Frank Drake (comics)
|First appearance||Tomb of Dracula #1 (Apr 1972)|
|Created by||Gene Colan
|Alter ego||Frank Drake|
Frank Drake was a direct descendant of Count Dracula, resulting from one of Dracula's wives prior to him becoming a vampire. Over the generations, Frank's ancestors would eventually change their surname to Drake to remove themselves from the unwanted connotations of their ancestry.
Fictional character biography
Frank Drake is introduced as a millionaire playboy who had squandered his inheritance and now had nothing more than an ancestral castle in his assets. Planning to sell it, Drake and friends traveled to Transylvania where the castle was located. it was discovered that this was the castle of Count Dracula, though Drake never truly believed in the Dracula legends. Drake and his friends stumble across the skeleton of Dracula and accidentally resurrected him. Drake narrowly escaped death when Dracula recognized Drake as a descendant. Drake eventually relocated to London.
Broke and in despair, Drake attempted to commit suicide but was saved by Rachel van Helsing and Taj Nital, two vampire hunters. Through them, Drake met Quincy Harker, the son of Jonathan Harker and Mina Harker whose tale was told in Bram Stoker's novel. Rachel was the granddaughter of Abraham Van Helsing. Drake learned that Dracula had eventually caused the death of Jonathan Harker and Abraham Van Helsing some years after they had defeated him in the book's events. Quincy, Rachel, and Taj (whose family had been killed by vampires) were dedicated to killing Dracula and his vampiric followers. Frank Drake joined Quincy Harker's band of vampire hunters under the close tutelage of Rachel van Helsing and Quincy Harker.
Drake soon encountered Blade, with whom Drake constantly clashed but would eventually become a valued friend. Later, alongside Brother Voodoo, Drake battled zombies sent by Dracula. Drake, Blade, Van Helsing, Harker, and Harold H. Harold even helped Dracula battle Doctor Sun.
Another ally that Drake eventually met was vampire detective Hannibal King, whom Drake would come to trust because of Blade. Alongside Harker's vampire hunters, Drake battled Dracula, resulting in the death of Janus.
Although a close friendship grew between Drake and van Helsing, their potential for romantic involvement remained shaky due to Frank's lack of self-confidence and Rachel's fear of intimacy.
Quincy Harker eventually made the ultimate sacrifice by detonating a bomb concealed in his wheelchair which destroyed him, Dracula, and much of the castle in which they met for the last time. Drake and Van Helsing discovered Harker's wheelchair, and the supposed death of Dracula. Quincy's final letter to Rachel and Frank urged the two of them to grow closer together and discover what they all knew was there all the time. As a result, Frank and Rachel did attempt a romance but due to Frank's later account, Rachel was an empty shell without Dracula to fight and the two shortly parted but not without deep regrets. Rachel would eventually be turned into a vampire herself and die mercifully at the hands of X-Man Wolverine.
Frank, upon hearing of Rachel's death realizes that Dracula is back and teams up with Blade, Hannibal King, and Doctor Strange to fight his return from the grave. Drake, King, Blade and Strange battled Dracula and the Darkholders, and were responsible for casting the Montesi Formula which destroyed Dracula and all vampires and banished vampirism from earth. Drake, King (now cured of vampirism and the only vampire to survive the Montesi spell), and Blade decided to remain together and become private investigators, founding the firm of King, Drake, and Blade (aka Borderline Investigations). They would investigate any number of strange and not so strange cases, including a battle with the Darkholders. In their first appearance, Doctor Strange helped them battle the Darkholders.
Drake, wishing for a more normal life, eventually left the firm. Apparently, the friendship between King, Drake, and Blade had soured. Drake moved to Washington D.C. and married Marlene McKenna, a woman he had met sometime after parting ways with Rachel. During this time, Marlene seemed to come under the power of Dracula and scarred her face to resemble Rachel's facial scars. Drake, reluctantly called a hostile Blade and the two, assisted by Blade's friend Katinka, eventually aborted Dracula's resurrection again. This resulted in Blade's nervous breakdown and institutionalization. Drake, determined to live a normal life with Marlene, declined an invitation from Katinka, to stay in touch. Katinka suspected that things were only beginning.
With the weakening of the Montesi spell, Dr. Strange realized that not only were vampires returning, but also an increased occurrence of supernatural invasions. On this realization, Strange arranged for the release of Blade and for Drake (whose wife Marlene had again mysteriously fallen ill), to meet him and King back at their old Borderline offices where King, who had been running the business by himself had to eventually close shop due to the return of his vampirism. None of them too glad to see the other, but each having their reasons for getting back together, they form the Nightstalkers; by day, they are private investigators, by night, they fight any number of supernatural villains.[volume & issue needed] Drake, armed with an anti-supernatural nanotech gun named Linda (after Linda Blair of The Exorcist) fights alongside Blade and King against various occult enemies. 'Linda' was engineered from Frank's blue prints by 'Silcon' Valle, a computer technician at M.I.T.[volume & issue needed]
In their first mission, the Nightstalkers are hired by Lilith to kill the second Ghost Rider and John Blaze, and battled Meatmarket. Ghost Rider and Blaze then joined the Nightstalkers, Strange, and the Darkhold Redeemers in battling Lilith and her Lilin. The Nightstalkers also battled HYDRA's DOA. Alongside the Punisher, the Nightstalkers battled Shiv and Casim. The Nightstalkers, with Ghost Rider, battled Stonecold. The Nightstalkers next battled Morbius, and battled Stonecold again.
The Lilin are children of Lilith, an ancient demonic being. Their involvement with her brings them into the group known as the Midnight Sons. This includes both Ghost Riders, Victoria Montesi and her team, Doctor Strange and other heroes. In one of the many adventures involving this team, Drake helps deal with Blade, who temporarily goes insane due to the use of the Darkhold.
Eventually, they fight against the Atlantean vampire Varnae in which Drake overloads Linda causing an explosion that is thought to destroy him and Varnae (King having attempted to sacrifice himself by plunging a metal stake through his heart while fighting off vampire-lord Varnae's mental control). Blade escapes believing them to be dead but eventually runs into King in New Orleans who explains that Drake also survived but was left horribly scarred and crippled in both body and mind and would probably remain only a shell of his former self.
Powers and abilities
Frank Drake is a capable hand-to-hand combatant, and an experienced marksman. He has been known to carry conventional handguns. He also uses "Linda," a.k.a. "the Exorcist," a nano-tech weapon capable of disrupting occult energies, which he designed with help from "Silicon" Valle.
In other media
Frank Drake was one of the major characters in the Blade/Tomb of Dracula family of characters wasn't directly represented in the movies. In the 2004 movie Blade: Trinity, the main villain (stated to be the basis for the Dracula legend) uses the cover name of Drake. In an early script by David Goyer, the basis for the Abigail Whistler character was a woman Nightstalker named "Frankie" Drake, but this was changed.
- Tomb of Dracula vol. 1 #1
- Tomb of Dracula vol. 1 #3
- Tomb of Dracula vol. 1 #7
- Tomb of Dracula vol. 1 #12
- Tomb of Dracula vol. 1 #34-35
- Tomb of Dracula vol. 1 #39-41
- Tomb of Dracula vol. 1 #52
- Tomb of Dracula vol. 1 #59
- Tomb of Dracula vol. 1 #70
- Uncanny X-Men Annual #6
- Doctor Strange vol. 2 #59-62
- Doctor Strange vol. 2 #67
- Nightstalkers #1
- Ghost Rider vol. 3 #31
- Nightstalkers #2-4
- Nightstalkers #5-6
- Nightstalkers #7
- Nightstalkers #8
- Nightstalkers #9