With Dracula himself being a product of fiction, it's interesting to see how issue #49 of Tomb of Dracula plays on that concept to produce a story that confronts the lord of vampires with the prospect that he's tethered in some way to the 1897 novel authored by Bram Stoker--an assertion made all the more provocative as Dracula finds himself facing what appear to be living, breathing characters from various other novels, summoned into their presence by a woman who believes Dracula to be as much a part of her library as they are.
Angie Turner's "friends" are real to her, and real enough to the story--which makes them real enough to Dracula, who will find himself in their company against his will. But is this some dalliance of this reader of fictional works? Has she brought Dracula into her presence to complete this circle of characters that she's gathered--or does Dracula fill some deeper void within her? From D'artagnan's words, it seems that Angie has had Dracula in her thoughts for some time--but unlike the others who attend her, always out of reach. Presumably the reason lies in Dracula having a true existence in the world, a true history, whose presence is not limited to the printed page of Stoker's novel--none of which occurs to Angie (nor to many others in the world, no doubt). It's that novel on her shelf which once again brings him to mind--a preoccupation fanned by her companions gathered around her, whose devotion to and love for her move them to suggest that she pursue her heart's desire.
The sky isn't the only thing that's rumbling with thunder, as Dracula has been spirited away from the affairs of his satanic church as well as his pregnant wife, Domini, without warning or consent. Angie's words of explanation are from the heart--from her heart--yet for Dracula, they have no substance or importance, and he reacts accordingly.
As is evident, Angie's friends also react accordingly to their mistress being brutally rebuffed by one who should be as dedicated to her happiness as they are, springing to her defense in both word and deed. Included in those words is the implication that Dracula has been given life just as they have, a notion which Dracula rejects as preposterous and lashes out at those who surround him, prompting the others to strive to subdue him.
The hostilities escalate--though the only true injury is to Angie, who not only sees her calm and supportive environment of love and friendship rent and shattered but also suffers the hurt of being angrily rejected by the one she came to love most of all. She still has no concept of Dracula as a real being in the world--and so she still approaches him as the character from Stoker's book, even bringing to light the names of other characters which would resonate more with the book's reader than with one who has long since consigned the events and people it documents to dust. It's on both points that Dracula intends to make clear to her in no uncertain terms.
Yet the only bucket of ice water that Angie responds to is not the bluntness of Dracula's words, but the fate of D'artagnan, the one she has loved in Dracula's absence, as he's slain a second time by this man who is a horrible perversion of the character who should have appeared before her. Even now, she still sees Dracula only for who he should be, not as he is--and so a contest of wills, of reality, subsequently takes place between herself and Dracula, as Angie finally forsakes the novel she brought him forth from. Dracula, for his part, has other plans for this deluded woman, paying no attention whatsoever to what he considers an empty gesture on her part. Only one of them, of course, will be astonished at whose will prevails.
This is a story that crossed my mind while I was reading the final issue of the Tomb of Dracula series, which was bringing Dracula to an end, as well. What a clever twist on that story it might have been to have Angie's story take place as part of that issue, summoning Dracula from his castle and perhaps returning him to his introductory scene in Stoker's novel, closing the fictional circle--his comic book adaptation having taken him from those pages after all, despite his protestations to the contrary. It might have understandably rubbed a good deal of TOD readers the wrong way--but an "alternate ending" worth pondering, eh?
As for Angie, we finally learn her full story in the issue's closing pages:
Thankfully, Angie once again has her peace of mind, and the comfort of loved ones. And we might even say the same for Dracula--though it's a fair bet even he might feel a slight chill whenever he finds himself flying over a library from now on.
|Tomb of Dracula #49 |
Script: Marv Wolfman
Pencils: Gene Colan
Inks: Tom Palmer
Letterer: John Costanza