularly strong motivation to do so at the astrological equinox of the Millennium (whose time would reach its apex between the years 1999-2001).

The Cthulhu Mythos, who were chronicled in many short stories and novellas penned by author H.P. Lovecraft, including stories such as "The Call of Cthulhu," "The Shadows Over Innsmouth," "The Dunwich Horror," "At The Mountains of Madness," "The Colour Out of Space," and the one novel THE STATEMENT OF RANDOLPH CARTER, not only serves as a major part of the foundation of the WNU, but also serves as the basis of much of the occult undertakings of a dark nature on the Earth of that universe.

It was revealed in various 'CV' games that Dracula-Mathias apparently recruited some of the lowest tier progeny of various chthonic entities, including what appeared to be minor "seedlings" of Cthulhu, against his various human adversaries, which he could have acquired in the Dreamlands, and with the assistance of Chaos. The latter entity, like many of the dark entities of the Cthulhu Mythos, were often worshipped as gods by human cults who were seduced by the dark power to be found in the various occult grimoires penned by various human agents of these beings, such as the various volumes of the infamous Necronomicon to less familiar tomes such as the Crimson Chronicles, the Demonomicon, and the Darkhold (all of which are likely minor but still potent sub-volumes of the Necronomicon holding different names alluding to other beings who had an influence on producing those particular volumes, such as the Crimson King in the case of the Crimson Chronicles).

The powers of Chaos, like that of many of the more prominent members of his Lovecraftian brethren, appear to be vast but largely undefined, though the mystical power of these asexual and utterly inhuman beings appear to be greatest in otherdimensional realms such as the Dreamlands. His ability to penetrate into the Earth dimension was limited by numerous dimensional barriers that could only be opened, and then only with great difficulty and preparation, at certain locales on the Earth where dimensional barriers separating the planet from otherdimensional realms was naturally flimsy (i.e., "window areas" in paranormal investigator parlance) and when certain complex astrological factors were in perfect alignment. Most often, Chaos and his underlings would take refuge in an interdimensional void-like 'Nether-Realm' that was as dimensionally close to the Earth as they could ordinarily get, though they evidently had little difficulty accessing realms of transcendent/abstract reality such as the Dreamlands, which appear to be a sort of "natural habitat" for such entities.

Chaos only appeared in very shadowy, and possibly semi-humanoid "assumed" form (which may have been nothing more than artistic license on the part of the illustrator chronicling the story), in the Warren stories. It wasn't until the 2003 video game "Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow" that we finally saw a "head up" confrontation between Chaos and a human adversary, the warrior Soma Cruz, who managed to enter the "Chaotic Realm," which Chaos was then controlling and inhabiting, and it may have been the same interdimensional reality as the 'Nether-Realm' seen in VAMPIRELLA #21, or a similar interspatial pocket reality.

In the year 2035, the young warrior Soma Cruz, who had the essence of Dracula-Mathias involuntarily transferred into his body at birth, thus causing him to face the serious danger of the uber-powerful soul-clone fully taking over his psyche at a certain point in his life, engaged in a lengthy and difficult mission to offset this eventuality, and at the climax of this mission, he actually faced and battled Chaos himself in the latter's dimensional base of operations. This was the first time that Chaos actually fully "appeared" in any medium, and his form was utterly non-human and grotesque. It may have been his actual form (inasmuch as a human mind could truly comprehend it), or one of the many nightmarish guises such entities are known to take when confronting humans. At the end of this battle, Soma Cruz used powerful occult weapons at his side to defeat Chaos once and for all, thus insuring that the consciousness of Dracula-Mathias would not take control of his body and was "cleansed" of all of its evil, and the joint soul of Count Mordante and Mathis Crongvist were now fully free from the power and influence of Chaos at long last. As noted above, these events were chronicled in the "Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow" video game.

Time Frame: This story appears to have taken place about two months after the story in VAMPIRELLA #16, and beginning with the Vampi story in the next issue, Dracula-Mordante's chron becomes less linear and a bit problematic, as the Conjuress begins sending him on his journeys backwards in time. That will begin his journey towards eventually diverging a very unique and powerful counterpart on the same timeline, Dracula-Mathias, and will lead into the events of the 'Castlevania' video game series.

VAMPIRELLA #19

"Shadow of Dracula"

Story: T. Casey Brennan

Art: Jose Gonzalez

Sometime in the 1890s [the text lists the year as 1897, but I think that is inaccurate, and that the setting is actually sometime earlier in the 1890s; see WNU Connections below], a horse and carriage carrying Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, Jonathan Harker, Mina Harker, and Van Helsing's newly hired lab assistant, a young woman named Ella Normandy, travel down a road towards the home of Van Helsing's brother, Boris, also a doctor and vampire hunter, and who lives in the state of Maine, U.S.A. (inhabited by his descendants Conrad and Adam in the 1970s). Little are the former three aware that Ella is actually Vampirella, sent back in time to the 1890s from the early 1970s by the magick of Conrad Van Helsing. Finding Earth 80 years in the past to be even stranger than it was in the 1970s, Vampi recollects on the series of events that brought her to this odd time and situation.

"Back" in the '70s, Adam Van Helsing found a hidden room in the manse which contained a few pages of notes stating that in [the early 1890s], Abraham and Boris Van Helsing had been researching a chemical cure for vampirism. Vampi was excited, as she realized that if that cure could be reformulated now, she would be cured of her vampirism. But the chemical make-up of the formulae was not present in the notes that Adam discovered, and Conrad conjectured that the cure may never have been completed, or it may have been destroyed by vampiric enemies of the Van Helsings. Conrad told her that the only way to know the truth was to send Vampi back to the last decade of the 19th century to join the two Van Helsing brothers in their research, and figure out what happened to the cure. Giving her late Victorian style clothing, money from that time period, and a supply bag containing several vials of her blood substitute serum to keep her bloodlust in check, Conrad used "white witchcraft" [i.e., non-evil magick] to somehow pierce the time barrier and send Vampi back to the time period in question [though how Conrad Van Helsing could possibly wield magick powerful enough to break the time barrier remains a mystery, as was his seeming lack of concern with the possibility of disrupting the timeline].

Arriving in London at a point in time just before Abraham Van Helsing was to leave for Maine, Vampi used her "Draculonian" mesmerism to 'convince' the doctor to accept her as his lab assistant (on the basis that she convinced the doctor that she possessed an "advanced knowledge of chemistry"), and to allow her to accompany his entourage to Boris's manse in America. Upon arriving there, they were warmly greeted by Boris Van Helsing, who told them that he, too, had an assistant in their project whose scientific knowledge would prove invaluable to them…none other than Count Dracula himself [specifically, Dracula-Mordante, who had also clearly time-traveled back from the 1970s to that point].

Though the Harkers first reacted with extreme derision (Vampirella was simply astounded), Abraham assured them that there must be a reasonable explanation for Boris having the Count present.

[Here there is more good evidence supporting the thesis of soul-clones, as well as making it clear that the previous claim that Dracula-Mordante would transform a human possessed by his consciousness into a duplicate of his own physical form was apocryphal, as I previously conjectured; Dracula-Mordante asked the bemused Jonathan Harker, "Do I appear to be the same Dracula you fought, Mr. Harker?" to which Jonathan replied, "Appearances, bah! We all know that Dracula can change appearance by taking on a host body!" This was, of course, a reference to the events of "The Coffin of Dracula" from CREEPY #8-9, where the consciousness of Dracula-Prime had possessed the body of Adrian Varney, thus creating the interim soul-clone Dracula-Varney, who looked younger and otherwise considerably different from Count Mordante…hence, Jonathan appeared to assume that the man before him was another host body that the spirit of Dracula had possession of, which, in essence, was true, since Dracula-Mordante was a different soul-clone than Dracula-Varney, though both possessed most of the memories and persona of Dracula-Prime; but also, of course, Jonathan didn't understand the exact process by which soul-clones were created, but by this time he was aware that Dracula's consciousness was able to possess and control different bodies…this evidence further strengthens Prof. Chuck Loridans's thesis on soul-clones.]

Boris then stepped in and said, "Mr. Harker, I assure you, this is not the Dracula you have known! I had hoped we could avoid a scene such as this! This Count Dracula is a descendant of the age-old monster you destroyed! He is most distraught over the evil caused by that Dracula, and wishes to atone for it by aiding us on our project!" Abraham himself then steps in and agrees with his brother, telling Jonathan that they cannot hold a man guilty for the sins of his ancestors [yet more evidence in favor of soul-clones, since Abraham clearly does not recognize Mordante; however, since I suspect that Abraham was aware that Dracula-Prime could somehow create soul-clones by the time of "The Coffin of Dracula," it appears that the magick of the Conjuress had a calming influence on the doctor from behind the scenes, as explicated a bit further in this story]. Responding to reason, Jonathan agreed with the Van Helsings and apologized to Dracula, but remained wary of their unexpected compatriot. Vampi remained dumbfounded, however, as she clearly realized that this was the "Dracula" she had twice encountered in the early 1970s, though she believed that he had broken his pact with Chaos. She then began wondering if perhaps she was wrong about that, and that Dracula-Mordante had traveled back in time to ruin the Van Helsings' project to cure vampirism.

The Van Helsings and Harkers then revealed what they had been carrying in their carriage, which had traveled with them from London to Maine…a coffin, the occupant of whom would be the subject of their experiment to cure vampirism, which would be conducted the following day.

Upon retiring to her room, Vampi quickly stripped out of her confining Victorian attire into her usual costume [what there was of it, that is], and determined to investigate Dracula's mysterious presence in this time period, she scaled up the wall of the mansion to his room [in a scene highly reminiscent of what Dracula-Prime himself did on the walls of Castle Dracula in Bram Stoker's eponymous novel]. She found Dracula standing outside his room on the terrace, and upon confronting him, she saw that Dracula recognized her, thus proving that he had indeed traveled back in time from the future, just as she did. Upon her demand, Dracula explained that he had still broken his pact with Chaos, and that he had traveled to this time and place via the Conjuress's magick as part of the next step in his atonement…to help the Van Helsing's correct a grievous evil that the Count had previously committed in this time [actually, one that Dracula-Prime had committed, but which Mordante, as a soul-clone, remembered and believed that he, himself, was responsible for]. The Conjuress told him, after he had successfully completed the first phase of his absolution in the Realm of Atonement, that despite the fact that the evil he had wreaked upon humanity was the result of the mad god Chaos [and Dracula-Prime, also, though she was not about to mention that], she sternly believed that if his willpower was sufficient, he still could have resisted these evil encroachments upon his soul: "Had you possessed inner strength, you could have defied him, no matter what the cost!" [As I noted in a previous entry, though the human Count Mordante appears to have been a compassionate and just individual, he wasn't particularly strong in the willpower department, which is probably why Dracula-Prime thought it would be easy to transform him into a soul-clone despite Mordante's high scruples]. Hence, the Conjuress sent Dracula to the Van Helsing mansion in Maine, circa early to mid-1890s [again, not 1897, as the Conjuress said], and told him to aid the Van Helsings in their research.

To make his ruse as being a human descendant [as opposed to a vampiric soul-clone] of the real Vlad Dracula more convincing, the Conjuress used her powers to make Dracula-Mordante immune to sunlight and holy objects, but left his vampiric powers intact, thus making him similar to that of Vampirella in this regard [this is perhaps something she could only have done because he was a soul-clone, and not the "real" Dracula], along with realistic looking paper credentials. She also said that her power would keep him alive even if he did not procure blood, but she would keep his bloodlust fully intact. The reason for this was to insure that he never wavered from his willpower to resist the evil of the vampiric bloodlust, something he was now capable of doing since he would not sicken or die if he didn't take any blood. Dracula wasn't confident he could accomplish this without the Conjuress at his side, but she nevertheless departed, telling him that he must overcome this compulsion on his own [she certainly is into the tough love thing!].

As he completed his explanation, Dracula then told Vampi that the magick of the Conjuress must have also been used to mitigate the Van Helsings' animosity towards him, so that he would be allowed this chance for penance.

Vampi agreed to believe Dracula out of good faith, and revealed that she, too, had arrived there to aid in their research, and pondered if it could have been coincidence that they had both arrived in that time and place, but Dracula denied that possibility, reminding her of the Conjuress's pronouncement that in the vastness of the universe, nothing ever occurs by complete random chance. Agreeing that her purpose in that time may be to help Dracula atone for his past evil, she informed him that she will indeed assist him in that endeavor, and with that, she returned to her room.

The next morning, Dracula once again stood outside his terrace, elatedly watching the sunrise, something he had been unable to witness for a very long time.

The Van Helsing brothers, the Harkers, and Vampi gathered around the previously mentioned coffin to test the project to cure vampirism…and Boris revealed that the sepulcher held the body of the vamped Lucy Westenra, who lay insensate after Abraham staked her many months ago [following her sojourn as the "Bloofer Lady" in DRACULA]. Mina became very upset when the occupant was mentioned, so Abraham apologized and honored Jonathan's request to escort his wife back to her room so that she did not have to see the bloody corpse of her former best friend.

Upon lifting the top of the coffin, the insensate body of the once beautiful Lucy Westenra lay before them, perfectly preserved…but with her eyes wide open in a visage of abject horror, and a bloody wooden stake protruding from her chest.

Comments: This story introduced the concept of time travel for the Warren/Harris Dracula, thus greatly complicating the Count's back story from this point onwards, and requiring a good degree of speculation and tweaking for any author looking to create a coherent timeline for this particular soul-clone. This story also introduced another member of the Van Helsing family, Boris, who was the younger brother and contemporary of Abraham. This was a two-part story arc that is concluded in the Vampi story in the next issue, though Vampi's 1970s dealings with Dracula-Mordante would not end until issue #21.

The casual manner in which Conrad Van Helsing used "white witchcraft" [i.e., benevolent magick; it's incorrect to use the term "witchcraft" to generically describe all magick, as Witchcraft is one of many different magickal systems] to send Vampirella back in time is very suspect, though there can be no doubt that somehow, the feat was indeed accomplished. Conrad seems to have somehow acquired numerous very handy and very powerful magickal devices during his few decades of vampire-hunting, and he sometimes seems to rival Dr. Stephen Strange regarding the number of highly impressive supernaturally powered items he has sitting around his mansion. Though this story was intriguing in many ways, and generally well-written (if you can ignore the several spelling errors so annoyingly common in Warren mags during this time), the manner in which author T. Casey Brennan introduced the time travel method for Vampi should have been thought out in much more detail. It appears, however, that Brennan was striving to make this particular story as short as possible.

Jonathan and Mina Harker, from Bram Stoker's DRACULA (along with Abraham Van Helsing) appear in both parts of this story arc. Abraham's brother Boris Van Helsing appears in the chronicles for the first time in this story.

WNU Connections: Prof. Chuck Loridans of the MONSTAAH crew, who conceptualized the idea of many Dracula soul-clones, would appear to have his discovery further validated with much of the evidence seen in this story, which I believe to be the best evidence to validate the soul-clone theory since the actual scene of Dracula-Prime apparently creating a soul-clone in the Hammer film "The Seven Brothers vs. Dracula." Of course, other researchers who wish to interpret the Warren/Harris Universe as an entirely separate reality from the WNU proper are free to construe this differently, and to posit an Alternate Universe (AU) where only one version of Dracula exists. However, since these synopses are partially designed to allow the creative mythographer who wishes to incorporate the Warrenverse into the greater WNU, the evidence I cited via brackets in the above synopsis would seem to provide much evidence that can be used to validate Chuck's soul-clone thesis, and to clearly establish Dracula-Mordante as a rogue soul-clone whose very appearance was different from that of the true Vlad Dracula (a.k.a., Dracula-Prime). It would appear, in an eerie (pun intended) fashion, the various contradictions appearing in the work of the different authors who scribed Dracula tales for Warren in the '70s seem to bear out the presence of both permanent and interim soul-clones of Dracula in the WNU, with just a bit of minor tweaking. See the "Children of the Night" timeline on the MONSTAAH site for much more detailed information on Dracula soul-clones, as well as Chuck's essay explicating the origin and nature of Dracula's soul-clones.

Time Frame: This story, save for two brief flashback sequences, all took place (via time travel elements) sometime in the early to mid-1890s [the topically designated date of 1897 is likely incorrect, as the MONSTAAH chron questions the use of the published date of Bram Stoker's novel for valid reasons], and shortly following the events of "The Coffin of Dracula" in CREEPY #8-9. See next entry for further info on this.

VAMPIRELLA #20

"When Wakes the Dead"

Story: T. Casey Brennan

Art: Jose Gonzalez

Sometime in the early to mid-1890s, in the Van Helsing manse located in Maine, Abraham and Boris Van Helsing, along with Jonathan Harker and the time-traveling Vampirella (still in her guise as Abraham's lab assistant Ella Normandy) stood over the coffin holding the vamped and staked body of Lucy Westenra, in preparation for their evening plans to remove the stake and test their chemical cure for vampirism. Boris thought it was strange to see her body so perfectly preserved, but Abraham remarked that this was sometimes the case with vampires who were staked (outside of the sunlight). Abraham expressed many regrets at having to stake Lucy, but Boris assured him that her vampiric nature left him no choice whatsoever, and that tonight, if they are successful, "the Lucy you knew will be reborn." Vampi pondered to herself if perhaps her vials of blood substitute serum would be an invaluable addition to their chemical cure for vampirism, but she couldn't figure out how she would explain being in possession of such an advanced substance.

As evening commenced, Jonathan located Dracula and asked him if he would like to be present for the experiment, to which he agreed, despite the guilt that was wracking him for being the cause of her current condition in the first place [or so he believed]. As the project began, Jonathan and Abraham each brandished a cross for protection, and the stake was removed from the vamped Lucy's chest. The gaping wound rapidly healed, and the vampiric woman awakened once more, though she was successfully held at bay by the two crosses wielded against her. As she yelled in agony at the men's belief in God focused through those icons, Boris quickly injected her with a syringe full of his chemical cure for vampirism. She then fell to the ground, and Boris hastily announced that he had to give her an injection with a second chemical, which was a blood substitute that would enable her to survive the transformation back to human, and he explained this second serum as an invention of Dracula. Of course, it was extracted from some of Vampi's vials of blood substitute serum, but she had to allow the Count to take credit for it, because "they'd never believe a lowly laboratory assistant discovered it!" [Sentences in Warren stories penned by Brennan never seem to end with a period, but always with an exclamation point where a period should be]. As the blood substitute was injected, Lucy's pallor promptly returned, her fangs had vanished, and she now appeared to be fully human once more.

In the days that followed, it was clear that the project was a resounding success, and in that time, Dracula was courting the lovely and once again human Lucy Westenra, who remarked to him, "You are so kind, Count! So very different from the Dracula I knew!" Dracula appeared to be finding his desired absolution in his growing affection for Lucy, and this was something that Jonathan noted. He mused that since this Dracula could walk around in the sunlight and did not fear the cross, he must not have the mark of the vampire about him [though that cape he always wore may have been a giveaway of sorts], but he still made a point to himself to keep an eye on the Count. As Dracula enjoyed Lucy's company, he was again wracked with extreme guilt over the fact that he was indeed the "same" man [as per his memory implants from Dracula-Prime] who had previously transformed her into one of the Undead, and brought so much horror into her life, and his increasing love for her caused him to consider telling her the truth. But, once again waxing the poetic [as Dracula-Mordante was won't to do], he wondered to himself in regards to telling her the truth, "And if I did, would her smile stay as sweet? Could even one as gentle as she forgive me for what I have done? The sin of a century past returns to haunt me now--as I remember how sweet her kisses were when I first deceived her! She was as trusting then as now--and when my kiss became the kiss of death, she barely struggled, unable to believe what was transpiring…how could I have done that to her? Even under the spell of Chaos, how could I?"

That evening, as Dracula and Lucy watched the sunset together, she suddenly became faint, and the Count realized she was still physically weak from her transformation back to human, and she needed to get some sleep. Accordingly, he carried her back to her room. After gently laying her on her bed, the two finally officially professed their love for each other, and shared a kiss.

Suddenly, however, Dracula began feeling overcome by his bloodlust, and in complete horror, with an extreme effort of will, he pulled himself away from the woman he loved before attacking her, and hastily excused himself from her room. Upon leaving, he ran into Boris, who again congratulated him for the blood substitute serum, for without it, Lucy may not have recovered from her reversion back to human. Upon hearing that, Dracula then came upon the notion that Vampirella's blood serum substitute would curb his bloodlust, just as it did hers (though she also needed it to survive).

Changing into her "Draculonian" garb [by this time, Vampi authors were using the spellings "Drakulon" and "Draculon" rather interchangeably] due to a premonition that something was amiss, she was startled when Dracula flew into her window in bat-form, and then morphed back into his humanoid form. Dracula told her what had just happened, and he begged her for one of her vials of blood substitute, lest he end up killing Lucy again. Vampi realized that she used up a large amount of her supply of the serum to help revive Lucy, and she now had only three vials left; she needed to consume a vial every 24 hours, or her own bloodlust would compel her to attack a human to acquire nourishment. Nevertheless, she realized that she was risking Lucy's life if she refused to give Dracula a vial, so she granted his request. After quickly consuming one of Vampi's vials, Dracula was suddenly visited by the Conjuress again. She informed him that drinking the blood substitute serum wouldn't curb his bloodlust, because at this point, thanks to her magick, his body no longer needed it to survive, but his "wretched soul" still craved the blood as much as ever, and the whole purpose of his quest for atonement was to use his own willpower to overcome his evil ways ("…evil no mere serum can quench," the sorceress told him). After the ersatz goddess departed, Dracula realized she was correct, as his bloodlust remained, and it was now stronger than ever. Vampi was distraught as she realized a vial of her precious serum had gone to waste, and if Conrad's spell didn't return her to the 20th century within two days, she would have no way to sate her own bloodlust without killing human victims. As Dracula left her room, Vampirella drank one vial of her serum, now realizing that but one vial now remained.

Feeling a premonition of her own regarding Lucy's well-being, Mina awakened and went to the room of her good friend to check up on her. Lucy appeared fine, and told her that she was not to worry about anything with Dracula looking after her. Pleased that her friend had found such happiness, Mina departed the room, but on her way back to her own room, she was accosted by Dracula, now having fully given in to his bloodlust. The young woman managed to scream as Dracula sunk his fangs into her neck, and this caused Lucy to run to her aid. Witnessing the man she had grown to love vampirically taking Mina's blood, Lucy screamed as well, and the shock of this sighting caused her still weakened heart to give out. Shocked out of his bloodlust, Dracula ran to Lucy's side, only to realize that she was dead, killed by the shock. Mina recovered, as Dracula barely had the chance to do much more than simply deliver a nasty wound to her neck, and everyone else in the manse arrived on the scene, attracted by the two screams they heard, and discovered upon their arrival that this Dracula was indeed somehow a vampire after all.

The guilt-ridden Dracula allowed himself to be peaceably chained to a wall in the cellar of the mansion. Jonathan wanted to shove a stake through his heart, but Abraham told him that would be tantamount to murder, since despite appearing to be the same Dracula they battled months ago, he nevertheless also appeared to be partially human now [i.e., his resistance to sunlight, the cross, etc.]. As Abraham said, "I shall write Scotland Yard and see if it is possible to have him extradited [to London], to stand trial there, as any other criminal!" Boris agreed, saying "We are just men--not monsters as Dracula is!" [This seemed like a rather odd reaction for these men, who have staked any number of vampires in their time, but it's possible that the magick of the Conjuress was manipulating their minds from behind the scenes again]. Dracula was so torn with guilt and remorse over having once again been responsible for Lucy's death, especially now that he had fallen in love with her, that he decided to simply resign himself to whatever fate the men had in store for him [unlike Dracula-Prime, Dracula-Mordante, at least at this time, was unable to transform into a gaseous state to escape those chains at any rate, though it remains a mystery why his human adversaries didn't consider the possibility that he could, unless it can once again be explained away by the Conjuress's magickal manipulation of their psyches].

Meanwhile, Vampirella hurried up the stairs to her room, desperate to consume her last vial of blood substitute, and hoping that sometime the next day, Conrad would deem her mission completed and use his magicks to return her to the 20th century. After getting back into her own costume, Vampi was about to consume the serum, but she was so tense from not partaking of it sooner that her hands were shaking, and she dropped the vial, breaking it and losing the last of her serum. Realizing that her bloodlust would soon grow unbearable, Vampi nevertheless resolved to save Dracula anyway, as she sympathized with his plight as a helpless victim of what Chaos made him [actually, what Dracula-Prime made him first, but she was unaware of the soul-clone situation]. Moreover, Vampi increasingly identified her personal situation with that of Dracula's own.

At this time, Jonathan decided that Dracula had to be killed forever, to prevent any other possible chance of his wife being victimized by the Vampire Lord again, so he headed for the cellar with a stake and mallet in hand. Finally making his way to the area of the cellar where Dracula was chained [he appeared to be dozing off, too], Jonathan was about to kill the King of the Undead until Vampirella suddenly appeared before him, and easily subdued the young man with her superhuman strength. Shocked that "Ella" was also a vampire, Jonathan looked on in horror as Vampi, no longer able to control her bloodlust, sunk her fangs into the young vampire hunter's neck. However, with a huge surge of willpower, Vampi stopped herself from taking more than a small amount of his blood, and this satiated her for the moment. Using a chisel she brought with her, she worked at freeing Dracula from his chains. Despite believing that he didn't deserve to be saved, the Vampire Lord swiftly fled the Van Helsing estate with Vampi.

As the two of them stopped to rest some distance from the manse, Dracula told Vampi that he believes he betrayed Lucy again, failed the trust of the Conjuress, and would never succeed in his quest to overcome his evil. Vampi told him that she completely understood how he felt, as without the blood serum substitute, she knew quite well how difficult it was to avoid becoming a murderer in order to survive. Upon reaching that understanding, the two of them looked into each other's eyes and kissed.

Just then, the Conjuress re-appeared, and told Dracula that he failed the second part of his atonement. However, she was also understanding of his failure, telling him, "You could have [atoned] by living as a normal man, by curbing your bloodlust, and by aiding Lucy Westenra, whom you once murdered! Instead, you killed her again--but you atone nonetheless, through your guilt! There will be other tests, Dracula, and they will be harder, I fear because of this!" The Conjuress then told Vampi that Conrad Van Helsing was now summoning her back, and the sorceress used her own magick to hasten Vampi's return, reminding her that she, too, failed to use her willpower to entirely resist her bloodlust.

Back in the Van Helsing mansion of the 1890s, Abraham told Boris not to be upset over being deceived by Dracula, as he was likewise swindled by "Ella," and he thought it was ironic that both of them were deceived by vampires. Boris replied that it could not have been coincidence that their project attracted two vampires, and that their work in this area brought "ill fate" upon the Van Helsing manse. As such, he decided to destroy all of their notes for the serum accept for a few pages detailing its existence…the pages that Adam Van Helsing would find in the mansion about 80 years later. Jonathan then remarked that it was strange to him that "Ella" didn't kill him despite her opportunity to do so, and that as a result, he found it difficult to hate her the same way he loathed Dracula. Abraham concurred, telling the young man that perhaps hatred isn't what they should feel for the vampire woman, but rather…pity [I have little doubt that Dr. Van Helsing knew, or at least suspected, much more about the proceedings in his Warren appearances than he openly let on].

Now back in the Van Helsing mansion of the 1970s, Vampi sat among Conrad, Adam, and Pendragon, with Conrad telling her that he initiated the spell that would return her to the (then) present as soon as his sixth sense "informed" him that the project had ended. Asking if the formula would be of any use to her, Vampi replied that it would only be effective for a vampire who was killed by the bite of one of the undead, but it wouldn't work on a living vampire like herself. Adam then warmly embraced her, telling her that he was happy to have her back regardless of whether or not she was a vampire. Vampi reciprocated, but she silently reminded herself of the kiss she shared with Dracula, and she now asked herself if perhaps the love of a member of her own kind would be more appealing to her emotionally than the love of a human…and she wondered if perhaps she was now in love with Dracula.

Comments: This tale concluded the two-part story arc featuring the first time travel venture of Warren/Harris's Dracula, the first of several that would complicate his back story. The increasing emotional connections between Vampirella and Dracula-Mordante were also explored for the first time in this story arc, and this would carry on into their future encounters in the 1990s. The Vampi story in VAMPIRELLA #21 [indexed below] would be the final time that Vampi crossed paths with Dracula-Mordante in the 1970s, after which the latter went solo in Warren Comics on two occasions, first in EERIE #46-48, and then in VAMPIRELLA #39-41.

The quality of this story was good, with a fine degree of pathos, even though it was quite evident to everyone in the know that we were not dealing with Dracula-Prime here.

As for Vampirella's ruse as Ella Normandy, her rarely used power of mesmerism must have been great indeed to convince an eminent professional man like Abraham Van Helsing to accept a young woman as a lab assistant, and to accept that she had good credentials in chemistry, considering that at the time, the women's suffrage movement was in its relative youth, and sexist prejudices against girls and women were still quite socially acceptable in the late 19th century. Many readers like to think of heroic figures (both real and fictional) whom they admire from other time periods as being above the prejudices that were once quite common but now (thankfully) no longer ideologically acceptable in the mainstream, but these are merely anachrocentric conceits on the part of the reader, and we cannot assume that every character whom we consider noble and just to be completely above the conceits and ideological cultural biases of their time (this is rarely the case). Sherlock Holmes and Tarzan were both subject to the sexist and racist prejudices of their era, respectively, as two good examples, and so were the authors who penned their exploits (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was opposed to the women's suffrage movement, as were the majority of people at the time, including many women, and Edgar Rice Burroughs was well known for his racist attitudes, which were also quite common and socially acceptable during the early 20th century). Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not trying to apologize for the attitudes those personages (both fictitious and real) harbored against certain minority groups, but I'm simply saying that we cannot view them outside of the lens of the era in which they lived, and the ideo-cultural biases and beliefs that shaped everyone who lived and worked during their respective eras. No doubt many of the prevailing mainstream attitudes that we harbor against various groups today will be regarded as no-longer-acceptable cultural biases 100 years from now.

Also on the subject of Vampi's Ella Normandy masquerade, I am forced to wonder why none of Vampi's 19th century vampire hunter allies ever wondered why she wore those bat-shaped earrings! [Yep, that's right…while in her Ella Normandy guise, Vampi neglected to remove those totally mod earrings of hers!]

WNU Connections: As noted in the synopsis above in brackets, this story provided much evidence to validate the soul-clone thesis conceived by Prof. Chuck Loridans of the MONSTAAH crew. For those creative mythographers looking to tie the Warrenverse into the greater "consensus" WNU schema, the evidence provided in these tales definitely go a long way towards assisting in that endeavor, even if one may not agree with all of my conclusions.

To my knowledge at this writing (though this is always subject to change upon further research), it appears that this story may have featured the last chronological appearance of Mina Harker to date before she was inducted as leader of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 1898 (according to Alan Moore's time scheme). It's unclear at present how the events depicted in "The Coffin of Dracula" and in the above two-part Vampi story arc fit in with the two MINA novels by Elaine Bergstrom, the first of which occurs largely concurrently with the events of Bram Stoker's DRACULA, the second of which occurs about a year later. Though Mina Harker evolved as a character in the two MINA novels, she seemed no different from the woman we knew in the DRACULA novel in the "Shadow of Dracula" story arc. Nevertheless, it would appear that the two MINA novels occurred prior to the "Shadow of Dracula" story arc in VAMPIRELLA #19-20, as Win Scott Eckert notes on his Wold Newton chronology.

It was likely that it took more than simply the events in DRACULA to establish her credentials for leading the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which Alan Moore seemed to imply in the first volume of LOEG, and her two subsequent encounters with Dracula's evil as depicted in Warren Comics and particularly the events of the two MINA novels by Bergstrom, where she first engaged in investigative procedures, doubtless had much to do with her character's drastic metamorphosis. Further, it's possible that it was the neck wound she received in the "Shadow of Dracula" story arc, rather than the one she received in DRACULA, that she was constantly concealing via a flowing red scarf by the time she joined the LOEG. Note that in both "The Coffin of Dracula" and this story, Mina Harker received two additional vampiric neck wounds, one from Dracula-Varney and the other from Dracula-Mordante. It would appear that a combination of these many neck wounds resulted in the ghastly scars around her neck that she had by the late 1890s. Though the strong, brave, and independent persona that she displayed while leading the LOEG had not yet appeared by the above story, it seems that her three encounters with manifestations of Dracula's evil (Dracula-Prime, Dracula-Varney, and Dracula-Mordante) hardened and strengthened her spirit quite a bit, leading to the changes that began in earnest in the two MINA novels, enough so that she eventually tired of being dependent upon her husband to always protect her, as well as piquing her interest in directly confronting and eliminating evil wherever it reared its head and threatened the lives of innocents or even the safety of her entire nation. Hence, as a result of the above, she decided to shed the meek personality that was expected of women in the late Victorian Era to become a great adventurer in her own right.

Correspondant Doug Ruscala has suggested that Vampi's Ella Normandy alias in the late 19th century may have been the basis for the seemingly fully vampiric (but able to exist in the sunlight) "Mina Harker" that we saw in the movie version of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." It's quite possible, as Doug suggested, that Vampi was sent back to the late 19th century on a subesequent, unrecorded occasion, and "filled in" the Mina Harker role in the WNU version of that particular film (assuming that any given creative mythographer wants to incorporate the movie into the chron as a separate and distinct group and event from those in the books).

Time Frame: Again, I posit that most of this story occurred in the early to mid-1890s, shortly after the events of "The Coffin of Dracula," and Mina Harker appeared here shortly after the events of the two MINA novels, and a few years before Mina Harker appeared in THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN Vol. 1. At the end of the story, Vampi was restored to her indigenous time period of late 1972, and the framing sequence of this story probably occurred about two months after the previous Vampi story.

A timeline for the events of Mina Harker's life can be a bit suspect at times due to the many conflicting and contrasting interpretations of her by different authors, but it would appear that a viable and cohesive timeline for Mina is slowly but surely being developed.
In the Dracula chron on his own extensive website, perhaps the foremost website on the Wold Newton Universe and every aspect of it on the Web today, Win Scott Eckert conjectured that the events of DRACULA occurred in 1887, a full ten years before the publication of Stoker's novel, which many simply assumed to have occurred in the year the book was published. Stoker's use of dates and railroad station schedules appear to confirm this, though of course, they could simply represent topical features added by the writer to make the story appear current at the time he published his book. Since it's established that in the context of the WNU, the Bram Stoker of that reality did indeed collect letters and notes written by real life personages to formulate his novel (just as the Real Universe [RU] Stoker designed his novel to resemble), it wouldn't really make sense to suggest that the novel was published the very same year that the events occurred. In correspondence with me, this is what Win had to say about establishing the actual year in which the events of DRACULA occurred in:

It was actually me who placed the novel Dracula in 1887 - Chuck [Loridans] used the date in order to maintain consistency when he created his timeline. I know there are convincing arguments for other dates...given the number of different Dracula pastiches I deal with (usually involving Sherlock Holmes), I stand by 1887.
Briefly: Although Dr. John Watson dated these events in 1890 [Estleman's Holmes-Dracula pastiche, which is concurrent with Stoker's Dracula], further research reveals that Dracula-Prime was once again present in England in 1888, just prior to the Ripper murders (see entry [on Win's Dracula chron] for DRACULA: THE SUICIDE CLUB). DRACULA: THE SUICIDE CLUB also makes it clear that the events of Stoker's Dracula took place one year previous, i.e., 1887. Of course, someone could conduct further research and discover that Dracula from THE SUICIDE CLUB was not Drac-Prime...and then move the events of Stoker's novel later. That would beg the question of how Holmes knew of Dracula or any clones during the 1888 SUICIDE CLUB events.... This makes my head hurt, so I'm leaving everything as-is on my chron, but I welcome further research. :-) Check out the two MINA novels if you have a chance. They contribute to her development as an independent woman.
Given the amount of time between Stoker's DRACULA (assuming it is left in 1887) and the 1898 events of LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN [Vol. 1], I see no problem with leaving the Warren "Shadow of Dracula" storyline in 1897.

My response to Win, which further addressed the matter of dating the events of these stories, particularly that of Mina Harker's personal chron, was as follows:

I thank you for reminding me not only of THE SUICIDE CLUB, but also of the two MINA novels, because they are indeed extremely important in tracking the development of Mina Harker's character from what we saw in Bram Stoker's DRACULA, "The Coffin of Dracula" from CREEPY #8-9, and the "Shadow of Dracula" story arc from VAMPIRELLA #19-20 to the far stronger, very independent person we saw by THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN Vol. 1.
One of the big questions I have, however, is if it truly took 11 years for Mina to evolve as a person between DRACULA and THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN Vol. 1, and that also begs the question of how old she was by the time she appeared in the latter book. I know that back then, women tended to marry much younger than they do today, so it's possible that Mina was as young as 16 when she appeared in DRACULA, and, if we accept 1887 as the proper date for the events of DRACULA, that would place her age at 27 by the time she appeared in LOEG Vol 1. This is plausible, I think, since I do not believe that Mina was into her 30s by the time she appeared in LOEG Vol. 1 (which would make her the only member of that team who wasn't "over the hill"!). And if "The Coffin of Dracula" and her appearances in the "Shadow of Dracula" story arc did indeed take place later in the 1890s, this would establish that she was married to Jonathan Harker for at least a few years, as it was implied in LOEG Vol. 1 that her divorce from Jonathan was quite recent. But I still do not think her appearance in the "Shadow of Dracula" story arc was in 1897, because her character was, IMO, still too squeamish to have evolved so far in one year, but I also have to read the two MINA novels to establish the amount of time that passed in the sequence of events chronicled within those books. As per my current conjectures, I believe that "The Coffin of Dracula" occurred about two years, at most, after the events in DRACULA (though more likely about one year after), followed by the events depicted in the two MINA novels from the same year to one year afterwards, and the "Shadow of Dracula" story arc to have occurred about a year after that, at most.
Hence, I tentatively place Mina's appearance in the aforementioned Vampi story arc roughly in the year 1890, just after the two MINA novels, and all of these latter appearances bridge the gap for her between the woman we met in DRACULA and her evolution to the persona we saw by the time she led The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in Vol. 1 of the eponymous book.

Thus, working by Win's chron, and assuming that the events of DRACULA occurred in 1887 (though I believe they may have occurred a few years later in time), Mina's personal chron can roughly be conjectured in this manner:

1887--the events of Bram Stoker's DRACULA. Based on evidence provided for me from the novel by various correspondants, I postulate that Mina was 19 years old at the time of her bethrotal to Jonathan Harker, and about 20 when they married.

1887 (concurrently with the events in DRACULA)-1888--the events of MINA: THE DRACULA STORY CONTINUES.

1888--the events of BLOOD FOR BLOOD: THE DRACULA STORY CONTINUES.

1889--the events of the "Shadow of Dracula" story arc from Warren's VAMPIRELLA #19-20.

1890--the events of "The Coffin of Dracula" from Warren's CREEPY #8-9.

1891--the events of Fred Saberhagen's novel THE HOLMES/DRACULA FILES occurs, where it's revealed that Mina Harker has met and started a clandestine affair with Dracula-Vlad, the unique, benevolent Dracula soul-clone (who appears in Fred Saberhagen's series of Dracula novels). As Win Scott Eckert has posulated on his WNU timeline, it's quite likely that sometime after the affair began, Jonathan Harker discovered his wife's infidelity, and the two of them elected to divorce each other because of this, along with the fact that Mina appears to have grown more emotionally distant from her husband as she acquired more independence and changed over the years following the "Shadow of Dracula" story arc in VAMPIRELLA #19-20 and "The Coffin of Dracula" story in CREEPY #8-9. Due to the ideology prevelant during that time period which contended that women would only be sexually active outside of a marriage if they were manipulated or coerced into it by an unscrupulous man, it's possible that this is what Campion Bond meant when he mentioned how he heard rumors that Mina was "ravished by a foreigner" in THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN Vol. 1. In other words, he was referring to her affair with Dracula-Vlad, and not the attacks on her by Dracula-Prime, Dracula-Varney, and Dracula-Mordante, all of which occurred years prior to 1898.

1898--the events of Alan Moore's THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN Vol. 1 occurs, with Mina Harker now divorced and 27 years old. As noted above, the remark by Campion Bond that she was "ravished by a foreigner last year" was, in a WNU context, likely not referring to the attack on her by Dracula-Prime as published in Stoker's novel a year earlier, but rather her affair with Dracula-Vlad, and the "last year" part of the remark was likely a dialogue flub. Moore was simply working from the conceit that the events of DRACULA occurred precisely according to the published date of the novel (in both the RU and the WNU), which many creative mythographers agree to not always be the case in regards to dating WNU events.

[Note: Some creative mythographers do not consider Fred Saberhagen's books to be part of WNU canon; if this is the case, then Campion Bond was indeed referring to one of the three other versions of Dracula that Mina encountered.]

Many thanks to Win for taking the time to provide these insights, and much more info can be found in the WNU chron on his website.

VAMPIRELLA #21

"Slitherers of the Sand"

Story: Chad Archer (prologue by T. Casey Brennan)

Art: Jose Gonzalez

Vampirella broods in a high state of melancholy outside of the Van Helsing mansion as Pendragon appears at her side to find out what's wrong. Vampi informs him that she cannot find true happiness on a world as strange as Earth, among a human race that cannot understand who she truly is, despite the kindness she received from her second rate stage illusionist friend and the Van Helsings. When Pendragon reminds her that Adam loves her, she replies that now she thinks that perhaps she only thought she loved him, due to her constant loneliness, but since meeting "one of her own kind," Dracula, she now finds herself haunted by romantic dreams of the latter individual. Pendragon remarks that he doesn't understand how Vampi could love one who is so evil, but Vampi defends the Vampire Lord, telling her friend that no one on Earth [i.e., a non-vampire] could possibly understand or empathize with one who must deal with a bloodlust. She also noted that Dracula was "doubly cursed," being an agent of Chaos, though Pendragon believes that Dracula was "a willing pawn, I think." Vampi then defended the Vampire Lord again, telling Pendragon how he has now undertaken a noble and difficult quest for absolution, following the Conjuress to many strange dimensions and time periods to undergo numerous ordeals towards the purpose of cleansing his soul of every last vestige of his evil. Pendragon apologizes for coming off as judgmental, and laments that he's only concerned for her safety, and Vampi replies, "I know, Pendragon! I should not have been so harsh! I shall miss you when my journey begins." [Yes, I'm not kidding people…author Brennan actually put a period, instead of an exclamation mark, at the end of a sentence.] Inquiring into the nature of her journey, Vampi revealed that she would be leaving not only the Van Helsing mansion for good, but also the Earth dimension altogether…she had been in telepathic contact with the Conjuress, who agreed to allow Vampi to join the man she now believed she loved, Dracula, on his quest for atonement. Vampi then asked Pendragon to tell the Van Helsings of her journey after she left, because she could not bear to tell Adam herself and break his heart, considering the depths of his feelings for her. Sad and concerned over his friend's upcoming departure, Pendragon agreed to her request.

Immediately afterwards, the Conjuress appeared (apparently in an astral projection) and asked Vampi if she was now ready to depart, to which the vampiric she-warrior responded in the affirmative. With a powerful application of her sorcery that resulted in mystical flashes of lightening, the dimensional barriers between Earth and the Nether-Realm were torn asunder, and Vampi began her swift journey of floating through that interdimensional realm that was so near the Earth dimension to whichever reality Dracula now resided in. However, while hurtling through the Nether-Realm, Vampi came to the attention of one of the minions of Chaos [he appeared as a Grim Reaper phenotype, and may have been related to the spectral Grim Reaper entity who assisted Dracula-Mathias in the 'Castlevania' video game series; see WNU Connections below]. Realizing that Vampi was an avowed nemesis of his dark master, this skeletal entity attempted to use his own formidable power to trap her in the Nether-Realm. But her journey was too swift, so this attempt failed, but he at least managed to seriously alter her course, and this sent powerful mystical repercussions not only to her point of departure on the Earth dimension outside of the Van Helsing mansion, but also to her projected point of arrival at the other-dimensional realm where Dracula and the Conjuress awaited her.

As the mansion was rocked with the lightening-like mystical reverberations, Adam and Pendragon ran to assist Conrad, only to have all three of them vanish in a dramatic energy vortex. Simultaneously, in the other-dimensional realm where Dracula and the Conjuress now stood, they were also besieged by the powerful energy discharges, and the Vampire Lord likewise vanished in a sudden vortex; the Conjuress's great power left her immune, and she then had the task of locating Dracula. [End Prologue]

Vampirella, Adam and Conrad Van Helsing, Pendragon, and Dracula all found themselves stranded in a strange other-dimensional realm that resembled an endless desert wasteland, with nothing but sand at their feet as far as the eye could see, and a mercilessly hot sun above them (because Dracula-Mordante had recently been altered by the magick of the Conjuress to be a vampiric being similar to that of a "native Draculonian," i.e., like Vampirella, he was now still unaffected by sunlight at this point in time). As the five displaced adventurers recovered from the effects of the impromptu dimensional transfer and gained their bearings, the blind Conrad's sixth sense informed him of Dracula's presence, and he resolved to attempt to destroy the Vampire Lord then and there, but the latter reminded the intrepid vampire hunter that he had recently mended his evil ways. Conrad refused to buy it, and asked Adam to quickly hand him a weapon…and his son had to inform him that there were no weapons to be found in the heat-infested dimensional wasteland they now found themselves in: "No wood, no metals that I can see--in fact, all I can see is sand! Nothing but sand." [Chad Archer seemed less inclined towards the dramatic in his written dialogue than T. Casey Brennan, and allowed for several periods at the end of his sentences, rather than an almost exclusive usage of exclamation points at the end of sentences that were non-interrogative.]

Quickly wielding a crucifix [actually a cross; a crucifix has the figure of Jesus Christ on it, a cross does not], Conrad discovered that Dracula was now immune to the effects of holy objects, again thanks to the magick of the Conjuress, now possessing--as the Vampire Lord explained--"…only the powers--and weaknesses--of a native Drakulonian." He also once again told Conrad, "I am on a quest for redemption, and mean no one harm." Conrad still refused to believe it, but Adam reminded him that they needed to "take him on his faith," since their current predicament made it an imperative that they all work together for a way out, reminding his father that they had an advantage on him regarding the odds: "There are four of us to his one." Asking his son if he truly counted Vampirella among that four, Adam replied, "Now, Dad. I've told you we're in love." With that remark, Vampi looked down in shame, as unbeknownst to Adam, she had foresworn her love for him in favor of Dracula, and only Pendragon and Dracula noted the reason for that sudden expression of sorrow on her face…the former, with a look of concerned sympathy, the latter with a grin of satisfaction.

Vampi deduced that their displacement to this planet-wide other-dimensional desert must be the work of Chaos, and Dracula agreed, telling them that they simply had to work to survive under these harsh conditions until the Conjuress inevitably located them: "Her powers can carry her to the end of the universe, so they can certainly search us out." Adam mentioned that they would have to find food and shelter from the incessant heat, and opined that they choose a direction to proceed in that search. The five of them began walking for hours on end in the intense heat and unending daylight, seeing nothing but sand during all of that time…until, finally, Vampi spotted a narrow, smooth surface that appeared to be a road of some sort. Upon close inspection, Adam thought an advanced civilization must have built that surface, since it was flawless in its smooth texture, but upon touching it, Conrad said it appeared to have a sulfur base to it, and it was very newly constructed, since it was bereft of any noticeable weathering.

Pendragon asked if they should follow it, to which Adam replied his query just had to be rhetorical, with the only real question being which direction to follow. Dracula pointed out that either direction would serve their purposes, since the road obviously connects two points, either of which "should serve [their] purposes." The five then began following that road for a period of time, with Pendragon thinking that it reminded him of Dorothy Gale's famous stroll down the yellow brick road… "and the evil wizard at the end" [a rather personal interpretation of the events recorded by L. Frank Baum in THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ, since the Wizard was indeed a con artist doing what was necessary to survive in the Emerald City, but he was nevertheless far from evil].

As they continued to move on, they suddenly heard a strange "slishing" sound, and moving over a certain dune to see what the source of that sound was they saw, to their horror, that the aforementioned resonance was emanating from the only living being they had thus far seen in this reality…one which resembled a huge, hideously grotesque slug-like creature, much larger than a human being, with nightmarish, semi-human looking facial features (including two eyes and a mouth), and two large antennae protruding from its head region. As Dracula noted, the road they were following was not truly a road, but actually the waste products egested by the giant slug as it slithered about, consuming and digesting the sand beneath it, and all hope of finding an advanced civilization on this world appeared to be "illusory." Suddenly hearing very unusual sounds (i.e., human voices), the hideous slug-like grotesquerie turned around and saw the strange intruders in its realm. Vamiprella told her compatriots to quickly flee the area, but the giant slug gave pursuit, despite its inability to move quite as fast as human beings. No longer able to move quickly, Conrad fell, succumbing to the intense heat, tiredness, and thirst, and Dracula stopped to assist him. Vampi was pleased to see how the man she now apparently loved had changed so much from the "arch-fiend of Earth" he used to be since beginning his quest for atonement.

Having his psychic senses reel from direct contact with two vampiric beings at once, Conrad fell to the earth again, and Vampi warned him that the giant slug was almost upon them. Upon looking the creature directly in the face, Vampi realized an even greater horror…the monster was evidently quite sentient, and intelligent. Adam shouted to Vampi to get his father to safety while he ran to distract the giant slug, telling her not to worry, because he could move faster than the creature could. As he ran to do just that, Vampi realized that Adam was not as maneuverable in the sand as the slug was, so she quickly rushed to his aid. Transforming into bat-form, Vampi noticed that the creature had no appendages to swipe her away from its face, so she swooped in and began assaulting the giant slug's eyes, successfully distracting it for several minutes to allow her four allies to escape the immediate area. As she did so, the sensations she felt from the slug's flesh caused her to feel an extremely unpleasant coldness in her being, and as the fight progressed, she discovered that her adversary was telepathic…and the monster made its intentions horribly clear, telling her that it could sense something in the five of them that it had never sensed in anything before (outside of its own body, presumably)…fluids. After a very long time of consuming nothing but sand, the giant slug informed her that it would feast upon those fluids at all costs [though how this creature even fully understood what fluids were despite its intelligence, and why it wasn't content to keep feeding on sand as it always had, but was so determined to acquire those fluids, is something of a mystery to me; its inexplicable hostility appeared to emanate from the fact that as the apparently sole living creature on that world, it was maniacally egotistical, and it told Vampi that it considered itself the "master" of that world; see Comments below]. After telling her that it would be futile to attempt to escape its clutches, since it never tires, Vampi nevertheless flew away in search of her friends.

Vampi found her allies minutes later and reverted to her humanoid form. Pendragon was glad to see that she had escaped alive, and she told him that they had to avoid the giant slug until the Conjuress located them. But Pendragon noted that the sorceress's arrival may not be soon enough, because all of them were suffering from thirst, and they desperately needed water. Dracula told him that this wasn't true in regards to himself and Vampi, and that they could offer the three humans some of her liquid blood serum substitute in place of water; Vampi, unfortunately, didn't have any with her. Asking her why she didn't bring any on her journey, Vampi replied that the Conjuress didn't provide her the favor of going on her journey for nothing, and that she, too, was on a mission of atonement…which meant resisting her bloodlust by sheer willpower without having the blood substitute serum as a crutch to lean on. Hence, after 24 hours had passed, her bloodlust, like Dracula's own, would begin affecting her severely.

Surprised at the announcement of her journey, Adam asked her where she was going, as she had not mentioned it to him before, but Vampi sadly told him that it wasn't important at this specific time…but she promised to discuss it with him once they were safe.

As the hours passed, the quintet continued to move, but their search for sustenance and shelter from the unerring heat proved fruitless. Adam's wristwatch told them that they had been traveling now for six hours straight, and the three humans were now seriously suffering from thirst and heat exhaustion. Finally, Adam started to feel the full effects of this, as he began hallucinating and speaking deliriously. Conrad went to his son's side as the latter began to collapse, and asked all of the others for their assistance. Getting back to his feet, but still seriously affected by his delirium, Adam irrationally mused that just as the humans crave water that runs in rivers on Earth but have blood flowing in their veins, and on Draculon its inhabitants crave blood that flows in rivers there, perhaps Dracula has water running in his veins, and the deluded young man actually moved towards the Vampire Lord to attempt to bite his neck. Vampi pulled him away, and tried to break him out of his worsening delirium by telling him that she and Dracula also had blood--not water--running through their veins.

However, just then, Dracula haughtily told Vampi that despite the corrupt logic of Adam's deluded musings, his general reasoning was good: "Why should someone thirst, if someone else carries nourishment within him?" Now realizing that Dracula was giving in to his bloodlust and reverting to type, Vampi jumped in front of Adam to protect him, and told Dracula that he couldn't mean what he just said. Unfortunately, Dracula replied: "I tried, Vampirella--I honestly tried. But whenever events go against me, I give in. With Lucy Westenra [see "When Wakes the Dead" in VAMPIRELLA #20], [and] now--the hunting urge is too strong to resist! Judging from these experiences, it doesn't seem as if I have much chance of success with abstinence--so the game is over! The real Dracula lives again!"

Now completely giving in to his bloodlust, Dracula attacks, leaping over a meter into the air and morphing into bat-form while still airborne. Meeting his attack, Vampi also morphs into bat-form, and the two vampiric beings engage in a fierce aerial battle above the hot desert sands, a battle that Vampi despairs of winning due to Dracula's superior strength and speed even in bat-form.

As her three human allies watch the battle helplessly from below, Vampi notices numerous sulfur tracks on the ground, and she realizes that they must be near the giant slug's lair. But due to this distraction, Dracula moved in and severely bit one of Vampi's wings, causing her to lose the battle and fall to the ground. Adam tries to run to her aid, but Conrad stops him, telling his son that he must try not to exert himself anymore in the desert heat. Just then, the giant slug appeared before them, and telepathically announced its intention of consuming them for their bodily fluids.

Now lying on the ground in her humanoid form with a badly injured arm, Vampi also "heard" the telepathic declaration of the giant slug, and forced herself to her feet. Re-joining her allies, Vampi once again told them to run while she distracted the beast, but Pendragon told her that though he could run, the Van Helsings couldn't, and he thus refused to do so himself, quipping, "…the closing of a show is always more meaningful with friends, don't you think?" Shedding a tear, Vampi launched herself in the path of the giant slug, though she was well aware that with her injured arm, she couldn't morph into bat-form until she fully healed. Having to distract the monster in humanoid form, Vampirella rushed into the area where the many sulfur tracks are to be found, which the creature reveals to be its spawning area, noting that it would be pleased to destroy her in such a locale. Despite being weakened by a combination of the searing heat and her injured arm, Vampi led the creature in a chase over its own sulfur tracks. Since the creature automatically and involuntarily consumed anything it moved over, which had heretofore always been sand, it didn't take into account that moving for extended periods over its own sulfur tracks would cause it to consume its own waste products, which Vampi deduced would be poisonous to it…and she turned out to be correct. With an agonized telepathic "scream," the giant slug collapsed dead.

Realizing that she had left her friends to the mercy of Dracula, she quickly raced to the area where they were standing, to discover that the Vampire Lord, now restored to humanoid form, was indeed moving in for the kill.
As she herself moved in to battle her more powerful foe once again in defense of her friends, the Conjuress suddenly appeared, having finally located them. She expressed her extreme disappointment with Dracula's abysmal failure to atone for his past evil, and she asked Vampi if she still wanted to go with him. Thinking for a moment with an expression of abject sadness on her face, she told the sorceress, "No…I don't. What I felt for him…was a form of homesickness, a desire to be with another of my race…it could never…have been…love."

With that decided, the Conjuress told her that Dracula would be departing with her "to realms unknown" (and to his solo series beginning in EERIE #46), and that she and her three friends would be restored to the Earth dimension. Utilizing her formidable magicks once again, the Conjuress sent Vampi, the Van Helsings, and Pendragon back through the Nether-Realm, and from there to the Van Helsing mansion on Earth. Gratefully, Adam noticed that they had also been relieved of the detrimental effects of their thirst, heat exposure, and exhaustion…though Vampi noticed that her arm still bore the injury she received in battle with Dracula. She then sadly stated that the reason for the retention of her own injury was likely because, after Dracula's extremely disappointing failure to atone, the Conjuress knew that it was futile to attempt to aid a vampire.
She then walked towards her supply of blood substitute serum to deal with her gnawing bloodlust…feeling depressed and extremely alone.

Comments: The new author Chad Archer (of the main story, not the prologue) wrote an interesting tale that, in my opinion, did not turn out as good as it could have. The giant slug was an interesting adversary, and under the pen of the masterful Jose Gonzalez, the creature was rendered as something that truly looked as if it was culled out of one's worst nightmares. But the battle scenes, all of which occurred with vampi in bat-form, against both the giant slug and Dracula, were rather uninspired and in no way memorable. However, the situation that the five protagonists faced on the hot desert sands of that hostile other-dimensional world was convincingly done, and was compelling on many levels. This story, of course, also featured the turning point in Vampi's relationship with Dracula-Mordante, and was significant largely for that reason alone.

The giant slug was something of an enigma, and considering how it mentioned its spawning grounds, and as it appeared to be completely alone on that world, I opine that the creature was asexual, and would die soon after spawning a progeny so that, in effect, only one such creature led an extremely lonely, if contented, existence on that world, and it chose its spawning grounds beforehand. Though sentient and telepathic, its psychology was clearly quite unlike that of humanity, possessing an extreme sort of ego-centrism, and its biology was uniquely strange, obviously the product of another dimension with different physical laws than the Earth (even the Earth in the WNU).

This story represented the last time Dracula-Mordante crossed paths with Vampirella in the 1970s, and he would not meet her again until "The Dracula War" story arc from Harris Comics' VAMPIRELLA (1st SERIES) #1-4 in 1991, now available in TPB. This story also featured his final attempts to atone for the evil deeds he committed because of his bloodlust and ambitions as a result of being both a soul-clone of Dracula-Prime [not alluded to in the Warren chronicles, but empirically evident] and as an agent of Chaos. After his final failure to redeem himself in this tale, he appeared next in his own story in EERIE #46 (indexed below), which took place immediately following his appearance here, and further complicated his back story with more time travel.

WNU Connections: The skeletal, Grim Reaper-like agent of Chaos that Vampirella briefly encountered while in the Nether-Realm may be closely related to the Grim Reaper that aided Dracula-Mordante in the 'Castlevania' video game series, if "he" wasn't, in fact, the same being (it was stated in the story in VAMPIRELLA #16 that seven such agents of Chaos existed in the Nether-Realm with the "mad god"). Regardless, it was here revealed that at least one such being, who wore the guise of the Grim Reaper type of entity that ordinarily acted as harbingers of Death, rather than Chaos, was in the service of the eponymously named Elder God, possibly implying a connection of some sort with this particular Lovecraftian entity and Death hirself.
Upon my correspondence with Mike Ongsingco on the possible connection between the skeletal servitor of Chaos in this story and the Grim Reaper who allied himself with Dracula-Mathias in the 'Castlevania' video game series, this is what he had to say on the matter: "You mentioned a skeletal entity appearing in this story. A part of me thinks this probably might not be the exact same Grim Reaper who became Dracula-Mathias' close friend. Rather, the Grim Reaper of 'Castlevania' could actually have been one of those other seven entities you mentioned (or maybe an untold eighth). Maybe Chaos, or Rasalom, or whoever was behind the creation of the Crimson and Ebony Stones mentioned in 'Castlevania: Lament of Innocence', sealed one of his skeletal servants into the Ebony Stone and gave it the power to endow others with the power of Chaos. Walter Bernhard [a vampire from the 11th century who appeared in the 'CV' series] was apparently the first recipient, but when Leon Belmont defeated him, his soul was absorbed by Mathias."

Hence, though it would appear that the Grim Reaper who assisted Dracula-Mathias, Dracula-Mordante's divergent counterpart (as per my conjectures; see the timeline below), was an actual avatar of Death, it's quite possible that other such avatars aligned themselves with Chaos, as I believe the entity appearing in this story, the sole member of the seven servants of Chaos to ever be seen during Dracula's appearances in the Warren Vampi stories, to be too much of a coincidence to dismiss all such connections with Death hirself, particularly considering how Death apparently aligned hirself in an unknown manner with the "mad god" Chaos.

Classic Dialogue: When Vampirella informs Pendragon that she was going on her journey to assist Dracula, he has an amusing sexist moment when he says, "…I shall be so afraid for you! I know your powers are vast…but you are still…only a girl…" Yep, a girl who has bailed his ass out of the proverbial fire more times than he could possibly count. It was a shame that Vampi wasn't an inveterate feminist, as it would have been fun to see her slug Pendragon for that comment.

Time Frame:This story occurred in the (then) present [circa late 1972], shortly after the events in Vampi's story in the previous issue, and this was the last time that Dracula-Mordante would appear in the published present era until the 1990s, when Harris Comics took over as chronicler of his exploits.

"Dracula" solo series in EERIE


EERIE #46

"And An Immortal Died"

Story: Bill DuBay (under the pen name "Dube")

Art: Tom Sutton

This story begins with a two page prologue that very quickly recaps the events of the five issues of VAMPIRELLA that featured Vampi's encounters with Dracula [see VAMPIRELLA #'s 16, 19-21, all indexed above]. In the narrated text, while recapping Dracula-Mordante's quest for atonement, he is described thusly: "Despite his strongest wishes, the insane lust for human blood continues to plague Dracula! Each victim weighs heavily on his conscience! The once and powerful, all evil Dracula is no more! In his place is a shallow, self-pitying character with the same name…and a similar taste for fresh blood!" [Ironically enough, this statement pretty much describes the Dracula-Mordante soul-clone in a nutshell, and provides yet further veiled but apparent textual evidence in the Warren chronicles to distinguish his personality from that of Dracula-Prime, and further enables me to conclude that Warren's Dracula is but a rogue soul-clone whose original human persona was leaking into the 'over-written' memories and personality of Drac-Prime; see WNU Connections below]. The recap largely focuses on the final encounter between Dracula-Mordante and Vampirella, which occurred on the desert-like dimension where they and three of Vampi's human allies were temporarily stranded [see "Slitherers in the Sand," in VAMPIRELLA #21, and note that author Bill DuBay liberally re-interprets some of Chad Archer's dialogue for the sake of expediency and clarity, though he did not alter the overall intent of the original rhetoric]. When the author's narration reaches the point where the Conjuress sent Vampi and her allies back to the Van Helsing manse in early 1970s Maine, she then tells Dracula that she is going to send him to a place "as evil as befits a creature such as you."

With that said, she transports Dracula to the Earth dimension, specifically the Barbary Coast of San Francisco in the very early morning hours of April 18, 1906, when it was still several hours before dawn (and of course, she had now lifted her spell that protected Dracula from sunlight and holy icons, and he now once again had to consume human blood in order to survive, so he was no longer a vampiric being on the order of Vampirella and Michael Morbius). The Conjuress declared that such a cesspool of "piratry, Satanism, witchcraft, and white slavery" was perfect for an evil being such as himself, and if it took putting him in a setting of this nature to perhaps spur him into learning to resist his bloodlust, then so be it [the Conjuress certainly wasn't always high on common sense for a "goddess," I'll tell you that much]. She then quickly departed to leave Dracula to his own designs, and he seemed unconcerned that he was sent so many decades into the past [possibly because the "programming" of Dracula-Prime was taking over once again, now that he was free from the control of Chaos at this time], and he noted to himself that he had heard of the Barbary Coast before: "Even as far as my own homeland, I have heard tales of the savagery that abounds here."

While exploring the dark streets of San Francisco in 1906, two sailors noticed the tall gent coming their way, and resolved to subdue him and force him into the servitude of the cargo ship leaving for Europe in the morning. Of course, the assault on Dracula went about as well as one could expect, meaning that the two would-be assailants ended up partially drained of their blood supply and under the mesmeric thrall of the Vampire Lord. Noting that his two newest thralls spoke of a trip to Europe, Dracula was determined to see to it that they secured a place for him on that voyage [Dracula-Prime was indisposed at this point in time, and since Dracula-Mordante was under the true Prince of Darkness's control now, he was likely once again carrying out Dracula-Prime's ambitions in the latter's absence; I believe that the Dracula-Mordante indigenous to his time period was also now indisposed, thus allowing this temporal counterpart of his to move about without concern for running into his temporally indigenous counterpart]. Hence, Dracula began securing his plans to leave the Barbary Coast and return to Castle Dracula in Transylvania [which would be vacant, since Dracula-Prime was still "dead" in 1906, and no other soul-clones were using it at that time].

Meanwhile, another drunken sailor had just purchased the services of a beautiful young prostitute who called herself Josephine, and they were now walking to a place where she said they would have sufficient privacy to conduct their [*ahem*] business dealings. Mentioning her fear of the dark, she asked the sailor to enter the small room first, and when he did so, his skull was smashed open from behind by a makeshift wooden club wielded by a hideous blind old crone, who was a gothic [i.e., evil, non-Wiccan WNU] witch named Elizabeth. As it turns out, Elizabeth was paying Josephine to lure men into the latter's clutches, and when the young lady of the night asked her why, the old witch replied that just as Josephine feared the dark, Elizabeth feared her rapidly approaching death. She plotted to avoid this at all costs by a certain magickal technique that involved cutting out the hearts of the men she murdered and eating them raw (something she discourteously proceeded to do right in front of the vilified Josephine).

With the aid of his two enthralled sailor lackeys, Dracula had secured a hiding place in an obscure part of the ship where he could safely hide during the daylight hours when the ship was en route to Europe, and he sent his lackeys to procure a coffin for him, as well.

Leaving the ship to hunt for human victims in the nearby city, Dracula came to the attention of Josephine, who attempted to lure him into Elizabeth's clutches, as she was hired to do. Upon entering the room with her, Dracula attacked Josephine to take her blood, only to have the Conjuress unexpectedly materialize directly in back of him, demanding that he not take the life of that woman. Though Dracula was given pause in the presence of the sorceress he adored, before he could react any further, her voice drew the waiting but blind Elizabeth to her, and the Conjuress took the blow on the head that was intended for the man Josephine brought in the room. Mortified by the sight of the Conjuress being seriously injured in this manner, Dracula ran to her side, but her injury was too grave [some goddess; see Comments below], and she told him with her dying words that in the end "…there is nothing that can alter you from the totally evil being you are destined to be," and then warned him that the death of one such as her [i.e., a powerful but human agent of Order, not a true "goddess," I believe] would cause extreme repercussions on the city in which she was struck down [possibly as a sort of cosmic "reflex action," I would imagine]. Just then, the Conjuress expired, and Dracula was overcome by sorrow. Telling the old witch that she would pay for killing the only truly good being that Dracula ever knew, the small room they stood within suddenly began shaking and collapsing violently, and the Vampire Lord realized that this was the cosmic repercussion that the Conjuress warned him about in her last words. Using his great strength and speed, Dracula grabbed both women and ran out of the room as the building collapsed around them, to find that the entire city of San Francisco was under the throes of an extremely violent earthquake.

Rushing towards the Barbary docks at inhuman speed with the two women in tow, as numerous buildings heaved and collapsed about him, Dracula discovered that the crew aboard the ship that he intended to travel in were hastily scrambling to set the ship to sail, so that it would escape the tremendous earthquake and fires that were destroying the great city before them. Dracula succeeded in boarding the vessel just in time, and he dragged the two women into his previously prepared hideaway in the unused portion of the ship. After doing so, the Vampire Lord took his vengeance on the two for their role in the death of the Conjuress by feeding on their blood and inducting both of them into the ranks of the Undead, where they would both serve as vampiric thralls of his.

The ship then set sail from the Barbary Coast, as San Francisco was devastated by the historically profound earthquake, the worst to ever hit an American city, on 5:15 AM, April 18th, 1906.

Comments: This story, the first solo adventure of Dracula-Mordante published in the Warren chronicles, also featured the final appearance of the Conjuress in those same chronicles, and the end of her pivotal role that factored into his chron. I deny the comments of the Conjuress that implied she was a goddess, as the manner in which she was killed so easily in this story (hit on the head from behind by a non-superhumanly strong old woman with a mere wooden board) strongly suggests that she was merely mortal in a pure physical sense, outside of the extremely formidable magick that she wielded on behalf of the forces of Order [again, my personal conjecture, based upon my interpretation of all available evidence]. Hence, the Conjuress was much more similar to the likes of Dr. Stephen Strange and Dr. Fate than she was to the likes of Athena.
One of my fellow creative mythographers, Dimadick, has suggested that "goddess" could simply be a title she uses, rather than a literal reference to her intrinsic nature. I concur, as this title could be bolstered by the fact that she does not age, even though she can evidently die from injuries as easily as a normal human being.

This story tied a real historical event, the horrible earthquake that ravaged San Francisco in 1906, into the death of the Conjuress [see WNU Connections below].

The creative crew who scribed and illustrated this story was different from the hands that penned Dracula-Mordante's adventures in the Vampirella series over in her own mag, and the stylistic distinctions were obvious. Bill DuBay was a very competent comic book writer of his era who endeavored to remove the atonement elements from the established Warren back story of Dracula, including the Conjuress (going so far as to kill her off), and move the series more into the genre of pure horror, as would befit a series that was published in EERIE (this was some years before the book's various series became increasingly "super-heroish"), and Dracula now become a horror-oriented anti-hero that was so common for the series characters in EERIE, particularly during the early to mid-70s.

In fact, "Dracula" was one of the earliest series to appear in EERIE, and this was during a time in the early '70s when the book was dominated by stand-alone horror stories (like its sister mag, CREEPY), and only two other series, the very short-lived "Prince Targo" and the long-running, popular "Dax the Warrior," proceeded the "Dracula" series in this mag. "Dracula" was obviously deemed perfect for EERIE as a series, as the only two series that proceeded it were more along the lines of the super-hero and sword and sorcery genre respectively, rather than the horror genus, despite the various horror elements that were thrown into EERIE's aforementioned first two series ["Dax the Warrior," it should be noted, was an American re-interpretation of Esteban Maroto's South American strip "Manly"].

The time travel elements in this story begin complicating matters for Dracula-Mordante's personal chron in a serious manner beginning with this story. I will try to make as much sense as I can with figuring this out, considering the rather cavalier attitude that Dracula displays about being thrust many decades into the past and left stranded there (after the death of the Conjuress), as well as the nonchalant manner that author DuBay handles this important element, in the WNU Connections below.

The artwork of Tom Sutton, a popular comic book artist of the 1970s, was well-rendered here, and he effectively portrayed the 1906 Barbary Bay area as the disgusting, dark, vermin-infested (with both the four-legged and human variety) cesspool that it was. His rendition of the old "gothic" witch Elizabeth was wonderfully hideous to behold. As it turned out, the vamped death-fearing Elizabeth and darkness-fearing Josephine would become supporting characters in the short-lived but notable "Dracula" series in EERIE.

The title of this story wasn't revealed until the bottom of the last page, as the author wanted new readers to be unaware of exactly what day or year in the early 1900s Dracula had arrived at the Barbary Coast, to leave the connection between the Conjuress's death and the historically real earthquake of that date as a surprise. Because of this, when this issue was catalogued in THE WARREN COMPANION, the authors overlooked the story title.

WNU Connections: If any given creative mythographer considers this series to be WNU canon (and I happen to be one who does), then it would appear that the (temporary) death of the Conjuress may have been the direct cause of the incredibly destructive earthquake that struck San Francisco on April 18th, 1906 on the Earth in the WNU.

Upon being transported and stranded in the year 1906, and having been extricated (again, temporarily) from servitude to the Elder God Chaos, it appears that the psychic "programming" of Dracula-Prime took over the mind of Dracula-Mordante once more, and he was thus subconsciously "aware" that Dracula-Prime was now involuntarily indisposed, so his prerogative was to get back to Castle Dracula in Transylvania (which he now "knew" would be bereft of the presence of either Dracula-Prime or any other soul-clone), and continue whatever machinations Dracula-Prime demanded that he carry out. The big question here is: did Dracula-Mordante have a chronal counterpart indigenous to 1906 who was also present and active during this time? I'm not entirely sure at this writing [I leave other creative mythographers with greater expertise in the area of Dracula, including Prof. Chuck Loridans of the MONSTAAH crew, to perhaps figure this out for certain], but since I suspect that Count Mordante was transformed into a soul-clone in the mid-19th century [see my entry for EERIE #48 below for my reasoning behind this], I believe that it was likely that the Dracula-Mordante who was indigenous to 1906 (i.e., not here due to extratemporal factors, as was the Dracula-Mordante of this series, something the Warren authors of his tales appeared to more or less ignore) was also insensate at this time. This would also explain why the anachronistic Dracula-Mordante of this series felt free to be as active as he wanted, and he likely didn't ruminate upon his presence in this time period very much not because he was inept, but rather because he was acting under the subconscious directives of Dracula-Prime during this series, so all other considerations were secondary.

The references to white slavery, Satanism, and "witchcraft" as being prolific in the Barbary Coast in 1906 were all largely fictitious in regards to a RU context, but not necessarily in a WNU context.
White slavery was a highly overstated hysteria frequently reported in the American press during the first two decades of the 20th century, and though some incidents did occur, it wasn't nearly as ubiquitous as the press and various politicians would have the public believe; rather, like most such hysterias, it was immensely blown far out of proportion to justify the enactment of more repressive laws, to get various politicians elected by promising to "do something" about this horrifying menace on their platform, and to rationalize the increase of police powers. The public needs to be frightened in order to stand behind such measures (it should be noted that young men were sometimes coerced against their will into joining cargo ships as crewmen, but this was much more prevalent in the 18th and early 19th centuries as it was later in time).

However, it's quite possible that in the WNU, there actually was a large white slavery operation going on. It does appear that certain urban legends that were widely believed (but largely false) in the RU had a much greater basis in reality in the WNU. Another example of this was the high organized crime rate seen among the Asian population of late 19th century and early 20th century East End section of London in THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN Vol. 1 and the Fu Manchu novels by Sax Rohmer. The British media in the RU were highly prejudiced against the Asian immigrants who arrived there and who lived predominantly in the East End of London during the late 19th century, and often incorrectly portrayed their area of the city as a hotspot of organized crime, violence, and drug abuse, despite the fact that most of these immigrants were honest, hardworking, and successful in various small businesses. In the WNU, however, it would seem that such media-driven urban legends had a considerably larger basis in truth.
The same is applicable regarding the alleged existence of Satanism, the "gothic" version being largely an invention of the Roman Catholic Church to control its followers during the time; the actual religious Satanist movement in the RU [which does not believe in, let alone worship, the Judeo-Christian conception of Satan, but rather utilizes "Satan" as a metaphor of rebellion, and actually practice a system of belief and a system of magick where they essentially worship their own ego, and this "left path" system wasn't really formulated until the late 1960s by the late Anton LeVay]…in the WNU, however, there does indeed seem to be an actually established system of evil, i.e., "gothic" Satanism, and its various tendencies have appeared in many WNU sources. It's been suggested by some creative mythographers that from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, various branches of these gothic Satanists in the WNU were responsible for carrying out the wishes of various rival arch-demons to sire a demon/human hybrid who would become the legendary Anti-Christ, and who would ultimately enable his arch-demon sire to rule the world at the time of the Millennium, when the child would now be at adulthood. The disparate human/demon hybrids born as a result of such gothic Satanic cults of the WNU included Damian Thorne (first appearance: THE OMEN novel), Daimon Hellstrom (first appearance: MARVEL SPOTLIGHT Vol. 1 #12, published by Marvel Comics), the latter's twin sister Satana Hellstrom (first appearance: VAMPIRE TALES #2, published by Marvel Comics), Andrew Woodhouse (first appearance: ROSEMARY'S BABY novel), Catherine Verney (first appearance: TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER novel), Raven Roth (first appearance: NEW TEEN TITANS #1, published by DC Comics), and the unnamed child born in the story "Anti-Christmas" from CREEPY #68, published by Warren Comics.
The same can be said for witchcraft in the WNU. In the RU, Witchcraft is (contrary to sometimes popular belief) not properly used to define the generic practice of magick, but rather is a specific type of nature-friendly magick that is distinct from other types, such as the non-Pagan ceremonial, or High Magick, first established by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in the late 19th century of the RU. Moreover, the idea of "black" (i.e., evil) witches in the RU are also mostly a fictitious invention of the Roman Catholic Church during the Inquisition, and maintained by pop culture into the early 21st century, though various non-evil versions of WNU Witchcraft have also been seen outside of Wicca, including on the long-running, popular TV series "Charmed." Actual Witchcraft in the RU is a nature-friendly, spiritual, and benign form of magick used by Pagans who belong to the various denominations of Wicca (including this author), though magick of any system is neither "good" nor "evil," but can be used in any manner outside of the ideological foundation of Wicca, the latter of which decrees that all magick performed must "harm none."

But again, in the WNU, it appears that a "gothic" branch of evil witches do exist to a large but still minority extent, and Elizabeth, the blind old witch from this series, is an example of that tendency. It appears that she was a mystic of relatively minor ability, however, and not a powerful practitioner of sorcery along the lines of Dr. Strange, Dr. Mist, or the Conjuress.

Classic Dialogue: Dracula's egotism is in full swing when he attacks two would-be human assailants, one of whom likens him to Satan: "No, I am not Satan[,] but by the time I am finished you will have wished I was Satan…the lesser of two evils!"

Dracula's ironic thoughts when he first spies the prostitute Josephine: "She is a woman of the night…selling her wares to the highest buyer! What a colossal joke to transform her into even more of a woman of the night!"

Dracula's ironic comment to the death-fearing Elizabeth just before vamping her: "…since you seem to fear death more than all else…you shall be one of the dead forevermore!!"

Dracula's ironic comment to the darkness-fearing Josephine just before vamping her: "…you who fear the dark more than all else…shall pay by living forever in the world of the vampire…the world of darkness!"
Drac really outdid himself in the ironic dialogue department this time around!

Time Frame: As noted above in both the synopsis and Comments, this story takes place in the very early morning hours of April 18, 1906.

EERIE #47

"Enter the Dead-Thing"

Story: Bill DuBay

Art: Tom Sutton

This story begins with a brief recap of last issue's tale, as Dracula flees the devastating earthquake that struck San Francisco on April 18th, 1906, with the blind old witch Elizabeth and the young beautiful prostitute named Josephine in tow. He successfully manages to reach the ship in the docks of the Barbary Coast, where two sailors who had fallen under his vampiric thralldom had previously prepared an unused portion of the ship with a coffin for him, and upon dragging his two human female captives in there, he attacks and vamps both of them.

About three months of sailing later, the ship nears the European shores, and as night falls, the now vampiric Elizabeth and Josephine leave their secret chambers, and they feed upon the two mesmerized sailors that are under Dracula's control, being careful to take only a small amount of blood, so the two are able to replenish it quickly. However, because of the small amount of blood they are allowed to take from these two men on a nightly basis, Josephine mentions to Elizabeth that she remains unsatiated this evening, and both resolve to find new victims, but the witch woman suggests that they are less likely to be discovered if they split up and work towards that goal separately. Taking a lit candle, Josephine searches the ship for another victim, still fearing the darkness despite now being one of the undead [I presume the candle was to illuminate the darkness, as vampires are obviously able to see in the dark with no difficulty].

Hastening to find a victim, Josephine enters the hold and reveals her presence on the ship to the sex-starved crewmen who were passing the time with a card game. Not wishing to look a proverbial gift horse in the mouth, all of the men begin indulging in the presence of this unexpected stowaway on the ship, and all of them scoffed at the question of one of their number, Bad Bob, who questions how she could have hid on the ship undetected for nearly three months. The other men, having not seen a woman since the voyage began, were hardly concerned, of course [boys will be boys, I suppose], until the captain suddenly appeared and interrupted their reverie. Pulling rank and taking Josephine to his cabin for himself, he told her that despite the surprise of finding a stowaway who hid on the ship for such an inexplicably long period of time, he would work out a way to enable her to "pay" for her passage on the vessel [in the privacy of his cabin, of course!].

In the meantime, Elizabeth was searching a different part of the ship for a victim [her sexual appeal was further in the past than the dinosaurs], hoping to find a straggler in a secluded area. Though still blind, her enhanced vampiric senses detected something akin to life in this forgotten area of the ship, and other than a few scurrying rats, she discovered another wooden coffin. Tearing the lid off with her enhanced strength, she realized that nothing was within but a rotted male corpse…and was startled as this 'Dead Thing' opened his eyes. The realization of this animate corpse in her midst triggered her extreme phobia of death, and the old vampiric witch fainted, as the Dead Thing rose and began stalking about the ship [see WNU Connections below].

Then, in his own section of the ship, Dracula rises from his coffin [evidently, for some reason, Dracula-Mordante didn't appear to need contact with his native soil lining his coffin's interior, as did Dracula-Prime and most other vampires of his particular vampiric strain; see Comments below]. Walking the decks, the Vampire Lord noted, by the position of the stars in the sky, that they would reach the European shores by the next day. Not seeing Elizabeth and Josephine anywhere, his subtle psychic connection to them suggested that they were both in danger, and he quickly moved to assist them, detecting the presence of the old witch much closer to his vicinity.

Outside of the captain's cabin, two other crewmen, Big John and Weasel, were talking about how they looked forward to their own turn with Josephine once the captain was through with her. They were then surprised to see the young woman emerge from the cabin without the captain accompanying her, and she allowed Big John to lustfully drag her away to a more private section of the ship, as Weasel somewhat impatiently waited his own turn. As the ship neared the European shores, Weasel wondered why Big John was taking so long with Josephine when suddenly a decayed hand landed on his shoulder…and the rotting Dead-Thing quickly used his inhuman strength to crush the man's skull with one hand.

At the same time, the first mate and another crewman began knocking on the captain's cabin door to inform him that they were nearing land, and they were concerned when he didn't answer. Entering the room, they were first surprised to see the interior to be in a shambles, and then horrified to see their superior officer lying on the floor dead, his throat torn open by two large fang marks. Realizing that something horrible was aboard the ship, the first mate called all hands on deck, and the entire crew began storming the ship, armed with torches and firearms, determined to hunt and kill whatever had killed the captain.

Finally locating and reviving Elizabeth, Dracula was told of the animate corpse in the coffin, and though no such creature was there now, the Vampire Lord's psychic connection to her enabled him to determine that the witch woman was telling him the truth. Realizing that Josephine would be imperiled by the presence of the Dead-Thing, Dracula morphed into bat-form and began searching the ship for both of them, with Elizabeth close on his tail in bat-form herself.

The Dead-Thing dropped the unliving body of Weasel to the deck as Josephine emerged from the private area of the ship, her mouth smeared with the blood she took from the hapless Big John. Noticing the vampire woman, the Dead-Thing began approaching her, when the mob of crewmen came upon both of them. Mistakenly thinking that the walking corpse had killed the captain, rather than Josephine, they all declared their intention of protecting her from the decaying monstrosity. Before they could descend upon the creature, however, both Dracula and Elizabeth also arrived on the scene in bat-form. Morphing back into humanoid form, Dracula engaged the Dead-Thing in battle, knocking several of the walking corpse's remaining teeth from his jaw with a powerful blow, the reverberations of this causing one of the startled crewman to drop his torch, which quickly set the wooden deck of the vessel ablaze.

As Dracula and the Dead-Thing continued to grapple with each other, the remaining men leapt off of the ship as it quickly became a raging inferno (they were only about a mile, at most, from land), and Josephine and Elizabeth both fled the burning vessel in bat-form. As the ship burned and sunk into the roiling waves, Dracula quickly morphed into bat-form also, and began flying towards the European shores before him. As the blazing vessel sank beneath the sea, the Dead-Thing's smoldering hand likewise sunk below the waves, the fetid creature now suffering a second demise.

About a day later, Dracula and his two female consorts arrived at Castle Dracula in Transylvania at long last. Gladdened to be back in his home, the Vampire Lord's glee was quickly cut off after entering the sprawling edifice when his chest was torn to shreds by a sudden burst of silver-laden buckshot. As the startled vampire women turned around, sitting in a chair near the entrance was a fearsome and robust looking old man holding the smoking shotgun, remarking to himself, "I've waited a long time for this! But at long last…the accursed Dracula is no more!"

Comments: The scripting and artwork of Bill DuBay and Tom Sutton, respectively, were on a roll with this decently crafted story, which reminded one of Dracula-Prime's trip on the Demeter from Transylvania to England in Bram Stoker's DRACULA. Further, the characters of Elizabeth and Josephine were a bit more fleshed out (pun intended in Josephine's case) this time around. The creepily appropriate artwork of Tom Sutton would be sorely missed with the next and final installment of Dracula-Mordante's series in EERIE, and it was likely the reason why the series was abruptly and prematurely pulled from the mag after that [see Comments in the "Dracula" entry for EERIE #48].

The topical dialects of the early 20th century sailors in this story, not to mention their nicknames (Twerpy Joe, Big Dick [I didn't make that last one up!], etc.) were a hoot to read.

My fellow creative mythographer Gordon Long has suggested that the reason Dracula didn't appear to need contact with his native soil any longer was due to his past mystical dealings with Chaos. It's likely that Chaos would have needed Dracula-Mordante to be more readily mobile across the world, thus permanently countering his need to rely on contact with his native soil when sleeping.

And in case anyone reading this is wondering: no, DuBay made no attempt whatsoever to explain the Dead-Thing, e.g., whose corpse it was, how he died, how he ended up in a coffin on that ship in a manner that was unbeknownst to the crew, and why the corpse was animate. The rotted corpse was dressed in a tattered suit and tie, implying that this was funeral attire. As for his character (what there was of it), he appeared to have only part of his proverbial marbles, as his decayed, only partially functioning brain was subject to simplistic thinking and psychotic behavior. He was capable of speech, though in a very feeble-minded fashion (the only words he uttered, and with difficulty at that, was "girl…?" when he first saw Josephine). And of course, the Dead-Thing possessed the superhuman strength that many walking corpses seem to be equipped with. For possible explanations, see WNU Connections below.

It would appear that in the 1970s, comic book writers in the horror genre had a minor passion for placing the "thing" suffix on various monsters they wrote about (e.g., the Man-Thing, Swamp Thing, Marvin the Dead Thing, etc...for once, the creature with the suffix in question wasn't a swamp monster).

WNU Connections: In the Comments section above, all creative mythographers reading this will see every available clue alluding to the Dead-Thing's possible nature that were presented in that story. I will leave others to sort his story out if they are so inclined, though few may be interested considering the fact that he was obviously intended as nothing more that a horror-oriented plot device and throwaway character that author Bill DuBay didn't feel the need to explain in any fashion.

My guess at this point, however, is that the Dead-Thing may have been a demonically re-animated corpse along the lines of Jason Vorhees from the "Friday the 13th" film series, which is also considered part of the "consensus" WNU canon. But nothing else is known about this particular walking corpse right now, and I'm sure that many who read this index entry may wonder why I'm even bothering to put even this much thought into it, considering author DuBay certainly didn't (but that's what creative mythographers do!).

My fellow creative mythographer Dimadick had this suggestion as a possible origin of the Dead-Thing in a WNU context:
"The Dead-Thing was able to speak, albeit only one word : 'girl.' Jason Voorhees is famously mute. Dead-Thing reminds me more of Simon William Garth , the most famous Zombie [appearing in the Marvel magazine TALES OF THE ZOMBIE, along with a story in BIZARRE ADVENTURES]. See: http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix2/zombiegarth.htm

"Garth had remnants of individual thought and a tendency to travel as a stowaway in various ships. Unfortunately, he was only active since 1953. Perhaps the Dead-Thing was a creation of a Voodoo practicioner active in 1906? I'd suggest Murdere Legendre , the mysterious necromancer from 'White Zombie.' He could always use another pawn for his plans. (Although Murdere hinted his practices originated in Egypt and was seen active in Haiti, he could be in Europe waiting for 'reinforcements' in 1906)."

Time Frame: This story took place about three months after last issue's story, which would make the setting sometime in July of 1906.

EERIE #48

"The Son of Dracula"

Story: Bill DuBay

Art: Rich Buckler

As last issue's story is recapped, Dracula, the vamped elderly blind witch woman Elizabeth, and the young vamped prostitute Josephine finally arrive at Castle Dracula (circa 1906), only to have the Prince of Darkness's chest shredded by an unexpected blast of silver buckshot from a weapon wielded by an unexpected older man, who quietly says to himself, "Welcome home, vampire." The impact of the blast sends Dracula careening into a pit just outside of Castle Dracula, and his attacker reloads the shotgun, re-affirms his longtime vow of vengeance, and stands triumphantly over the severely wounded and bleeding Dracula-Mordante.

This leads the barely conscious Dracula to segue into a flashback, which must have occurred about 50 years in the past, involving an untold early story of Dracula-Mordante [see Comments and WNU Connections below]. During that aforementioned incident, he was fleeing an unnamed human pursuer, who was armed with a shotgun loaded with silver bullets [could they really have been shells composed of silver nitrate, as he claimed?], and this hunter vowed to kill Dracula-Mordante for slaying his sister [if this was Dracula-Prime, I believe, the latter would have been far less likely to flee from any human opponent, even if they were wielding a weapon of silver]. When the hunter managed to seriously injure the Vampire Lord by shooting him through the arm with one of his silver bullets, the King of the Undead leaps off of a high cliff in order to avoid another silver bullet from his unnamed but relentless attacker, and transforms into bat-form soon after falling. But due to his serious injuries, which includes severe blood loss, Dracula reverts back to humanoid form and lands several feet away from a ramshackle farmhouse.

Inside, lives a beautiful young woman who rises from her bed as she witnesses the plight of this stranger outside of her window (she has no idea he is a vampire, as she does not see him morph from bat into humanoid). Seeing the shelter before him, and realizing that the sun is about to rise, the severely bleeding Dracula desperately attempts to reach the farmhouse, but finds himself too weak to do so. However, the young woman, named Gwethalyn Christen [is that a valid Transylvanian surname?], ran outside to help this mysterious stranger. As she reaches him, Dracula notices the sun coming up on the horizon, and he screams in agony, passing out a moment later. Not knowing what else to do, Gwethalyn drags the stranger into her house, lays him on her bed, and closes her windows, thus saving him from exposure to direct sunlight.

As it turns out, Gwethalyn is a deaf mute, and her husband left her very recently due to his inability to deal with her handicap. Terribly lonely and yearning for love, the young woman begins nursing the severely wounded stranger, who literally dropped into her life, back to health. The next evening, Dracula awakens on her bed, his wounds dressed and his health improved, as the deaf young woman tends to his injuries. Suddenly overcome by his bloodlust, Dracula was about to feed upon her, but with a tremendous effort of will, he prevented himself from doing so, both due to his extreme gratitude and the fact that he was quite attracted to the young lady.

In the days that follow, she completely nursed the Vampire Lord back to health, never realizing what he was, and after a few days, he knew that he could no longer resist his bloodlust. Nevertheless, he could not bring himself to attack Gwethalyn, and so as she fell asleep on her floor that night, the Vampire Lord snuck out of her home, traveled into the nearby town in bat-form, and reverted to human form just in time to attack and kill a wandering prostitute for her blood, knowing that her death would go largely uninvestigated.

Dracula finds himself returning to the old farmhouse, as the striking young woman, despite her handicap, proves of immense emotional appeal to the noble but cursed Vampire Lord.

The next evening, Dracula did not venture out of the farmhouse, as he and Gwethalyn embraced, kissed, and made love for the first time. Waking up a few hours before dawn, Dracula realized that her mortal beauty would fade in time, as would her affection for him once she found out what the truly was, so he began to question maintaining this romantic relationship with her. As she slept, the Prince of Darkness traveled into the town once more, seeking a victim in bat-form, and this time he attacked a male night walker, whom he happened to come across. Now, however, he noticed that the town's authorities were well aware of a murderer in their midst, and grew more cautious, having officers patrol the evening streets in greater numbers. Hence, his feedings were growing shorter and shorter each time, and he now found his hunger for blood unsatiated when he returned to the farmhouse. Seeing the (mega-hot) Gwethalyn sitting on the bed nude as she brushed her hair, Dracula asked himself, "If I go in there, perhaps this time I will not hold back! Do I dare gamble the life of one I hold so dear to me…?" With another powerful leap of willpower, Dracula realized that he could not take such a risk, and instead fled the farmhouse, intending never to see Gwethalyn again.

Several months later, though, Gwethalyn approached Castle Dracula, whose location she acquired from a gypsy fortune teller [probably one of the Kalderesh; see WNU Connections below]. Due to being deaf, she did not hear the warnings from the many villagers in the surrounding environs who urged her not to approach that place.

Upon entering the castle, the young woman came across a scene that chilled her blood…the sight of the man she loved, Count Dracula, taking the blood from a human female victim. Upon looking up, Dracula was overcome with remorse as he saw Gwethalyn standing before him…very obviously nine months pregnant with what he and she both assumed to be his child [see Comments and WNU Connections below]. Overcome with remorse, Dracula began trying to plead with the young woman who had captured his heart, telling her that he couldn't help his vampiric bloodlust, but the terrified girl couldn't handle what she had just witnessed, and in attempting to step away from the Count, she accidentally fell backwards outside of the castle window, to plummet a few stories to the ground, landing on her back. Rushing to her side, Dracula realized that she was still alive but fatally injured, and would expire in moments…but the baby seemed determined to be born, fighting like a demon out of hell to live, and she forced herself to utter the word "please…" as she begged the man she formerly loved to help her prevent this birth. But as the young woman died, the baby was indeed born…a male infant who seemed healthy and thus extremely hardy, and Dracula held in his hands what he believed to be his own progeny, a dhampir [a vampire/human hybrid conceived by unusual means; see Comments and WNU Connections below].

Meanwhile, as the flashback comes to an end, we move forward to 1906 again where Dracula-Mordante's alleged son, now an older man, stands over the former's seriously injured, blood-soaked body, with the grim declaration that he had ended the evil of his father at long last.

Comments: This tale was almost entirely comprised of a flashback sequence that took place about 55 years prior to the events at the end of last issue's story, the latter of which occurred in the summer of 1906.

Very unfortunately, the series was abruptly dropped from EERIE with this issue, leaving this extremely exciting cliffhanger completely unresolved. It's quite obvious that there were originally plans to continue the series beyond this, as there was a blurb for the next entry in this series (never published), that read: "Next issue: Blood Princess of Bathory Castle." The reason for the sudden termination of this well-received series was possibly due at least in part to the large amount of negative mail feedback that the publisher and editorial staff of EERIE received in regards to replacing artist Tom Sutton with the very stylistically distinct Rich Buckler with this story, whose artwork seemed more suited to super-hero comics than horror stories, the latter of which Sutton's moody art was considerably better-suited for. Elizabeth and Josephine were barely seen in this story, and the former was drawn by Buckler as a typical looking old lady rather than the truly hideous crone that Sutton rendered, and the change in artist for this series in the middle of a story arc was indeed a dramatic one, especially since Buckler's style differed so radically from Sutton's.

A short time later, Dracula-Mordante would gain a new three entry solo series in VAMPIRELLA #39-41 with an entirely new creative team (indexed below), but it did not pick up directly after this one; rather, it began two years after this story, when the plot we saw here had somehow been resolved behind the scenes.

Due to the abrupt termination of this series in EERIE, we never got to learn the identity of Dracula-Mordante's alleged dhampir son, or the final fates of that son, Elizabeth, or Josephine, nor how he got himself out of the predicament he found himself in at the end of this story. All we know, based upon his next solo series in VAMPIRELLA, is that he did indeed escape from this precarious situation, and Elizabeth and Josephine were no longer factors in his life two years later. He also remained in the past, apparently not returning to the 1970s any time soon. What occurred during the two-year interim between the two solo series featuring Warren's Dracula remains a mystery [see WNU Connections below].

In order to emphasize that the flashback sequence took place in the past, when Dracula-Mordante was much younger, artist Rich Buckler drew him sans the prominent gray streaks on his temples, but this is likely to be artistic license, as vampires tend not to age beyond the point when they are first vamped, despite the fact that graying of the hair has more to do with the mere passage of time than the aging process per se.

Though Rich Buckler's art wasn't as horror-friendly as was Tom Sutton's, he knew how to render a very sexy Gwethalyn, I'll give him that much.

The sexual conception of a child is evidently not possible between either two vampires, or between a human and a vampire of Dracula's particular vampiric strain outside of rigorous mystical means [as Dracula-Prime did with his human bride Domini in Marvel's TOMB OF DRACULA series]. But it's still possible for a vampiric male to sire a human/vampire hybrid (i.e., a dhampir) with a human female by the following means, according to a theory held by some creative mythographers based upon how the most famous dhampir of them all, Blade, was "conceived" by a human mother and the vampiric physician Deacon Frost.

If a human woman is already pregnant with a child from a human father, and a male vampire bites her, the virogen in the vamp's saliva will alter the body chemistry of the unborn child in utero, and cause the baby to be suffused with some of the DNA characteristics of the vampiric male, with the result being that the child will be born a dhampir with some of the male vampire's genetic characteristics. But except under unusual circumstances [as was the case with Dracula-Mordante in Atlas/Seaboard's FRIGHT #1, as per my speculations] both humans and vampires alike avoid "conceiving" a dhampir whenever possible because of their extreme unpredictability after reaching adulthood. Many dhampirs become excellent vampire hunters, as did Blade and Dracula-Mordante's "son" [in regards to the former, see his 1970s exploits in issues of Marvel's four-color TOMB OF DRACULA comic (beginning with #10), his solo series in VAMPIRE TALES, and an issue of the black and white showcase mag MARVEL PREVIEW], or dangerous threats to human beings, due to their partially vampiric nature, provided they lack the willpower and/or inclination to resist their own bloodlust [such as Adam Lucard in Atlas/Seaboard's one-shot four-color FRIGHT comic].

Hence, I would opine that Gwethalyn was already a few weeks pregnant by her departed husband before Dracula-Mordante arrived in her life, and somehow he managed to pass the vampiric virogen to her during sex, thus causing her son to be born a dhampir who later became a vampire hunter dedicated to ending his "father's" undead existence.

This particular story was a good effort by Bill Dubay, and despite its horror elements, it was quite touching, and provided a good example of Dracula-Mordante's compassionate and affectionate side [in marked contrast to that of the usually totally ruthless Dracula-Prime], and the end of the loving Gwethalyn was truly sad and tragic.

WNU Connections: As noted in the Comments above, Dracula-Mordante evidently "sired" a dhampir son whose identity was not revealed due to the abrupt termination of the "Dracula" series in EERIE (which was never again picked up from that point in his chron), nor was the identity of the human vampire hunter who was pursuing Dracula-Mordante at the beginning of the flashback sequence in vengeance for killing his sister revealed (the man appeared to be in his late 30s to late 40s, with shoulder length silver hair). Dracula-Mordante's unnamed dhampir son was about in his late 50s when finally seen as an adult, and he likewise had shoulder-length hair, which was white. What happened in the two year interim between the end of this story and Dracula-Mordante's second solo series that began in VAMPIRELLA #39 [indexed below], what happened in the never published story promised for the next installment that was to feature a "blood princess of Bathory Castle" [perhaps featuring a relative of the WNU version of the deadly Countess Elisabeth Bathory, such a descendant actually appearing in Warren's "Hunter" series, indexed elsewhere on this site], the final fate of his dhampir son, the blind vampiric witch woman Elizabeth, and the young vampiric prostitute Josephine, will have to be decided by creative mythographers in the future, and I'm hoping that the MONSTAAH crew can help discern what occurred following this story, and during the next two years, prior to Dracula-Mordante joining the traveling circus of King Carnival in the story "The Circus of King Carnival" from VAMPIRELLA #39.

It appears that one of the Kalderesh, the mystically inclined gypsy tribe, appeared briefly behind the scenes in this story.

As noted in various entries above, I believe that the flashback sequence that occurred in the 1850s [see Time Frame below] did indeed feature Dracula-Mordante, rather than another soul-clone, let alone Dracula-Prime. His personality was very similar to that of the soul-clone we saw in all the appearances of Dracula in Warren comics [with the exception of the "Satanna, Daughter of Satan" story, indexed below]. Hence, it would appear that Dracula-Prime did indeed transform Count Mordante into a soul-clone sometime just prior to the 1850s in the WNU, but his own noble and affectionate personality "leaking" into the memory implants superimposed over his psyche by the Star Stone caused him to soon go partially rogue. When the Dracula-Mordante from the early 1970s was sent back to 1906 by the Conjuress's sorcery, and returned to Castle Dracula of that year, he inadvertently did so at a very bad time, since he neglected to consider that his now adult dhampir "son" would be extant in that time period, and the psychic senses of his unnamed "son" obviously determined when Dracula-Mordante arrived back in 1906 Transylvania from the Barbary Coast in America. Of course, the "Son of Dracula" obviously wouldn't be aware that this was actually an extratemporal future counterpart of his dreaded "sire" (not that it would have likely mattered to him, anyway).

The full story about the woman whom the unnamed human vampire hunter at the beginning of the flashback sequence, her brother, was trying to avenge by slaying Dracula-Mordante, also has yet to be told, and it will obviously take great conjecture on the part of any future creative mythographer who may attempt to tackle this mystery head-on.

As noted above, Dracula-Mordante's next chronological appearance is in his solo story published in VAMPIRELLA #39 ("The Circus of King Carnvial"), indexed below.

Time Frame: The framing sequence of this story took place immediately following the events of last issue's story, i.e., July, 1906. The lengthy flashback sequence that took up almost all of this story occurred, I would estimate, sometime in the early 1850s of the WNU.

VAMPIRELLA #39
[reprinted in COMIX INTERNATIONAL #2 and VAMPIRELLA #107]

"The Circus of King Carnival"

Story: Gerry Boudreau

Art: Esteban Maroto

This story begins in an area of Mississippi known as Choctaw County, July 8, 1908, where a strange but exciting traveling circus run by the mysterious King Carnival [he isn't seen until "The Winged Shaft of Fate" from VAMPIRELLA #40, indexed below]. Two of the exhibits listed on wooden signs protruding from the fairgrounds are "The Incredible Shaman" and "The Miraculous Butterfly Woman--the Fulfillment of Every Fantasy" [I'm surprised such risqué advertising was allowed in an era where Victorian morals held even more sway than they do today; and yes, both of these signs represent important plot points for later in the story].

Among the many patrons in attendance this day is a young woman named Cassandra Kiley, and her husband, Jackson. Cassandra and her husband were just three days earlier informed by her doctor that she was dying of a terminal illness, and she was thus endeavoring to enjoy the last few months that life had to offer her. As she noted to herself in a diary entry, "Jackson is taking it hard. I think he feels sorrier for himself than me. I think he's afraid of being left alone. He always has been a possessive man but the past few days he has become unbearable!"
[This statement may be a bit anachrocentric, since most husbands were indeed "possessive" of their wives in an era prior to women's suffrage.]

As the two strolled about the midway together, a petty thief named Karl Draper absconded with Jackson's wallet, which he unwisely left in his back pocket, and a police officer who saw this action launched pursuit.

As revealed further on in the story, Draper ducked into the tent housing the enigmatic Butterfly Woman. When he saw her, the thief was seemingly hypnotically captivated by what sat before him: a shapely nude woman with unusual skin color [in this colorized story, the hue appeared to change with the colorist's whimsy, going from greenish to pinkish to yellowish, etc., but it was never suggested anywhere in this story that she could alter the color of her epidermis, either at will nor depending upon her mood], huge multi-colored butterfly-like wings extending from her back, fairly long blonde hair, two protrusions from each side of her head that resembled much smaller versions of the butterfly-like wings on her back, strange markings above and below her eyes, and very long, sharpened fingernails. She appeared to exude either an energy or perhaps some form of pheromone that caused certain men in her presence to become extremely sexually aroused, often to the point of standing before her entirely mesmerized, an effect that she seemed to enjoy and savor. This is what happened to Draper, and he found himself never wanting to leave her presence (as he silently noted to himself in regards to the sign outside of her tent, "The fulfillment of every fantasy…they are wrong! She is my every fantasy!").

Seeing the tent that advertised the services of the mystic fortune teller who called himself Aesclepios the Shaman ["shaman" is actually a term used to describe Native American medicine men/mystics, and Aesclepios, whose name was revealed in the next story, appears to be a short, wizened old man of mongoloid descent, perhaps Tibetan, but his actual nationality was never made clear; perhaps the word "shaman" was chosen for him by King Carnival to make it more linguistically identifiable with the patrons of the U.S.]. Billed as "The Human Ouija Board" [now you know that King Carnival was choosing these names!], Cassandra found the idea of a fortune-teller intriguing, and she asked Jackson to take her into his tent for a reading.

The sign outside of his tent read "The Shaman Theurgist Extraordinaire Miracle Healer," and an August 26, 1908 excerpt from the Mississippi Gazette had this to say about him: "One of the most unusual aspects of King Carnival's circus is The Shaman! His origin is a mystery to all, and his powers beyond belief. Fortune telling wizardry, miracle healing, mysticism [um, isn't that a generic blanket term for each of the latter activities?], all come under the domain of this wizend [sic] little magus. But his act consists mostly of parlor game tricks. However, it is said in private consultations his powers truly come to light."

Jackson made himself sparse during the reading, but later, sans the company of Cassandra, he again visited Aesclepios [that name sounds Greek, and was certainly neither Native American or Tibetan…the aged mystic wore a garb that resembled a scarlet robe with accompanying headdress, which had unidentified yellow symbols inscribed on the forehead area]. This time Jackson asked for the means of curing his wife of her terminal illness, to which the elderly wizard replied, "I will help you…but my price is high! I am not a man of medicine […] I draw my strength from a far more powerful source! The gods whom I serve would require a life! Are you prepared to pay that price?" Nervously asking the mystic if he was referring to himself, Aesclepios assured Jackson that he wasn't, but was instead referring to that of another person, since before acting to save his wife, he would first require a freshly taken human heart.

Jackson returned to Cassandra 20 minutes later, with no explanation of where he had been in the interim, and she was concerned that he was growing ever more distant from her with his sudden aloofness, as she now needed him more than ever. As the two left the circus when the sun was setting, she stood to watch the beauty of the solar orb setting below the clouds…and she suddenly felt the sensation of being watched, unaware that the one who was doing the watching was a familiar figure of a man wearing a cape (as she later recorded in a diary entry, "…I wondered if death might already be eyeing me, waiting for the right moment to reach forth…!" [If she only knew!]).

As he later said in a police report regarding the demise of Karl Draper, custodian Enos Buneul walked through the Butterfly Woman's tent when Draper was in there, and he reported that he saw the thief standing transfixed before the inscrutable oddity, something that he witnessed with so many other men who stood in her presence before that he thought little of it, but he did tell Draper that the tent was about to close for the night, and that he would have to leave, which he did.

Later that night, however, no longer being able to bear being away from the Butterfly Woman's presence, Draper snuck back into her tent, and he again stood in her presence absolutely spellbound, as she once more basked in the man's adoration of her. Meanwhile, seeing Draper duck into the tent just before he and his wife were about to depart the carnival for the night, Jackson Kiley saw just the opportunity he was waiting for. Asking Cassandra to wait for him, she did so (albeit with great suspicion) as her husband raced back into the carnival grounds. Picking up a large rock and entering the Butterfly Woman's tent behind the thief, Draper's enrapture with the strange woman made him an easy victim for having his skull smashed open from behind by Jackson. Recognizing Draper as the man who had pick pocketed him earlier that day on the midway, Jackson concluded that few people would miss this man, so he took a blade from his pocket and proceeded to remove Draper's heart [actually, removing a heart is quite difficult, because there are several ribs that need to be cut through first, something that is hardly easy with the small blade that Jackson utilized, let alone in just a few moments!]. However, this action extremely incensed the usually gentle Butterfly Woman, who was so enraged at the murder of one of her admirers in front of her that she attacked Jackson and viciously ripped his throat out with her extended talons.

Hearing her husband's anguished death scream from outside, Cassandra was about to run into the tent to see what fate had befallen him, when she instead inadvertently ran into the arms of the caped stranger who had watched them the previous evening…a stranger who proceeded to bite her neck and transform her into one of the Undead. As she said in another diary entry, "Since the night my husband vanished, I have come to know this man well. He is my friend, my companion, my lover…his name is DRACULA!"

Comments: This story was the first of the (pre-planned) three part "Dracula" series in the VAMPIRELLA mag, which continued the exploits of Warren's Dracula character following his abruptly ended series in EERIE over a year earlier. Regrettably, the resolution of that cliffhanger was nowhere to be seen, and instead new series writer Gerry Boudreau, a good storyteller, picked up the exploits of Dracula-Mordante two years after his first solo series, leaving all of the supporting cast of that previous series behind, and placing him in an entirely different and outré milieu for this new series. Dracula was now back in the U.S., specifically the infamous Southern U.S. in the first decade of the 20th century (so obviously he had never been restored to his own time period), and he somehow came upon King Carnival's circus for reasons that were not revealed…it's possible that he simply came there because he was aware that the many patrons would provide him with a good source of victims, as well as a new vampiric paramour, something that Dracula-Mordante always appeared to be in search of, also.

Boudreau brought a very different tone to his series than Bill DuBay did, and the artwork of Esteban Maroto was superbly atmospheric. This series would be as appealing to those who like a taste of the bizarre as it would to fans of the straight horror genre (though it still wasn't nearly as beautifully bizarre and mind-warping as EERIE's "Tales of Peter Hypnos" series).

Both Aesclepios the Shaman and the Butterfly Woman were strange examples of the King Carnival's many oddities, and neither of them had their origins revealed. As this series made clear in the course of its progression, Warren writers never seemed overly concerned with explaining anything in detail, something that is anathema to comic book writers of today, whose fan base tends to revile such a cavalier attitude towards storytelling. In fact, the Butterfly Woman made nothing more than a brief cameo appearance in the series outside of this story, and I cannot begin to conjecture upon her possible origins; I will leave other creative mythographers to do this, but it's possible that she was a posthuman mutant of some sort. She did not seem to be evil, though she could become lethally dangerous if harm was enacted upon one of the men who fell under her ability to involuntarily enrapture males who gazed upon her (and, presumably, if she herself was threatened with harm).

King Carnival himself would not appear until the next story in the series.

Interestingly enough, Dracula made only brief appearances in this particular tale, and it wasn't until the next and final two segments in this series that he would become of major importance in the stories. Cassandra Kiley, a new protagonist/supporting character in this series was, like Dracula-Mordante himself, another tragic character who was drawn into the world of evil due to no fault of their own, and she provided much pathos to the stories.

Interestingly, much like Bram Stoker's DRACULA (and perhaps inspired by it), the format of these stories, while they did contain much dialogue, largely consisted of narration captions that were mostly all culled from diary or journal entries, newspaper articles, and police reports. The first story in the series was even more like Stoker's novel, in that Dracula was largely kept as a shadowy menace or presence relegated to the background, with most of the story carried by the supporting cast.

WNU Connections: The King Carnival is one of the many bizarre, oddity-ridden carnivals that have appeared throughout the WNU, another being seen in "The Freaks" series that ran through EERIE in the '70s. Others have appeared in non-Warren sources in many other books and series that can be considered woldable, and perhaps an article covering such freakish carnivals and the various denizens of the WNU who encountered them would be something that a creative mythographer in the future should pursue.

This series also clearly featured Dracula-Mordante, as his depiction in Maroto's artwork not only made this obvious, but his behavior likewise did. It can also be inferred that the Dracula-Mordante who was indigenous to 1908 was still insensate, so that his extratemporal counterpart from the early 1970s would not actively co-exist with him in the same time period.

Moreso than any other Dracula soul-clone, Dracula-Mordante's salivery and blood virogen that sustained the ichor in his own bloodstream, and which enabled him to vamp other human beings by biting them and introducing the supernatural virogen into their own system, would sometimes cause them to be vamped within minutes, rather than over the course of three days (as was most often the case for Dracula-Prime and his other soul-clones, where such a quick "vamping" was quite rare, but still not unheard of). Why this phenomena occurred more often with Dracula-Mordante than with other vampires of his particular vampiric strain is unknown at this writing, and I will update this section once I confer with a few other creative mythographers about this matter, but it does seem as if the vampiric virogen would metamorphose different human beings at different rates; it seemed to happen slowly if Dracula was preying upon them for a while before actually killing them (e.g., Lucy Westenra), and quicker if he took enough blood to kill them at one "sitting." It was implied at the end of this story that Cassandra Kiley was vamped almost immediately after she was bitten by Dracula-Mordante at the end of this story.

I have yet to account for the true origin of Aesclepios the Shaman, but his reference to the "gods" that he serves was quite intriguing, and since his magick required the taking of a life in order to save a life, it can be inferred that the "gods" he called upon for such feats are not exactly those anyone on the side of the angels would care to call upon themselves.

Time Frame: This story began on July 8, 1908, two years after Dracula-Mordante's last appearance in "The Son of Dracula" story from EERIE #48.

VAMPIRELLA #40
[reprinted in COMIX INTERNATIONAL #2]

"The Winged Shaft of Fate"

Story: Gerry Boudreau

Art: Esteban Maroto

This story opens in the Green Glade Field area of Tallahassee, about two months after last issue's tale, with Dracula-Mordante and his new lover, the now vamped Cassandra Kiley, participating in King Carnival's circus as sideshow attractions alongside the Butterfly Woman and Garuda the Bird-man ["Garuda" is the name of an Asian bird-like deity; this way cool oddity, whose name was revealed in the next story, made only a cameo here, but would have a more dramatic role in the next--and final--entry in this series, which is indexed below]. How this state of affairs came to be was explicated by Cassandra in another of her diary entries.

Soon after Dracula vamped Cassandra, they were approached by King Carnival himself, who had witnessed the vamping incident. He appeared as a short, corpulent man in his 40s, with a full head of bright red hair, and Cassandra mentioned this about him in another diary entry: "Neither of us realized that the deed [Cassandra's vamping] had been witnessed by a creature who called himself human…yet somehow seemed viler…more obscene than the monstrosities he displayed. His name was King Carnival." The enigmatic carnival barker boldly told Dracula that he knew who he was, and didn't fear him. When the Count asked how he knew, King Carnival replied, "All my life I have studied the wondrous and the bizarre…those things which constitute the legends and myths of man, but which I know to be truth! I respect these things, and they in turn, come to respect me." Asking him what he wanted from them, and what he had to offer them in return, King Carnival told Dracula that what he wanted was obvious, and that what he offered in return was protection during the daylight hours when he was most vulnerable.

[King Carnvial didn't seem to be truly evil, despite Cassandra's first impressions of him as being "vile" and "obscene," but he did appear rather sinister in some sense, and he didn't seem to be overly concerned with the fact that Dracula and Cassandra would be seeking human victims for their blood on the carnival grounds wherever they traveled to, and there is much evidence throughout this series that King Carnival actually took steps to cover up for the murderous misdeeds of his various sideshow attractions.]
[See the Comments section below for my ruminations and ramifications about the deal made between Dracula and King Carnival.]

As they traveled to Green Glade Field for the carnival's next stop, Cassandra noted in one of her diary entries that she did indeed love Dracula, but she also feared the various secrets he seemed to hold within him, particularly since she once heard him mention both a woman that he loved and a son (references to "The Son of Dracula" story in EERIE #48).

As the carnival was conducted at Tallahassee's Green Glade Field, Dracula and Cassandra provided the sideshow exhibition alongside the Butterfly Woman and Garuda the Bird-Man after sundown, and she disliked being gaped at as a freak [and no one complained about the Butterfly Woman appearing nude in the middle of the midway…I wouldn't see any of the men complaining, mind you, considering how many layers of clothing all the "respectable" ladies generally wore back then, but wouldn't many of the female puritans in that area, as well as the Catholic clergy extant around the conservative South of the early 20th century, make a huge fuss with the local politicians about that?]

Around the same time, a man named Herbert Larkin, who was employed by the Ivan Moran Real Estate Agency [see WNU Connections below], had stolen several thousands of dollars from that company, and had now disappeared with it. The reason for this was that Larkin wanted to make a better life for himself and the young woman he loved, Evelyn Hicks, but he was unable to do that with the two of them suffering constant poverty. He wrote her a letter telling her that he wanted her to forgive him for resorting to such drastic measures, and he hoped that she would realize that only the depth of his love for her would cause him to do such a thing. He also asked her to meet him on the midway of the carnival the following evening after sundown, and they would then leave for another city, where he could finally provide everything for her that he had ever promised her.

On the evening in question, Evelyn did indeed appear at the midway [but wouldn't Larkin have a difficult time finding her there, amidst all the people and the ruckus that you always find at such places?], awaiting her lover's arrival. While there, the young blonde woman was noted by Dracula, and Cassandra noticed that the Vampire Lord began to shudder in fear when he saw her…obviously due to her resemblance to Gwethalyn Christen, his former love interest of years long past (again, see "The Son of Dracula" from EERIE #48).

Meanwhile, an extremely lonely woman named Amelia Parrot noted in her personal journal that she would be starting her new job as a school mistress the following day, but instead of being happy, she found herself feeling even more empty, because the sight of all of those children would remind her of everything she lacked in her own life. As a result, she seeked out the divining skills of Aesclepios the Shaman, who told her, before she could tell him anything about the purpose of her visit, "I see something in your future that you have shunned in the past, yet prayed for in the present…a man who will love and care for you." [Don't ask me why she shunned this in the past, however.] The man who would end up loving her, of course, was to be Herbert Larkin.

In the meantime, Dracula and Cassandra were now stalking the fairgrounds, looking for their next victim [if any of the patrons believed this was the real Dracula, and that Cassandra was a real female vampire, why the hell were any of them actually sticking around at the midway past nightfall in the first place? Were they all thinking something like, "I don't have to worry…being preyed upon by vampires is something that happens to other people"? And why weren't the authorities concerned about the presence of the Vampire Lord and a female consort, even though it can be presumed that they believed the Dracula legend to be fictitious?]

At this point in the evening, Herbert Larkin was standing near the midway after the other patrons had left, with his carrying case of stolen money [wouldn't Karl Draper from the previous story have been happy had he lived to steal from this guy!], waiting for Evelyn, who was now wandering about the midway near closing time to find Larkin [I told you it would be hard for them to find each other!]. Also, Amelia Parrot was also wandering about the midway, as she just knew, after speaking with Aesclepios the Shaman, that the man who would love her would be in that vicinity, just waiting for her to find him.

Just then, Dracula grabbed and mesmerized Evelyn, and told her that she reminded him of another whom he loved so long ago, yet she fell to her death before he could make her into one of the Undead and preserve her beauty and "life" forever…and being overcome with passion at the sight of Evelyn, he was determined to provide her with that very thing [and to think that he once felt guilty about giving this "gift of eternal life" to women that he loved!]. As both Dracula and Cassandra took their fill of the young woman's blood, the female vampire remarked about the words she heard the Vampire Lord utter before he killed Evelyn. Dracula took a picture of Gwethalyn Christen out of his pocket, which was signed, "Your loving Gwethalyn" [only a minority of women in the 1850s learned to read or write, let alone write in cursive, and it would be even less likely in those days for a deaf mute girl to be taught how to read and write, especially one who lived in such a secluded area of Transylvania, as back then people who were deaf were often confused with those who were feeble-minded. And there were cameras in Transylvania during that era? Spare me, please! I'm going to assume that this was a drawing that someone made of Gwethalyn, and that Dracula himself taught her how to write that message to him at her request]. Dracula then told Cassandra some of the details of that time of his life: "It was a lifetime ago, Cassandra. I felt love…but I could not bear to tell my lover who…or what I was. When she found out, she fled from me in terror! She died…! But before death took her, she bore me a son…a son who later tried to kill me!" Cassandra asked him if he wanted to talk more about this incident, but he told her maybe at some other point in the future, since, as he said, "Right now I wish only to do what I have tried to do since that night…forget."

As Herbert Larkin wandered about the midway looking for Evelyn, whom he refused to believe would have hesitated to meet him there after all he had risked for her, he was horrified to find her body laying on the ground. He couldn't fathom how Fate could play such a horrid joke on them all, and he was aware that he couldn't even call the police due to the fact that he was a wanted fugitive. As he kneeled over the body of the woman whom he loved, Amelia Parrot finally came across this scene, and instead of being horrified herself, she was instead drawn to Larkin's pity. Realizing that he was obviously the man whom Aesclepios told her was capable of loving her, she heard Larkin say that he decided to turn himself in, as he no longer cared what happened to him now that Evelyn was gone, but Amelia told him to belay that decision, and that neither of them need be lonely any longer, now that Fate decreed that they found each other at this time. However, just as Amelia convinced Larkin to leave with her, the vampiric virogen in Evelyn's system did its nefarious work, and the now vamped young woman attacked and killed both her human lover and the new woman he decided to go away with in her place, thus bringing Fate's cruel joke full circle on all of them.

And now, the King Carnival was off to its next location, which Cassandra looked forward to with complete ambivalence.

Comments: This story, despite all of its continuity gaffes, was a nicely done tale, filled with a large degree of character pathos and ironic twists. Particularly notable, I think, was the fate that awaited Amelia Parrot…Aesclepios told her that she would find a man who was able to love her as she wanted, but he didn't inform her that she would only spend a minute of time with him before they both died! One might say that he was just trying to spare her feelings, but I'm not going to give him that much credit for altruism.

This story also definitively linked the Dracula in this series with the one who appeared in the previous "Dracula" serial in EERIE, by alluding more than once to the events in the last story of that series, despite never revealing how Dracula-Mordante escaped the predicament he found himself in at the end of "The Son of Dracula" from EERIE #48.

The entire deal that King Carnival made with Dracula and Cassandra seemed to lack a bit of common sense on both their parts, unless King Carnival had an unseen means in place to deal with the manifold problems this deal entailed. Announcing the presence of the "real" Count Dracula and a female vampiric consort at his sideshow, despite the fact that most of the general public didn't believe he was real, but merely a fictional character created by Bram Stoker for his novel (it was published just 11 years prior to the events of this story) could have conceivably caused any number of vampire hunters who had a beef with Dracula (and there were plenty of those, considering how many separate enemies all of the soul-clones were making in addition to Dracula-Prime!) to descend upon the carnival. Further, they could have struck at Dracula and Cassandra while they lay insensate in their coffins during the daylight hours, which wouldn't be hard to find, since the coffins were placed within Drac's own wagon in the caravan, and it was marked with a large red bat-shape painted on the exterior, with the words "Dracula" painted on it in large black letters! This is not even to say how those vampire hunters may have imperiled the other oddities that King Carnival had at his sideshow in the process.

Further, didn't both King Carnival and Dracula realize that the number of dead people with fang marks on their necks and their blood drained at every location the King Carnival visited would bring numerous police investigations down upon the carnival, who may become interested in all of those oddities that King Carnival carted around with him everywhere he went as a result? As we saw later in the story, it appeared that Dracula and Cassandra would attack a victim, and then simply leave their bloodless body where anyone could find them; further, it was shown in the first story of this series that King Carnival had police officers doing security at the midway…and it did indeed seem as if the newspapers were reporting sinister going-on's, including mysterious disappearances, everywhere the King Carnival was visiting. Jackson Kiley was killed by the Butterfly Woman, and Karl Draper was killed by Kiley, when the circus was in Choctaw County two months earlier, and Dracula and Cassandra presumably killed a few people for their blood everywhere the carnival went between Choctaw and Green Glade. However, since Draper was only reported missing, and his body never located, it's possible that King Carnival had a specially trained "crew" that he specifically hired to locate and dispose of corpses left behind by the various oddities he had as part of his entourage. The vamped Evelyn Hicks obviously rose as a member of the Undead before King Carnival's unseen "clean-up crew" could find her corpse.

I'm still not sure exactly how King Carnival kept the vampire hunters away from his carnival, however, considering the huge target Dracula provided for the place in that respect, so why didn't Boris Van Helsing and a hand-picked group of vamp killers indigenous to that time period pay the place a visit at one of its summer stopping points? The only thing I can think of is this…King Carnival either had a lot more resources than were revealed to us, or the problems noted above didn't occur until some point after the next--and final--installment of this series. In fact, King Carnival wasn't seen again after this story, so he remains a major enigma, awaiting some creative mythographers to work at filling in that gap in the future.

WNU Connections: Yet more evidence still is provided in this story that the "Dracula" featured in Warren's Vampirella stories, and in his two solo series, could not have been Dracula-Prime. Not only did we see more of Dracula-Mordante's remorseful self-pitying here (and this was certainly not characteristic of Dracula-Prime), but I highly doubt that Dracula-Prime would have agreed to overtly run around in a traveling circus as part of a sideshow attraction, no matter how persuasive the words of King Carnival. If anything, he would have tried to take over the carnival himself.

The Ivan Moran Real Estate agency mentioned in this story was quite possibly founded by one of the ancestors of the infamous "Crazy Ivan" Schablotski (a.k.a., Neuron), a paranormal investigator, monster hunter, and renowned therionthropology expert who ran rampant around the WNU in the late 20th century and early 21st century.

Classic Dialogue: Amelia Parrot tells Herbert Larkin of the depths of her loneliness: "I know what loneliness is. I face it every time I walk into an empty bedroom at night! And no matter what Christian folks say, I don't think there is anything worse in the world." Nice to see such a liberated woman in 1908.

Time Frame: This story occurred in late August, 1908.

VAMPIRELLA #41

"Rainy Night in Georgia"

Story: Gerry Boudreau

Art: Esteban Maroto

This story begins on September 2, 1908, when the King Carnival caravan was traveling to its next stop, the town of Macon, Georgia. The caravan settled in just outside of the wooded town limits during a furious rainstorm, when it was approached by a 20-year old woman named Annie Lee Baker, who was six months pregnant, and on the run from her father, both being natives of the town of Johnsonville, Alabama. This was because the father of her child was a black man whom she deeply loved, something that was a cultural taboo in Alabama in 1908. Hence, her father, who insisted in those highly racist and sexist times that Annie had to have been raped, since (using the "logic" of a bigot) he believed that no white woman would willingly make love to a black man, he thus had the man wrongfully executed via hanging by the sheriff department in that area, who was only too happy to conduct the horrible lynching. Her father insisted that she have the child aborted, but she refused to give up the last remaining part of her love with the man she cared about, a love that cost him his life, and so she decided to go on the lam. Coming across Dracula's wagon during a rainy afternoon, and seeing it vacant save for two coffins, she snuck aboard and traveled the rest of the way with the caravan to Macon.

That evening, Cassandra rose from her coffin, and she was about to attack the stowaway she found in her wagon to satisfy her bloodlust, but the female vampire found herself feeling so sorry for the "frail and vulnerable" girl before her, that she couldn't bear to kill her [luckily, she was a paramour of a compassionate Dracula soul-clone!]. When Dracula himself emerged from his coffin moments later, he shared Cassandra's sympathy for the girl, and said, "She is with child. I would not debase myself to harm such a creature" [then again, if he had bitten Annie and infected her with the vampiric virogen, he may have caused her to give birth to a dhampir child of his]. Dracula told Annie that though she needn't fear anything in his wagon for the nonce, there were other dangers to be found in the King Carnival, as it "carries legends and secrets that sired the myths of man, but which few dared to believe."

As the caravan settled on the outskirts of Macon, back in Johnsonville, Alabama, Annie's father, Arthur Baker, consulted with the deplorably racist Sheriff James Buford, about his daughter's possible whereabouts. Displaying his singular lack of character, Buford said, "If you ask me, she's found herself another nigger and settled down someplace." When Arthur reminded Buford that his daughter would never settle down with a black man of her own volition, and that she was only pregnant with a black man's child because she was raped, which was the reason they had that man hanged, Buford less than kindly, but nevertheless honestly, replied, "We hanged him because it's fun watchin' a nigger squirm at the end of a rope! But you know as well as I that Annie Lee wasn't raped…! She said so all while we strung him up!" [the syntax those hicks had back then was as deplorable as their attitudes towards blacks and women]. Arthur, showing how well a bigot can rationalize their prejudices, told the sheriff that his daughter was delirious when she said that, and Buford realized there was no sense in arguing the point with Annie Lee's bemused father, instead assuring him that they would find his daughter, but he wasn't sure why he wanted a "tramp" like her back in his house. Arthur replied, "She's my daughter." And the ever-repulsive Buford replied, "Yeah. And that nigger's kid is your grandson." [Anyone wanna bet at this point that Sheriff Buford isn't going to live past the end of this story?]

The next day, as the King Carnival settled down in Macon amidst another torrential rain fall, Dracula and Cassandra provided Annie Lee with blankets and food before the journey had ended. The following day, the carnival opened to the patrons of Macon, but the unpredictable weather kept many from visiting. During that particular afternoon, Annie Lee strolled through the midway, where she was seen by local sheriff deputy Paul Weller, who had been sent a missing person's report and a photo of Annie by Sheriff Buford.

Annie went into the tent of Garuda the Bird-Man, whom she was fascinated with (Garuda was largely humanoid, though he had large featured wings, a head that resembled a pteranodon, avian feet, and human-shaped hands at the end of his wings, with his torso being featherless…he was extremely intelligent and capable of very articulate speech, and claimed to be immortal, thus implying to the readers that he was the actual eponymous deity from Asian mythology [probably incorrectly; see Comments and WNU Connections below]). Trying to become close to Garuda, Annie asked him why he was always scowling, and she then queried, "Is the burden of immortality so hard to bear?" To which he acerbically replied, "No, it is you mortals who are hard to bear. You come here to stare, and laugh…to hide your fear. I grow weary of being an object of human derision." Annie Lee assured him that she neither laughed at nor feared him, and that she stared not because he was strange, but because she found him "beautiful" [just imagine her father and Sheriff Buford hearing this one!].

That evening, Sheriff Buford and Arthur Baker joined Deputy Weller in Macon, where the latter revealed to the other two where Annie was now residing. Weller told his two compatriots that they should all split up and search the grounds of the carnival for Annie's whereabouts.

Annie was, at that time, chatting with Cassandra, and told her much about her family situation, as well as her fascination with Garuda, whom she would tonight visit and give a locket she owned and loved since her childhood as a gift. As she entered Garuda's tent, she was seen by Deputy Weller, who ran over to the gazebo himself. As Annie Lee tried to convince Garuda to accept her gift [see Classic Dialogue below], Weller walked inside and grabbed her, determined to take her back to her father. Upon hearing of the deputy's intentions, she angrily told him, "[Go back] To what?! To finish what he failed to do in Alabama? To kill an innocent child as well as an innocent man? No, I don't want to see him!" When Weller still tried to convince her further, Garuda angrily stepped in, saying, "I don't know why you seek to harm this woman nor do I care, stranger! I only know that you shall not succeed!" With that pronouncement made, the King of the Birds (as he was billed at the carnival) backed up those bold words by attacking Deputy Weller and ripping out his throat. Horrified by the sight, Annie fled the Bird-Man's tent.

In regards to this incident, the following was reported in the Macon County News in its October 6, 1908 edition: "Sheriff Wilbert Shock is unable to explain the disappearance of his deputy, Paul Weller, late last night. Weller was assisting Alabama lawmen in tracking a missing person, reports Shock. Torn and bloodied scraps of clothing found in an abandoned field suggest Weller was the victim of foul play…" [Hence, it would appear that King Carnival did indeed have a system set in place to cover up the murders that routinely occurred on his midway, though as I noted above, and as this article suggests, sooner or later disappearances revolving around several people, including an officer of the law, that were known to have visited the King Carnival the last time they were seen alive, were bound to cause the carnival to be investigated sooner or later, but that probable story remains untold].

As Annie Lee attempted to flee outside of the midway, she was accosted by Sheriff Buford, who told her that unlike her father, he wasn't "blind to her nigger-lovin' ways," and that he would "just as soon tear that black baby outta your belly" [I know, I know…I couldn't wait to see that racist fool get his, either]. Just then, as Buford began to forcibly hold Annie there while waiting for her father to arrive, Dracula and Cassandra heard the screams from outside of their wagon, and both descended upon Sheriff Buford in bat-form. The unscrupulous lawman's blood taken and his life forfeit, the two vampires then morphed back into humanoid form, with the ever-ethical Cassandra noting that this was the first time since she was vamped that she actually derived pleasure from killing a human being for their blood.

Witnessing what just occurred, Annie's father began approaching, to which Dracula snidely comments, "Another mortal! We have no reason to hunt tonight, Cassandra. They are conveniently coming to us!"

As Dracula and Cassandra were about to kill Arthur Baker, Annie Lee begged them to stop, for that was her father, and the two vampires did as she asked. As she confronted her father, he was overcome with sorrow and regret, and he broke down as he apologized to his daughter for all that his hatred and bigotry had wrought upon her, and she asked him not to state his recriminations, but simply to embrace her.

As the rain once again poured down torrentially this evening in Georgia, Annie Lee and Arthur Baker left the carnival grounds together, and Dracula silently took Cassandra's hand as he watched the two walk away with a lugubrious expression on his visage. Cassandra noted in her last diary entry, "…and for one long, painful moment, we both remembered what it was like to be human."

Comments: This story ended the final chapter in Warren's "Dracula" series that appeared in VAMPIRELLA. To my knowledge, a version of Dracula appeared in two more stories published by Warren, one of which was the Satanna story in EERIE #50 indexed below (which I believe to have been Dracula-Prime), and the Sherlock Holmes story "The Singular Case of the Anemic Heir," published in THE ROOK #10 (whom I tentatively believe to be Dracula-Mordante), which is also indexed below. This second and final solo series of Dracula by Warren Comics at least didn't end in a never resolved cliffhanger, as did the first series from the pages of EERIE. However, although this series didn't end in a cliffhanger, it still ended without describing what ultimately happened to Dracula-Mordante and Cassandra Kiley during their time traveling with the King Carnival, and without exploring the characters of Aesclepios the Shaman, the Butterfly Woman, or Garuda the Bird-Man, the latter of whom was a particularly interesting character with much potential that series author Gerry Boudreau (or Jim Warren himself) evidently never had any intention of doing anything further with beyond this story, more's the pity.

As I stated in the Comments section in the entry for "Dracula" in VAMPIRELLA #40 as well as the above story, this tale suggests that the mysterious King Carnival did indeed have a system in place to get rid of the corpses that his carnival regularly produced thanks to the many dangerous oddities he had in his sideshow, but said system was certainly imperfect. It's somewhat remarkable to me that King Carnival was never legally questioned about having so many reputedly dangerous entities traveling with him as part of his sideshow attraction (Aesclepios wasn't part of the sideshow, but he seemed potentially every bit as dangerous as the sideshow folks, if the results of the "help" he offered people in private consultation was any indication).

It has been suggested to me by other creative mythographers whose opinions I greatly value that Garuda was possibly a posthuman mutant (specifically, an "external," i.e., immortal mutant) of some sort, and other creative mythographers have speculated that he may be a member of a nearly extinct hidden race or a result of 19th century genetic experimentation [see WNU Connections below for more speculation upon this]. But despite the implications in this story, it's highly unlikely that he was the actual deity who bore that name, even if he was embodied in the form of a human infant from birth, as a deity would be even less likely than Dracula-Prime to allow himself to be part of a sideshow attraction for the entertainment of humans, no matter how persuasive King Carnival was.

After this series, the Warren version of Dracula [i.e., the Dracula-Mordante soul-clone] was seen again only one more time in Warren Comics [the Sherlock Holmes story from THE ROOK #10], and was not seen again until he appeared in the "Dracula War" story arc from Harris's VAMPIRELLA (1st SERIES) #1-4 (this story arc is now collected in TPB format as VAMPIRELLA: THE DRACULA WAR; see below). It should be noted that upon Dracula-Mordante's return in VAMPIRELLA (1st SERIES) #1 in the early '90s, he no longer had Cassandra Kiley with him and his King Carnival days were long behind him.

The racist elements explored in this story were accomplished disturbingly well by author Gerry Boudreau, and his final effort for this series was a commendable one, as was the always dark, moody, and terrific artwork by Esteban Maroto. Warren rarely, if ever, shied from tackling controversial topics (though the bulk of his work was published in the increasingly liberal late '60s and the very liberal 1970s), and I always wondered if the return to conservatism in the 1980s was one of the elements that eventually caused Warren to fold [other than Jim Warren's illness that caused him to be increasingly absent from the offices during that time, his company's resultant bankruptcy outside of Warren's eye, and the unsuccessful attempt by the creative staff then working at Warren to move the focus of its mags away from horror and more into the super-hero genre, with heavy sprinklings of pure sci-fi material].

Please note that only the first two parts of this three-part series was reprinted in COMIX INTERNATIONAL #2, rather than all three parts. This is because parts 1 and 2 were in color, and part 3 was not. COMIX INTERNATIONAL was a Warren reprint title that reprinted only color stories from all of Warren's regular output (its five issues included color material culled from CREEPY, EERIE, VAMPIRELLA, and THE SPIRIT).

WNU Connections: It's been suggested by other creative mythographers that Garuda the Bird-Man may be a creation of the twisted scientist Dr. Moreau from the classic novel THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU by H.G. Wells, a creation that somehow became imbued with near-immortality. Although in the latter novel Dr. Moreau never seemed to experiment with transforming avians into humanoid form, but only species of mammals, in THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN Vol. 2 it was revealed that Moreau had expanded his experiments to not only avians (implying he may have created Mother Goose), but also amphibians. Hence, involvement by Dr. Moreau in Garuda's backstory cannot be entirely ruled out at this time, and I will update this section when more speculations have been made and published online (or in print, whatever the case may be).

It's also been suggested that Garuda may be a posthuman mutant, as mutants (both posthuman and non) existed in the WNU as well the MU, even though in the former universe, there were many more non-powered mutants, and they were often categorized as "freaks" rather than as "mutants," though their physical differences from human beings were usually much more extreme than almost any physical differences from normal humans that you see with the "freaks" of the RU (as much as I hate using that word to apply to any human being; I'm simply using old sideshow parlance here).

Examples of other WNU mutants who were labeled as "freaks" rather than as posthuman mutants can be seen not only in "The Freaks" series that ran in EERIE (only some of them had superhuman attributes), but also those that appeared in the second and third films in the "Basket Case" film franchise; of those "freaks," Belial (one of the two feature characters in all three films) and Little Hal (who appeared only in "Basket Case 3: The Offspring," though he was alluded to in an offhand manner in "Basket Case 2: The Freaks") were the only two of these mutants who had superhuman attributes (either physical or mental). Other WNU mutants, such as Carrie White from Stephen King's first novel CARRIE, had nothing unusual about her appearance physically, but developed powerful telekinetic powers when she reached full puberty.

Hence, the boundary line between a "mutant" and those labeled "freaks" in the WNU can sometimes be rather blurry, and if a similar situation exists in the MU or UU [Ultimate Universe], this has never been adequately explored very much to date.

It would appear that Dracula-Mordante, along with Cassandra, were portrayed more sympathetically in this story than probably ever before, making it very evident one final time that the "Dracula" depicted in the Warren chronicles could not have been Dracula-Prime.

Classic Dialogue: When Annie Lee offers Garuda her locket as a gift, he says: "Mortal gifts are born of love, guilt, pity or obligation. I desire none of these from you." I guess Annie found pompous arrogance to be a very appealing character trait in a male.

Time Frame: This story went from September 2-4th, 1908. As noted in the above synopsis, the news story detailing Deputy Paul Weller's disappearance was published on Sept. 6th, 1908, two days after the events depicted in this story.


Dracula-Mordante vs. Sherlock Holmes


THE ROOK #10
[reprinted in the SHERLOCK HOLMES-A STUDY IN SCARLET TPB published by Thorby Enterprises, Inc.]

"The Singular Case of the Anemic Heir"

Story: Bill DuBay (under the pen name Will Richardson) and Kevin Duane

Art: Anton Caravana

As Dr. John Watson begins his narrative, he muses: "On glancing over my notes of the seventy odd cases in which I have, during the past years, studied the methods of my friend Sherlock Holmes, I find many tragic, some comic, a large number merely strange. But none commonplace!
"Working as he did more for the love of his art than for the acquirement of wealth, Holmes refused to associate himself with any investigation which did not tend towards the unusual and even the fantastic!
"Of all these varied mysteries, however, I cannot recall any which presented more singular features than that of the case of the anemic heir!" [Of course, Dr. Watson wasn't considering past encounters between the Great Detective and the Lord of Vampires; see WNU Connections below.]

Late in the year 1903, during the latter years of Watson's association with Sherlock Holmes, he and the master sleuth were convening in Holmes's laboratory in his familiar Baker Street headquarters in London, as the detective worked with the chemicals in his various test tubes. Watson whimsically accused Holmes of engaging in "modern witchcraft," but the cluemaster assured him, "There is no better stimulant for the mind, Watson…short of self-induced opiate dreams!" [See WNU Connections below for the possible nature of Holmes's experiment…as for the second part of his statement, nice nod authors DuBay and Duane gave to the good old sleuth's opium habit!]

As Watson and his long-time partner and friend engaged in conversation to pass the time during an "uncommonly cold and miserable night" [how many other types of nights are there in Britain during late November?], the two were suddenly interrupted when the door to Holmes's lab opened, and a gentleman with a distinctive European accent and clad in a dark cloak entered the room, "as though seeking out hidden dangers before advancing bodily within." Holmes scolded the man for his lack of courtesy in failing to knock first, as well as wondering how the gentleman got past the detective's steadfast landlady, Mrs. Hudson. Instead of apologizing, however, the mysterious man instead offered to hire the services of Holmes in a lucrative assignment. Holmes refused, noting that he never accepts a case "on mere whim," regardless of the remuneration he was offered, and he suggested that the man would have known this had he chosen to send the detective a wire rather than simply showing up in his office unannounced.

The strange man told Holmes this means of communication was not an option, as it would have revealed his plans to his enemies. Upon asking if he and Holmes could continue the conversation in total privacy, the detective refused, telling him that Watson was his most trusted associate, and that any of his prospective clients may speak freely in his presence.

Proceeding with his explanation, the visitor informed Holmes and Watson that he was the illegitimate son of a nobleman who was left a modest trust fund in his father's will. However, there are rumors that another will has bequeathed a much larger endowment to him, and that this second document is hidden in his father's diary. The purported nobleman then mentioned that his family was utterly ruthless, and would stop at nothing to prevent him from obtaining his sire's diary. At this time, certain agents of his have managed to acquire the diary, and were attempting to transfer it to his hands. In order to accomplish this, however, he needed the services of Mr. Holmes.

Holmes told the alleged nobleman that there are many reliable messenger services that could accomplish this for him, and that he could provide him with the addresses of these couriers. His visitor refused to deal with conventional couriers, telling Mr. Holmes that his family would be more than willing to take the life of a messenger service employee to prevent him from receiving the document in question; however, they would "think twice before challenging the greatest mind in Her Majesty's kingdom!"

Holmes again refused, telling his enigmatic visitor that his experiments were now at a "critical stage" [see WNU Connections below]. Now becoming more irate, the nobleman told Holmes he was offering to pay him a large sum to accomplish this task for him, and that it was beyond his understanding how the detective could be more interested in the "alchemy" he was now practicing.

Suddenly, however, as the supposed nobleman casually put his hand down on Holmes's laboratory desk, he cried out in absolute agony as a sizzling wound appeared on his palm and fingers. Dr. Watson instinctively moved to lend medical assistance to the man, but the visitor adamantly refused, decreeing that the wound would heal on its own without the ministrations of a physician. Regaining his composure, the mysterious gentleman then departed the famous Baker Street room, telling Holmes that he would contact him again on the morrow, hoping that the detective would by then have reconsidered his generous offer.

Once they were alone again, Holmes asked Watson if he noticed anything unusual about their unexpected visitor. Watson stated in no uncertain terms that the man was a "jumble of pecularities," and that he believed even Holmes himself would have to agree to this man's inscrutable nature. As usual, however, the keen analytical mind of Sherlock Holmes was deducing the true nature of their visitor with his legendary powers of observation…holding up a simple glass decanter flask, Holmes noted that unlike the two of them, their visitor cast no reflection in the smooth surface of the flask. Watson insisted that such a thing was impossible [see WNU Connections below], and that Holmes's "all-seeing eyes" must be "playing tricks" on him. Holmes then informed his long-time partner that his observations regarding the visitor's pecularities didn't end there.

Holmes noted that earlier that evening, he spilled some silver nitrate solution on his lab table, and the man cried out in severe pain when his hand casually touched the spilled solution; such a solution was harmless to human beings, yet this man's hand was burned by touching it [see Comments below]. When Watson asked Holmes if the detective was intrigued by the situation their visitor described to them, Holmes told him that, to the contrary, he was actually insulted, for the man's "remarkably pedestrian prevarification, I'd wager, was designed to send us upon a wild goose chase!"

Watson then asked Holmes what end could be served by this stranger contriving such a false story, and the detective responded with one of his characteristic condescending statements to his staunch ally and chronicler [see Classic Dialogue below]. Holmes subsequently told him that to discover more about the nature of their visitor, they had but to visit Cofty's Book Lofts in the morning, where he would show him various volumes that would enlighten him as to the true situation they were dealing with. The continued confusement of Watson was abruptly shattered when both men heard a loud scream from downstairs, clearly the voice of Mrs. Hudson. Upon rushing to her side, a hysterical Mrs. Hudson informed the two men that she had just witnessed a huge bat flying through the halls (which likely served as further evidence for Holmes's theory).

The next morning, before accompanying Holmes to Cofty's Book Lofts as they had planned, the physician honored a previous commitment by meeting a collegue of his for breakfast. Watson's fellow physician, Jennings, told him that he and his staff were now treating a girl whose medical symptoms defied their understanding…she showed all the signs of anemia, yet she was "in hysterics and strong as a ploughmule!" Watson agreed that this case appeared to be "one for the journals" [need I inform you that this one-panel sequence was an important plot point? I didn't think so].

No sooner had Watson completed his meal than Holmes appeared before him in "a state of extreme agitation," and practically dragged him from the teahouse, quickly hailing a horse-driven hansom. As their trip began, Watson asked Holmes to at least display enough courtesy to explain why he had been so "rudely abducted" by his long-time partner, when Holmes announced that he considered himself to be "a bloody fool." He realized that he ignored what he now recognized as a challenge, and as a result, this had likely cost an innocent man his life. Before Watson could query on this further, the hansom reached its destination, Cofty's book emporium…where the two men noticed several members of the local constabulary investigating what appeared to be a serious crime scene. When Watson wondered aloud what the "furor" before them was about, Holmes replied, "If my suspicions are accurate, it's Cofty himself…a sacrificial pawn designed to draw me into the game!" Upon recognizing Holmes, the constabulatory officer told him to go right in.

When Holmes and Watson entered the book emporium, they saw that the entire book shop had been devastated, and Cofty himself was murdered. When Watson asked who could possibly have committed such a horrid crime, Holmes noted that only one individual he knew of could have done so, and that he feared that "we have been instrumental in offending his pride, thereby provoking this attack!" Not understanding what Holmes was getting at, the Great Detective was perusing a note left behind for him, its contents now proving his theory beyond all doubt: "Holmes; though you find me absurd, I pledge all London shall not agree!" When Watson again noted that he was still befuddled by everything before them [though he probably shouldn't have been; see WNU Connections below], Holmes reminded his friend of the Affair of the Rugby Three Quarter, which Watson chronicled as 'The Adventure Of The Sussex Vampire' [and then passed on for professional rendering and publication to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of the WNU]. Holmes further explained how, in the solution of that case, he discovered that the supposed vampire actually turned out to be false, and that the murder was actually caused by an arrow plunged into the neck of the young victim in question, to simulate the distinctive attack of a vampire. At the case's resolution, Holmes remarked that, "The idea of a vampire in this day and age was absurd!" [but this was before he met Dracula for the first time; again, see WNU Connections below]. The detective now concluded that a certain deadly individual took strong offense to Holmes's observations, and was now seeking to make all of London pay for this outrage [the Count is one petty and irritable dude, that's for certain! Again, see WNU Connections below, as I attempt to make a bit of sense out of this bloody silliness…pun intended, I'm afraid].

Holmes then picked up a copy of DRACULA: THE CURIOUS AFFAIR OF THE LIVING DEAD by Bram Stoker [did the earliest editions of the book really once boast the above sub-title?], published six years earlier, based upon numerous letters, journal entries, and newspaper reports that Stoker [of the WNU] had collected from many years earlier describing Dracula's initial appearance in London, his victimization of the Harkers, and his clash with Dr. Abraham Van Helsing. Holmes stated that upon inadvertantly exposing himself at Holmes's lab, the Count would have deduced that the detective and his assistant would journey to Cofty's to research his activities [as silly as this version of the Count can be, he also has moments where he appears to have deductive reasoning capabilities almost on par with Mr. Holmes himself!].

Holmes gave specific instructions to the coroner and the staff regarding how to properly dispose of Cofty's blood-drained corpse [and hopefully, the Great Detective's reputation was good enough for the coroners to actually believe him rather than denouncing him as certifiable], and he and Watson retired back to the detective's Baker Street rooms just before dusk.

Watson said, "You can't seriously believe, Holmes, that our visitor of last evening and Count Dracula are one and the same?" Holmes replied, "So it appears, Watson!" [Though this was obviously written by authors DuBay and Duane with the implication that Holmes and Watson believed Dracula to be fictional, as did most of the general public, and that they had never met any version of the Count before, I actually believe these words could be interpreted differently as far as creative mythographers seeking to wold this story are concerned, and I explain this in WNU Connections below]. Holmes believed that it was his fault that the populace of London was now being threatened by Dracula [whom I believe to be the soul-clone Dracula-Mordante; again, see WNU Connections below], and that it was up to he and Watson to end the Vampire Lord's killing spree. Watson then mentioned that the description of vampire victims in the book he was now reading matched the symptoms of the girl whom his collegue Jennings was currently treating over at the medical facility in London's East End. Severely reacting to this news, Holmes bade that he and Watson must journey there at once.

Upon arriving at the facility, the two men discovered that the girl suffering from the anemic symptoms was found dead on the floor that morning. Holmes then gave Watson the (very discomfiting and unenviable) task of asking the girl's father (who was at the facility) if he could purchase his daughter's corpse. This led to a [very understandable] fit of outrage by the deceased girl's father, who was ready to thrash Dr. Watson [it also led to some Classic Dialogue regarding the bereaved father's accusations against Watson; see the aforementioned section below]. Before Watson could be punched out, however, Holmes showed up disguised as another physician, utilizing his legendary skills at thespianism and bribery to convince the enraged man that his daughter's mysterious malady was of great interest to the medical school at London University, and that the study of her body could go a long way towards discovering a treatment or cure for the illness; he also handed the man a substantial amount of money to "help to allay [his] suffering." Suddenly no longer grief-stricken and infuriated, the man quickly acquiesced to the request of the two men before him [again, see Classic Dialogue below].

After inspecting the girl's remains to confirm that she was indeed slain by a vampire [at least, I hope that's the only reason they had for inspecting the corpse!], Holmes hired the driver of a small cargo hansom to bring the coffin containing the girl's body along with a sealed note to the bishop, which contained the "proper rites" that he was to perform for her (in other words, so he could dispose of her body in a way that would prevent the girl from rising as one of the Undead). Holmes then told Watson that the two of them were off for the Savoy hotel on London's West End.

Astounding Watson yet again with his remarkable deductive reasoning skills, Holmes noted that while inspecting the girl's corpse, he noticed that her hair was cut in a certain fashion required of all chambermaids who work for the Savoy, a lavish hotel that was often used by visiting European nobility. Upon arriving at the front desk of the plush establishment, Holmes and Watson were able to acquire confirmation that one of the rooms was being used by "a European Count of strict nocturnal habits" [thank the Lord for busybody hotel employees!]. With some persusasion and a five shilling wedge bribery, Holmes convinced the man working the front desk to admit them to the Count's room…where the three men discovered a coffin laying on the bed [in other stories published by Warren, Dracula-Mordante was seen spending the night safely on a bed as long as he was shielded from direct sunlight, but it would appear that he prefers a coffin for extra safety…which isn't always wise considering the enormous clue to his true nature and identity the presence of a coffin in his temporary lodgings provides to inquiring minds].

Since it was less than an hour before sunrise, Holmes hastily instructed Watson and the hotel employee to spirit the coffin away and burn it, while Holmes scribed a note for the Count. As Watson stated in his narrative, "Though not privy to the contents of Holmes' communiqué, I have little doubt that my colleague played solidly upon the blood-luster's ponderous ego to goad him into personal confrontation!"

With these tasks completed, and with dawn commencing, Holmes and Watson took a hansom to the Crystal Palace exhibition hall, there to have their final confrontation with the nefarious Count. As the two walked within the palace, and Watson began questioning his friend's reasons for choosing this particular locale for their final confrontation, the intrepid physician suddenly noticed glowing eyes attached to a lupine face in the shadows…and the large wolf savagely leapt at the two men. Reacting without even thinking, Watson struck the vicious canine on the head with his silver-tipped walking stick, sending the animal to the ground "in a whining heap."

Then, before Watson's startled eyes, the wolf morphed into the form of Count Dracula, his injured face covered with blood due to the blow from the silver-topped cane. Responding with all due sarcasm, Holmes gave his deadly foe a faux apology for keeping him waiting for their final confrontation: "I'm certain, however, that you understand my reasons for delaying this discordant reunion until as late in the morning as was practicable!"

The enraged Dracula commended Holmes for his cleverness, but told him that though the sunlight is deadly to him, the infamous London fog obfuscated the rays of the sun enough so that the Lord of Vampires could move about during the morning hours of daylight with little difficulty. Just as the Count noted that his momentary injuries wouldn't prevent him from sending the Great Detective to the grave, as the sun came up, the Prince of Darkness was suddenly besieged by brilliant rays of sunlight, which proceeded to painfully reduce him to "a pool of bubbling gore."

Holmes then revealed his reasons for choosing the Crystal Pavillion for the location of their final confrontation with the Count…despite the fog-enshrouded city, the ten thousand panes of the Pavilion's highly polished glass would magnify the otherwise weak rays of the sun to an intensity that was more than capable of reducing Dracula to ash.

Just as the victorious Holmes whimsically warned his collegue not to deliver the obvious bad pun, Watson nevertheless lamented, "Come now, Holmes! Surely after all this tension a little humour is in order! The Count won't mind! He is, after all, burned up over his defeat!" [and to think many people feel that the frequent play's on words that I have a tendency to deliver are bad!].

Comments: This was the first Sherlock Holmes story published by Warren, and this was obviously intended to be a recurring series in THE ROOK mag. Since this tale was published during the final two years of Warren Comics' existence, the company published only one other Holmes tale, a three-part comic adaptation of Doyle's initial Sherlock Holmes novella, "A Study In Scarlet," which was serialized in THE ROOK #13-14 and EERIE #138 (changing creative teams as it changed mags; the Sherlock Holmes series was forced to migrate to EERIE after THE ROOK was cancelled after issue #14). Unfortunately, Warren only published one more issue of EERIE after that (EERIE #139 was cover-dated February, 1983), so no other Sherlock Holmes entries could be produced by Warren.

Nevertheless, Sherlock Holmes crossed over with the Rook in the latter's strip from the "Master of the World" story arc running through THE ROOK #4-6 (which also featured the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of the WNU). The latter tale took place in the year 1909 (as most Warrenphiles are well aware, the Rook was a time-traveling hero).

This story, as well as Warren's three-part adaptation of "A Study In Scarlet," were reprinted in a 1998 trade paperback SHERLOCK HOLMES-A STUDY IN SCARLET by Thorby Enterprises, Inc., along with a new cover by Mike Evans. The TPB also featured a new text feature discussing the Holmes mythos.

Jim Warren had previously wanted to publish a mag featuring the adventures of Sherlock Holmes during the '60s, but the Doyle estate balked at the idea. Many other comic companies (including DC, at one point) have published Sherlock Holmes's exploits, both adaptations of the prose stories and original adventures. It wasn't until 1981 that Warren finally begin publishing Sherlock Holmes stories, and this during the company's twilight years, when Jim Warren was too ill to actively participate in overseeing the business.

Dracula was not treated sympathetically in this story, but rather in an entirely villainous manner, unlike the majority of the other tales featuring Dracula that appeared in the Warren annals. Dracula-Mordante was likely entirely under the influence of Dracula-Prime at this point.

Since silver nitrate is actually used as an anti-biotic rather than containing actual silver, and since merely touching silver doesn't cause a vampire's skin to burn as it would if they touched garlic or holy water, I surmise that what Dracula actually touched in Holmes's lab was a type of low-grade acid that had many particulates of true silver in its substance; such a low-grade acid wouldn't hurt a human whose skin came in contact with it, but to a vampire (or a werewolf) who touched this acidic compound, its high silver concentration would cause a severe burn.

This tale was one of many encounters between Sherlock Holmes and Dracula. See WNU Connections below for full details on this.

The above story was well-drawn by Anton Caravana, and the script by Bill DuBay and Kevin Duane was well done, as they captured the Victorian English lingo of Holmes's era along with the nuances of Holmes's and Watson's personalities quite well. However, the silly reasoning behind the Count's desire to menace London simply because Holmes once denied the existence of vampires [since when did Dracula want the existence of vampires to be full public knowledge?], and the ingenious but contrived means by which the Great Detective dispatched his undead nemesis at the end of the story, certainly took the quality of the tale down a few notches. It was a very competent post-Doyle interpretation of Holmes in the illustrated story format, though certainly not first-rate, IMHO.

This tale took place during the latter days of Sherlock Holmes's career, following the Great Hiatus, the years-long ruse where he led almost everyone (including Watson) to believe that he had died following the events of Doyle's novella "The Final Solution." This can fit well in the established WNU Holmes chron, since he was believed dead in 1898, during the events of THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN Vol. 1 & 2 (in the first volume, a flashback sequence to Holmes's supposedly fatal encounter with his arch-nemesis, Prof. James Moriarity 1, at Reichanbach Falls was depicted).

Artist Caravana rendered Holmes much as he was depicted in the 20th century movie versions of his tales, with his distinctive checkered jacket and fedora, and his smoke pipe. Authors DuBay and Duane were also clearly inspired by the movie version, as the final lines of the script had Holmes telling Watson (in response to his aforementioned bad pun), "I've always said your wit is elementary, my dear Watson! Extremely elementary!" All die hard Sherlock Holmes fans are well aware of the fact that his famous "It's elementary, my dear Watson" catch phrase never appeared in any of the tales of the Great Detective scribed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle…it was an invention of the movies, as was the distinct Holmes attire that is most familiar to people today.

In the table of contents to THE ROOK #10, we were treated to some typical Warren hyperbole and outright inaccuracy regarding the Sherlock Holmes story contained within, not surprising considering that Bill DuBay was the editor of this issue: "It was the toughest case that Sherlock Holmes had ever had. The Case of the Anemic Heir seemed to be unsolvable [oh, yea? Mr. Holmes seemed to discover Dracula's secret within minutes!]. But that was not the worst part. Someone was trying to capture Holmes in an invisible web of intrigue that could only result in the death of the most famous detective in all of Europe! [Never mind that Holmes realized he was being had before ever getting pulled into the false 'web of intrigue' in the first place.] Baffled, desperate [Huh? Watson was the only major character appearing in this story who was clueless in any way], it looked as though Holmes would be forced to believe in the scientifically impossible…in vampires! [The WNU context aside (see below), he didn't seem overly surprised at this discovery; moreover, he resolved the case and dispatched Dracula all within less than 48 hours…hardly his most desperate hour, despite the power of the opposition he was facing!]."

WNU Connections: It's the tentative contention of this author that the 'Dracula' who appeared in this story was not Dracula-Prime, but rather the soul-clone Dracula-Mordante, who appeared in most of the stories featuring Dracula published by Warren, apparently all of the stories published by Harris during the '90s…and, I believe, Dracula's one appearance in Atlas/Seaboard Comics, in FRIGHT #1, and possibly the mini-series GHOSTS OF DRACULA by Eternity Comics. The Dracula seen in this story didn't appear to be nearly as competent as Dracula-Prime, and it's doubtful that Drac-Prime would have personally menaced London for such a petty reason. I postulate a (hopefully) plausible explanation in my Capsule Timeline for Dracula-Mordante (see below) to explain why he was angry at Holmes over what many would consider to be a rather irrational reason.

In this story, we learned that Dracula-Mordante can indeed morph into wolf form, as well as the ability to sometimes enter a human dwelling place without first being verbally invited (as Dracula-Prime sometimes could), and to walk around at least during the morning hours of daylight if sufficient fog enshrouded the area to block direct sunlight (as was often the case in London during those days).

I believe that the mysterious product Sherlock Holmes was working on in his lab (which Watson admonished as "modern witchcraft") was the "Royal Jelly" bee pollin elixer that he perfected by the year 1921, and which served to halt and somewhat reverse his aging process (which was helped along by spending much of his time in the mid-20th century in the mystical environs of Tibet), along with that of Watson and (likely) his brother Mycroft Holmes, from that point onwards. Holmes was most recently seen, alive, spry, and appearing to be no physically older than his early 60s (at most) circa December of 1986 in DETECTIVE COMICS #572, where he aided the Batman and Robin team of that time period, along with other detectives Slam Bradley and the stretchable super-hero known as the Elongated Man, in solving a case in his native Great Britain. Though published by DC Comics, this latter story took place in the WNU, and featured the WNU counterparts to all of the above DC characters (it should be noted, for instance, that in the WNU, Ralph Dibny, a.k.a., the Elongated Man, was the son of "Eel" O'Brien, a.k.a., Plastic Man, a situation that isn't the case in the DC Universe). In the latter story, we also meet descendants of Prof. Moriarity (Thomas Moriarity, great-grandnephew of James) and Watson's great-granddaughter (Mary). Here we also learned that as of the present in the WNU, the aged but still living Sherlock Holmes evidently spends most of his time in Tibet, generally retired as a detective and engaged in unknown intellectual pursuits.

This story is but one of many in which Sherlock Holmes encountered Dracula, most of which have been set in the "consensus" WNU. The full chron of encounters between the Prince of Darkness (or his various soul-clones) and the Great Detective in the "consensus" WNU is as follows (in chronological order, not the order of publication):

Late August-December, 1888 [?]-SHERLOCK HOLMES VS. DRACULA OR THE ADVENTURE OF THE SANGUINERY COUNT (novel) by Loren B. Estelman---Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson battle Dracula-Prime in London. This was the first time Holmes and Watson encountered the Lord of the Undead.

DRACULA: THE SUICIDE CLUB (illustrated story mini-series published by Adventure Comics) by Steven Phillip Jones and John Ross--- during the same year as above, Sherlock Holmes participates in the case where Dracula-Prime became the President of the Suicide Club in London. Holmes and Dracula did not have a direct encounter this time around.

Late November-December 25, 1888---THE TANGLED SKEIN (novel) by David Stuart Davies---this is the second time Holmes and Watson encounter and battle Dracula-Prime, and the second time they do so alongside Dr. Abraham Van Helsing. The novel was incorrectly written to imply that this was the first encounter between Dracula and Holmes, but in a WNU context the facts of the matter were likely deliberately muddled by Watson (as per the conjecture of Win Scott Eckert and other creative mythographers).

THE HOLMES/DRACULA FILES (novel) by Fred Saberhagen---shortly after the events of the above novel, Sherlock Holmes meets and works alongside the unusual rogue soul-clone often called Dracula-Vlad, whose exploits were chronicled in the series of Dracula novels written by Saberhagen. Creative mythographer Brad Mengel has done much research to postulate how Saberhagen's Dracula fits into the "consensus" WNU chron, and Dennis Power has extrapolated upon this and composed a terrific online article entitled Best Fangs Forward Or Saberhagen's Dracula in Light of the Animus Klonos Theorem to explain a possible way Dracula-Vlad can share the same timeline with Dracula-Prime, and therefore exist in the "consensus" WNU. It can be certain that during this adventure, Holmes deduced the fact that the "real" Dracula (i.e., Dracula-Prime) had created soul-clones of himself, some of which went rogue, but a majority of which did not.

Late November, 1903---"The Singular Case of the Anemic Heir" (illustrated story) by Bill DuBay, Kevin Duane, and Anton Caravana, published by Warren Comics in THE ROOK #10, and indexed above---This was Holmes' and Watson's second encounter with a Dracula soul-clone, in this case one who was not benevolent, Dracula-Mordante. This is likely the reason that Holmes and Watson did not recognize the Count off the bat (pun intended) when he visited their Baker Street offices at the beginning of the story. The line where Watson expressed incredulity that the man who visited them could possibly be Count Dracula (quoted in the synopsis above), likely intended by authors DuBay and Duane to imply that Holmes and Watson had never met the Count before, was probably actually due to the fact, in a WNU context, that Holmes and Watson had never met Dracula-Mordante specifically before, as he looks markedly different from Dracula-Prime. As I noted above, by now Holmes was likely well aware that Dracula-Prime was somehow able to create faux versions of himself, who possessed similar powers and attributes (if not always similar weaknesses and personas), but the detective may not have been aware of precisely how the Count accomplished this feat (which could be done via his Star Stone ring or Dracula-Mordante's enchanted coffin).

October, 1925---GHOSTS OF DRACULA (illustrated story mini-series published by Eternity Comics) by Martin Powell and Seppo Makinen. Sherlock Holmes is tracked down by Abraham Van Helsing to assist him in locating a brutal serial killer then active in London…and the detective refuses. Holmes doesn't directly encounter Dracula in this series, who was instead bested by Harry Houdini of the WNU. Since the Dracula in this series was trying to use magickal means to contact the spirit of his beloved Lucy Westenra, it's likely that the Dracula who appeared in this mini-series was not Dracula-Prime, but was quite possibly Dracula-Mordante, who was indeed in love with Lucy Westenra (as seen in the "Shadow of Dracula" story arc from VAMPIRELLA #19-20, indexed above), and the desire for love and sexual affection was much more characteristic of Dracula-Mordante than Dracula-Prime or any of his other soul-clones.

I am indebted to author and creative mythographer extraordinaire Win Scott Eckert for the above info, as all of it can be found on his extensive WNU Timeline.

The Dracula-Mordante who appeared in this story was almost certainly the one who was indigenous to this time period, rather than his time-traveling future self (see my above entries for the Dracula-Mordante solo series from EERIE #46-48 and VAMPIRELLA #39-41, as well as my capsule timeline for Dracula-Mordante below).

Classic Dialogue: We are treated to a classic example of Holmes's often deprecating comments to Watson when the latter couldn't understand how the detective deduced the true nature of their strange visitor: "You never cease to amaze me, Watson! For an educated man, you are astoundingly ill-informed!" That's tellin' him, Mr. Holmes.

When Dr. Watson asks the bereaved father of the titular "anemic heir" if he could purchase his daughter's corpse, the man angrily grabs the physician by the lapel of his jacket and exclaims, "Y'want t'buy me daughter's body?! Fer what immoral purposes, y'slither-fleshed lowlife?" Perhaps if Watson had asked the man a bit more tactfully, or was as capable of coming up with a plausible story on the sly like Holmes could…then the man wouldn't have suspected the physician of being a closet necrophiliac. I can only imagine how the unimaginative Watson framed his request, e.g., "Excuse me, kind sir, not to interrupt your mourning, but since you no longer have any use for your daughter now that she's dead, how about if I save you the burial expenses by purchasing her body from you? How is that for a gracious offer, old chap?"

When Holmes, disguised as another physician, arrives at the above scene and saves the integrity of Watson's facial bones with a plausible explanation for Watson's tasteless request (i.e., the university wanting to study her body to learn about the mysterious malady that killed her)…and handing the enraged man a wad of money for his daughter's corpse…the dead girl's father abruptly changes his tune and helpfully declared, "Say no more, squire! Anything t'help science I always say! An' if yer interested in any more bodies---!" Thankfully, Holmes respectfully declined the man's polite offer.

Time Frame: This story was specifically stated to take place in late November, 1903 in Dr. Watson's chronicles.


Dracula-Mordante's appearances in the Harris Comics chronicles



VAMPIRELLA (1st SERIES) #1
[reprinted in VAMPIRELLA: THE DRACULA WAR TPB]

"Storm Clouds Gathering"

Story: Kurt Busiek

Art: Louis Small, Jr. (inks by Jim Balent)

This story begins shortly following the events of the VAMPIRELLA: MORNING IN AMERICA series (where Vampi returned to the world in a much more confident state after having been brainwashed and trapped in the form of an old girls' school teacher for almost a decade, and has begun battling the depredations of the Unseelie Court, the dark cavalcade of supernatural beings who have practically controlled Washington, D.C. from behind the scenes for ten years…who were also stated to have been behind the revival of Dracula-Mordante).

In a wooded area of Pennsylvania [possibly the Pine Barrens?], Vampi, Adam Van Helsing, and Pendragon are searching for 15 missing children under the age of five (according to the script, but they are drawn to look older) who were abducted from nearby Pennsylvania towns. The trio locates the kids, who had been kidnapped by a group of lycanthropes working for the Unseelie Court, about to be ritually sacrificed while chained to a large stone obelisk with strange sigils inscribed on it.

We quickly segue to four panels of some unknown man running for his life in some distant location, shooting into the shadows at something following him, determined that "they" mustn't stop him.

Back in the Pennsylvania woods, Vampi, Van Helsing, and Pendragon engage in a vicious battle with the errant lycanthropes, Vampi dispatching several of them with her incredible combination of superhuman strength and agility, fangs and talons, and formidable fighting skills, while her lover and ally blows several of them away with silver bullets, and her aged mentor and close friend burns the remainder of the bipedal wolf-like creatures with an Egyptian sun-stone (it summons the searing rays of the sun from the opposite side of the world; all creatures of the Unseelie Court are only able to operate safely in the absence of sunlight).

Upon looking at the obelisk, Vampi sees, to her astonishment, a detailed etching of the alleged Drakulonian "goddess" known as the Conjuress…which reminds her of something that she learned upon her revival: despite her still extant memories of growing up on a planet called Drakulon where a vampiric race of humanoids apparently thrived on literal streams of blood that flowed there as naturally as water flows on the Earth, at least some of those memories were revealed to be bogus memory implants forced into her consciousness by the "mad god" Chaos. She now had no idea what her true origin or purpose in this world was, but she had made it an important personal mission to find the answers. Vampi took the etching of the Conjuress with her, saying, "Somebody--somewhere--must know what this idol means! And once I find them, I'll get some answers--about who I really am, and where I come from!"

Upon leaving the woods with the freed captives, they are helpfully picked up in a large limo driven by Van Helsing's Senate office manager, a jovial gent by the name of Tommy "Fitz" Fitzhugh, who runs the senator's operations when he's out monster-hunting, is privy to his secrets, and frequently complains about the trouble he will face if his boss's moonlighting activities ever became public knowledge ("…I know y'do good work--but one whiff o' this in the news, and our boy won't be able to be elected dog-catcher!"). On the drive back, Fitz mentions that he has been watching over high-ranking politicians for over 40 years, but he still thinks that Adam, his latest charge, should stay out of active monster-hunting and stick to "boss work" instead, leaving the fighting to "professionals" like Vampirella and Pendragon.

Upon returning to Van Helsing's office in the District of Columbia, Adam and Fitz gave a generous present to Pendragon…a new horse-traveling caravan to replace the old, worn one he had been using for so many years, which was fully equipped with a sophisticated radio-telephone and a computer terminal linked to the Van Helsing mansion databases…as well as a formidable arsenal of weapons, particularly those useful against supernatural beings. Vampi then told the increasingly happy Pendragon that they would renew their traveling stage act to earn a living, just as they had done years earlier.

However, when Van Helsing showed Vampi a special cabinet full of her blood serum substitute, she reminded her lover and ally that she no longer used it, since she now utilized her vampiric bloodlust as a weapon in her battle against the paranormal menaces that she routinely faced, as she was much more deadly in combat when her bloodlust was active. Adam still thought having a good supply of her serum was useful in emergencies, and Vampi agreed to keep it for that reason.

In the meantime, the mysterious fleeing man we saw earlier was now attempting to leave the locale he was running away from via a motor boat, wielding a rosary bead as defense…only to lose it in the water when the boat hit a large wave. Once that happened, a large flock of bats began descending upon him.

Vampirella and Adam went out for a night on the town, intending to spend one more quality night together before she departed with Pendragon to renew their stage career. They were interrupted when Fitz contacted his boss to tell him that one of his agents, Hodgkins, sent them an emergency signal and then ceased contact abruptly. Van Helsing told Vampi that this didn't bode well regarding what was happening in Europe, where Hodgkins was sent to apprise the situation. The Unseelie Court had a European power base whose main headquarters was in Paris, where they secretly controlled the office of the Prime Minister and caused the political relations between the U.S. and the European Union to be strained over the past ten years. Van Helsing also noted that all of his Eurpoean agents, sent over in the guise of businessmen looking for run-of-the-mill deals, had vanished…until now. Tracking Hodgkin's signal to the open sea just off the shores of Washington, D.C., they noticed his motor boat [sure did travel a long way, didn't it?!], which was being pursued and attacked by a French Destroyer. This displayed how desperate the Seelie-controlled French government was determined to keep its secrets. As a Coast Guard cutter arrived to wave the Destroyer away from U.S. territorial waters, the large battleship released two depth charges, which disturbed and enraged a sea monster that resembled a gigantic octopus. The monster destroyed Hodgkin's boat, and Vampi leapt into the water, engaging the creature in battle and ripping off one of its tentacles in the process. She managed to get Hodgkins to shore as the Coast Guard's cutter engaged the monster and distracted it.

After finally reaching the shore and being re-joined by Van Helsing, who opined that the sea monster must have been one of the Demogorgan's brood, even though he never saw one that far north before. Upon checking the man whom Vampi had just risked life and limb to rescue, the two discovered, to their horror, that the barely alive Hodgkins had his entire body covered in bat bites and was suffering from extreme blood loss…obviously having been fed upon by numerous vampires in bat-form for hours at a time. He managed to warn them of one thing before expiring… "Dracula."

Soon afterwards, in Van Helsing's senatorial office, he was trying to convince Vampirella to travel to Europe on his behalf to discover what was going on there, especially since Dracula was known to be involved. Vampi resisted, because she wanted to follow-up on the clues towards her true origins that she recently recovered, but Van Helsing countered by saying that since Dracula-Mordante once told her that he, too, was supposedly from the "planet" Drakulon, then he was also likely a dupe of Chaos who could have some of the answers she was seeking; more importantly, though, if Dracula had a "toe-hold" in Europe, he could be a major threat to the entire world. Vampi still resisted, feeling that Adam was ignoring her needs and treating her like a mere field agent of his, but he reminded her that things weren't like they were back in the days when his father was still alive and he basically did as his sire and Vampirella suggested…he was now a U.S. Senator with a job that he took very seriously, and since he had just recently removed all of the Unseelie Court's power in America, he was determined to oppose similar beachheads that any paranormal agency may secure anywhere in the world, for the good of the country he had pledged to protect [note: the circumstances behind the death of Conrad Van Helsing were revealed in the VAMPIRELLA: MORNING IN AMERICA series].

Reluctantly, Vampi agreed to accompany him to Europe…to once again face the might of Dracula.

Comments: This story, like the entire run of Harris's VAMPIRELLA (1st SERIES) (which ran for five issues, with the first four making up "The Dracula War" story arc) was, IMO, mediocre in regards to its pacing, scripting, and dialogue. Author Kurt Busiek was later to greatly improve his craft in storytelling (note his late '90s run on THE AVENGERS Vol. 3 for Marvel and the early 2004 JLA/AVENGERS collaboration from Marvel and DC), but writing convincing dialogue with no trace of hokiness still isn't one of his strong suits (he received criticism for this in both of the aforementioned projects). Despite being a respected writer throughout the '90s, this Vampi series by Harris retained mere traces of the charm her fans enjoyed during the Warren days, more adhering to the typical comics style of the '90s, which was largely a decade for massive decline in comic book quality, with grandiosity taking the place of incisive writing. Art by Louis Small, Jr. was adequate to the task…but only that.

This story wasn't exactly bad, however, and it certainly didn't skimp on the action and blood-letting. Moreover, to the credit of Harris's writers, they were appealing to a greater demand in regards to logic by the fan base of the time…the original, silly explanation for Vampi's origins wouldn't do in this more sophisticated era of genre story-telling, and her continuing search for her true origins was exciting and much-needed, even if it did last for too long and only made her backstory progressively more convoluted and filled with more questions than answers as time went on. The same thing was the case with fan fave Wolverine for something close to three decades before Marvel finally told all with the ORIGIN mini-series.

Dracula-Mordante only appeared in this story behind the scenes, but because his influence was felt and this was part of a four-issue story arc in which his hand was prominent, it was necessary (in my estimation) to index it here. The only time we actually saw the faux King of Vampires in this issue was in a well-rendered vignette on the last page, in which his Star Stone ring was clearly visible on his hand, thus implying that Dracula-Mordante did indeed gain a simulacra of the Star Stone ring at some point following his last appearance.

This series continues directly from the VAMPIRELLA: MORNING IN AMERICA series from Harris and Dark Horse, which told the story of Vampirella's absence from the scene since her Warren title folded in early '83, and her return to the world. Continuing from that series was her search for her true origins and her conflict with the Unseelie Court.

The Unseelie Court was derived from RU legend, where they were described as a large, traveling troop of evil supernatural entities who rampaged through the night, wreaking havoc upon all humans whom their dark procession encountered (they were often kept in their place by a benign counterpart, the Seelie Court, who didn't appear in any form in the Harris chronicles). The comic book version upped the ante on their ambition, showing them seeking control of the human world via the covert usurpation of human political institutions, where they could then prey on humans as they pleased. The Harris Unseelie Court was composed of sunlight-fearing supernatural entities of every stripe, including werewolves, vampires, and demons, but also many other types of supernatural creatures, some of which belonged to established categories of monsters, and others being unique entities.

WNU Connections: This story, and the entire "Dracula War" story arc, is rather important to the foundations of the "consensus" WNU, in that it shows us how the political structure of the European nations were secretly almost under the full control of Dracula-Mordante (this revealed in issue #3) for about a ten year period, running from the early '80s into the early '90s (see WNU Connections section for issue #3, indexed below). Since this is not evident in many other WNU sources (at least directly), it can be said that the Harris writers exaggerated the extent of the Vampire Lord's powerbase, and it seems that it was largely France that was under the depredations of Dracula-Mordante.
In the VAMPIRELLA: MORNING IN AMERICA series, which introduced the WNU Unseelie Court, it was revealed that Dracula-Mordante was by now revived and a "problem" for them, but the Vampire Lord himself never appeared there.

Future creative mythographers need to do more research to determine the extent of the Unseelie Court's operations in the U.S., and to see what supernatural incidents may be attributed to their behind-the-scenes actions. It's my opinion that the many supernatural incidents that occurred during that era, including the constant awakening of various demonically-controlled zombie slashers like Jason Vorhees, the frequent incursions of Freddy Krueger into the waking world during this time period, Ash William's repeated battles with the Dark Spirit and his Deadite demons, and the incursions of other deadly entities such as Candyman and the Cenobites into the human world, may possibly be attributed to Unseelie Court influence, but the jury is very much out on the extent of their involvement with the exploits of these other monstrous beings in the WNU.

Time Frame: This story takes place sometime in the fall of 1991 or spring of 1992.

VAMPIRELLA (1st SERIES) #2
[reprinted in VAMPIRELLA: THE DRACULA WAR TPB]

"City of Love"

Story: Kurt Busiek and Tom Sniegoski

Art: Louis Small, Jr. (inks by Jim Balent)

This story opened with Vampirella and Adam Van Helsing pursuing an agent of the Unseelie Court-controlled French government operating in the U.S., though Van Helsing's hope of a capture and interrogation was thwarted when Vampi's bloodlust ended the spy's life during the struggle. After Adam berated her for sinking her fangs into the man, the she-warrior agreed with his criticism, saying, "You're right. My bloodlust is only a weapon if I control it, and not the other way around." Adam then stated that it wasn't a total loss, since his communication device was shattered, so the French government had no idea that the vampiric she-warrior was headed their way.

The next day, Vampirella and Pendragon headed for France, with Vampi and Adam saying their heartfelt goodbyes, and both making note of the enchanted rings that Pen gave to each of them, these trinkets linking their psyches, so if one was ever in danger or extreme distress, the other would know.

As the long flight commenced, Vampi reminisced about her time spent on Drakulon where she was happily married to Tristan, as she still retained the arm band that he (supposedly) gave to her. After briefly recapping the Drakulonian origin Dracula-Mordante once gave her for himself, she also recalled how Ethan Shroud revealed to the she-vampire that her memories of Drakulon were a memory implant imposed upon her psyche by Chaos, with her various contradictory memories (seen in her various "origin" accounts in the Warren annals through the years) seeming to confirm his assertion [see VAMPIRELLA: MORNING IN AMERICA #4 for full details of Shroud's revelatory statements). This forced her to wonder if her beloved Tristan ever exsited at all, and if he still did, what this meant for her and Adam.

When Vampirella and Pendragon finally arrived at the Charles De Gaulle Airport, Roissy En France she and her mentor were astounded to see how much France had changed since last they saw it, the nation now having become a totalitarin political state [see WNU Connections below]. As a story caption described: "Europe has become a totalitarian state in the last decade, united under a single leader for military reasons--that much is known from the reports of businessmen [from the U.S.]." In fact, they saw several public television displays of patriotic war propaganda describing how the many young men fighting abroad on behalf of European interests were "heroes" who were fighting for "freedom," how more soldiers for the cause were desperately needed, laudatory pronouncements that Prime Minister Martine Andrecou as the "savior" of Europe, how it was considered a moral imperative for mothers to raise their sons to unhesitatingly lay their lives down for the flag with no questions asked [the authors know how propaganda works, that's for sure! I'm surprised Dubya didn't hire them in place of Karl Rove]…with the most outrageous reports claiming that war was going on in America, when Vampi knew for a fact that wasn't true. She even got into an unintended argument with a French woman who was proudly but sadly sending her adolescent son off to war to be a "hero for his country," but having no idea where he was going to be sent.

At the airport, Vampi (under her periodic human guise of Ella Normandy) and Pen were met by their contact, Jacque Ceti, who told them that it wasn't wise for a foreigner in Europe to "ask too many questions openly," as the Allied Council of Europe, led by a human puppet Prime Minister, had ways of making people "disappear." Vampi and Pen would be conducting a tour of his stage show as a cover for their spy work.

Upon settling into their hotel, Vampi informed Pen that she perceived a strong sense of psychic "evil" upon arriving in France, and it made her "skin crawl" [here we also learn that Vampi doesn't hesitate to undress in front of Pendragon…the lucky old coot! Not that she ever wears much clothing anyway].

The next day, Vampirella and Pendragon's first stage show occurred in front of a largely indifferent crowd, but when the time came for Vampi to morph into her bat-form as the grand finale of the performance, she inexplicably metamorphosed into an entirely new form that she "suddenly" remembered, as if it was always a part of her but she simply ignored it up til now…her man-bat form, which add's increased strength and savagery to her humanoid form, and which grants the she-vamp the power of flight without having to leave herself vulnerable in a small bat form. As Vampi relished the euphoric feeling she had in this astounding new form, the audience panicked and fled the venue, and since Paris was considered a "supernatural-free zone," Ceti reminded her and Pen that heavily armed government agents would soon be on the scene to apprehend her.

True to Ceti's warnings, two agents in suits of flying combat armor arrived to neutralize her. Wanting to see how well her newly discovered form did in a combat situation, she soundly defeated both armored agents, managing to control her bloodlust as per her promise to Adam during the melee.

Just as Vampirella realized that the Allied Council's High Command was now aware of her presence in Europe, she was suddenly approached in a friendly manner by a group of reverent young male vampires who politely told her that their "master" wished to see her. They drove her to a large mansion whose architecure immediately confirmed in her mind a truth she did not want to face…Dracula still lived (specifically, the particular Dracula soul-clone whom she was eminently familiar with). Her hosts told her that the real war now going on which their master was concerned about was a war on their kind (vampirekind), who were unwelcome in the vaunted City of Love [I can't say that I would want beings who are forced to kill my fellow humans for their blood around either, I must confess].

As Vampi entered the castle and her guests brought her to their master's quarters…she gaped in astonishment as she once again found herself face-to-face with Dracula-Mordante, the Vampire Lord flanked by two werewolf servants, who gentlemanly told her, "Enter, Vampirella…of your own free will."

Comments: This issue marked the first time that Dracula-Mordante actually appeared in the Harris Comics chronicles, even though it was only in the last (full-page) panel.

This issue also featured the first appearance of Vampirella's man-bat form, which she did not possess during her Warren days, save for her very earliest appearances, where all the Drakulonians, her included, were depicted as having two large bat-like wings; Vampi's wings were surgically removed shortly after her arrival on Earth. These early Vampi yarns, particularly her stories in Warren's VAMPIRELLA #1-2, were now known to be mostly memory implants courtesy of Chaos, but her original humanoid winged form in those very early tales may represent imperfect remembrances of her ability to transform into her man-bat form, and she likely believed that she could no longer revert to that form after her wings were surgically removed (she could easily grow them back simply by shape-shifting again, it seems). Hence, this likely created a subconscious block based upon the self-imposed power of suggestion and further confusion by her memory implants, which made her believe for so many years that she was only able to transform into an actual bat. It's probably no coincidence that she re-discovered this ability following her revival in the Harris chronicles, since she both 1) had much more self-confidence than before, and 2) her restricting memory implants were no longer as imposing after Ethan Shroud revealed to her that they were a fasaud created by Chaos and not part of her actual past.

This story had two scripters, Kurt Busiek and Tom Sniegoski, the latter of whom would take over Vampi's exploits for a while under the Harris banner. The writing here was largely unimpressive even though it was well-paced, and an appearance by Dracula (most any Dracula) is always welcome to horrorphiles. The cliffhanger ending was also a nice touch.

The scenes of political propaganda-spewing by the Allied Council of Europe was chillingly realistic and uncomfortably close to home for those readers living in the RU United States under the current administration (to the credit of both scripters), as the propagandistic methodology utilized in the text and the dialogue were incredibly reminiscent to that used under both junior Bush administrations, and in previous 20th century national governments that I won't mention here…despite the fact that this story was written in the early '90s.

WNU Connections: As explicitely depicted in this issue, the political landscape of Europe in the WNU from the early 1980s into the early 1990s was evidently considerably different from its counterpart in the RU, as the former was a totalitarian regime that was evidently united into one continent-wide national unit under Martine Andracou, thanks to the machinations of Dracula-Mordante (as revealed in the next issue, indexed below). Europe was allegedly fighting many wars across the globe, particularly in Asia, and its relations with the United States of the WNU was described as "strained" during this period of time.

It's possible that this upheavel and substantial difference from the RU wasn't entirely related to the scheming of Dracula-Mordante, but also due to completely unrelated and mostly covert situations such as the Eugenics Wars, which were known to be going on during the '80s and early to mid-'90s in the WNU (see Grex Cox's STAR TREK: THE EUGENICS WARS novels, Vol. 1 & 2, for the full skinny on this, as well as the "Star Trek" episode "Space Seed"). There were many implications that the general public outside of Europe were unaware of the full scope of what was going on, and relatively few people in Europe itself considered themselves to be living in a totalitarian state, as evidenced by the powerful propaganda to the contrary that the people there were constantly spoon fed through the mass media.

Other present and future creative mythographers will have to do some in-depth research on the subject of WNU Europe's political situation during the '80s and early '90s to determine if the situation as explained in this story arc was exaggerated or perhaps misrepresented in some fashion.

Time Frame: This story begins no more than two days after the previous issue's tale.

VAMPIRELLA (1st SERIES) #3
[reprinted in VAMPIRELLA: THE DRACULA WAR TPB]

"Revelations"

Story: Tom Sniegoski

Art: Jim Balent

Picking up at last issue's cliffhanger, Vampirella angrily confronts Dracula and his two lycanthropic servants who flank him. The Lord of the Vampires told Vampi that he knew they would eventually cross paths again (the last time they did so was in Warren's VAMPIRELLA #21). Dracula told the defensive Vampi that he had no intention of harming her, since he considered her one of vampirekind, and therefore under his protection. He also saw vampirekind as being engaged in a war with humankind, the latter of whom dominated the planet in terms of numbers but who were rightfully at the bottom of the food chain below vampires. Dracula then revealed that Prime Minister Martine Albercou, leader of the European Alliance, was in his thrall, and he had ordered her to declare war on vampirekind…so that she would send more and more adolescent male soldiers into his domain under the stated purpose of eliminating his supernatural minions…though, of course, the real reason for sending them there was to enable Drac's lycanthropic flunkies to feed upon some of them, and his larger numbers of vampiric minions to vamp them and thereby continue to build new members of Dracula's growing army of the Undead. This brazen political move was his first step towards conquering the entire planet.

Vampi vowed to stop him, but Dracula grabbed her and began to focus his mesmeric powers into subverting her will to his own. He also made it quite clear that he still harbored a strong romantic desire for her, and he wanted what he considered to be a magnificent specimen of female vampirekind as his queen and lover. Dracula's powerful mesmeric ability, including over all other vampires with a lesser will than his own, managed to entrance Vampi, and he ordered her to prove his loyalty for him by slaking her thirst on a captive boy. However, just as Vampi was about to sink her fangs into the young man's throat, she suddenly exerted her will and broke free of the Prince of Darkness's thrall, shouting, "I'll never call you master!" Regretably, Dracula had his vampiric servants shackled Vampi in a set of enchanted chains that stifled her ability to shape-shift…the magick utilized to enchant them having been learned from the Vampire Lord's days of servitude to Chaos.
Drac had his minions spirit Vampi away into a dungeon cell…and he then turned her intended human meal over to his two lycanthropic servants.

Meanwhile, Pendragon and Jacque Ceti were fleeing from the armored security forces of the French government. Ceti, who was determined to provide Vampirella and her allies with the opportunity to bring down the totalitarian regime now "infesting" Europe, offered to use his own person to impart a distracton for the armored goon squad while Pen slipped away and rendezvoused with Vampirella in Monte Carlo, as previously intended. Pen did as he was asked, producing one of his enchanted charms, this time the Eye of Seth Remar, to entrance a civilian to drive him to Monte Carlo.

While, back in Dracula's dungeon, Vampi indeed discovered that the magick of the chains entrapping her prevented her from transforming into another shape, no matter how hard she focused her will. Dracula soon arrived to speak with her, and told his two accompanying vampiric servants to give them privacy. When Vampi again insisted that she would never be the kind of monster that Dracula himself was, the Vampire Lord once more used his mesmeric power to enthrall the she-vampire, determined to assert his will over her and to transform the vamp gladiatrix into his queen. Confident that she was now securely under his control, Dracula removed her chains. Still in thrall to Dracula, Vampi nevertheless managed to force herself to ask her captor about the truth regarding Drakulon. Having since broken free from the control of Chaos, Dracula laughed at the mention of that "planet's" name, telling her, "Drakulon. Of course. One of Chaos' little lies. There is so much you do not know, my love."

Now finding himself overcome with desire for the female vampiric being before him, since he found her "innocence" with the "potential for such power" to be "exciting," he began to initiate a sexual advance upon her. This triggered Vampi's own ability to wrest her will from the Vampire Lord's control once more. After swiftly morphing into her man-bat form, Vampi took Dracula offguard and brutally slashed his throat with the powerful talons she possesses in that form. Realizing that even such a fearsome wound wouldn't keep Dracula off his feet for long, Vampi once again focused her will, this time to maintain full coherency while under the animalistic haze that accompanied this transformation, and she smashed her way through the dungeon door. She quickly killed one of Dracula's vampiric servants when he attempted to stop her from fleeing…the other servant swiftly ran to his master's side upon the sight of the she-creature before him snapping his comrade's spine like a twig over her leg.

Shocked by her own display of savagery in this new form of hers, Vampi fled the castle and took to the skies, shouting fervently, "What have I become?!"

When Dracula's remaining servant ran back into the room to see if his master was okay, he found the Vampire Lord recovering from having his throat ripped out. With his acknowledgment that he underestimated the she-vampire's willpower and physical might, he simply told his minion to contact their agent now situated in Monte Carlo, since that is where Vampi was heading.

Meanwhile, in Monte Carlo, an immortal gambler who calls himself the Traveler (and whom Vampi met before long ago) was trying to place a bet for 500 grand, American currency in favor of evil for the current battle of good vs. evil with another immortal being in human form whom he was having dinner with [see Classic Dialogue below]. When the Traveler was informed via an unexpected phone call that Vampirella had been revived and was now in Europe…the immortal gambler quickly altered his wager, placing one million American currency on the forces of good instead.

Soon afterwards, Vampirella arrived at her contact point in Monte Carlo, an odd punker bar called Le Cachot. Desperately hoping to find her good friend Pendragon alive and well inside the pre-arranged meeting place, she did indeed find her aging mentor within…and casually using the Eye of Seth Remar to entrance the bartender into making him a drink ("personally, a shot of whiskey is my choice…but these are dark times[,] when a drink such as this is a ray of sunshine").

Vampi happily reunited with Pen, and revealed to him that Prime Minister Andrecou was a dupe of Dracula, with the European Alliance being "a ruse to increase the vampire population for eventual world conquest." The she-warrior then fell into tears as she told her long-time friend and confidante that the Vampire Lord, upon being confronted about Drakulon, mockingly "dangled [her] life's lies in front of [her]." She was also highly distraught over the changes that had occurred to her upon her arrival in Europe, and she had more doubts than ever regarding the true nature of her being. Gentle and comforting as ever, Pen took her hand and reassured his friend that all would be discovered "in time."

Upon exiting the establishment, Vampi and Pen resolved to get to the American Embassy to call Adam Van Helsing and tell him what Dracula's plans were…only to run into the Traveler, who was waiting for both of them outside of the club.

Back in America, Adam Van Helsing was snoozing at his office desk when he awakened from a disturbing nightmare in which he encountered his lover Vampirella in a thick soupy fog…only to have her transform into a humanoid bat-like creature and attack him. Realizing that this dream was the result of his enchanted ring conveying a psychic "distress" message from Vampi, but not fully understanding what the unsettling dream imagery meant, Adam immediately called Fitz and told him that he was going to fly to Europe right away.

Comments: This story featured the first interaction between Vampirella and Dracula-Mordante in nearly two decades. Here it was also confirmed that this errant and rogue Dracula soul-clone had since wrested free from Chaos's memory implants that had previously convinced him, like Vampi, that he was an extraterrestrial blood-drinker from a distant planet called Drakulon (which later turned out to be an otherdimensional nether-realm inhabited by true supernatural vampires).

In the splash page of this story, when Vampirella first confronts Dracula and discovers that he is alive, she expounds, "Dracula lives!" I cannot help but see that as a deliberate homage to the title of Marvel Comics' early 1970s b&w mag dedicated to stories of the Vampire Lord (generally, Dracula-Prime), which is rather ironic considering how that book was one of Marvel's 1970s line of black and white horror mags designed to compete with Jim Warren's output in that particular market…and which irritated Mr. Warren to no end.

Now that Tom Sniegoski fully took over the scripting chores with this issue, the hokey, '70s-like dialogue that Kurt Busiek is still known for was mostly excised, to be replaced by more realism in the spoken word. However, as I have said before, Sniegoski's dialogue is a mixed bag, filled with its wry, memorable Classic Dialogue moments, as well as being rather pedestrian at other times. It should also be noted that with this issue only, Jim Balent handled all of the art chores, both penciling and inking. This showed a marked improvement in the artwork, having a slick and polished look to it (unfortunately, this would not be repeated in the next issue, the final in this story arc, when Jim Balent vanished from the project completely, more's the pity).

This story not only features the first major and detailed exploit of Dracula-Mordante in the Harris chronicles, but it also features the return of the Traveler, and his first appearance in a Harris comic.

WNU Connections: All the evidence in this story confirms beyond a shadow of a doubt that the 'Dracula' seen here is indeed the rogue soul-clone Dracula-Mordante, who had fully given into the evil co-habiting psyche of Dracula-Prime. Though he is now freed from the influence and memory implants of Chaos, it would appear that the memory implants of Dracula-Prime have fully taken over his persona, and no real trace of the original noble and virtuous persona of Count Mordante remains in evidence. It was nice, however, not to see this particular soul-clone engage in the characteristic whining and self-pity over his situation that we saw during his Warren days.

All of the evidence seen in this story arc, as fully revealed in this particular tale, makes sense in the context of the "consensus" WNU regarding the established continuity of Dracula and his soul-clones.

Dracula-Mordante took control of Europe by enthralling Martine Andrecou and initiating an unseen series of political maneuvers to create an advanced despotic regime that 'united' most of the European continent into a single political unit, the European Alliance (though it's possible that his control was only strong in certain areas and indirect throughout) at some point in the 1980s, with said political maneuvering likely beginning around 1984 or 1985.

This makes total sense, since by 1983 Dracula-Prime was temporarily destroyed by means of the Montesi Formula, courtesy of Dr. Strange working with Blade, Frank Drake, and the mage's man-servant Wong, as told in DR. STRANGE Vol. 2 #63 (the latter MU event presumably had an analogue in the WNU). Hence, with Dracula-Prime indisposed until the late 1990s (with a brief return in the early '90s as seen in the TOMB OF DRACULA mini-series by Epic Comics), Dracula-Mordante was free to make a power play of such an elaborate nature, thereby fulfilling the ambitions instilled into his psyche by Dracula-Prime.

In fact, taken together with the TV series, "Dracula: The Series," it can be noted that beginning in the '80s, several of the Dracula soul-clones seemed to have been covertly entering the arena of big business and world politics in an attempt to create a huge vampiric power base by utilizing said socio-economic institutions, both of which interwined with each other to control the world. This would be familiar to Dracula-Prime, who made good use of politics and business dealings while still the human voivode of Wallachia during the 15th century.

Hence, Dracula-Mordante was likely acting partially of his own rogue ambition, but still heavily influenced by the memory implants and personality traits of Dracula-Prime, which were now no longer encumbered by the additional, unrelated memory implants of the "mad god" Chaos.

As stated in the above entry in this index, it's also possible that Dracula-Mordante was able to effect such a substantial change on the political structure of WNU Europe by taking advantage of the pandemonium created by the mostly covert and completely unrelated Eugenics Wars, which was occurring during the same time period.

Classic Dialogue: When Vampirella first confronts Dracula and admits that she was foolish to believe that he had died, the Vampire Lord smiles and replied, "Never believe what you see or hear. Words to live by." This is especially true for comic book readers, of course.

When the Traveler was trying to convince his unnamed fellow immortal being to place a wager on the outcome of good vs. evil then going on in the world, the guy replied, "I'm not the betting kind, Traveler. Much too cautious for that. Have been since that nasty business with Lucifer's fall."

To which the Traveler responded with his own memorable reply: "Just picked the wrong team, boy. Who knows, your luck might have changed."

It's nice to see that Heaven has, and apparently has always had, gambling! Maybe that explains why bingo is so popular in churches.

Time Frame: This story occurs immediately after the previous tale.

VAMPIRELLA (1st SERIES) #4
[reprinted in VAMPIRELLA: THE DRACULA WAR TPB]

"Conclusion"

Story: Tom Sniegoski

Art: Louis Small, Jr. (inks by Matt Banning)

This story begins with Dracula-Mordante, apparently relaxing in one of his castle's underground caverns by hanging upside down from the stalactites in man-bat form (the first time Dracula-Mordante has ever been shown to transform into man-bat form)…and ranting at one of his vampiric messenger servants over the fact that the Traveler has now seemingly aligned himself with Vampirella. There would literally be Hell to pay for that.

Meanwhile, in the Traveler's expensive Monte Carlo chalet, he is entertaining a reluctant Vampirella and Pendragon, who are hesitant to trust him due to their past history. Though the immortal was understanding over this, he told them that he believed that he was the only chance they had to win…he had evidently changed sides in relation to his extreme boredom with his own immorality. They were all unaware that one of Dracula's human agents in Monte Carlo was spying on them.

In the meantime, Adam Van Helsing was en route to France, worried about Vampirella after his ring sensed her distress, and also concerned due to the greater personal intensity and willingness to resort to violence she displayed since her revival.

Back at the Traveler's chalet, the immortal gambler was explaining to his guests how the deal he once made with the 'Forces of Darkness' to acquire his immortality was returning to haunt him, since part of that deal required him to be selfish in all of his dealings with others, something that he previously reveled in…but he has since grown tired of living that way for all eternity. When Vampi inquired as to whether the Traveler struck a deal with Chaos, he simply replied, "Chaos, Lucifer, Mephisto, or the Devil himself. I don't rightly know who it was. I made a deal with the Forces of Darkness and I learned that they knew more about my nature than I did. Bastards knew eventually I'd get bored playing it safe."

As the relaxing Dracula, now lounging about his caverns in the form of mist (also the first time Dracula-Mordante was seen using this particular ability), received an update from his servant, the Prince of Darkness learned that the Traveler's alignment with Vampirella and Pendragon was confirmed, and he was going to attempt to spirit them into France. Five of his skilled vampiric assassins were sent to deal with them, each of them dressed in a new scientific creation… "night suits," which simulated the effects of evening and enabled vampires to function in direct sunlight, provided the head-to-toe night suits remained intact. As Dracula noted to himself, "isn't science wonderful?" [see WNU Connections below].

As Vampirella and Pendragon prepared to leave Monte Carlo and flee to Paris via the Traveler's yacht, the immortal discussed the current situation of mounting "darkness" in the world with his guests [see WNU Connections below]. Suddenly (and ironically), as the Traveler questioned who would want to live forever, he ceased to find immortality a concern as his head (and one of his hands) was severed by a sword-wielding attacker. The night suit wearing quintet had struck, unsuccessfully trying to persuade Vampi to join Dracula's scheme.

The predictable battle ensued, with equally predictable results…Vampi and Pen managed to tear the night suits of each of their attackers and expose them to direct sunlight with the expected fiery effect, making it clear that these suits are not overly practical in a combat situation (during the battle, Vampi dislplayed another traditional vampiric shape-shifting ability, by morphing into a wolf-like creature [!?]…she also displayed the selective shape-shifting power of morphing only part of herself, such as a single hand, into her man-bat form so as to make use of the extended talons in that form).

When Dracula learned of the failure of these latest troops of his, he was obviously less than enamored, and he resolved to contact Madame Andrecou and inform her that she was going to be picked up for her own protection, so as to prevent the European Alliance from crumbling ("we've come too far with this plan to have Vampirella stop us now!").

Next up, Vampirella and Pendragon were en route for Paris courtesy of the late Traveler's yacht, only to have Vampi reflect on the fact that she is in a highly weakened state since she hadn't fed in a long time. When Pen reminded her that she needed to be in top condition in order to face the legions of Dracula, and thus had to feed, Vampi told him that she didn't have time to hunt for a "suitable food source," and hence had to struggle through her weakness [as this author is a sufferer of a nasty medical condition called chronic fatigue syndrome, the very thought of this action on Vampi's part comes off as both extremely heroic and absolutely gut-wrenching]. Insisting that she had to be at full strength, Pen offers Vampi his own blood…to which she adamantly refused on stern ethical grounds. After arguing the point for a bit, he finally convinced Vampi that she needed to be at full strength for the coming battle, and thus she had to do the unthinkable…feast on some of Pen's blood.

Adam Van Helsing arrived in France to search for Vampirella, and he immediately headed for an unused office at the American Embassy.

As Vampirella and Pendragon made it to shore in Paris, the she-vampire told her mentor and ally to head for the American Embassy and contact Adam to inform him of what she was about to do in order to end the "escalating evil" behind the European Alliance once and for all…which was to strike at Madame Andrecou herself.

Soon afterwards, the extremely bold and brash Andrecou, strolling through the streets of Paris with two of her armored body guards beside her, was suddenly approached by several vampiric agents of Dracula who told her that she had to be sequestered away for her own protection due to the presence of a "rogue." Andrecou refused, however, insisting that there was no need to flee from the rogue since, "the forces of right are on our side!"

Before she could be safely spirited away, however, Vampirella managed to successfully track the errant Prime Minister down, due to the fact that the poltician carried the "stench" of Dracula upon her. After quickly trading insults with Madame Andrecou [see Classic Dialogue below], Vampi promptly tore her throat out, thereby ending the human part of Dracula-Mordante's European power base.

The she-warrior then mercilously tore into Dracula's vampiric agents, delivering a very bloody defeat to several of them.

At the hidden room in the American Embassy, Van Helsing was conferring with one of his contacts there, a man called Higgins, when the senator was delighted with the arrival of Pendragon (who stormed right through embassy security to enter the room).

As Vampirella continued her battle with Dracula's vampiric agents, and began to fall under the weight of the odds, ironic salvation came when a group of Paris' armored agents, always prepared to deal with supernatural entities, arrived with the intention of killing all the vampires within their "supernatural-free zone." The security force fired numerous silver spikes into Drac's vampiric agents from their wrist gauntlets, quickly dispatching them all. Before they could turn their armored might upon Vampi, however, the she-vamp swiftly leapt upon them and ripped their armor to shreds, leaving them helpless and defeated.

She then morphed into her man-bat form and took to the sky…when her enchanted ring suddenly made her aware that her beloved Adam was now in Paris.

Flying towards the psychic "signal" her ring provided, she intercepted the car in which Adam and Pen were searching for her (with Van Helsing quite startled at his first sight of Vampi in her new form). She landed and warmly embraced her long-time lover, and when he asked her if she was okay, his blood-drinking lady love was forced to answer him honestly: "I don't know, Adam. I really don't know!"

Back at his castle in Monte Carlo, Dracula realized that his plans to control all of Europe…and from there, the world…were largely crippled now that his main, all-important human pawn was slain and removed from the equation. The Lord of Vampires now resolved to destroy Vampirella for the ruination of his plans.

Comments: The title of this story was surmised from the cover blurb, and didn't appear on the splash page.

This fourth and final tale in "The Dracula War" story arc was very hastily completed…and it showed, in both the writing and the art, the former of which was often barely coherent and the latter of which was somewhat sloppily rendered. Due to constant scheduling problems and shipping delays with this series, Harris had no choice but to assign a different inker, Matt Banning, to embellish Louis Small, Jr.'s lackluster and rushed pencils, which effectively deprived the readers of the slick polish of Jim Balent's art, which they enjoyed in the previous issue. These scheduling problems were confirmed and addressed via an editorial message to the readers in the next and final issue of Harris's VAMPIRELLA (1st SERIES), which was an even worse rush job, and the decided remedy for the problem was to end that title and start anew with a different series (VAMPIRELLA [1st SERIES] #5, which featured the return of Ethan Shroud and further revelations of Vampi's true nature, didn't feature Dracula-Mordante nor was it part of "The Dracula War" story arc; hence, it will not be indexed here).

As a result, this was the worst issue in the story arc (though issue #5 was the worst of the five-issue run of VAMPIRELLA [1st SERIES] altogether). Writer Tom Sniegoski obviously did his best with the script considering how fast he had to work to complete it, and even threw in a memorable line or two, but the dialogue was obviously written in haste and was thus very wooden. This issue served the purpose of definitvely ending the story arc and resolving the situation regarding the European Alliance…and that's about it.

Dracula-Mordante's pronouncements at the end of the issue to see to Vampirella's death was never picked up from here, so one may guess that with Madame Andrecou dead, the European Alliance quickly fell to pieces, Drac wasn't able to get a new human pawn into office quick enough to prevent WNU Europe's return to a political state similar to that of its RU counterpart, and he thus returned to Transylvania to seek other schemes of world domination, forgetting his problems with Vampirella for the moment. This wasn't the first time one of his storylines was abruptly halted without resolution…he suffered the same thing two decades earlier with his solo series in EERIE. The next time Dracula-Mordante was seen in the Harris chronicles was a few years later in the VAMPIRELLA/DRACULA: THE CENTENNIAL one-shot, where he appeared in both a terrific solo story scripted by the legendary Alan Moore and an even more terrific and totally offbeat crossover story with Vampirella (both stories indexed below). This storyline wasn't picked up or even acknowledged in either of the latter two tales (but it wasn't contradicted in any way, either).

Here we saw Dracula-Mordante transform into both his man-bat and mist forms for the first time ever, making it clear that he did eventually develop these abilities, if he didn't possess them from the onset.

In this entire story arc, much like Dracula-Prime in Bram Stoker's DRACULA, Dracula-Mordante barely engaged in the action sequences, and remained a schemer and very important background presence, with the other characters in the story carrying the bulk of the imbrogglios.

WNU Connections: As noted above in the Comments section, it can be surmised that after this story, the European Alliance quickly crumbled, and Dracula-Mordante returned to Castle Dracula in Transylvania, where a power base for the Dracula soul-clones (and Dracula-Prime) was always present…and Europe of the WNU quickly returned to a political state more or less similar to the one we know here in the RU. He then seeked out new plans for world domination, when he later acquired control over the Castlevania construct as a result of further study in the occult that he gleaned from the Crimson Chronicles, and eventually traveled back in time to merge his essence with the 11th century human warrior/alchemist Mathias Crongvist to become the most powerful Dracula soul-clone of them all, Dracula-Mathias of the Castlevania Saga, as per the conjectures of this author; see the Dracula-Mordante Capsule Timeline below for more on this theory.

The "darkness" enshrouding the world, involving a dualistic cosmic struggle between the forces of Good and Evil, during this time period (circa early 1990s) as noted by the Traveler was likely related to the swiftly approaching Millennium, which has been seen in other WNU sources to be the culmination of the large amount of demonic activity, including but not limited to the birth of several human/demon hybrid 'Anti-Christ' contenders, from the early 1960s to the early 1980s with its temporal 'epicenter' in the 1970s. The 1990s decade in the WNU was rife with destructive paranormal forces, many of the worst of which wasn't related to the supernatural, such as numerous giant meteor impacts with the Earth and the dai kaiju assaults upon human civilization (including the return of Godzilla, as seen in Marc Cerasini's series of Godzilla novels published by Pocket Books in 1998).

The various characteristics of the Dracula soul-clones differed from both Dracula-Prime and the other soul-clones, even though their personas and ambitions largely followed a similar vein. For instance, as seen in this story, Dracula-Mordante had an appreciation for the use of science and technology in the modern world that Dracula-Prime didn't possess, and some of his other soul-clones, particularly Dracula-Lejos, outright eschewed the use of modern science and technology in all its myriad forms. Other soul-clones, like Dracula-Denrom, shared Dracula-Mordante's interest in and willingness to use modern science, as Denrom did when he was revived around the same time that Dracula-Mordante first met Vampirella, as seen in the Hammer films "Dracula, A.D. 1972" and "The Satanic Rites of Dracula." Also like Dracula-Mordante, but unlike Dracula-Prime, Dracula-Denrom was largely guided by his loins in regards to his actions.

Classic Dialogue: When Vampirella first encounters Madame Andrecou, the she-warrior angrily laments, "A traitor to your own kind, a Judas goat leading the human race down a path of subservience!" To which Andrecou curtly and calmly retorts, "One should talk, rogue."

Time Frame: This story takes place, at most, two days after the previous story, thus setting the entire "Dracula War" story arc late in the year 1991 or early in the year 1992.

VAMPIRELLA/DRACULA: THE CENTENNIAL


"The New European"

Story: Alan Moore

Art: Gary Frank (inked by Cam Smith)

A war correspondant named Jack Halloran lays in a dingy alley in New York City, physically beaten and emotionally devastated. Glaring into the evening sky, he begins silently narrating the events of the past few days that preceeded this situation.

Days earlier, Halloran had traveled to a war-torn city in Romania, for the purpose of helping an elderly war refugee named Dragunsun [see Comments below] emigrate to America to escape the chaos of the Balkan city he now lived in. While a guest in Dragunsun's large manse, he was attended by three proper looking women whom he took to be the refugee's wife and daughters (the eldest, named Eloise, appeared to be just past middle age, another appeared to be in her 20s, and the youngest appeared to be in her early to late teens), and they told him that Dragunsun regretted not being able to greet his guest personally, but he was now fast asleep. The three women were very polite and thankful to Halloran, who commented that the windows in the house must be barricaded as extra protection against the shelling that intermittently occurred outside…Eloise simply responded, "The shelling. Yes." As the three women showed their guest to his room, Halloran queried if the two girls were Dragunsun's daughters, to which the second oldest lady simply replied, "Mm. We are family." Since Halloran was due to fly back to America the following morning, the woman then asked him if he was looking forward to seeing his wife again, to which Halloran responded in the affirmative, noting that this was the longest he and his wife, Mia, had been apart despite how often his job as a war correspondant took him away from home.

Retiring to his bed, Halloran began falling asleep to the distant sound of gunfire, and thoughts of Mia, noting again that they had never been apart this long before, even when he was covering the Persian Gulf War. He then noted (via narration) that he was having an odd dream, where he and Mia were having dinner with his mother, his mom casually telling them about someone she spoke to while shopping earlier that day, when all of a sudden Mia began initiating a make-out session with him right in front of his mother; this continued to the point that Mia actually began unzipping his pants in front of his mom, but his mother didn't seem to take heed of this activity…she finally stared at the two of them and said, "Pass the gravy-boat, Jacky."

Just then, Halloran awakened and discovered, to his abject horror, that all three women were in the bed with him, totally nude and each biting him and sucking blood out of various parts of his body, including his legs, shoulder, chest, and arms [this scene is somewhat reminiscent of one that appeared in the Blade story in an issue of Marvel's VAMPIRE TALES mag, as well as a scene from the film "Return to Salem's Lot"]. Terrified beyond description, Halloran leapt from the bed, while all three of the women appeared to have been in a state of total sexual arousal following their blood-drinking. While backed up against the wall, Halloran peered out the window and noticed a dark, shadowy figure, almost shapeless, slithering out of the window leading to Dragunsun's room ("It's pouring itself out the window across the way with a sickening, boneless motion. It's trickling down the wall like tar. That's what I remember seeing"). Apparently awaiting the arrival of that shadowy figure on the ground was an old refrigerated meat truck tended by a nervous-looking man whom Halloran surmised to be a black marketeer.

He then passed out again, and the three she-vamps renewed their meal of blood.

Shortly afterwards, at New York International Airport, the two men tending the flight arrivals were extremely unnerved, as the plane's pilots refused to respond to their hails, never used their radios, and simply landed on the runaway completely unannounced. The two men approached the plane, one of them verbally expressing concern that everything was okay, since there were fifty paying passengers flying over from Romania, and the airline company didn't need more lawsuits [it seems the bottom line is even more monstrous than Dracula himself]. The other man assuaged his partner's concern, telling him, "Relax. All these people are from Roumania [sic], or someplace. They don't have lawyers out there" [once again, it's nice to see how much concern these employees have for the bottom line…I'd hire them in a second!].

As the two men arrived at the landed plane, two other airline employees were trying to open the passenger exit, only to find it locked from the inside. They proceeded to pry it open with a crowbar, and upon entering the plane…they discovered that every single passenger had evidently been brutally slaughtered in a very bloody fashion. When the startled employees entered the cockpit, they found the pilot and co-pilot with their hands tied to the controls…and both of their throats ripped out, a look of total horror grafted onto their faces in death.

Before they could begin to contemplate what had happened, a large, eerie looking black mastiff with glowing red eyes and airy breath began scampering away from the plane, unnoticed by anyone.

Meanwhile, at Jack Halloran's home in New York City, Mia Halloran was entertaining her friend Lucy, engaging in some drab conversation regarding her husband's mission in Europe.

Suddenly, the two women were aware of a figure standing before them in the house…a figure who said, "Ladies. It is a lovely evening." Panic-stricken, Mia dove for the telephone to call for help, when the mysterious stranger who had entered her home moved with astounding speed, grabbing (and easily holding) Lucy with one hand and Mia by the hair with the other, causing her to drop the telephone receiver before she could complete the dialing of any number. The stranger then quickly tore out Lucy's throat, and then began to attack Mia.

Back in Romania, in Dragunsun's home, Jack Halloran sat on the floor in a highly weakened state, due to his blood loss. The three vampiric women, who were now sated, fell into a slumber on the floor in front of him. By a tremendous effort of will, Halloran crawled over to the wooden chair in the room, and began breaking off the legs into jagged pieces [considering the vampiric vulnerability to wood, you would think they would fill the guest rooms of their intended victims with plastic chairs…but what do I know? I'm not a vampire]. Then, acting as if by "blind instinct," Halloran stabbed the three she-vampires to death with the makeshift wooden stake.

Just after dawn, Halloran fled Dragunsun's home in a state of extreme desperation, as he realized that since he had been corresponding with the man via snail mail for the past few months, the European gentleman had his home address. He knew that he had to get back to America as quickly as he could. Attempting to call home at the airport, Halloran only got their answering machine, but he still refused to panic, realizing that Mia never picked up the phone when she and her friend Lucy were hanging out and watching their favorite TV show together.

The following evening, Halloran finally made it back to his home, realizing that doing so 24 hours after Dragunsun arrived in America would be too late [I must say, they have some mighty fast commercial airplanes in Romania!]. Upon entering the house, Halloran noticed the floor covered in dried blood…and Lucy sitting on their couch and casually watching her favorite show on television, despite the fact that her throat was very visibly torn out. Regarding his wife, Lucy told Halloran, "Mia's not here, Jack. He took her downtown. I'd have gone with them, but I look a mess." It was just then that Halloran realized how similar his name, Mia's name, and Lucy's name was to some of the main characters in Bram Stoker's novel who were victimized by his famous book's titular menace: Jonathan Harker, Mina Harker, and Lucy Westenra. Astounded by this sudden realization, Halloran was suddenly attacked by the slavering (and now vamped) Lucy, who, like the three concubines of Dracula back in Romania, saw no difference between her bloodlust and her sexual desires. Unable to throw the now incredibly strong Lucy off of him, Halloran quickly grabbed a heavy glass ashtray that was (conveniently) within reach, and smashed the she-vampire's face in with one strong blow [but since when can a glass implement take out a vampire?].

It was easy for Jack Halloran to discern where Dracula had taken Mia downtown…a heavy leather, gothic club called the Crypt. Upon entering the rough establishment, Halloran saw Dracula casually talking to a group of punker kids at the bar, with Mia quietly standing beside him staring at the ceiling, as if she were enthralled, her neck covered by a red scarf. To quote Halloran's personal narrative at this point: "He stood at the bar with a bunch of kids all listening to him. Mina was with him, except that she wasn't Mina, and when I saw her I knew Mina was gone.
"God, did I say Mina? I meant Mia."

Halloran quickly made a spectacle of himself, shouting to the punker and leather crowd who surrounded Dracula and his new paramour that they were actually speaking to Count Dracula himself. Dracula and the seemingly entranced Mia never even reacted to the scene that Halloran was causing at all, and he was promptly dragged out of the club by several of the patrons, who then severely beat him and dropped him into the alley outside.

Jack Halloran opened his eyes to discover Dracula and Mia standing before him, the man's face shrouded in shadow but his eyes glowing fiery red in the dark. Dracula apologized for what happened inside the club, and thanked Halloran for arranging his flight out of the Balkans; he then noted that Halloran's presence here probably meant that he killed Eloise and his other two concubines.

Reaching up to the Prince of Darkness, still barely conscious, Halloran forced himself to ask the entity standing before him if he was truly real. Dracula replied, following a bit of laughter, "Oh, I'm a story, Mr. Halloran. A rather old European story, endlessly retold…and I lose little in translation. Goodnight to you, Mr. Halloran. Come, Mina."

This brought the story back to the beginning, where the injured and distraught Jack Halloran began his personal narrative while laying in that alley, musing to himself: "He called her Mina. They walked off together, her and the new European, into their new American story. The modern night doesn't care. The modern night is asleep to him, defenseless…just asking for it. Why not?"

Comments: This was a masterful short tale of horror, contributed by master scribe Alan Moore, author of such classic illustrated story series as his legendary run on SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING during the early '80s at DC, THE WATCHMEN, and (more recently) THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN volumes under his own label, America's Best Comics. The art by Gary Frank was terrific and atmospheric. As the only solo Dracula-Mordante story published by Harris to date, and the last one published since Warren's VAMPIRELLA #41 two decades earlier, this story gave a strong hint how successful an ongoing Dracula series by Harris could have been, had they found the right creative team with the right vision and energy.

This centennial contribution to the 100th anniversary for the publication of Bram Stoker's groundbreaking novel was highly impressive, just as much of Moore's work happens to be. Since he has refused to incorporate Dracula into his ongoing volumes of THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, it was nice to see him handle the Lord of Vampires in a modern venue, even if only this one time.

It was clear to the readers that Moore was providing a quick, modern re-telling of the Dracula novel, a series of events orchestrated by the Vampire Lord himself, featuring analogues to the three main victims of the nefarious Count from the novel, as well as his vampiric concubines, but none of the vampire-hunting team who ultimately slew Dracula-Prime. The fact that the novel was published within the context of the story itself was likewise interesting, and important to the plot of the story.

This tale was darkly disturbing, violent, gory, and allegorical, making it clear that Dracula represents a metaphorical darkness that is every bit as relevant…and horrific…in today's culture as it was back in the late 19th century. The title and theme of the story appeared to suggest that darkness is recurring, and is quite capable of remaking itself in any image, for any given era of time.

To quote Jack Halloran's introductory narrative: "Cleanliness is next to godliness, but the Devil changes his clothes more often. Always right up to the minute. Stood behind you in line for the deli, you'd never notice him.
"Tell you flat out who he is, you'd never believe him."
Great exposition from a master wordsmith.

Alan Moore chose to interpret Dracula as a major enigma, depicting the Vampire Lord only sparingly, and hiding the character behind the consequences of his actions and their effects on his victims, much as Stoker did in his original novel. He explicated this approach in some detail in the interesting interview that also appeared in this one-shot special.

The entire story was narrated in the first person by Jack Halloran, mostly (save for briefly at the beginning) in a linear fashion. Some of the events in the story occurred concurrently with each other, shifting from one panel to the next, though I synopsized it above one scene at a time, to spare my readers a lot of potential confusion.

The disparate pseudonyms that Dracula chooses in his various guises, all highlighting his penchant for ironic humor, are every bit as telling to his true identity as if he stood in front of a mirror with his reflection clearly not visible. "Dragunsun" was a play on the actual meaning of the surname "Dracula." The latter name loosely translates as "son of the dragon," so "Dragunsun" is obviously a linguistic permutation of "dragon's son." At least this particular pseudonym was cooler than the all-too commonly used "Alucard" anagram.

In this story, it was quite clear that Dracula-Mordante had become more powerful than he was during his days in the Warren chronicles. Not only was he able to enter a human dwelling place without first being verbally invited (just as Dracula-Prime seemed able to do at times), but he was able to morph into the form of a huge black dog, a form not taken by most other vampires, whose choices were usually limited to a bat or a wolf, and sometimes dispersed bio-etheric mist. Though Dracula-Mordante wasn't seen taking the form of dispersed, intangible mist in this story (he did once during "The Dracula War" story arc, indexed above), he appeared able to change his shape to some degree, as depicted in one particularly chilling sequence in this story (an analogue to the scene in the novel where Dracula-Prime crawls down his castle wall like a lizard).

However, the black dog form was quite apropos, as this particular animal form of the Count (seen in but one well-rendered panel in this story) was a dead ringer for the legendary creature known as the barguest or the "black shuck," a huge black spectral dog of Irish legend, often described with eyes like glowing red coals, who was known to appear before people in various paranormal encounters, and manifestations of this demonic black dog weren't limited to the British Isles (there are many reports in America, also). Their appearance was often said to presage a person's death. The legend of this black paranormal dog was the central theme of the classic Sherlock Holmes novella "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (though the titular creature of that particular story turned out not to be of supernatural origin). Other than the latter famous story, along with a little-remembered but interesting telefilm from the '70s (where the barguest was a real supernatural creature), this particular denizen of supernatural lore has been given nothing like the attention it deserves in fictional horror literature or cinema.

By this time, Dracula-Mordante appears to continue having his actions heavily influenced by the memory implants of Dracula-Prime, and to be fully corrupted by Chaos, as he no longer displayed an inkling of the guilt or suppressed nobility he once exhibited regularly during his Warren days. It can be said that by the 1990s, Dracula-Mordante had "shed" his psyche of most (if not all) of the weak vestiges of Count Mordante's original personality, which had previously "leaked" into his psychically implanted Dracula persona to a fairly high degree.

With his increased power, thanks to his union with Chaos, and having dispensed of the once highly limiting remnants of the Count Mordante persona, Dracula-Mordante had by now become a highly formidable menace, possibly rivaling Dracula-Prime himself in power.

WNU Connections: This story fits in quite well with the "consensus" WNU chron, particularly how it was made clear that the novel DRACULA and its accompanying legend exist within the context of this universe, with the incidents depicted therein commonly believed to be fiction, but actually describing real events (though even fewer people were aware of the soul-clones). This story depicts Dracula-Mordante shortly before the beginning of the 21st century, now more powerful than he was in any previous decade. This was his first appearance since "The Dracula War" story arc from VAMPIRELLA (1st SERIES) #1-4.

In one panel in the story, Dracula-Mordante's simulacra of the Star Stone ring was clearly visible.

Time Frame: This story was explicitely stated to have occurred in the year 1997, but it's likely that it occurred a year or more earlier.

"Vampirella vs. Dracula"

Story: James Robinson

Art: David Mack and Rick Mays

This tale begins in a library…specifically, a metaphysical but substantive library existing as a 'crossroads' reality within the human collective subconscious [likely an area of the Dreamlands where different realities intersect with each other, where remnants of the human imagination from many disparate realities from any given time period can temporarily converge on a level not discernable to the conscious mind of most sentient beings].

As the third person text states [in a very well written anecdote by author Robinson], these metaphysical libraries are places where writers, artists, and thinkers of every conceivable stripe from many different time periods and realities can meet and interact with each other (i.e., what we fan boys would call a 'crossover').

The readers are treated to a splash page featuring a montage of images from many different literary works, from disparate time periods and realities, specifically a Viking longboat, a knight on an armored horse, a fire-breathing dragon, a comical anthropomorphic rabbit who appears to be a denizen of Wonderland [a reality known to exist within the Dreamlands], an armed detective hero from the early 20th century, early 20th century war planes, a young knight and maiden embracing and sharing a kiss, a stone bust of Edgar Allan Poe with a raven atop his head (an obvious allusion to his classic and haunting poem, "The Raven")…and an image that appears to be of Dracula-Mordante romancing Vampirella.

As the third person text notes: "At any given time in the library you can find people working. Some are unknown…they perhaps labor on a first mediocre novel, or a letter to a loved one that no one but that lover will see.

"But there are others here with pedigree.
"They whose name is known…
"Whose work is well known…"

The large metaphysical library appears to be nearly empty save for two individuals presently sharing a single table (near the ever prominently shown stone bust of Poe and the raven), who both happen to be late and lamented writers as of 1997: Bram Stoker, circa 1895, scribing words on paper with a quill pen, and Archie Goodwin, circa early 1970s, scribing via an old-fashioned typewriter native to his decade. Moreover, these appear to be quasi-conscious psychic projections of the Stoker and Goodwin from the Real Universe [RU], rather than the WNU.

While sitting and composing their respective work in the solitude of the library, each becomes aware of the presence of the other (as well as being subconsciously aware of the nature of their metaphysical surroundings), and Goodwin asks Stoker if he is done using a certain book in the middle of the desk between them…a book with a large picture of a bat in one of the open pages. Stoker noted that he was through using the book at the moment, and Goodwin generously places it on a section of the table where both can make use of it. It's then that Stoker's curiosity is truly piqued, and he asks his fellow scribe if he is interested in writing about bats.

As Goodwin continues typing, he replies that he is actually writing about vampires. Surprised, Stoker notes that he is likewise writing about vampires, and he asks his fellow library patron what his name was, and what the specific project he is working on happened to be.

Goodwin introduced himself, told Stoker (whom he didn't recognize) that he was writing a comic book about a female vampire, a character who had become quite popular (Goodwin was writing Vampi's strip for the VAMPIRELLA mag published by Warren in the early '70s, both in the RU and the WNU). Stoker then correctly surmised that Goodwin was from a later era in time, but the latter wasn't certain at that point [but you would think the attire, qwill pen, and ink jar for dipping would be a hint to an astute guy like Archie Goodwin], and he then asked the identity of his table partner.

It was then that Bram Stoker introduced himself, noted that he was writing from the time frame of 1895, and that the book he was working on was called…DRACULA.

Goodwin was astounded and honored by being in the presence of Stoker himself, one of his greatest inspirations, and told him so. Stoker then asked if this meant that his work would be remembered in Goodwin's time period. Goodwin replied that the book Stoker was "now" working on, DRACULA, would influence all horror writers for a long time to come ("forever, I guess"), and that many other books, movies, comic books, and "all manner of things" would be composed about the character of Dracula.

Stoker then understandably had some questions, the first of which was "what is a movie?" Goodwin told him to think of it as a moving photo…but Stoker, from the standpoint of the year 1895, was unfamiliar with the term "photo," as well. Thinking of an indigenous frame of reference for Stoker, Goodwin suggested that he try to imagine a moving daguerreotype. Stoker had a vague conception of what Goodwin was referring to, noting that a moving daguerreotype was what a man from his era called Muybridge was "playing with" [cinema and film were introduced to the world during the 1890s, with the first ever complete film, i.e., with a beginning, middle, and ending, and also including what we today refer to as "special effects," being "Cinderella," released in the newly established cinemas in the year 1900]. Goodwin then mentioned that Muybridge's invention would soon turn into "serious business."

Stoker then asked Goodwin what a 'comic book' was, to which the latter replied: "It's…I guess you'd call it a penny dreadful with lots of pictures that go along with the words."

Stoker's final question was what became of his other works, and if they were also well known and popular in Goodwin's future era ("come, man, you can be truthful"). Goodwin honestly responded that Stoker would be very well known for DRACULA…but pretty much only for that [a few other of Stoker's novels, such as the weird vampire tale LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM, have been turned into movies, but only die hard horror buffs are truly aware of Stoker's works outside of DRACULA today]. Stoker decided that he should be happy with the fact that at least one of his works, even if only one, would have great and lasting popularity.

Stoker then asked Goodwin to tell the distinguished Irishman about himself. Goodwin told him that he was also a writer, as well as an editor. He said that he eventually ended up working his craft within the comic book medium, and "I guess I've made a name for myself." Stoker then deduced that Goodwin was American, and the latter noted that Stoker was Irish, as he recalled, adding that his wife, Anne, was proud of her Irish heritage. Stoker mentioned that she certainly should be.

Stoker then asked Goodwin if he only writes about vampires, to which Goodwin responded in the negative, telling Stoker that he writes about a diverse array of subjects, whatever he happens to be hired to do, including war stories [alluding to his amazing late '60s run on the short-lived but highly memorable war comic mag published by Warren during the heyday of the Vietnam War, BLAZING COMBAT], crime stories, and super-hero adventures. Stoker asked him what a 'super-hero' was, and Goodwin replied, "…mmm…err…men and women in bright costumes with amazing powers." Stoker asked if these super-heroes were akin to circus performers, to which Goodwin responded, "close enough" [and this was true, since the first super-hero to actually wear the characteristic costume, Superman, had his uniform based on the type of colorful spandex-like outfits commonly worn for ease of movement by circus aerialists and acrobats, but with the decorative cape added to the mix…it should be noted that the earliest (never published) version of Superman as conceptualized by Jerry Siegal and Joe Shuster was sans a costume, a look later adopted by DC's Golden Age Superman pastiche called Iron Munro].

Stoker then asked Goodwin if he wrote more stories about vampires than the one he was "currently" composing, and Goodwin replied in the affirmative, mentioning that this was just one of many assignments he was now working on [his work schedule at the time was quite prolific]. Stoker then queried whether Goodwin's vampiric heroine was inspired by his character of Dracula, to which the bespectacled writer from the '70s responded: "Mr. Stoker…I can honesty say that if you hadn't created Dracula, I wouldn't be sitting here writing Vampirella."

Off in a corner of the huge metaphysical library, Goodwin and Stoker were both unaware that they were being observed by a shadowy, cloaked figure who had also been drawn to this realm from elsewhere…and the figure was startled by a familiar female voice emanating from behind him, which queried, "What are you doing, sulking in the darkness, Dracula?
"…not that it isn't like you."

The fearsome figure of Dracula-Mordante then turned around to see the buxom vampiric she-warrior Vampirella sitting atop a shelf of books directly behind him, holding onto a stone bust of William Shakespeare (?) for support [considering how artists Mack and Kays depicted Vampi's chest as looking as if she was at least an E cup size, and emphasizing how her scanty red full body outfit barely covered her, it forces the reader to wonder, as is often the case, just how her breasts (or, strictly speaking, the nipple area) actually manages to stay covered by that barely extant uniform with any movement that she makes…hopefully, as an immortal who doesn't truly age, Vampi doesn't have to worry about those boobs sagging, especially since she has never been known to wear a bra for support! Her uniform has rarely been depicted as scantier than it is here…which is saying a lot! It had two front elastic straps that barely concealed her nipples and her crotch area (which was adorned with what looked like a stylized yellow bat insignia…and yes, Vampi appeared careful to shave her bikini line!), it covered no part of her back whatsoever, and it didn't cover her buttocks at all, as the rear part of the uniform was so thin and tight that it basically fit her like a g-string…and then there was the rather incongruous white collars that the uniform possessed…all in all, Vampi may be rivaled only by the Phantom Lady as having the sexiest looking one piece outfit in all the annals of comicdom…but unlike Sandra Knight, Vampi doesn't even wear a cape!].

As she casually leaped down from the bookcase in front of Dracula, the Vampire Lord reminded her that the proper word she was looking for was skulking, and agreed that doing so was "almost as natural to me as sleeping or drinking."

Vampi asked him what he was doing here at this time and place, and Dracula told her: "In one reality we live and breath[e]. We have friends and enemies. In another reality we are words on the page. But in this place both forms of existence are equal. It's rare that the creation is drawn here at the same time as the creator, but I presume the pair of them meeting has drawn us here, too" [see WNU Connections below]. When Vampi asked Dracula what he meant by the "pair of them," the Vampire Lord retorted, "Bram Stoker and that 'Archie' fellow that writes your lurid exploits." Vampi then noted that since Stoker [in a RU context] created Dracula, in some sense, he created her as well, and the Prince of Darkness told her, "That's one way of looking at it."

Dracula then went on to note that there were other vampires who appeared in fiction before he did, the earliest perhaps being a story from the Arabian Knights' tales. He then mentioned the famous weekend where a group of people gathered together to compose horror stories to pass the time…the same evening that Mary Shelley wrote FRANKENSTEIN…when Lord Byron's personal physician (and sometimes writer) Dr. John Polidori wrote THE VAMPYRE; A TALE, which saw publication in 1819 [and which featured the vampire Lord Ruthven]. He also mentioned the penny dreadful novel VARNEY THE VAMPYRE; OR, A FEAST OF BLOOD [featuring the dread vampire Sir Francis Varney; regrettably, he failed to mention other early vampire classics, such as the poem "Crystabelle" and the novella "Carmilla," both of which featured female vamps…then again, Dracula did always seem to have an old-fashioned sexist streak in him].

Vampi expressed being impressed with the extent of Dracula's knowledge of literary vampires [but don't ask me why!], and the Vampire Lord told her, "It's important to understand where we came from. In the myth and fiction of Stoker's reality as much as our reality, and our origin on our homeworld of Drakulon" (at this point in time, it was more or less well known that Drakulon [or "Draculon," if you prefer] was an otherdimensional realm inhabited by vampires, rather than another planet in WNU Earth's greater universe inhabited by a race of advanced fanged humanoids who fed from naturally occurring rivers of hemoglobin).

Vampirella then asked Dracula if he found Stoker and Goodwin's conversation to be interesting, to which the Prince of Darkness responded in the negative, but said that he acquired an intriguing idea from this situation…if he, within the metaphysical library realm…could kill Stoker at this point in time "before" he finished his book (relevant to Stoker's own time period), before Dracula "died" at the end of the book, then it was possible that he could further empower himself in their own reality [i.e., the WNU], where they actually exist in the concrete. Vampi reminded him that since they were unfamiliar with how the 'physical' laws of this metaphysical realm encroach upon the concrete realities of both the WNU and the RU, if he killed Stoker now, it was possible that it would have no effect on either concrete reality, or that Stoker of the RU may suffer nothing worse than a headache. Dracula responded that all of Vampi's conjectures were possibilities, but he couldn't be sure until he tried; he then noted that he would kill Archie Goodwin also, and that perhaps by killing him in this metaphysical reality before he could allow Vampi to win another battle between them in one of his RU stories, it may serve to somehow weaken Vampi in the WNU. With the decision to put all of this to the test, Dracula morphed into bat-form, and began flying towards the area of the library where Stoker and Goodwin were sitting and working.

As their conversation was continuing, Goodwin was telling Stoker that by his indigenous time period (circa early 1970s) Hammer Films was still producing Dracula films featuring an actor named Christopher Lee in the role, but that the current crop of films had a lesser quality than the earlier ones [true enough…the Hammer Dracula films of the late '60s and early '70s did considerably less box office business, and had much inferior script quality, to the Dracula films produced by Hammer from the late '50s to the early '60s, their last high quality Dracula film often being considered "Dracula, Prince of Darkness," which bequeathed one of Dracula's most popular nicknames to the Vampire Lord…most of the Hammer films in a WNU context depicted the exploits of the soul-clone Dracula-Denrom, save for "Brides of Dracula," which featured Dracula-Denrom's vampiric acolyte Baron Meinster (who was possibly a soul-clone of a soul-clone), and the final film in the Hammer series, "The Seven Brothers vs. Dracula," which featured the Chinese soul-clone Dracula-Xalex].

Adding to the conversation, Stoker then asked Goodwin, "So, Christopher Lee and Bela Lugosi are the two who best portrayed the Count?" [the Universal Dracula films featuring Bela Lugosi as the Count depicted the famous soul-clone Dracula-Lejos]. Goodwin confirmed this question, and then mentioned the early '70s sleeper classics "Count Yorga" and "Blacula," both of which were also inspired by the character of Dracula. Stoker responded with particular incredulity to Blacula, to which Goodwin reminded him, "I'm from a different time, Mr. Stoker. The world has changed since…"

At this point, Dracula finally appeared before the psychic projections of the two writers, and morphed back into humanoid form, announcing his intention of killing them both, stating, "But if there is an afterlife, I hope you two will find each other, so you might continue your chat. Not that I care a great deal."

Before Dracula could descend upon the two of them, however, Vampirella likewise appeared in bat-form, and she quickly morphed into humanoid form, landing on Dracula's back and attempting to physically restrain him (the fact that Vampi morphed into full bat-form rather than manfesting her more familiar '90s bat-wings to enable her to take flight in her humanoid form may suggest that the Vampi who appeared in this story was indigenous to some point in the 1970s; it's not certain which era Dracula-Mordante was drawn from, but since he mentioned Drakulon as if it was still their "homeworld," it's probable that he was indigenous to an era prior to the 1990s, but at a point in time when he was fully under the influence of the memory implants from both Dracula-Prime and Chaos).

Upon grasping Dracula from behind, Vampi made an attempt to sink her fangs into his throat, apparently to rip his jugular vein, thereby inflicting a serious wound upon him.

However, as always, Dracula's strength, speed, and skill proved superior to that of Vampi (at least the Vampi from this particular point in time, which was likely prior to the 1990s), and the Vampire Lord broke her grip and hurled the she-warrior into a book case behind them. As Vampi was getting back to her feet, Archie Goodwin yelled a reminder to her that paper is made from wood pulp, and there were plenty of books strewn around her. Reacting quickly to this suggestion, Vampi used her superhuman strength to tear a large, thick tome in half and twisted its pages and cover bindings into a makeshift wooden dagger. She and Dracula then attacked each other again, each striking with great swiftness, the Vampire Lord's deadly sharp fingernails inflicting a bloody slash on Vampi's shoulder. However, upon turning to face each other again, Dracula realized that Vampi managed to simultaneously thrust the makeshift wood pulp dagger into his chest, directly into his heart. In his final cogent moments, Dracula moaned aloud, "It looks like I shall be the one to discover…if death here is absolute."

With that said, the mortally wounded Vampire Lord's body quickly burned away into a pile of scattered bones and ashes.

The triumphant Vampirella then noted that Dracula's remains were beginning to vanish from the library realm, signifying that his time there was passing…and she realized this meant that she, too, would begin vanishing back to her own reality. Holding up her right hand, she noticed that it was beginning to fade away, and she noted that the vanishing was now indeed starting. Before she could fully disappear from this crossroads realm, however, Goodwin and Stoker both thanked Vampi for saving their lives, the former telling her, "We won't remember this, but I hope you can. I'd like to think you knew I'd thanked you." To this, the she-vampire replied that her actions might, in fact, have done nothing, as it may not have been possible for Dracula to actually kill them in this metaphysical realm ("not a death that would have lasted, anyway").

Nevertheless, the rapidly fading Vampi stated that this incident did at least give her a chance to thank Goodwin, telling him, "Before I go…thank you. For writing me so well. Believe me, there are many writers I would have happily allowed Dracula to kill…
"…but never you."

Archie Goodwin and Vampirella managed to each exchange a quick smile ("quick like a door draft") before she faded entirely from the library realm, back to her own reality.

Comments: This wonderful tale, rivaling the previous Alan Moore story as the highlight of a terrific one-shot tribute to 100 years of Dracula, as well as to the memories of Bram Stoker and Archie Goodwin (the latter of whom had only recently passed away before this 1997 book was published), is a must-read for all Vampi and Dracula fans. The outré concept of this story, and the idea of the realms we (in the RU) recognize and diffrentiate as reality and fiction converging in a metaphysical library where none of us has any outright conscious knowledge or memories of, was amazingly well realized by author James Robinson.

The artwork (layouts by David Mack and pencils and inks by Rick Mays) was slightly cartoony but quite well done and pleasant on the eyes.

The psychic, imaginary conversation between Bram Stoker and Archie Goodwin, each culled from a time period where they were both alive, and just before they each reached their respective career zenith, was wondrous to behold, and (for the most part) quite realistically done. It was a great way to honor the memory of both writers, and quite a touching nod of respect to Archie Goodwin, who built on Stoker's foundation (as did many other writers) to bring us the version of Vampirella that we all know best (Goodwin didn't create Vampirella for Warren, but he was the one who revamped her into her popular version, different from the campy, tongue-and-cheek tone that initial writer Forrest J. Ackerman took with the character in VAMPIRELLA #1-2). Most fans of both Stoker's DRACULA and the work of Archie Goodwin will appreciate this story.

VAMPIRELLA/DRACULA: THE CENTENNIAL was, of course, published by Harris in 1997 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the original publication of Bram Stoker's DRACULA, and was beautifully done. It contained three stories, an offbeat and disturbing Vampi solo tale "Necromance" by renowned writer Warren Ellis and skillfully painted by Mark Beachum, an excellent solo Dracula-Mordante tale, "The New European," written by Alan Moore (another super-star writer) and illustrated by Gary Frank, and the wonderful Vampi and Dracula-Mordante crossover tale "Vampirella vs. Dracula" written by James Robinson and illustrated by David Mack and Rick Mays, the latter two stories being indexed above (since they are relevant to the subject matter of this Index). The book also contained an interview with Alan Moore regarding his conception of Dracula for this book and a cover gallery featuring full color reproductions of classic encounters between Vampi and Dracula-Mordante taken from the libraries of both Warren and Harris, including a reproduction of the cover to Warren's VAMPIRELLA #16 by Sanjulian, featuring the first ever meeting between Dracula-Mordante and Vampi.

In the opinion of this author, this one-shot volume is well worth seeking out, something all interested parties should do before its high quality copies become overly pricey.

This story was the last time to date (at least to my knowledge) that Harris Comics published a tale starring Dracula-Mordante.

WNU Connections: The Library Realm featured in this story was very likely a 'crossroads' area of the Dreamlands, created and intersected by the collective subconscious of humanity from many different realities, where barriers between both time and dimensions have little meaning. In this realm, personages from different time periods and different realities will have psychic/astral projections of themselves drawn here for various reasons of synchronicity, as was the case with Bram Stoker and Archie Goodwin. Interestingly, since the concept of reality barriers holds no sway over the metaphysical laws of this reality, entities from the RU and the WNU (for example) can freely interact here, though, of course, many if not most such encounters in this realm will not be remembered in the conscious minds of anyone who happens to meet or study here, much like what occurs after the majority of dreams. Though it would appear that sentient beings can indeed be killed in this realm, it's uncertain whether such deaths have any substantial impact on the entities in question once their psyches are restored to their concrete realities. It also appears that at least some entities who are involuntarily drawn to this realm, such as Dracula-Mordante, are aware that they have a concrete existence in one reality but also exist as fictional creations of writers and/or artists in other realities (this may be at least in part due to the fact that Dracula-Mordante has had actual access to other areas of the Dreamlands in the past, and thus may retain more of a conscious awareness and remembrance of his activities here).

Since the Dracula-Mordante who appeared in this story seems to have been culled from some point prior to the 1990s, it can be surmised that his death here at the hands of Vampirella wasn't lasting in regards to his concrete existence in the WNU.

Hence, this story can be considered to take place outside the confines of the WNU, but involving two individuals from the "consensus" WNU (or, at least astral projections thereof), as well as two personages from the RU. Thus, it should be of quite significant interest to creative mythographers.

There can be no doubt that the Dracula who appeared in this story was Dracula-Mordante, not only because Vampi recognized him right away, and he recognized her (there is no evidence to my knowledge that Vampi ever met Dracula-Prime, or was in any way aware of the soul-clones), but also because the Dracula in this story mentioned the dimension of Drakulon.

Further, it was likely that Dracula-Mordante, rather than Dracula-Prime, was drawn into the Library Realm at this point because he represented a creation of Bram Stoker of the RU who was later modified by the Archie Goodwin of the RU, and thus, like Vampirella (who was reworked by RU Goodwin based upon inspiration from the works of RU Stoker), formed a sort of 'union' between the minds of these two writers respective to their individual literary accomplishments.

Time Frame: The Library Realm, as part of the Dreamlands intersecting with many different realities and time periods, is effectively outside of the confines of "time" as we define it. The Bram Stoker appearing here was from the year 1895; the Archie Goodwin in this story from some point in the early 1970s; Vampirella also appears (based on my observations) to be drawn here from the 1970s, at a point after she seduced WNU Archie Goodwin into writing her stories for Warren Comics in her indigenous reality (which is why she recognized RU Archie Goodwin); it wasn't certain from which point in time Dracula-Mordante was drawn here, but it was definitely some point after he met Vampirella, which would make it one of his temporal counterparts who existed "after" the early 1970s, though he didn't seem to have the full power of his temporal counterpart seen in the Alan Moore story "The New European" published elsewhere in this issue by this point.


Capsule Timeline For Dracula-Mordante

Here I will attempt to present a tentative, capsule timeline of Dracula-Mordante, which will outline his history and attempt to reconcile the time travel discrepancies so prevelant in his backstory by using a combination of evidence seen in the published tales as well as many speculations on my part (conjectures which are all fully revocable in the future upon further investigation, of course). This capsule timeline will also attempt to outline his connection to Dracula-Mathias. For the latter info, I am indebted to the work of Mike Ongsingco and his extensive 'Castlevania' timeline.

1840s--Count Mordante is approached, vamped, and transformed into a soul-clone by Dracula-Prime, who believed that the wealthy man's influence would prove useful to his endeavors to create a vampiric power base for himself in the Carpathian Alps. Dracula-Mordante carried out this function with a fair degree of competency, but his original noble mien conflicted with the evil personality that Dracula-Prime's "programming" via the Star Stone ring had 'super-imposed' over Mordante's original persona. However, as Dracula-Prime had anticipated, Mordante's relatively weak level of will power prevented him from completely or permanently overcoming Dracula-Prime's super-imposed evil persona and memory implants [author's speculations].

1840s--Wealthy nobleman Count Lucius Mordante, a close relative of the Tepes/Dracula family, was chosen by Dracula-Prime to become his newest soul-clone, hoping his wealth and influence in the Carpathian region of Europe would prove an asset to him. Despite inheriting most of Dracula-Prime's sheer power (possibly due to their genetic relations) and successfully adopting most of his personality traits and memories, the soul-clone now known as Dracula-Mordante proved unstable and unreliable due to his original highly noble and sensitive personality traits continuously "leaking" into and compromising Dracula-Prime's evil and ruthless traits, despite being unable to completely overcome them or his vampiric bloodlust for long due to Mordante's relatively weak will, particularly in comparison to that of Vlad Tepes. Nevertheless, this was enough for Dracula-Prime to abandon this soul-clone to his own devices, not realizing that Mordante, who like most soul-clones believed himself to be the actual Count Vlad Tepes Dracula himself, would eventually become one the most powerful and fearsome of all Dracula-Prime's rogue soul-clones.

Early 1850s--Dracula-Mordante, under circumstances yet to be revealed, caused the death of a young woman. Her brother, who was a renowned bounty hunter, pursued the Dracula soul-clone and seriously wounded him with silver bullets. Escaping with the help of the deaf mute woman Gwethalyn Christen, the two fell in love and ended up siring a dhampiric child (possibly by Dracula-Mordante biting her slightly as she slept, and thus injecting vampiric virogens into the already pregnant woman). Gwethalyn died after discovering that her lover was a vampire, but her son was nevertheless born. It's my conjecture that Dracula-Mordante gave his dhampiric son to gypsies to raise [EERIE #48, with some speculations by this author].

1870s--The Mordante soul-clone, largely considered a failure by Dracula-Prime due to the former's desire for love and companionship, and the noble aspects of his original persona "leaking" into the dominant personality traits and memories of Vlad Dracula too frequently, resulted in the true Lord of the Vampires placing him into an indefinite state of suspension, preferring to utilize the more efficient Lejos and Denrom soul-clones for his purposes during this time period [author's speculation].

1880s--By unknown means, the coffin of Dracula-Mordante, along with much of the already mystically imbued Transylvanian soil within it, were discovered by one of the many Cults of Chaos who served not only the Lovecraftian entity who had taken on the name of that particular force of the universe to his human worshippers, but also Dracula-Mathias, who was a merged temporal counterpart of Dracula-Mordante from nearly a century and a half into the future (see below on this timeline). Hoping to insure his own temporal existence, Dracula-Mathias ordered several of the Chaos Cultists to engage in an elaborate series of schemes to see to it that his origin occurred as he remembered it. Part of this was to use the power of the Crimson Stone, which was a vessel for the power of Chaos, to enchant a book of mystical spells recorded by the numerous mages who served the "mad god" Chaos throughout the past several centuries, thus insuring that the spells in the book would be far more effective when utilized even by minor adepts in the mystic arts. This tome was referred to as the Crimson Chronicles. Utilizing the power in that book, they enchanted the coffin of Dracula-Mordante, and the already mystically empowered Transylvanian soil within it, to be a means of creating interim soul-clones to carry out their will, until the time was right to revive Dracula-Mordante himself. Whenever a man of an amoral nature opened up the coffin, he would be compelled to rationalize a reason for laying within the enchanted wooden vessel. Upon doing so, his own consciousness would be taken over by that of the still insensate Dracula-Mordante. However, the man in question would still possess only the smallest inkling of Mordante's powers, and would require that person to be bitten by a vampire, whose salivary virogen would result in that body instantly gaining Dracula-Mordante's full power. If Mordante's remains were laying nearby, however, all he would need to do is direct the possessed man's body to move near those remains so that the aforementioned remains of the vampire could absorb the entranced human's life force, thereby causing that body to disintegrate and Mordante's original vampiric form to reconstitute itself on the spot [author's speculations, with some evidence suggested in CREEPY #8-9 and VAMPIRELLA #18].

By unknown means, Abraham Van Helsing, a perennial nemesis of Dracula-Prime, learns of the existence of this enchanted coffin, and first learns of the ability of his foe to create soul-clones, but he is unaware that Dracula-Prime's means of doing so is the Star Stone ring, not the coffin [author's speculations, backed up by evidence in CREEPY #8-9 and VAMPIRELLA #19-20].

1889--The immoral British nobleman Adrian Varney locates the coffin and opens it, becoming the interim soul-clone Dracula-Varney. He victimizes Mina Harker and is defeated and destroyed by Jonathan Harker, Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, and Dr. John Seward, while the coffin sinks to the bottom of the sea near Whitby [CREEPY #8-9 (fully reprinted in CREEPY #48)].

Late November, 1903--In accordance with the future Dracula-Mordante's plans, the Dracula-Mordante indigenous to late 1903 received a strong mental suggestion by the power of the Cult of Chaos, utilizing the Crimson Chronicles, to cause the faux Vampire Lord to become irrationally incensed that Sherlock Holmes had once stated that vampires didn't actually exist. Dracula-Mordante then went on an illogical quest of revenge to terrorize London and challenge Holmes to a duel of wits. This ill-fated incident ended with Holmes and Dr. John Watson defeating Dracula-Mordante by tricking him into confronting them in London's Crystal Pavillion, whose numerous glass panes reflected and amplified the sunlight in the early morning hours, thereby reducing Dracula-Mordante to ashes (which were promptly recovered and safely hidden by Cult of Chaos members). This prevented the Dracula-Mordante who was indigenous to the first decade of the 20th century from being active when his extratemporal counterpart, Dracula-Mordante of the year 1972, was sent back in time to 1906 by the Conjuress [THE ROOK #10, along with speculations by this author regarding the "actual" reason why Dracula-Mordante chose to challenge Holmes in London of 1903].

Early 1950s--During a time when Dracula-Prime was insensate (he would not be revived again until 1971, as shown in TOMB OF DRACULA Vol. 1 #1) Dracula-Mordante is revived by members of the Cult of Chaos, where they use the magick of the Crimson Chronicles to enable the "mad god" they worship to achieve telepathic contact with Mordante. During this contact, Chaos--though unable to remove Dracula-Prime's super-imposed persona, memories, and personality traits--nevertheless manages to impose new faux memories over the soul-clone's psyche, these being of a bogus lifetime spent on the "planet" Drakulon. Mordante's confused psyche frequently modified the nature of these memories to adhere to his own personal conceits about what a technologically advanced alien society would be like, as he subconsciously strove to make sense of these bizarre and conflicting memory implants. Awakening as an avowed agent of Chaos, Dracula-Mordante was made leader of the largest Cult of Chaos, and de facto head of every branch of the cult in the world. Chaos thought it useful to have a Dracula soul-clone who would be relatively easy for the "mad god" to control (unlike some of the other soul-clones with stronger wills) to not only serve his machinations on Earth, but also to work towards the goal of providing Chaos with the means to achieve an offspring that would be able to vie as a contender for the "Anti-Christ" designation that would occur in 1999 [author's speculations].

Towards this goal, Dracula-Mordante decided to sire a dhampiric child of his own. He thus attacked and bit a pregnant woman, with the result being that her child was infected in utero with the vampiric virogen, and her son was born as the dhampir known as Alex Lucard. By the early 1970s, Lucard's dangerous dhampiric attributes would gain ascendancy when he would lose an enchanted cross necklace that he wore to keep them in check, though he would soon be slain by unknown means before ever being able to become a contender for the "Anti-Christ" crown just before the Millennium [FRIGHT #1 (published by Atlas/Seaboard Comics), with some speculations by this author].

During the 1950s decade, Dracula-Mordante first encountered the immortal sorceress agent of Order known as the Conjuress, who sought to redeem the noble persona of Count Mordante that was trapped beneath the evil super-imposed personas of both Dracula-Prime and Chaos. She failed to do so during this time, and she was inhibited by the magicks of the Cult of Chaos, who were able to keep her away from Dracula-Mordante as long as they remained a factor in his life, which would continue for about two more decades. Nevertheless, Dracula-Mordante was highly smitten with her, and as a result of the still untold conflagration between the Conjuress and the Cult of Chaos that occurred, she not only remained very prominent in his mind, but he also subconsciously created faux memories of having met the Conjuress during his life on the "planet" Drakulon into the already conflicting memory implants of Chaos, and even perceived her as being a deity worshipped as part of a (non-existent) Drakulonian faith system.

1970--With the astrological alignment of the stars now allowing a brief excursion by Chaos onto the material plane with the proper ritual procedures, Dracula-Mordante chooses Vampirella to be the bride of Chaos and progenitor of the "mad god's" child, and thus made arrangements to capture her and bring her back to Castle Mordante. This angered a human member of the Cult of Chaos named Lucretia, who wanted to be the bride of Chaos and bearer of his child herself. As a result, she interfered with the ritual, which resulted in the destruction of both the Cult of Chaos and Dracula-Mordante [VAMPIRELLA #16].

About two months later, Dracula-Mordante is revived near the ruins of Castle Mordante when a corpse scavenger locates the enchanted coffin and opens it, only to become an interim soul-clone. Because the remains of Dracula-Mordante were nearby, the Count reconstituted his original body after absorbing the life essence of the greedy man whose body his consciousness possessed. However, since the Cult of Chaos was now destroyed, the Conjuress once again appeared, and she started him on a quest to atone for the evil he had wrought in the past, and to redeem his evil ways, which included not only a trip to two other dimensional planes and a mission back to the late 19th century, but also to more encounters with Vampirella, as well as a brief ill-fated romance with the vampiric she-warrior. Ultimately, however, Dracula-Mordante proved unable to fully stifle the evil imposed over his psyche, despite all the assistance that the Conjuress could offer [VAMPIRELLA #18-21].

1906--Immediately upon his last 1970s encounter with Vampirella, the Conjuress, angered that Dracula-Mordante was unable to overcome his evil ways, transported him back through time to the Barbary Coast of San Francisco, where she felt that he may learn to mend his evil ways after encountering the heavy degree of evil that resided in that time and place. The Conjuress, however, ended up being killed there, and Dracula-Mordante escaped from the area with a blind and elderly gothic witch named Elisabeth and a beautiful young prostitute named Josephine, both of whom he vamped, on a ship that was leaving the coastal area for Europe [EERIE #46].

While en route, Dracula-Mordante encountered and battled an animated rotting corpse who was later simply referred to as the 'Dead-Thing' by chroniclers of this story, and who was inexplicably stowing away on the ship [EERIE #47].

Upon arriving at Castle Dracula in Europe, which was uninhabited since Dracula-Prime and the temporal counterpart of Dracula-Mordante indigenous to this time period were also insensate, the Count was shot and very seriously injured by silver buckshot from a rifle wielded by his dhampiric "son," who was born half a century earlier from the womb of Gwethalyn Christen [EERIE #48].

By means unknown, Dracula-Mordante managed to escape from being destroyed from his son, and two years later, both of his two female vampiric consorts were lost to him [evidence seen in the solo Dracula stories published in VAMPIRELLA #39-41].

1908--Dracula-Mordante, still trapped in this time period while his temporal counterpart indigenous to this time remains sequestered away in a catatonic state, returns to the U.S., and somehow winds up in Choctaw County, Mississippi. There he takes a new consort when he vamps a young, terminally ill woman named Cassandra Kiley on the grounds of the enigmatic King Carnival. Both of them join King Carnival's entourage for protection during the daylight hours, and engage in various exploits with the carnival over the next few months as they travel across the country with it [VAMPIRELLA #39-41].

After several months with the King Carnival, the extratemporal Dracula-Mordante and Cassandra Kiley are attacked by an unidentified group of vampire hunters who lay siege to the carnival in the process, successfully destroying Cassandra Kiley, though Dracula-Mordante narrowly escaped after being seriously injured during the melee. He wanders about heart-broken for some years after this [author's speculation].

At some point after this time Dracula-Mordante somehow encounters the transtemporal psyches of Bram Stoker and Archie Goodwin in a metaphysical realm resembling a library, and attempts to slay them but is stopped by Vampirella, whose psyche is also somehow drawn there from some point in the late 1970s [VAMPIRELLA/DRACULA: THE CENTENNIAL]

October, 1925--By this point in time, Dracula-Mordante was again wracked by feelings of guilt over his past actions (and the memory implants of Dracula-Prime's actions, which he believed to be his own), as well as a strong desire for love. In desperation, Dracula-Mordante seeked out the means of using a séance to contact the ghost of his departed love, Lucy Westenra, and ended up encountering Harry Houdini in the process, with Dracula-Mordante's destruction occurring soon afterwards [GHOSTS OF DRACULA #1-5, published by Eternity Comics, 1991].

Following the above events, the remains of Dracula-Mordante are secretly retrieved by a member of the Cult of Chaos. After this, the remains are brought to a convocation of the Cult who, following the orders of Chaos himself, hide them in a secret location, where they will remain until 1984. By the early 1950s, the Dracula-Mordante indigenous to this time period will be revived, as noted above, and will carry out the designated sequence of events in his life as an agent of Chaos until 1972, where he is freed from control and is then sent back in time to 1906 by the Conjuress, where he will remain for over two years, until he reaches the point in time described just above [author's speculations].

1984--The hidden remains of Dracula-Mordante are retrieved by agents of the newest Cult of Chaos, who felt it was safe to revive him now that Dracula-Prime was destroyed a short time earlier in battle with Dr. Strange and a task force of his 'Secret Defenders.' However, in circumstances unknown Dracula-Mordante discovered that the memory implants placed in his mind by Chaos were false, and upon doing so, he finally freed himself from Chaos's influence and dispatched the cult members. Now realizing that he wasn't from a "planet" called Drakulon, Dracula-Mordante was now fully taken over by the memory implants and super-imposed persona and ambitions of Dracula-Prime [author's speculations].

1985-late 1980s--Resolving to conquer the world via the existing political power structures (as were other soul-clones at the time), Dracula-Mordante initiated an elaborate scheme to create a powerful vampiric power base for himself throughout Europe by enthralling then up-and-coming ruthless politician Martine Andrecou. Using deft political propaganda to bamboozle and manipulate the general public, Andrecou and her secret master managed to transform most of Europe, with the exception of at least some sections of France (particularly Paris), into one united despotic state called the European Alliance, with Dracula-Mordante setting up a castle in Monte Carlo as his main base of operations [VAMPIRELLA [1st SERIES] #1-4, with some speculations by this author thrown into the mix].

1991--Dracula-Mordante's scheme to achieve world domination in this manner was discovered, opposed, and thwarted by Vampirella soon after she was revived after being out of commission for nearly a decade, this occurring after the she-vampire managed to assassinate Andrecou [VAMPIRELLA [1st SERIES] #1-4, fully reprinted in the VAMPIRELLA: THE DRACULA WAR TPB].

Early to mid-1990s--After Andrecou was slain, the European Alliance quickly crumbled, and when armored agents from France stormed his Monte Carlo castle stronghold to find him, Dracula-Mordante fled back to Castle Dracula in Transylvania, where he remained for a few years, slowly rebuilding a power base there and studying the Crimson Chronicles. While doing so, he finally discovered his "true" nature as a soul-clone, but still maintained the Dracula identity and evil persona, as many rogue soul-clones tended to do [author's speculations, with some evidence to suggest this seen in VAMPIRELLA/DRACULA: THE CENTENNIAL].

1997--Shortly after Dracula-Prime was revived and then regained his full memory, Dracula-Mordante had to leave Castle Dracula, but had acquired enough power from studying the Crimson Chronicles anew that he could resist being placed back into suspended animation by the true Lord of Vampires, or used by the latter any further as a lackey [author's speculations].

Unfortunately, before he could make his escape, the recently revived Dracula-Prime made a deal with the powerful sentient force known as the Order of the Dragon--one which had empowered and maintained a close mystical connection with his entire family lineage--to entrap his relative and rogue soul-clone Dracula-Mordante in a perpetuating, ever-changing time loop where he would continuously relive and repeat the general narrative of Dracula-Prime's existence, but continuing throughout different time periods and settings, with other individuals becoming 'absorbed' into the narrative to play the part of other prominent roles in Dracula-Prime's life [some speculation from this author; VAMPIRELLA/DRACULA: THE CENTENNIAL, Harris Comics; VAMPIRELLA VS. DRACULA #1-6, Dynamite Comics].

In the initial stages of this narrative, war correspondant named Jack Halloran was duped by Dracula-Mordante into transporting him out of Europe and back to America, where the hapless Halloran was involuntarily incorporated into the time loop to perpetually play the role of Jonathan Harker. After this, Dracula vamped Halloran's wife Mia and her friend Lucy, the latter two being absorbed into the narrative arc to play the roles of Mina Harker and Lucy Westenra. Despite great effort, Halloran fails to stop Dracula-Mordante's bloody scheme during this particular iteration of the time-looping narrative [VAMPIRELLA/DRACULA: THE CENTENNIAL; VAMPIRELLA VS. DRACULA].

1999--Possibly on an alternate timeline, or possibly in the "mainstream" WNU during a temporary breach from the forced time-loop narrative orchestrated by the Order of the Dragon, Dracula-Mordante finally gains entrance into the hell dimension of Drakulon, where he learns that it's actually an otherdimensional realm inhabited by vampires, and not another planet elsewhere in the universe. His attempt to take over that 'namesake' hell dimension was interrupted by the rivalry of another powerful soul-clone, Dracula-Magnus, the latter of whom succeeded in gaining the ability to control and animate the rivers of blood flowing there, thus becoming more powerful than ever before. Leaving Drakulon as a result, this dimensional variant of Dracula-Mordante finds his way into the Dreamlands and to the Dark Tower, staying away from the Earth dimension during that year and the next, which he had to do, since his future divergent counterpart Dracula-Mathias manifested there to participate in the 'Demon War' of the Millennium [author's speculations, discerned from events seen in the 'Castlevania' video game series; Dracula-Magnus' saga was fully depicted in the SWORD OF DRACULA mini-series published by Digital Web].

Early to mid 21st century--After this dimensional counterpart of Dracula-Mordante gains access to the Dreamlands and the Dark Tower, he encounters both the Crimson King and an avatar of Death, both of whom are assisting Chaos, the latter managing to influence Dracula-Mordante again by this means; though the Crimson King would soon retreat from this alliance for his own reasons (he later turned out to be basically a wimp), the avatar of the Grim Reaper would continue to assist Dracula-Mordante. He also gains control of the trans-dimensional construct known as Castlevania there, a manifestation of the power of Chaos.

From there, now having access to numerous different dimensional planes and time periods in the past, he travels to different locales and recruits various entities across time and space to assist him in his new mission for Chaos as a trans-temporal conqueror. As part of this mission, he will emerge in various time periods in the past to create a power base for himself whenever a sufficient astrological "window area" enabled the Castlevania construct to manifest there, all towards the goal of eventually manifesting back in time to 1999, where he would participate in the Demon War as a contender for the "Anti-Christ" mantle on behalf of Chaos.

Though he was aware, from 21st century historical records, that no "Anti-Christ" contender succeeded in taking over the world on behalf of their respective demonic sire, he was determined to create a new timeline via his travels in the past where such a takeover of the world did indeed occur in the 1999 of the divergent timeline that he hoped to create [author's speculations, with some evidence seen in the 'Castlevania' video game series].

"Soon" after Dracula-Mordante gained control over the Castlevania construct, the Crimson King and Death utilized the trans-dimensional nature of the Dark Tower to guide the machinations of their various human minions back in time at some point prior to the 11th century A.D. Secretly working with the alchemists who carried out the creation of the fabled Philosopher's Stone, whose ranks included a member of the famed Crongvist family, and taking advantage of the resources available to them in a manner still not fully revealed, human minions of the Crimson King assisted Chaos in creating the Crimson Stone, which acted as a vessel of power for the Lovecraftian entity that would also act as the means for the Dracula soul-clone under his control to fully manifest in this time period. At the same time, Death loaned some of hir power to enable hir human minions to create the Ebony Stone at the same time, thus allowing the power of the Grim Reaper to transfer the power of Chaos to anyone who wields it. This would permit Dracula-Mordante to merge his essence with that individual, an important component towards enabling him to materialize in that particular time period. Both Chaos and Death worked to insure that both stones became "lost" so that no sentient being would wield them outside of those whom they chose as part of their machinations. From his place in the Dark Tower, Dracula-Mordante converted his body to pure consciousness and transfers it into the Crimson Stone, utilizing the chthonic power of the Crimson Chronicles that he was long familiar with to make this possible [author's speculations, with some evidence culled from the 'Castlevania' video game series].

11th Century, A.D.--Death manipulates the vampire Walter Bernhard behind the scenes to gain possession of the Ebony Stone, where he will use it to create the nightmarish forest known as Eternal Night, as well as his castle within its dark sylvan environs, and begins kidnapping the loved ones of various warriors to encourage them to enter the forest and attack his castle to provide him with sport ['Castlevania,' with some speculations from this author thrown in].

1093--A member of the Crongvist family, Mathias, who followed the family name to become a skilled alchemist and was also a formidable warrior, was embittered when his wife Elisabetha was killed. He thus swore vengeance upon God, whom he blamed for his loss, and vowed to achieve immortality as a result. Because of this, Mathias was seen by Chaos and Death as the perfect living vessel for the consciousness/essence of Dracula-Mordante, and to allow the latter to manifest in a time period of the past.

Chaos manipulated events from behind the scenes to ensure that Mathias would find the Crimson Stone, thus granting him access to Dracula-Mordante's power, and the consciousness of the faux Vampire Lord within gave him further incentive to find the Ebony Stone as well, which, when accomplished, would fully allow Dracula-Mordante to manifest in that time period ['Castlevania' video game series, with some speculations by this author].

1094--Mathias, now more evil than ever due to the hidden influence of Dracula-Mordante within the Crimson Stone, manipulates the warrior king Leon Belmont from behind the scenes to enter the Eternal Night and use his enchanted whip known as the Vampire Killer to destroy Walter Bernhard, who was the then possessor of the Ebony Stone. This act not only eliminated the Eternal Darkness forest from existence, but also allowed Mathias to absorb Bernhard's essence. Once this was accomplished, he was then able to use this extra power to fully merge his essence with the consciousness of Dracula-Mordante from within the Crimson Stone, thus gaining all of the memories and accumulated power of this soul-clone from the time he entered the Dreamlands in the early to mid-21st century, which were added to the already formidable warrior and occult skills of Mathias Crongvist. The result was the creation of a divergent version of Dracula-Mordante who is now more accurately referred to as Dracula-Mathias.

Now with the combined memories of Mathias, Dracula-Prime, and Dracula-Mordante, as well as various memory implants previously inserted by Chaos, Dracula-Mathias is compelled to return to Transylvania, his "by proxy" new homeland, where he will begin his reign of terror at the end of the 11th century. Despite the success of these machinations, Mathias had inadvertently earned the undying enmity of the Belmonts, and apparently the forces of Order insured that the intervention of the Belmont clan was concealed from the perceptions of Chaos, the Crimson King, and even the avatar of Death working alongside them from their trans-temporal vantage point within the Dark Tower ['Castlevania: Lament of Innocence,' with added speculations by this author].

Building his power base over the course of several years, perhaps just over a decade, Dracula-Mathias takes advantage of a "window area" created by a precise set of astrological factors to manifest and sculpt the Castlevania construct according to his own will, and he was now able to use its power in that time period, and to use it to access the Dreamlands again from that point onwards (author's speculations combined with some of Mike Ongsingco's speculations).

Possessing Dracula-Mordante's romantic passion and desire for female companionship, Dracula-Mathias falls in love with a woman named Lisa, and as was done twice "previously" by Dracula-Mordante, he mystically sires a dhampir son with her, whom he names Adrian, and who later calls himself "Alucard" as an anagram of his father's adopted surname. When Lisa is burned at the stake as a witch, this incident combines with the seething hatred of God remaining from the memories of Mathias Crongvist, and they amalgamate to cause Dracula-Mathias to declare his war on humankind, and to forget the various diversionary passions he engaged in that were left over from the persona fragments of Count Mordante and Mathias Crongvist "leaking" into the gestalt consciousness of Dracula-Mathias. Of course, this was arranged by Chaos and the Crimson King from "afar" for this very purpose, and they assured that various human minions of theirs pointed the "witchcraft" finger at Lisa to insure her execution to get their (then) joint agent out of the romantic funk that interfered with his mission. As of now, Dracula-Mathias officially began his reign of terror on all of Europe.

Nevertheless, his son Alucard would become one of his most foremost nemeses, in yet another "repeating" of history ['Castlevania: Lament of Innocence,' with further speculations by this author].

Thus begins the series of events that were recorded in the 'Castlevania' video game series, and far more info on the exploits of Dracula-Mathias, both before and after this point, can be found on Mike Ongsingco's 'Castlevania' timeline, to whom I am indebted for much of the info here.

1476--Vlad Tepes Dracula, after his physical death (see the Satanna story in EERIE #50, indexed below), becomes Dracula-Prime. The arch-demon Rasalom, who oversaw Vlad Dracula's vampiric metamorphosis, informed the Count about the existence of Dracula-Mathias, who was then in an insensate state, and warned the prime Vampire Lord about the danger that both Dracula-Mathias and the Belmonts could present to him. As such, Dracula-Prime secretly uses the magick of the Star Stone ring to project more of his memories and drive into the sleeping Dracula-Mathias, thus truly convincing the latter that he was the "Son of the Devil" prophesized to one day inherit the Earth just before the Millennium, and then placed an inferior duplicate of the Star Stone ring on his finger.

After this, Rasalom revived Dracula-Mathias ahead of schedule, and set him loose upon the world once more (because this action actually assisted rather than conflicted with the plans of Chaos and Death, they made no attempt to stop it). This increased drive and further embellishment of the memories from Dracula-Prime that he already possessed, albeit in distorted form, now caused Mathias to refer to himself as "Dracula" much more frequently, and it served the purpose of garnering most of the attention of the Belmont clan through the centuries so that Dracula-Prime would be able to carry out his own unrelated intrigues free from harassment from the Belmonts [author's speculations combined with previous speculations from Mike Ongsingco].

2010--Around this year, a dimensional variant of Dracula-Mordante who was still trapped in the time-looping narrative of the Order of the Dragon finally managed to escape after he took advantage of another 'breach' in the fabric of time to cause his old nemesis Vampirella to get absorbed into the narrative and involuntarily take over his own continuously perpetuating role of Vlad Tepes. However, teaming up with Jack Halloran, who was also still trapped, Vampi manages to break from the restrictions of the role and to challenge and defeat Dracula-Mordante. As a result, all three, plus all others involuntarily absorbed (such as Halloran's wife Mia) were all permanently freed from the time-loop narrative [VAMPIRELLA VS. DRACULA #1-6].

Following this, that dimensional variant of Dracula-Mordante soon resurfaced by means unknown in the present to once again become a major factor in Vampirella’s life, and it’s possible that this version of Dracula-Mordante is an alternate version who will not go through the sequence of events that led him to merge his life essence and memories with Mathias Crongvist in the past to become a new powerful soul clone known as Dracula-Mathias (though that sequence still "happened" as recorded on the timeline due to another variant of Dracula-Mordante participating in these events within the same timeline).

Soon after resurfacing towards the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century in Seattle, Washington, Dracula-Mordante becomes embroiled with Vampirella in a conflict the two had with the powerful female vampire (and former lieutenant of Dracula-Prime) Le Fanu and the predatory, vastly powerful, and extremely ancient worm-like elder god known as Yag-Ath Vermellus [VAMPIRELLA Vol. 2, #1-6, published by Dynamite Comics].

Note: Again, it’s quite possible that the version of Dracula-Mordante who recently resurfaced in 2010 after he was permanently freed from more than a decade of extra-temporal entrapment in the Order of the Dragon's perpetual time-loop to again play a major role in Vampirella’s life is an alternate version who somehow came into existence via divergent ‘replication’ due taking advantage of one of the periodic breaches in the temporal 'fabric' containing the time-loop meta-structure. If this is true (and further research needs to be done to verify the hypothesis), then the Dracula-Mordante now active at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century may be a temporal version of this soul-clone who will remain more or less as-is during the length of this century, and will not go back in time to merge his essence and memories with Mathias Crongvist. Nevertheless, a temporal alternate counterpart of himself appears to have done so on the same timeline, so those events have still "occurred" as described above [Dracula-Mordante’s resurfacing is seen in VAMPIRELLA Vol. 2 #2 by Dynamite Comics, and continues in the series from then on; the material regarding his connection to Dracula-Mathias is all speculation by this author, and is an extrapolation of the events recorded on Mike Ongsingco's excellent timeline for the 'Castlevania' saga.]

2012--As the ancient Mayan prophecy that world-threatening events would occur during this calendar year, Dracula-Mordante had no choice but to team up with a variety of champions culled from throughout time, including his perennial nemesis Vampirella and her close friend and frequent ally Pantha, against the attempt by the tremendously powerful and evil Hyborean Age sorcerer Kulan Gath to use dark mystical forces in the present era to precipitate the sacrifice of the planet to the predatory elder gods he worshiped and gained so much power and longevity from, with aid from materially summoned avatars of several Mayan underworld deities. Other champions Dracula-Mordante unites with for this world-saving conflict included Gath's arch-enemy the legendary Hyborean Age female warrior Red Sonja; the Greek goddess manifested in human form known as Athena; the third generation "mad" scientist Dr. Herbert West the Re-Animator; and (perhaps most interestingly of all) the formidable posthuman female warrior Eva (a.k.a., Daughter of the Dragon), who is evidently the progeny of another powerful soul-clone, Dracula-Rominoff; hence, it's likely that Dracula-Mordante has been aware of the soul-clone situation for an undisclosed period of time by this point, though like most of the rogues who are aware of this, the personality and memory implants from Dracula-Prime cause him to continue to believe himself to be the rightful holder of the name and title of Dracula, and thus the "true" Lord of Vampires [PROPHECY #1-7, published by Dynamite Comics, with a bit of speculation by this author].

[Dracula-Prime's appearance in the SATANNA, DAUGHTER OF SATAN story]

Note: This story, the only one featuring Satanna to be published by Warren, is included here due to a very important connection it has to the origin of Dracula-Prime, and to his particular vampiric strain in the WNU.

EERIE #50

"Genesis of Depravity"

Story: Doug Moench

Art: Ramon Torrents

Many centuries ago [see Time Frame below], an unnamed woman with a strong propensity for magick, evil, and a desire to retain her life and youthful beauty forever, prepares a secret chamber with the intention of summoning Satan himself, for the purpose of aiding her in her "wicked" plan to acquire the desired attributes. As she begins her silent plea for this aid, her mystic abilities cause the Demon Lord [actually, Rasalom; see WNU Connections below], to seemingly spring forth in a plume of smoke from her own mouth.

The two then begin discussing the plea she has made [the initial conversation is both nasty and darkly hilarious, and is reproduced verbatim in the Classic Dialogue section below].
[It should be noted that at one point, which I consider to be very telling, this woman questions whether or not the demonic being she has summoned is truly Satan, and the powerful being gives her a cryptic answer. This strongly hints that this being wasn't actually "Satan," assuming such a being of absolute evil actually exists even in the WNU, but rather was an arch-demon posing as him, in this case, Rasalom…again, see WNU Connections and Classic Dialogue below.]

After making the initial statements that "Satan" demanded, the Demon Lord agrees to grant her all of her wishes of eternal life and beauty. Since the woman did not yet make her request, she asks the being before her how he could have guessed her desire, to which he wryly replies, "Satan warns you woman, the mood for humor is alien to me. Besides, the requests posed to me are seldom at more than subtle variance."

He then asks the woman to invert the wooden cross hanging on her wall, and she does so, asking why this was done. Growing impatient, "Satan" tells her that now she has ensured that Heaven shall never claim her, but since "Satan" can never claim her in Hell either, since she desires perpetual life, this will come with another price, which he will soon mention.

Because she has renounced Heaven by the act of inverting the cross under "Satan's" directions, this means that now the sight of any crucifix or cross that is not inverted will be repellent to her, "conceivably even ending [her] undead 'life.'"

And as Christ was spiked to a cross made of wood, now a spike of wood driven through her heart will cause death to her, as well.

Since running water is the symbol of life, it shall now be repellent to her.

As for the price he mentioned earlier for her request to live forever, he reminds her, "Know that Satan never bequeaths a gift in any spirit other than cruel perversity--and at a gain to himself" [which makes you wonder why so many nitwits think they can get a good deal out of calling upon the Dread One for favors].
Telling the woman of her fate to come, she is now granted eternal life--"but only in death." Though she will not age, she will nevertheless symbolize "ugliness and evil" to all who look upon her, and she will be instilled with an "unholy charisma" [i.e., the power of mesmerism], which will enable her to control the wills of anyone who looks into her eyes.

She is cursed to infect this brand of evil upon humans she encounters, and to insure that this occurs, "Satan" inflicts upon her the need to feast upon the blood of humans in order to sustain her immortality.

"Satan" then mentions that just as God had a son embodied in human form as Christ, so would the Demon Lord now have a daughter embodied in human form, and he thus christened [pun intended] her as Satanna, his "daughter in Hell."

He then decreed that she shall die, but will rise again, only to live in darkness. As he explains, "The warm light of day shall sear your skin from your body, and to prevent this you will rest in the casket of the dead until the time of night and depravity…"

On the third night after her death, "Satan" says, she shall rise from her grave to "launch [her] unholy campaign of doom and damnation." But unlike Christ, who died for the masses, she has died only for herself. And as Christ murmured "I thirst" on the cross for water, she shall do the same, only her thirst will be "only for the blood of innocent mortals." The Demon Lord then ends the vile ritual by telling her, "You shall be feared and hated as the mother of vampires, the Devil's brood…"

Shortly after this, also at "Satan's" behest, Satanna hides herself among the human race, and she was now courting a prominent nobleman, who found himself entranced by her. She encouraged this further, and when he told her that he wanted to see her again, she asked him to escort her back to her castle. After he did so, he mentioned that this whole situation seemed surreal, but she continued to hold him, however shakily, in her mesmeric thrall, and she then bit him on his neck, taking his blood for nourishment.

As he lay on the ground, infected with the vampiric virogen, Satanna announced to him, "You are my first victim, dear Count, but I have a feeling that when you arise a vampire yourself, the world will not soon forget your name, Count Dracula."

Comments: This story featured the only appearance of Satanna in Warren Comics (if it was intended as a series, it was aborted after a single intriguing throwaway effort). The story was masterfully scribed by Doug Moench, who displayed a high alacrity for dark humor (but never did this tale go anywhere near being silly, as it was played entirely straight despite the inclusion of dark humor), and he also skillfully depicted a depraved ritual that goes to the heart of vampire lore in literature, describing their creation as a twisted version of the Christ legend. It explicated, from a metaphorical point of view, many of the reasons behind some of the "traditional" vampire's weaknesses, even if other mystical explanations behind "Satan's" metaphysical reasoning are equally applicable. Of course, it only makes sense from the standpoint of many mystical laws that "Satan" [i.e., the many arch-demons imitating his form] needed to consider when creating such a race of beings.

The artwork by Ramon Torrents was very well done, and his monstrous conception of "Satan" was accomplished in spectacular detail.

The likely reason this origin tale of Dracula conflicts so seriously with the "Draculon" back story featured in VAMPIRELLA #'s 16 & 18 are explained below in the WNU Connections section.

Many readers who saw a prominent mug shot of Dracula on the cover of EERIE #50 must have mistakenly believed that the "Dracula" series, left at a cliffhanger two issues earlier, was going to be continued here…only to discover that Dracula's appearance in this mag was limited to the final page of the Satanna story. I can imagine the frustrated disappointment that many readers back then must have felt!

Warren's Satanna character, who never had any stories other than this one, has no connection to Satana Hellstrom, the succubus spawn of another arch-demon masquerading as "Satan," who was introduced by Marvel Comics in a series that started in VAMPIRE TALES #2, shortly after EERIE #50 was published (which may have given Warren further encouragement not to produce another Satanna story).

WNU Connections: This story may be of immense importance to WNU chroniclers of Dracula and his particular vampiric strain (of which there appear to be many in the "consensus" WNU), as it not only provides a strong hint of Dracula-Prime's origin that does not conflict with the established chron of Vlad Dracula as described by Prof. Chuck Loridans on the "Children of the Night" timeline on the MONSTAAH site, but it actually supplements it. I also strongly believe that this is the sole appearance of Dracula-Prime in a Warren Comic (or at least, of Dracula-Prime when he was still "only" Vlad Tepes Dracula, and not yet the bona fide Lord of the Undead), unless you include Warren publishing a comic book adaptation of Bram Stoker's short story "Dracula's Guest," which also featured Dracula-Prime (and which is indexed above).

I believe that the "Satan" summoned by the future Satanna in this story was the arch-demon Rasalom, here appearing in a non-human guise. He was described as the creator of Dracula via the memories of the Dracula-Lejos soul-clone in Jeff Rovin's novel RETURN OF THE WOLF MAN, but here we may have seen a hitherto unknown aspect of that same tale. If this story is to be considered part of "consensus" WNU chron, then it appears that before approaching Vlad Dracula and offering him the "gift" of being the Lord of Vampires, he first had the Count infected by the vampire virogen via Satanna, who was the mother of Dracula-Prime's particular vampiric strain. The verbal exchange between the woman who would become Satanna and "Satan" himself, where she asks him if he was truly Satan, and his cryptic response [see Classic Dialogue below], may be taken as a strong indication that this "Satan" was not truly the Biblical being of that name, but was actually Rasalom in disguise, who later appeared as Rasalom, in a more human guise to Dracula afterwards, just as the latter was recovering from Satanna's bite, and she made Vlad Dracula physiologically "ready" to accept Rasalom's "gift." What happened to Satanna after this story is unknown, and her original human identity was not revealed in this tale.

If this story is accepted as "consensus" WNU canon, then we must throw out a few details of Dracula-Prime's back story as seen in his appearances in Marvel Comics, the events of which have counterparts/analogues in the WNU. The origin story seen in BIZARRE ADVENTURES #19, where Vlad Dracula was said to have been transformed into to the Lord of Vampires by Varnae of ancient Atlantis, is probably apocryphal according to WNU history, though it's quite possible that he still had to battle Nimrod the First to become the true Lord of Vampires, since Rasalom may have considered Nimrod to be a final test for Vlad Dracula to overcome. In fact, in WNU chron, Rasalom may have actually taken on the temporary guise of Varnae, and this can account for the discrepancy seen in the latter origin tale from BIZARRE ADVENTURES #19.

Further, the origin of Dracula's strain of vampires being the result of ancient Atlantean necromancy magick, as depicted in DR. STRANGE Vol. 2 #62, could not have occurred in the WNU, even if they are "true" in a MU context.

Missing from this origin tale was how the shape-shifting power of the vampire was connected, via a form of dark totemic magick, to the bat, specifically the vampire bat, which Rasalom probably utilized to insure that Satanna (and by proxy, Dracula-Prime and all other vampires created by their specific mystical virogen) would require human blood to survive. Their ability to transform into a wolf was probably the result of some "secondary" totemic connections, due to the predatory nature of wolves, and the ability of their vampiric strain to transform into a gaseous, vapor-like state is probably simply the result of them dispersing their bio-etheric form to minimum density, something that more "physical" vampiric strains in the WNU were unable to accomplish.

Their ability to control animals and, to some extent, the weather (at least the more powerful vampires from this strain, including Dracula, of course) may result from further magickal connections to various aspects of nature that they may have acquired somewhat later in time, due to Dracula-Prime strengthening his already considerable vampiric powers after gaining the Star Stone ring, which enabled him to create his soul-clones and perform various other feats (see the "Children of the Night" timeline on the MONSTAAH site for many details on the Star Stone ring and the creation of soul-clones).

The fact that this origin tale in the Satanna story conflicts with the absurd "Drakulon" story that Dracula-Mordante recounted in his Warren Comics' appearances with Vampirella lends further credence to my theory that those latter memories were corrupted memory implants placed within Drac-Mordante's psyche by Chaos, and 'super-imposed' alongside the previous memory implants placed there by Dracula-Prime. The further fact that they were recounted in conflicting fashion lends even more weight to my theory that Dracula-Mordante's memories of a previous life on the "planet" Drakulon were as false as Vampirella's similar memory implants of a life on the very same "planet" turned out to be in the 1990s. Drakulon was never a planet in the physical universe in the same sense that Earth and Mars are, but rather it's an otherdimensional realm where vampires exist and procure nourishment from the natural rivers of blood flowing there, and that reality has considerably different physical laws than the Earth and other physical planetary bodies in the WNU.

Regarding Satanna herself, it's possible that in the WNU, Daimon and Satana Hellstrom's arch-demon father was Rasalom once more wearing the guise of "Satan." This may explain why he once again chose the name "Satana" (simply spelled differently due to artistic license by different RU and WNU comic book publishers) for a human/demon hybrid daughter. As yet, however, there is no further hard evidence to substantiate Rasalom being the true sire of Daimon and Satana Hellstrom in a WNU context, though it is a pet theory of mine.

Regarding the nature of Rasalom, whom I believe was disguised as Satan in this story, note my words from the Children of the Night timeline on the MONSTAAH site:

"According to certain reports by F. Paul Wilson, such as THE KEEP, Rasalom was a human wizard born countless millennia in the past (possibly as far back as the Hyborean Age), who gained both immortality and immense mystical power due to pacts with various demonic entities, including the Old Ones (whom he referred to collectively as 'the Adversary'), possibly leaving his humanity behind entirely to become a true demonic being. Among the entities he received power from was Varnae, a being said to have been a human mystic transformed into one of Earth's earliest vampires back in ancient Atlantis. It's possible Varnae was kin to, or connected in some way with, the Aurelius strain of vampires [a demonic strain who counted the famous vampires Angel and Spike amongst their number], though he seemed much more powerful than even Lothos, the alleged progenitor of this demonic strain of vampire-like beings."

Special thanks must go to my colleague Jay Lindsey for bringing that info from the novels of F. Paul Wilson to my attention.

This was one of only two Dracula stories published in the Warren chronicles to feature Dracula-Prime, the other being the illustrated story adaptation of Bram Stoker's short story "Dracula's Guest" from EERIE #16, indexed above.

Classic Dialogue: Here is the initial conversation between "Satan" and the woman (who was to become Satanna) in its entirety, and it's truly a classic:

Woman: "My body…it…it…pains…"

Satan: "Summoning Satan is hardly equivalent to summoning a physician…"

Woman: "But…the agony of it…"

Satan: "…is the price you must pay. Evil is rarely a salve to the body…or the mind…"

Woman: "…it…it feels as though my very soul has been wrenched…ripped apart…"

Satan: "Indeed it has."

Woman: "but…but how did you come…from inside me…?"

Satan: "Satan dwells within every mortal."

Woman: "You speak of yourself as if you were someone else…"

Satan: "Arrogance is my prerogative."

Woman: "Are you…really Satan…?" [see WNU Connections above]

Satan: "Was it really Satan whom you summoned?" [ibid]

Woman: "You answer in riddles." [ibid]

Satan: "You question in riddles [ibid]. Are you prepared to spit upon your former God and to revile him with mockery?"

Woman: "Is it necessary?"

Satan: "Not if you find the caress of hell-fire soothing to your skin…within the next moment…"

Woman: "I spit upon my former God."

Satan: "None too soon. Besides, he was in sore need of a bath. Do you find me beautiful…and yourself repugnant, debased?"

Woman: "I find you beautiful, Lord Satan…while the mirror is repugnant and debased."

Satan: "You are a facile student. And too, your lies please me immensely. I shall grant you eternal beauty…and eternal life…"

All great stuff courtesy of Doug Moench's hilariously twisted psyche! [And also note the references that suggest this "Satan" was actually Rasalom in the guise of the Biblical being of absolute evil; see WNU Connections above.]

Time Frame: The creation of Satanna had to have occurred sometime in the late 15th century, no more than a few months before Vlad Dracula was first vamped and transformed into Dracula-Prime.

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