What's this? Dracula, cursed lord of the vampires, eating a HAMBURGER? In what appears to be a JAPANESE CARTOON? Surely there's a logical explanation for this!!

Yes indeed there is, and it appears here in "Chiller Pocket Book No. 5", a British reprint of the American Dracula comic published by Marvel in the 1970s, drawn by the great Gene Colan! No caped super heroes here, this Dracula is the REAL DEAL, straight outta Transylvania ready to suck you dry!!

Turns out Satan - this was back when Satan was a regular in the Marvel Universe - Satan used his Satan Powers to strip away all of Dracula's vampiric abilities and turn him into a normal guy with a giant cloak and a little moustache. And what's worse Dracula got dumped in the middle of 1970s New York City! So naturally Dracula starts mugging people. You know, just to blend in.

I'll tell you what's happening, Dracula, you're in the big city now. We don't care how you did it back in the old country!

Luckily the streets of NYC are full of helpful strangers willing to come to the aid of distressed citizens. This helpful stranger is named "Filtho". If you're lucky he'll show you how he got that name!

Weakened by his experience with "Filtho," Dracula now requires food! This being the '70s, our nearest food is, of course, in a disco.

And so here we see Dracula enjoying a hamburger. And by "enjoying" I mean "complaining like a whiny bitch."

Luckily for Dracula, it's the 1970s and he's in a disco, so immediately he's hit on by one of NYC's hordes of man-hungry divorcees, brazenly picking up men in bars.

And just when you think that this comic is going to violate the Comics Code in a big "Looking For Mr. Goodbar" kind of way, suddenly in bursts a cowboy, six-guns blazing.

Glad to see the paid vigilante business hires such discreet, low-key operatives. This guy won't stick out in New York at all!

I really have to wonder, Dracula comic book, if we really need this whole inner monologue stuff, if we really need to witness the inner demons that drive this cowboy person to express his masculinity in so forthright a manner. Because we know what's going to happen. After all the name of this comic book isn't "Cowboy".

hey, thrown off a roof by Dracula! Not a lot of people can claim that death. Something to be proud of!

So there you have it, that's how Dracula came to New York and ate a hamburger. But how did this get turned into a Japanese cartoon? Well, in the mid 70s Stan Lee went to Japan and hung out with Go Nagai and Osamu Tezuka. No seriously, I have pictures. Marvel Comics entered into a swell development deal with Toei, the Japanese televison/film/animation powerhouse. This relationship led to some awesome things, like the Japanese SPIDERMAN television series in which Spiderman has a giant robot and a car with machine guns. It ALSO led to an animated film based on the Marvel Comics adaptation of Dracula. Eschewing more traditional Dracula storylines of virgins, screaming, and blood, Toei went with the plotline dealing with Satan, Dracula's disempowerment, and New York City.

Here Dracula puts a George "The Animal" Steele hammerlock on his victim while Reba West shrieks in horror.

In New York all roads lead to Restaurant King Discobar! Try our hamburgers!

And here we come full circle as Dracula The Lord Of The Damned chows down on a Big Mac. Watching intently in the background is Van Helsing and his ineffectual vampire-hunting posse.

So let's see.. the Japanese get Spiderman with a super robot and machine gun car, and we get Dracula eating a hamburger. I think I know who got the short end of THIS deal.