Fright #1 cover, Atlas Comics, Son of Dracula

Fright #1, August 1975 (cover says June, indicia August)

“And Unto Dracula was Born a Son”

Script: Gary Friedrich

Art: Frank thorne

One dark night in Transylvania the locals are burning a witch at the stake. Dracula swoops down in the form of a bat and rescues her, flying her back to his castle. He attempts to drink her blood, but stops when he sees a familiar birthmark on her breast: it denotes that she is a relative!

The following morning, Dracula and his fourth cousin chat over breakfast. She is shocked that he is a vampire, and even more shocked when he decides he fancies her blood after all. She stops him by offering to allow him to father her child, on the condition that she isn’t turned. Dracula agrees, and the two share a passionate night together. Nine months later a son is born, but the woman—who doesn’t seem to warrant a name—defies Dracula by telling him she’s leaving; the boy must not be allowed to be tainted by Dracula’s curse. Angered, the Count pounces and sinks his fangs into her neck.

Weakened, but not yet undead, the woman flees the next morning with her son. She gives him to a woman bound for America on a ship, but as she waves goodbye Dracula arrives. Distraught, she throws herself onto a shard of wood. As he looks down on her corpse, Dracula swears that he will one day track down his son.

Seven years later, in Appalachia, the boy, now called Derek, has grown strong, but he wonders why his mother makes him sleep with a cross on his chest. Dracula arrives, but is chased away with a crucifix. Fearing for the boy’s safety, his foster mom puts him into a cellar, with his cross and a book, and seals him in by blowing up the entrance—and herself!—with a keg of gunpowder….

Some twenty years go by, and Derek is now a Columbia college professor going by the name of Adam Lucard (gettit?). The female students on his occult course find him quite distracting. Adam is now aware that he is Dracula’s son as he’s read the book his first foster mom left him (it seems he got another family after being dug out of the ground), and he still sleeps with a crucifix on his chest. Debbie Porter, one of his students, sneaks into his apartment one night. She goes to wake him with a kiss, but removes the cross first—big mistake!

Adam transforms into a crazed vampire, chomps on the girl’s neck, and flies off into the night as a bat. He spies another lone girl waiting outside for Debbie, and drinks her blood too. The police arrive and quickly deduce that there’s a vampire loose in the 19th Precinct.

At dawn, Adam awakes to see the carnage, but has no memory of the previous night’s events. As he stares at Debbie’s lifeless corpse on his bedroom floor he curses his lot. Aware that Debbie may now herself become a vampire, he wastes no time in whittling a stake and banging it through her heart.

He then breaks down and prays; asking the Lord if he should destroy himself, or “continue to live.. to work.. and teach…”

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“Welcome to My Nightmare” opines David Anthony Kraft in the editorial page. Indeed, Anthony. Indeed.

A very silly piece of Gothic-tinged nonsense from Atlas Comics, this. The story is utterly daft: I have no idea why young Derek’s foster mother suddenly decides, quite out of the blue, to blow herself up, nor why his next family—who just happened to find him in a hole in the ground—happily believed that he was a vampire and had to sleep with a crucifix. For that matter, wasn’t the whole point at the beginning that the boy’s mother wanted to ensure that he wasn’t cursed with vampirism, hence her getting him the hell out of Transylvania as quickly as she could? And as Dracula seems to have no trouble in tracking the lad down, one wonders why he waited seven years to do it—and then didn’t bother him again for a another couple of decades…

Still, Frank Throne’s art suits the material well, and he turns in a far better job than the script deserved. Not long after this, Thorne was wowing them with his work on Red Sonja over at Marvel.

If you like Hammer movies, you’ll find this mildly entertaining. Otherwise, I wouldn’t bother.

There were no further issues of Fright, and the Son of Dracula was consigned to the scrapheap.

Cover by Frank Thorne.

Image ©2012 the copyright holder