Friday, 28 November 2014

Dracula Book 1

Here’s one you always used to see advertised in the back pages of Warren mags, Dracula Book 1.
It's an anthology, as was usual for Warren, but in full colour, and though a couple of the stories here did see print in Creepy or Eerie, I don't think they all did.
It's the work of four different Spanish artists, with four different sets of stories: First you get Esteban Maroto, then Jose Bea, then Alberto Solsana, and finally Enric Sio. Then you start back at Maroto and go round again until you reach the end of the book.
As far as I remember, it's called Dracula because that was the title of the Spanish magazine all this work originally appeared in.

Staring off with Esteban Maroto, his series is Wolff, a post-apocalypse sword and sorcery character very similar to Dax The Damned. In actual fact, it's completely irrelevant where Wolff is set, or what the fairly flimsy story is supposed to be about, as it's all about the artwork, being exactly the kind of existential, pretentious nonsense that got us all into adult fantasy in general, and Warren in particular, during the Bronze Age. None of the episodes of Wolff really follow on from each other, and in fact his series seems to end halfway through, but it doesn't matter one jot:

Jose Bea's first piece is this Lovecraftian horror tale. I'm a total sucker for Bea's work, finding it unbelievably disturbing yet in awe of how a couple of lines on paper can be this worrying. I just bet, like Michael Fleisher and David Cronenberg, he seems creepily normal when you meet him.

And if Wolff  is flimsy, Agar Agar practically blows away if you breathe on it too hard, but again, it doesn't matter. Just groove on these visuals...

And here's Jose & Sir Leo back for the second part of this beautiful weirdness:

Then we've got Enric Sio with his unusual mosaic-like panel design:

And here's some more Wolff. This is the epitome of '70's comics for me, this strip.

And some more Bea, out-freaking even the Sir Leo stuff. According to Wikipedia, Jose was convicted in 1979 for 'offences against morality for the content of one of his stories, and forbidden from doing anymore artwork' Anyone surprised?

And an even more flesh crawling piece from Sio:

And finally, Dracula does actually show up in this gag from ' Carlos':

This isn't the whole book, just some of my favourites. Like I say, the epitome of '70's freakishness...


  1. thanks for sharing this. Another purchase to make for sure! :)

  2. If you can find a copy, Lancel...

  3. Didn't New English Library publish a British version of this mag? I'm sure I had a copy back in the day... not of this actual issue, but another one in the series...

  4. Really? Wow, I completely missed that.
    Maybe there ARE affordable copies out there. Go get 'em, everybody!

  5. The book collects the first six issues of the NEL comics, minus the beautiful painted covers by Enrich. There were only twelve English language issues and all of those were gathered in a hardcover British annual, which NEL made from print overruns of their individual issues. The comic continued in Spanish for many further issues.

    It's a beauty, isn't it?

  6. Yeah, I picked up a hardcover copy for about £15 a couple of years ago from eBay.

  7. I love these. The Annual is just unsolds with the covers torn off and a cover slapped on! I recently bought a set of the mags and as well as the free gift poster in issue one there was an A4 promo flyer as well which I had never seen before. I've had a few copies of the Annual and several have had a VG sticker on the inside cover which was a shop chain that I think became Spar. We had one in our village when I was a kid, hard to imagine them selling these.

  8. Pete, here's an interesting post by Lew Stringer about these magazines...

  9. Thanks C - I actually saw some of these recently in a back issue bin without realising what they were. Prob'ly too late to go back and get them now....