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Cover Date: May 1972
Cover Price: US $ 0.20
Issue Tagline: A Shrill Scream Splits the Air in London at Midnight... Who Stole My Coffin?
Format: Color; Standard Comic Issue; 21 pages
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Frank Drake has returned to the burnt out ruins of Castle Dracula with a valet named Gort, hoping to get revenge on his immortal ancestor, Count Dracula who had succeeded into changing Drake's lover Jean into a vampire. Taking Gort into Dracula's tomb, he explains to the man-servant the events that led up to Dracula's resurrection and the vampire lords subsequent escape after he turned Jean into a vampire and the local towns folk had lit Castle Dracula ablaze. Hearing cries for help, Frank and Gort find Clifton Graves trapped in a pit and help him out. Brought up to speed, Drake explains the first part of his plan to get revenge against Dracula: stealing the vampire lords coffin. While down in the village below, Dracula stalks and kills another girl to feed upon her blood. Afterwards, Dracula pays a visit to Carl Von Harbou, a man who, as a boy years ago had been a loyal servant to Dracula prior to his recent death. Dracula asks Von Harbou to help conceal his pale skin tone in order to more easily pass as a normal human. With the process done, Dracula then feeds upon Von Harbou, revealing that he knew that it was Carl -- as a boy -- who betrayed him to the men who killed him last. Days later, Frank Drake and Clifton Graves arrive in London, having brought Dracula's coffin with them, Drake ready and confident that Dracula will come to them and that he will be ready to stop his murderous ancestor. That night, Drake is visited by Jean who attempts to tempt Frank into becoming her next victim. When they are interrupted by Clifton, Clifton is too drunk to realize that Jean is really a vampire until Frank pulls out a crucifix, causing Jean great pain.
Listening from below, Dracula has faith that Jean will succeed in killing both Drake and Graves, and walks off when he spots another girl to make his next victim. Following her into a pub, Dracula uses his power to charm the woman until he is interrupted by the man's boyfriend Remo. When Remo attempts to pick a fight with Dracula, the vampire easily overpowers and leaves with the girl. Luring her into a dark alley, Dracula feeds upon her, her screams drawing Remo and the other bar patrons who stand in utter horror as they witness Dracula transforming into a bat and flying away. Dracula returns to his hide out where he boasts over Drake's error in planning: Having Dracula's coffin is not fatal to the vampire at all, it's not the coffin but the dirt inside which Dracula needs to be able to sleep and laughs as this will lead to Drake's defeat.
Back at Drake's apartment, Frank has tied up Jean, who continues to try and convince Clifton that Frank has gone crazy. Clifton, still jealous over the fact that Frank had won Jean's love away from him decides to betray Frank in order to get Jean back and drugs Frank's coffee. With Frank knocked out he unties her as Dracula arrives to reclaim his coffin. As they go into the other room to take the coffin, Frank revives and enters the room with a crucifix in hand.
Dracula sends Clifton to attack Frank, the struggle takes the crucifix out of Dracula's sight long enough for the lord of the vampires to attack his ancestor, knocking the holy symbol away. With Frank preoccupied with Dracula, Jean then turns on Clifton. Managing to struggle from from Dracula, Frank sees that Jean is about to feed upon Clifton and grabvs a broken table leg and rams it into her back. Realizing that the dawn is rising, Dracula decides to retreat and transforms into a bat and flies away. With the sun rising, Jean begins to disintegrate, he final words are her pleas to Frank that she does not want to die this way. Her pleas are useless as she eventually burns up in the sun leaving Frank to weep for her passing.
by Nick Peron
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