Tomb of Dracula (1972) - #6
"The Moorlands Monster!"
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Gene Colan - 'Adam Austin'
Thomas 'Tom' Palmer Sr.
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Cover Date: January 1973
Cover Price: US $0.20
Issue Tagline: The Monster of the Moors!
Format: Color; Standard Comic Issue; 21 pages
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Letters Column: Tomes to the Tomb!
Dracula and Lenore have travelled through the Demon Mirror out of 19th Century Transylvania to find themselves in the English Moores of the modern era. Becoming hungry, the two vampires decide to go out and feast, unaware that they are being watched by some strange creature. Dracula finds a victim in a young girl who is walking in the fog alone, feeding upon her and leaving her for dead. Her body is found by the strange creature and is carried off. Lenore finds her own victim, a young man walking home from the pub. While at the home of the late Ilsa Strangeway, Frank Drake, Rachel van Helsing, and Taj return to their own century through the mirror to learn from the Ilsa's butler that Dracula did not come through the mirror before them. Whitby tells them that Dracula must have appeared elsewhere through another mirror. Leaving the Strangeway mannor, they come upon Inspector Chlem who tells them of stories of a shaggy man, as well as exsanguinated victims in the English Moores. Going to investigate, Rachel, Frank and Taj meet with the couple who came across the dead bodies, Lord and Lady Dering. They learn that they do not know much. The trio decide to journey out to find either the shaggy creature or Dracula and split up to cover more ground. Rachel comes across some footsteps and tracks them to a nearby chapel, spotting bats flying into it Rachel decides to investigate.
Inside, Rachel is attacked by Lenore, the young vampire hunters screams are heard across the way sending Frank and Taj to her rescue. Along the way, they find Dracula's last victim whom, but continue forward. They come across both Dracula and Lenore standing over Rachel, with Lenore about to feast on her. When Frank attempts to fire a stake at Dracula, the vampire lord pulls Lenore away before she can feed on Rachel and uses her as a shield for the stake meant for him. The shot is true, impaling Lenore in the heart, killing her, and Dracula manages to escape in all the confusion. Dracula vows that he will kill the three vampire hunters, unaware that he is being stalked by the shaggy creature that has been prowling the Moores. Returning to the Derin's manor with their deceased servant, confirming to the Dering's that the death of their servant was at the hands of a vampire. Lord Dering however explains the origins of the shaggy creature out in the Moores. He explains that a recessive gene in the family tree causes some males in the Dering family to inherit Rachitis, a genetic disorder that causes a twisted form and a body full of hair. Lord Dering explains that his son Randolph was the most recent family member stricken with this affliction and is the creature out in the bogs. He further explains that they hid the boy in the nearby chapel and sent the servant girl to feed it, and that the monster grew fond of the girl. With the story told, Lord Dering suggests to the vampire hunters to search for Dracula in Hagscroft Castle, an abandoned castle that has a tomb full of coffins ideal for Dracula to sleep in. Deciding to check this out, the three vampire hunters head toward Hagscroft unaware that Dracula is already hidden there and is planning a death trap for them. When the trio arrive, Dracula ambushes them, knocking Taj out by throwing a cement lid at the strong man. Dracula then easily over powers both Frank and Rachel, tossing them into a pit. Before covering it over with the lid, Dracula mocks Frank, taunting him with the fact that they share a similar heritage and suggests that someday Frank himself may become a vampire before closing them in. In the pit, the two finally express their feelings to one another and share a kiss. They are rescued shortly after by the arriving Monster of the Moores, who's superior strength allows it to lift the lid off the pit and toss down a rope for them to climb out of. Once out of the pit, they find no trace of Dracula and that Taj is unharmed and coming around. With their chase ended, the three hunters follow the shaggy man out of the castle. Frank is lost in thought over Dracula's parting words and wondering if there isn't some truth behind them.
by Nick Peron
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