Sunday, October 24, 2010

Strange Sunday: Dracula versus Doctor Strange by Gene Colan and Tom Palmer

One week until Halloween 2010!  Halloween always brings back the classic Marvel Monsters in my memory.  Here's a piece that I've been saving for this occassion: Gene Colan and Tom Palmer celebrating the first time Doctor Strange encountered Dracula.

Dracula vs Doctor Strange by Gene Colan and Tom Palmer

I forgot the original source for this illustration!  But I believe it must be from one of the early calendars that Marvel produced.  Dracula glories in his triumph over the Master of the Mystic Arts, who made the mistake of attacking him in his coffin boudoir.

Tomb of Dracula 44 Doctor Strange versus Dracula

Doc first fought Drac in 1976, in a special two-issue cross-over event that was drawn by Colan and Palmer.  Part 1 was in Tomb of Dracula #44, written by Marv Wolfman.  The cover for this issue seemed very psychedelic to me, almost Dali-esque.  Most of the Dracula covers are dark, fearful, mysterious, or suspenseful.  This is probably the brightest colored cover in the history of this title.  By the end of the story, Dracula has sunken his fangs into Doc and looks forward to turning him into a vampire.

Doctor Strange 14 1976 cover by Gene Colan and Tom Palmer

The fight continued over into Doctor Strange #14, the very same month, written by Steve Englehart.  This cover is still great, though it isn't as ground-breaking as ToD #44.  Doc Strange doesn't let a vampire bite stop him, not with an astral form who can torment Dracula until he forces a resolution.

I was really into both of these titles as a young Marvel collector.  I thought the writing by Wolfman and Englehart was great, and of course, the artwork by Colan and Palmer was superb.  Just a month before this event, Englehart had announced that Doctor Strange was successful enough to transition to monthly publication.  The only problem that presented to them was having Gene Colan and Tom Palmer draw 2 books per month.  The artistic team decided to go for it, and in this two-part special, they just knocked it out of the ballpark for me.  Nuff Said!

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