Sunday, April 5, 2015

Dracula 5

This issue will seem a bit familiar to Warren readers, with 2 stories that were eventually reprinted in Warren magazines a few years down the line. This issue is back to 4 stories, although Agar-Agar continues to be absent and we get a second, stand-alone Esteban Maroto story instead. Enrich as usual provides this issue's cover.

Wolff begins the issue in "The Lady of the Wolves" by Esteban Maroto. Wolff, having been turned into a werewolf at the end of the last story, wanders the desert and passes out. When the full moon passes he returns to his normal form. The legendary woman Rulah, who is daughter of Segnar, father of wolves and Lamia the she-wolf appears, with several wolves accompanying her. She tells her wolves to feast upon Wolff, but none do so and he awakens. Rulah tells Wolff of how the men who once accompanied her have all died. The two kiss and Wolff stays in her bed-chambers for many days and nights. Rulah eventually tells him he must flee, as it is the full moon. Rulah has him caged. She heads outside where she herself turns into a werewolf. Wolff turns into a werewolf as well and breaks out and the two fight. Another decent story for Wolff, although by this point his original quest to find his wife Bruma is being completely ignored and he has spent his time with multiple other women.

Next is "Invasion" by Jose Bea. This story begins with a discussion of the human body and shows a pair of space suit wearing men who are heading to another universe. There they plan to inhabit the bodies of physically giant creatures that are devoid of intelligence or the ability to communicate with them. The men continue to talk, about how there has been some resistance from inhabitants, but they have been able to spread throughout the new universe, absent the occasional need to change position. Sometimes some of their men were trapped; they attempted to communicate with no results. The men agree that there are no other dangers to them and depart in their spaceships. They discuss the fact that they've been able to translate the language of the primative giants, who call them cancer. The men take off their spacesuits as the story ends, revealing them to be skull-like alien creatures. This story would eventually be reprinted by Warren in Eerie, #75, in black and white (although part of the last panel was used, in color, for the cover). Bea's specialty is making things as bizarre as possible and that continues to be the case here with many strange looking panels inside and outside of the human body.

Next is "The Viyi" by Esteban Maroto. The Viyi is a creation of folklore, the Cossacks having provided this name to the king of the underworld. An undertaker comes to a house where he is shown the body of a beautiful woman whom he is to embalm. The man has a hard time concentrating because she is so beautiful, and she opens her eyes. He draws a pentagram around her, and starts mumbling exorcisms as she rises. She is unable to pass through the pentagram however. She utters an incantation and winged creatures attack him. She then rises over the pentagram and bites his neck, being revealed as a vampire. A rare instance of a vampire-themed story in Dracula (the last one we had was in the first issue), this story was reprinted in both Creepy 51 and Vampirella 22, and was the first full color story to be published in Warren's horror magazines. In those appearances, an additional page was added to the front that was taken from an earlier Wolff story. Also, the story was rewritten a bit, making it a bit more obvious that the woman (named Melinda in that version) was a vampire.

The issue wraps up with "Karen" by Enric Sio. A man, Mark, is obsessed with the titular character, a woman who he is in love with, but whose father refuses them to be together. Mark takes her photo and writes to her, but stays away, despite obsessing over photos and clothes of her's. A couple of years pass and Karen comes to see him, for real. But Mark tells her that the pictures and clothes of her he has obsessed over are better than the real her. He says he wants to stay in love with his dream and flees. The final page has a splatter of blood which makes one wonder if Mark got in a car accident while leaving, although the final panel does show him alive. A non-supernatural story from Sio here (although several of his has been), with his best art yet.

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