Dracula (Marvel Comics)
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Suspense #7 (March 1951)
Tomb of Dracula #1 (April 1972)
|Created by||Gerry Conway
|Alter ego||Vlad Țepeș Dracula|
|Place of origin||Earth|
Legion of the Unliving
|Notable aliases||Count Dracula, Justin Drake, Dr. Vlad, Vlad III the Impaler, Dagon, Count Orlok, Alucard, Dondora, Frank Drake|
|Abilities||Skilled swordsman and hand-to-hand combatant
Superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina and reflexes
The modern Marvel version of Dracula was created by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan in Tomb of Dracula No. 1 (1972), co-written by Marv Wolfman. Traditionally, the Comics Code Authority prevented Marvel from publishing vampire comics. This was revised in early 1971, when comics were allowed to publish characters and beings from established literary works. Later that year Morbius appeared in Spider-Man for the first time, and Dracula followed in his own title some months later. The character starred in the comic, which ended with issue #70 in 1979. This version of Dracula also starred in Dracula Lives!, a black-and-white horror comic magazine series published by Marvel from 1973 to 1975. Running concurrently with Tomb of Dracula, the continuities of the two titles occasionally overlapped, with storylines weaving between the two.
Although Dracula (and all other vampires) were eventually destroyed by the mystical "Montesi Formula" in the pages of Doctor Strange, the vampire lord was revived. Marvel published a four-issue Tomb of Dracula miniseries, reuniting Wolfman and Colan, under its Epic Comics imprint in 1991, and revived Dracula and his foes in the short-lived Nightstalkers and Blade series in the 1990s. Most recently, Dracula took the title role in the miniseries Dracula: Lord of the Undead.
He was the main subject of the 2010 series Death of Dracula written by Victor Gischler. By this time, Dracula no longer adopts the dress and mannerisms of a Victorian era nobleman, rather his appearance is more reminiscent of a medieval warlord. He wears a form of body armor, a cape with ragged ends, long blonde hair maintained in a pony tail and inhuman features such as red eyes, elongated canines, retractable claws at the tips of his fingers and pointed ears.
Fictional character biography
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Born Vlad Dracula in 1430 in Schassburg, Transylvania (now Sighişoara, Romania), he was the second son of a Transylvanian nobleman. He was named prince of Transylvania and voivode (prince) of Wallachia and became ruler while still a child. Over the next several years, he struggled against the Ottoman Turks, losing and regaining his throne. Through an arranged marriage to a Hungarian noblewoman, Zofia, he sired his daughter, Lilith. He sent his wife away and later married a woman named Maria, with whom he had a son named Vlad Tepelus. He had a son with his third wife Domini named Janus.
In 1459, Dracula was mortally wounded by the Turkish warlord Turac, who brought Dracula to a gypsy named Lianda to be healed. However, Lianda was a vampire, and in revenge for his persecution of the gypsies, transformed Dracula into a vampire as well. Turac raped and killed Dracula's wife Maria, and in revenge Dracula slew Turac, making him a vampire as well. Dracula gave his son Vlad Tepelus to gypsies to raise.
Dracula defeated the vampire Nimrod in battle, and thus succeeded him as ruler of Earth’s vampires. Soon afterwards, he enhanced his own blood with that of Varnae, giving him greater powers than any other vampire. In 1471, Dracula abdicated his princehood.
In the 19th century, he faced opposition from Abraham van Helsing and Jonathan Harker in England, the exploits of which were recorded in the 1897 novel by Bram Stoker, Dracula. When the humans destroyed Dracula, his remains were placed in his coffin, concealed within a cave blocked by an enormous boulder. Frankenstein's Monster was later tricked into unsealing the cave and opening the coffin, thus freeing Dracula. In later years he also came in conflict with Cagliostro and Solomon Kane. Just before World War I, he was responsible for transforming Lord John Falsworth into Baron Blood.
Tomb of Dracula
In the later half of the 20th century, Dracula was once more returned from death by Clifton Graves, and subsequently came into conflict with Quincy Harker and Rachel van Helsing, the descendants of his enemies described by Stoker. Dracula also met and clashed with Frank Drake, his own living descendant, as well as the half-vampire Blade, the vampiric detective Hannibal King, the Indian Taj Nital, and the reporter Harold H. Harold. He later battled the Werewolf. He eventually had his first contemporary encounter with his daughter Lilith. Not long after that, he clashed with the N'Garai demons.
Dracula additionally encountered numerous super-powered opponents in the 20th century, including Mephisto, Doctor Sun, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, the X-Men, and Howard the Duck. On odd occasions, however, he would also join Earth's superheroes in combatting common threats, and even briefly became a member of the Defenders.
After bringing the Cult of the Darkhold under his control, Dracula began to seek the power of the dark book to remove his vampiric weaknesses and turn himself truly immortal. However, in his quest he was repeatedly foiled by the X-Men, the now-vampiric Rachel van Helsing and Lilith, Thor, Doctor Strange, Hannibal King and the Avengers. Joined by King, Blade and Drake, Strange destroyed Dracula and all of Earth's vampires by using the Darkhold to cast the Montesi Formula.
Dracula's return (1994 – present)
Dracula eventually returned when the effect of the Montesi Formula was negated and Hydra created a clone from Dracula's DNA to serve as their vampiric superweapon, only for the vampire to escape their control.
In the 21st century, Dracula assembled an army of vampires in a sanctuary on the Moon and planned to conquer the United Kingdom, with other supernatural villains Lilith (a different entity from his daughter), Captain Fate, and Baron Blood. He first contacted Doctor Doom to agree to a non-aggression pact with him, and by association the Cabal, in order to be unopposed in his conquest. Once he'd secured this, he launched a pre-emptive strike on MI-13's superheroes, launching specially-bred vampires at the Earth like missiles.
It was also shown he still possessed contempt and bigotry towards Muslims, and intended to exterminate them once he had secured Britain; as part of his attack, he went to the parents of Faiza Hussain, attacking her mother and taking her father (along with Killpower, an MI-13 agent sent to protect the family) hostage. British vampire hero Spitfire, meanwhile, was abducted and forcibly turned into a minion. MI-13 were manipulated into exposing the whereabouts of Quincy Harker's remains, magically treated to prevent vampires from entering the UK without invitation, so Dracula could destroy them. Once that was done, with the help of Fate, he launched a series of warships towards Earth.[volume & issue needed]
However, unknown to Dracula, Pete Wisdom had tricked him into destroying fake remains and Spitfire had been faking her mind control while channelling information to MI-13. In order to stop Dracula from finding out the remains were fake, he was briefly trapped in a demonic "Dream Corridor" which saw him live out his fantasies of victory (ending with him standing in a conquered House of Commons while holding the Speaker's mace); as well as giving MI-13 some intelligence on his plans, it stopped him from sending in advance teams. Once he escaped, there were a series of attacks to keep him occupied until the warships entered British airspace without invitation, wiping out the bulk of his forces.[volume & issue needed]
In the final battle, he was pursued to his fortress and prevented from escaping by Black Knight and Faiza Hussain, wielder of the sword Excalibur. While Dracula was able to seriously wound Black Knight, he was slain with a single blow from Excalibur, leaving Britain victorious.
In a 2010 X-Men storyline "Curse of the Mutants", Dracula has been killed by his son Xarus, but is resurrected by the X-Men in hopes that he would join them against Xarus. However, Dracula declines and leaves shortly after. Dracula reasserts himself as Lord of the Vampires, granting amnesty to those who sided with Xarus. When Xarus tries to attack Dracula, he rips off Xarus' head. Although he contemplated attacking the X-Men, Cyclops reminded him that they had had custody of his body for seventeen hours before the head was reattached, suggesting that they had included a 'contingency plan' in Dracula similar to the plan they had used to infiltrate Xarus's forces by temporarily shutting down Wolverine's healing factor so that he could be turned and then returned to normal. Although Dracula suspected that Cyclops was bluffing, he complimented Cyclops's style and allowed them to depart, even returning the now-vampire Jubilee to the X-Men.
During the Fear Itself storyline, Dracula is informed of the arrival of Hulk (in the form of Nul: Breaker of Worlds) by one of his followers when Nul lands in the Carpathian Foothills following his fight with Thor and ends up taking down some vampires. It is revealed that he has the mysterious Raizo Kodo and his legion of vampires called "The Forgiven" locked up in his dungeon. Dracula frees the Forgiven, who worked to slow Nul's progress. Dracula then prepares the vampires for his last stand. As the Forgiven continues to stall Nul, Dracula prepares his vampire armies for battle when Nul gets closer. In the end, Nul is defeated when Inka uses a vampire mesmerizing spell to take the form of Betty Ross causing the Hulk to break free of the hammer's magic, reverting to normal.
In "Dracula's Gauntlet" Dracula hired Deadpool to retrieve his fiancé, a succubus queen named Shiklah. On the way, she falls in love with him instead and during the extended trip her brothers are killed by Dracula to secure the kingdom of Monster Metropolis as his own. This causes Shiklah to deny him the throne by marrying Deadpool, driving Dracula into a rage not because of the power and kingdom he lost, but because he was cuckolded by "an escaped mental patient". After a fight in which he is stabbed with Deadpool's severed hand and poisoned by the mercenary's blood and his army mostly wiped out, Dracula flees into hiding leaving Shiklah as queen of the monsters.[volume & issue needed]
Possibly a little over a year later, there is trouble in his ex fiancé's marriage. Shiklah has had enough of the humans and started a war to annex New York. Deadpool comes to Dracula for help in stopping her, threatening him with a wooden stake. Dracula can't remember Shiklah's name at first, until Deadpool angrily reminds him. He states that he hates Deadpool, who replies that Dracula hates himself more, which actually makes him Shiklah's type. Once they return to New York, Dracula is able to gain control of the vampires in Shiklah's army to fight against her monsters. However, the second he meets Shiklah, he proposes to her -wanting to merge their kingdoms and rule with the humans at their feet. Deadpool angrily curses Dracula. Dracula and Shiklah are married by Mephisto, while an angry Deadpool, and confused Spider-Man are tied up and watching. Dracula and Shiklah share a kiss, and she thanks him for giving her the wedding she always wanted - with chaos and fire burning.
They head off to tell their followers of their union. However, Shiklah's monsters tell her that they don't wish to be ruled by a Monarch any longer. Shiklah is shocked that her subjects want her run off, and Deadpool shows up tell her she can't marry Dracula. He argues that the entire reason they married was because he was saving her from Dracula, reminding her that Dracula killed her brothers. Shiklah shrugs it off, and tells Deadpool that he'd have done the same if he knew them. She then attacks him, telling him that he can't tell her who she can impetuously marry. After one last tryst and talk with Deadpool, Shiklah emerges and tells Dracula to let their subjects rule themselves, stating she doesn't want to rule by force. Dracula eventually relents, stating that he was retired anyway before Deadpool dragged him into this fight. He leaves with Shiklah, who wants to see more of the world. Shiklah wrote Deadpool a note, stating she was off for some stake-play with Dracula.
Dracula returns to his castle in Romania without Shiklah, and somehow begins summoning all vampires in the world to him, including Jubilee. Old Man Logan tracks Jubilee to Dracula's castle, where it is revealed that she is under the vampire's control. Dracula bites Old Man Logan, but his healing factor is able to resist the vampirism. Jubilee eventually breaks free from Dracula's influence, allowing Old Man Logan to decapitate Dracula. Dracula's head is given to a Sentinel that then throws it into the sun.
Powers and abilities
Dracula gained the powers of a vampire from his transformation into a vampire by the bite of the Vampiress Lianda, and gained additional power by Varnae. Dracula possesses far greater powers than most vampires. He is superhumanly strong (to the point of standing toe-to-toe and defeating Colossus in single combat), and also possesses superhuman speed, stamina, reflexes, and transvection. He is immune to aging, conventional disease, sickness and most forms of injury. He cannot be killed or permanently injured by conventional means.
He is unaffected by most assaults and, due to his healing factor, can rapidly regenerate damaged tissue. Dracula can manipulate the minds of others, and command animals, such as rodents, bats, and wolves, to his will. With limited exceptions, he may control other vampires. He has the ability to mentally control victims he has bitten, and can temporarily hypnotize anyone with his gaze.
He is capable of shapeshifting into a bat – normal or human size – or a wolf while retaining his intelligence, and into a fog or mist – partially or fully – and has the ability of weather control, such as summoning electrical storms. Like some vampires in other works of fiction, Dracula does not cast reflections. His powers have been greatly amplified and his weaknesses circumvented by magical sources, such as spells of the Darkholders.
Dracula has a dependence on the ingestion of fresh blood to sustain his existence, and an inability to endure direct sunlight. He falls into a comatose state during daylight hours and must spend much time in contact with his native soil. He has vulnerabilities to garlic, silver (which can cause severe pain), the presence of religious symbols (wielded by one who believes in its spiritual meaning), and can be killed by beheading, a wooden stake through the heart, or blades made of silver. He can also be destroyed by the Darkhold spell known as the Montesi Formula.
Dracula is a skilled hand-to-hand combatant and swordsman with centuries of experience, specializing in 15th-century warfare and militaristic strategy. He has a gifted intellect, and studied under tutors in his youth in Transylvania.
In the mid-1970s, Roy Thomas and Dick Giordano created a serialized adaptation of the original Bram Stoker novel, published in 10- to 12-page installments in the short-lived series Dracula Lives![volume & issue needed]
Following Dracula Lives!' cancellation, an additional installment of their adaptation appeared in Marvel Preview #8 ("The Legion of Monsters"), for a total of 76 pages comprising roughly one-third of the novel. After a thirty-year hiatus, Marvel commissioned Thomas and Giordano to finish the adaptation, and ran the reprinted and new material as the four-issue miniseries Stoker's Dracula (Oct. 2004 – May 2005).
The entire adaptation was collected by Marvel Illustrated in 2010.
In Mutant X, Dracula succeeded in transforming Storm into a vampire. After Dracula's defeat he was imprisoned in the Vault, contained in a coffin. The Marauders broke Dracula free. Dracula went on a killing spree until being killed by Storm.[volume & issue needed]
In other media
- Dracula appeared in the Spider-Woman episode "Dracula's Revenge".
- He appeared in the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends episode "The Transylvania Connection" (AKA "The Bride of Dracula") voiced by Stanley Jones.
- Dracula appears in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "This Man-Thing, This Monster!", voiced by Dave Boat. He is shown to attack a local town with N'Kantu, the Living Mummy and his army of mummies. When N'Kantu makes off with Werewolf by Night's girlfriend Ellen, Iron Man, Man-Thing, and Werewolf by Night team up to rescue her. When Dracula is knocked onto Man-Thing, he is burned by Man-Thing's ability causing him to retreat.
- Dracula appears in Avengers Assemble, voiced by Corey Burton. Dracula was an uneasy ally of Captain America back in World War II when HYDRA invaded Transylvania. In the episode "The Avengers Protocol" Pt. 2, Dracula is seen receiving a holographic message from Red Skull to join his Cabal. In the episode "Blood Feud," Dracula has converted Black Widow (who was following a lead on Red Skull in Transylvania) into a vampire (though not a full vampire) and sends her with a group of vampires to infiltrate Stark Tower where they attack the Avengers. After the vampires were hit by the UV lights and Captain America unmasks the disguised Black Widow, Dracula speaks through Black Widow where he offers her life in exchange for Captain America's life. Captain America suggests that the Avengers should go to Transylvania to find the vampire that transformed her. Dracula later speaks with Red Skull stating that the Avengers are approaching Transylvania as Red Skull states that Dracula will get what he has been denied for thousands of years. When the Avengers land in Transylvania, Dracula arrives to see if Captain America will agree to their terms. Dracula then unleashes his vampire minions on the Avengers as he makes off with Black Widow. Captain America leads Hawkeye and Falcon into infiltrating Dracula's castle. When Falcon and Hawkeye find Black Widow and knocked out by Dracula, Captain America surrenders so that Dracula can get what he wants. Dracula claims that his new enemy is humanity since they threaten his kingdom. Dracula states that he can get the Super Soldier serum from Captain America's blood and gain enough power to destroy HYDRA and anyone who gets in his way. Before Dracula can suck Captain America's blood, the Avengers arrive where he ends up sucking Hulk's blood and becomes a Hulk version of himself while Hulk becomes a vampire version of himself. While the Vampire Hulk attacks the Avengers, the Hulkified Dracula snatches Captain America until the Hulk's blood proves too much for Dracula since gamma radiation is similar to sunlight. After Hulk returns to normal, Dracula is surprised that Hulk purged himself as he regress back to normal. Dracula gets away as his castle collapses while Iron Man uses a synthesized version of Hulk's blood to restore Black Widow to normal. A recuperating Dracula is met by Red Skull where Red Skull wants Dracula to join the Cabal as he listens to Red Skull's offer to get revenge on the Avengers and to get another attempt at the Super Soldier serum in Captain America's blood. In "Bring On the Bad Guys," Dracula was shown to be disgusted by Attuma's eating habits at the time when Red Skull was announcing his plans to make the Cabal more cooperative. When Attuma was harming the captive Captain America, Dracula knocked him aside since he still wants Captain America's blood. During the fight with the Avengers, Dracula fought Thor in space until Red Skull issued a retreat. In the final scene, Dracula was present with the Cabal when Red Skull freed Hyperion from his cell (which Red Skull had stolen from the S.H.I.E.L.D. Tri-Carrier) and invited him into the Cabal. In the episode "The Ambassador," Dracula joins the Cabal into attacking Doctor Doom at the United Nations. During his attack on Doctor Doom and Captain America underground, Dracula tried to get Captain America's blood only to end up attacked by Doctor Doom. Thor arrives and fights Dracula again. After Captain America gets Doctor Doom into Avengers Tower, Dracula and the rest of the Cabal retreats. In the episode "Exodus," Dracula was with the Cabal when it came to fighting the Avengers near a device powered by the Tesseract's power. When Red Skull uses the device to open a portal to different worlds, Dracula was assigned a world where there is no sunlight. When Iron Man used one of his remote-controlled devices to show that the device would've had the portal destroy the Cabal members, Dracula was shocked at this discovery. In the episode "The Final Showdown," Dracula joins the Cabal into helping the Avengers fight Cosmic Skull. When Red Skull is knocked down, Dracula planned to convert Red Skull into his servant only to be stopped by Captain America. After Red Skull and the Tesseract disappear into a portal, Dracula and the other Cabal members get away. Dracula will no longer be returning in Avengers: Ultron Revolution.
- Dracula returns in the Avengers: Secret Wars episode, "Why I Hate Halloween", voiced again by Corey Burton. He is seeking revenge on HYDRA scientist Whitney Frost for experimenting on vampires to create super-soldiers for HYDRA. He locates her under the protection of Hawkeye at an Avengers safehouse in Vermont, along with HYDRA agents Crossbones and Crimson Widow. At first, he is unable to enter the house as vampires are unable to enter a place without an invitation so he orders his vampire minions to destroy the house. In exchange for Frost's life, he promises to spare the others, of which Crimson Widow and Crossbones agree and abandon Frost and Hawkeye. Dracula then pursues the two of them through the forest and eventually manages to surround them, but is too late and the sun rise forces him and his vampires to retreat.
- Dracula appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "Blade and the Howling Commandos", voiced again by Corey Burton. He plans to obtain the pieces of the Tekhamentep's Ankh and join them together so that he can't be harmed by vampire weaknesses. Dracula arrives at the Museum of Natural History after Spider-Man removes the Tekamentep's Ankh from its cloaking shield. He engages Blade and Spider-Man's team in battle where Nova's supernova maneuver attack didn't work. He even tried to bite Power Man only to discover his invulnerability which resulted in Dracula using his mind-control on Power Man to control him into attacking Blade and the rest of Blade's team. Then Dracula mind-controls the rest of Spider-Man's team which doesn't work on Spider-Man since he had reflective lens in his mask. Seeing as they are in the Herbarium, Spider-Man activates the UV lights which harm Dracula until the Spider-Man's mesmerized teammates got Dracula away from the museum. Dracula later appears with Spider-Man's mesmerized team when they arrive on the Helicarrier to get Tekamentep's Ankh. Spider-Man tries to fight Dracula when he tries to grab the Ankh as Spider-Man is assisted by Frankenstein's Monster. Dracula succeeds in making off with Tekamentep's Ankh as Werewolf by Night states that Dracula will activate Tekamentep's Ankh at sunrise. Using the Monster Truck, Spider-Man, Blade, and the Howling Commandos head to Transylvania to confront Dracula. Spider-Man, Blade, and the Howling Commandos enter Dracula's castle where Dracula unleashes his minions on them. When they confront Dracula, the Howling Commandos fight to keep Dracula from activating the Ankh while Spider-Man frees his team. As Dracula prepares to join the pieces of Tekamentep's Ankh, Spider-Man snatches the Ankh out of Dracula's hands with the help of Frankenstein's Monster as the sun rises. This forces Dracula to retreat while N'Kantu plans to use the Tekamentep's Anhk to restore himself to life.
- Dracula appears in Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. episode "Days of Future Smash: Dracula," voiced again by Corey Burton. When Hulk follows Leader to London in 1890 during the Victorian era, Leader plans to ally himself with Dracula as his train starts to arrive near Hulk and Leader. Dracula even thought that Hulk was another one of Dr. Frankenstein's creations as he unleashes his vampires on him. Leader persuades Dracula not to bite him in exchange that he provides him with a way that would keep the sun from harming him. Upon befriending Frankenstein's Monster, Hulk discovers that Dracula has trapped Werewolf by Night's grandfather and N'Kantu the Living Mummy who won't serve Dracula. Leader creates the Gamma Furnace that would blanket the Earth in darkness for Dracula to thrive in. When Hulk, Frankenstein's Monster, Werewolf by Night's grandfather, and N'Kantu arrive, Dracula hypnotizes Leader into activating the Gamma Furnace. While in his train, Dracula has Leader activate the Gamma Furnace there and invent a version of the vampire strain that affects gamma-powered characters. The result of Hulk being converted into a vampire causes a present-day where vampires have taken over the world with their Gamma Furnace and that Vampire Hulk had already did away with Dracula and Leader. Upon Hulk burning out the virus by doing a thunder clap towards the sky, Dracula is tossed into the sunlight causing him to disappear into the sewer to avoid being vanquished and Leader to escape to the next time period upon the vampire-dominated present being rewritten.
- In 1980, an animated television movie based on The Tomb of Dracula was released. The film was called Yami no Teio Kyuketsuki Dracula (Dracula: The Vampire Emperor of Darkness). Much of the main plot was condensed and many characters and subplots were truncated or omitted. The film was animated in Japan by Toei and sparsely released on cable TV in North America in 1983 by Harmony Gold dubbed into English and under the title Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned.
- Dracula appears in Blade: Trinity, assuming the name Drake and portrayed by Dominic Purcell. The character has little resemblance to the comic book version of Dracula. According to the movie, Dracula, or "Drake", is the original progenitor of "Hominus Nocturna". According to Hannibal King, 'Drake has gone by many names; the ancient Babylonians has worshiped him as "Dagon", and so-on. Drake was 'born' as the 'perfect' vampire – his origin is unknown – with modern vampires having brought him back after he spent three centuries in self-imposed exile with the hope that he will allow them to free themselves of their weakness to sunlight. Drake is capable of limited shapeshifting; due to a particularly malleable bone structure, he can assume the appearance of others so long as they are of similar size and shape to him, as well as being able to become a more demonic version of himself called "the Beast". He is also perfectly immune to sunlight as he was seen in the movie walking among humans and being chased by Blade under broad daylight. He is killed at the film's conclusion when Blade and Abigail Whistler manage to shoot him with the 'plague arrow' – the novelization features Abigail missing the original shot with the only arrow they were able to develop, only for Drake to be distracted by a little girl named Zoey stabbing him in the leg long enough for Blade to pick up the arrow and use it – an arrow that, when combined with Drake's 'pure' vampire blood, releases an airborne contagion that destroys all of the vampires in the world. Drake's last act is to transform his body into a duplicate of Blade's to allow his enemy to escape the police hunting him, a gesture of respect for Blade's victory over him where no other foe was able to defeat him, the police taking Drake and assuming Blade to be dead.
- Dracula appears as a villain character in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online, voiced by Dave Boat.
- Dracula appears in Marvel: Avengers Alliance. He appears in Spec-Ops 22.
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