Sunday, April 18, 2010

DRACULA: The Vampire's Curse (Part Two)

And now the fairly exciting, and somewhat sort of climatic finale to the Oct - Dec 1962 Dell version of Dracula, (aka "The Vampire's Curse"), from Movie Classic #231. I have a sneaky suspicion that Dell possibly intended to keep their re-invented Dracula saga going with more issues, hence the rather abrupt, open ending here. Anyone know for certain? And does anyone feel gypped by the lacula? FYI: "Lacula" is a new word I invented to define a Dracula story that lacks some Dracula. Now you know.
















Interested in seeing more Dell Horror classics? Let us know!

11 comments:

prof. grewbeard said...

things sure picked up in part two, didn't they? this was pretty neat-o. and as always, more of everything!...

Tempest Nightingale LeTrope said...

A fine offering with the flavor of the old vampire movies. But I MUST say that Count Dracula's dog or pet wolf was the most deranged-looking creature that I have ever laid eyes on!

Drew said...

A brief history of how Dell turned to horror...

The endings of at least three of the early 1960s Dell Universal Studios Monster Classics ("Dracula," "Frankenstein," and "The Creature") make it plain that a sequel was at least contemplated, and the endings of "The Wolfman" and "The Mummy" could also have been reinterpreted to be less final that they looked. Somehow these sequels never came to be.

Dell Comics was in a crisis after 1962, when it split with its long-time publishing partner (since 1938) Western Publishing, and Western Publishing took almost all of Dell's popular titles away and gave them to Gold Key Comics.

Dell scrambled to get new rights to movie and televison productions, and in the process jettisoned its "Dell Pledge to Parents...DELL COMICS ARE GOOD COMICS" promotion ads that it had posted in all of its comic books since 1955, when all the other publishers except Classics Illustrated had signed on to the Comics Code Authority.

After abandoning the "Dell Pledge," Dell deliberately added horror elements to its uncoded comics that could never have gotten past the Comics Code of that time period. Not only did it release clear horror titles ("Ghost Stories," the Universal Studios Monsters series, and even a 25-cent 84-page comic called "Tales from the Tomb"), but it added controversal material to its adaptations of popular televison shows that weren't representative of the TV shows themselves: "The Defenders" #1 had a graphic image of a murdered man with blood pooling from his bashed-in face; "Dr. Killdare #1 (I think) feautured a patient hallucinating that the ghost of a doctor he had murdered was constantly trying to cut his throat with a scalpel; and "Ben Casey" #4's lead story, "Terror at 59 West," featured a heroin-crazed drug addict threatening to cut a patient's oxygen line while the patient was on the operating table.

When this added sensationalism didn't generate sales, Dell created some of the worst superhero comic characters EVER, and finally gave up on publishing comics in 1973.

Karswell said...

Thanks for the tremendously insightful info Drew, I suppose it's never to late for another current publisher out there to maybe pick up where these Dell comics left off though... they've got some worthy material to work with for sure.

Anonymous said...

MAN THIS WAS GREAT! THE PACING WAS LIKE THE CHRISTOPHER LEE DRACULA MOVIES BECAUSE DRACULA HARDLY IN THE FILM THAT MUCH. BUT WHEN I THINK AOBUT IT THE STORY WAS ALOT MORE LIKE HAMMERS THE GORGON TOO.

I WOULD FOR SURE LIKE TO SEE MORE DELL COMICS! THANKS KARS!

Martin Powell said...

I actually own this comic book and I've always been very fond of it. It is rather like Sir Christopher Lee's Dracula movies, as Anonymous said above, because there's not a lot of scenes with the Count. I should point out, too, that Stoker's classic novel follows the same pattern. After the opening chapters Count Dracula vanishes from most of the action and narrative, although we tend to often feel his eerie presence. This Dell comic book effectively followed a similar route. And, yes, please! More Dell horrors!

Karswell said...

>THE STORY WAS ALOT MORE LIKE HAMMERS THE GORGON TOO.

I see what you mean ANON, and Martin, Hammer definitely did use the "less is more" approach to their horror monster classics than Universal (except for when it came to blood and cleavage, and then MORE was definitely the case!)

>And, yes, please! More Dell horrors!

I'll probably post The Mummy sometime next month... the plan is to eventually get all of the Dell monster comics archived here at THOIA.

I also forgot to mention that the 2 black and white pages at the end of this story are also from this issue of Dracula. There's one more bonus filler page that I'll be posting later this month with a similarly themed Ace post.

Mykal Banta said...

Karswell: Congratulations on hitting 500 followers! Wow, that's really something! You do great work here post after post. -- Mykal

Anonymous said...

My favorite part was the Lacula.

Drew said...

Karswell re: your suggestion for "another current publisher out there to maybe pick up where these Dell comics left off..."

Little of what Dell has published is in the public domain. "Dell Publishing" stll exists (now owned by Random House), and in any case, most of its material was licensed from other agencies like Universal Studios, which continue to maintain the copyrights over their source material.

Still, generic characters like Dracula, the Frankenstein monster, "the" mummy, etc., are up for grabs by anyone. So any publisher could legally continue the Dell story lines by simply not acknowledging the "inspiration," while prudently changing the names of a few supporting characters -- and considering all the countless Dracula and Frankenstein stories on the market, may already have done so!

Karswell said...

>Karswell: Congratulations on hitting 500 followers!

Thanks Mykal! And thanks to every single one of you that joined THOIA too!

>My favorite part was the Lacula.

Well I'm glad someone found that to be funny.

>considering all the countless Dracula and Frankenstein stories on the market, may already have done so!

True! Thanks again Drue, I mean Drew. You are definitely my new Dell Specialist.

As mentioned, there's alot of good stuff lined up for the rest of the month here at THOIA--- cat girls, zombies, demons, and up next a drunken doctor gets his just desserts. Don't stray away...