Count Dracula is a character created by Bram Stoker for his 1897 novel Dracula. A reclusive Transylvanian aristocrat who is revealed to be a vampire, Dracula is the most famous vampire in fiction and has been used by innumerable novels, films, television series and comics since the publication of Stoker's tale.
There have been various comic adaptations of Stoker's story, although they sometimes owe more to the many film versions. An example is the first issue of Legend Horror Classics, in which Kevin O'Neill provided a strip based loosely on the 1973 Dracula film. A more faithful comic adaptation, scripted by Jason Cobley and drawn by Staz Johnson, was published in 2009.
Count Dracula was killed at the end of Stoker's novel, but this has not stopped later writers from resurrecting him for more exploits. In 1984 Scream! ran a strip entitled "The Dracula File", written by Gerry Finley-Day and Simon Furman and drawn by Eric Bradbury, which placed the Count in a contemporary setting.
Dracula has also provided fertile ground for parodies. These include "Count Snotula" and "Count Slugula" in The Dandy (which also lampooned his arch enemy in "Stan Helsing"); "Dracula Dobbs" in Buster; the Beano Comic Library story "Dracula Spectacula", in which the vampire terrorised various Beano regulars; and the first issue of It's Wicked!, which saw Dracula checking in for a dentist's appointment with Slimer.
The historical Dracula
Stoker lifted the name Dracula from a historical figure: Prince Vlad III of Wallachia, popularly known as Vlad the Impaler, who adopted the name "Dracula" in reference to his father, Vlad Dracul. The novel works elements of the historical Dracula into the backstory of its fictional vampire: the character of Abraham Van Helsing declares that the undead count was, in life, "that Voivode Dracula who won his name against the Turk".
The connection between Count Dracula and Vlad the Impaler has been overstated, however. Stoker appears to have done very little research into the historical figure, and the novel ultimately uses his life as a minor piece of background detail. That said, numerous later writers have blended the two figures together more thoroughly: the best-known example is almost certainly Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 film version of Dracula, which begins with a prologue showing how Vlad the Impaler became the vampiric Count.
Like his fictional namesake, the real Dracula has also been featured in comics. "The Night Holds Terror", a "Van Helsing's Terror Tales" strip which ran in issue29 of Halls of Horror, revolved around a man who dreamed of being various unsavoury historical figures: Matthew Hopkins, William Hare, Jack the Ripper and a victim of Vlad the Impaler. The strip was originally scheduled to run in issue 24, when it was to have been the cover feature: Brian Lewis had prepared a cover image spotlighting Vlad, which was instead used as a back cover for issie 29.
More comedic treatments of Vlad include the instalment of Alexander Matthews' Dandy strip "Nuke Noodle" shown above. He was also one of the historical figures interviewed in Adam Murphy's "Corpse Talk" from The Phoenix; he is revealed to be a vampire as a punchline to the strip.