Thursday, 22 January 2015

Dracula Lives Special Edition. A voyage into the unknown.

Dracula Lives Special Edition
As you may know, in my coy capacity as copious curator of this blog, I do occasionally ramble on about comics that I once owned but had forgotten all about until I'd accidentally stumbled across their covers online.

But there's another kind of comic. The kind of comic I remember having owned but that has always been an enigma to me.

One such example is the Dracula Lives Special Edition.

I remember seeing it advertised on the back of Marvel UK weeklies at some point in the 1970s and then, one Sunday, my dad returned from the shops with a copy of it.

It was something of a curiosity, having a card cover, being squarebound and printed in glorious monochrome, while featuring several tales of the Transylvanian terror.

At the the time, its nature meant I wasn't sure if it was a US Marvel publication, a Marvel UK publication or if it even had anything to do with Marvel at all. Perhaps it was some strange kind of licensed reprint deal along the lines of the ones that Alan Class had struck in the past.

I still don't know what the story behind it was but, having not seen a copy of it in over thirty years, my memories of it are vague.

All I recall is that, in one of the stories - a Gene Colan pencilled tale - one of the captions credits a character in London with being able to smell the Atlantic, which suggests he either had an incredible sense of smell or that the writer needed to invest in a map of the British Isles.

There was also a Don Heck tale that may have been called Let It Bleed, in which the vampire comes up against a giant heart in a shed.

I do remember feeling at the time that perhaps Don Heck wasn't the ideal choice to be drawing a Dracula tale, plus the idea of the bad guy being a giant heart in a shed seemed somewhat silly. I was also, at the time, completely unaware of the Rolling Stones song of the same title.

A quick Google tells me it was published by World Distributors and... ...well, nothing else. So it seems it's doomed to remain forever a mystery to me.

But perhaps that's how it should be. After all, what would Dracula be without his air of mystery?


Colin Jones said...

I had this too but mine was second-hand from a friend. I don't remember any Gene Colan in it only Don Heck and I'd always thought that the whole book featured just one story drawn by him. I'd also thought that the story was set on a ship but since the internet's come along I think that I probably confused that with a Spider-Man story featuring Dracula on a ship.

Steve W. said...

Yep. The Spider-Man/Dracula ship story was in Giant-Size Spider-Man #1 - - pencilled by Ross Andru and inked by Don Heck.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

I remember this at the time as well and assumed it was a Marvel UK book, but as I wasnt a massive Dracula Lives fan (then that changed once I got the US comic - loved it) I didnt bother even looking for it - like Colin I picked it up in a book shop it was complete but pages were falling out ( and it was a bit smelly) so I never read it (I think I only got rid of it very recently) from memory you are right and the Don Heck strip was "Let it bleed" (I like Don Heck but this was not his best work ) I don't recall Gene Colan art either but it may just have been that it was Colan but inked by someone else (not doing a great job) I seem to recall the 2nd story was "Night of the Stalkers",

Colin Jones said...

The Dracula on a ship story was also in Marvel UK's Super Spider-Man in 1978 which I'd forgotten about until I saw an online gallery of SSM covers - that's when I realised I'd probably confused that story with the one in this Dracula Lives Special due to Don Heck's involvement in both I suppose.

John Pitt said...

I don't remember this at all, which makes this of particular interest to me! I don't remember any specials before the Dez Skinn period. Do you know of any more?

Colin Jones said...

Oops - I meant to say thanks, Steve, for that info about Giant Size Spider-Man/Dracula/ship/Don Heck.

Steve W. said...

John, I'm afraid the whole thing's a blank for me. It seems that World Distributors who published it were responsible for publishing several Marvel annuals before Marvel UK were set up but that's all I could tell you.

Dougie said...

Was the Spidey Drac story by Heck? I thought it was Andru.
Heck drew a couple of G-S Dracs scripted by Chris Claremont, certainly. One was about the N'Garai, the other had a blind female terrorist and a computerised building, I think. Both set in Britain.

Steve W. said...

Dougie, the Spidey/Drac story was pencilled by Andru and inked by Heck.

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