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Tomb of Dracula #43: Review

Apr 1976
Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan

Story Name:

Paul Butterworth—the Night Staker!

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Tomb of Dracula #43 Review by (July 19, 2021)

Review: A brilliant story, too bad it’s a “homage” to the classic TV movie THE NIGHT STALKER and its TV spin-off KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER. I even read Butterworth’s voice sounding like Darren McGavin’s. [Side detail: Butterworth’s boss is Paul Lamenzo; Kolchak’s was Tony Vincenzo.] The movie was one of the most creative and original vampire stories, with a screenplay by the great Richard Matheson, based on a novel by Jeff Rice. And this issue does a great job of picking up its rhythms and voice. Like they say, if you’re going to steal, steal from the best.

Comments: Yes, the title is “Night Staker” not “Stalker.” Only appearance of Paul Butterworth so if Dracula returned to kill him it went unrecorded. First mention of Michael Morbius in this series. The account of Blade’s fight with Dracula recounted by both Blade and Harold H. Harold took place after the climax of last issue, bridging the gap with this one. The letters page includes one by Bruce Canwell, future writer and editor at DC and IDW and one by future comics historian/critic Peter Sanderson. 





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tomb of Dracula #43 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Boston newspaper reporter Paul Butterworth sits in his office early on New Year’s Day, writing his story while waiting for Dracula to come and kill him….

He arrived at a crime scene where another woman had been murdered and drained of all blood; Butterworth spoke to police but they wouldn’t reveal anything. Hours later yet another woman was found bloodless in a cemetery. Butterworth suspected a vampire, having once met Michael Morbius so he decided to consult writer Harold H. Harold, who knew something about the undead bloodsuckers. Harold related his history with Dracula, including his most recent encounter, when Blade fought Dracula but Harold chased the villain off. Butterworth got Blade’s address from Harold and departed, mocking his informant. Butterworth heard a call on the police band radio and arrived to find the police battling Dracula. He took Dracula’s picture and the vampire pursued him, only fleeing when Butterworth’s crucifix became visible….

Butterworth arrived at Blade’s apartment to find Quincy Harker, Rachel van Helsing, and Frank Drake present too. Blade recounted that same story as Harold, only making it clear Harold did not contribute much to the battle and it was a crossbow bolt from Rachel that drove the villain off. Dracula then burst into the room and fought the heroes, knocking them around and on departing he left Butterworth with a threat to return and kill him….

And now Dracula enters the news office, dodges the silver bullets Butterworth fires at him, snatches away the wooden cross he brandishes, noting that a cross will burn a vampire but it takes a crucifix to kill him. Dracula pursues him through the building until Butterworth points out that the sun is rising.. The vampire flees, another threat on his lips….

Harold’s publisher Paul Lamenzo arrives demanding to know what wrecked the office. Butterworth hastily develops the photos he took of Dracula—and then realizes vampires do not photograph. Lamenzo is severely angry….



Gene Colan
Tom Palmer
Tom Palmer
Bernie Wrightson (Cover Penciler)
Bernie Wrightson (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: John Costanza.

> Tomb of Dracula: Book info and issue index

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