Yes, the ballerina character's name is Odette.
Odette, as Gillis tells us, lives to dance. We first see her standing aloof against a windowsill, gazing moodily into the night. She's not a snob or some sort of arrogant pseudo-princess. It's that she can't even enjoy an after-party with her snooty artsy friends because her muscles "long to be dancing still." Then she makes the mistake of leaving the party with a cloaked gentleman calling himself Vladimir Tepesch. If only she'd spent more time watching In Search Of... and less time mastering her art, she might have avoided her fate-- waking up later in the woods with her car missing and having to run 20 miles back to the theater where Greg, the poor man's Alexander Godunov (who had defected from the USSR just a year before this story saw publication), gapes at her and wants to know where she's been for three whole days. Remember those three days in case you ever find yourself in Odette's pointe shoes-- in classic vampire lore, the vampire's resurrection mocks Christ's; Gillis knows his stuff.
And it also requires us to ignore that losing the spirit of music thing again, but maybe Odette comes up with some way to compensate. Earplugs and strictly counted beats or whatever. It's not as if music is all that important to dance, anyway.
If I remember correctly, Buscema usually worked pretty loose and left a lot for the inkers to finish. As a result, this art job looks a lot more like McLeod's solo work than a strictly Buscema job might, or one inked by Tom Palmer, Ernie Chua or even Big John's preferred partner, his brother Sal. I've always admired McLeod's work on his solo efforts, and his figure construction and detail work-- such as how he deals with cheeks-- was always a bit Buscema-esque anyway, so they make a fine team here. I don't know how much of the black-spotting Buscema indicated in his pencils, but McLeod's use of dark shadows pooling around the characters or climbing the walls behind them works wonders in creating a subtle menacing mood. Dracula himself seems to loom out of darkness or carry his own shadows with him wherever he goes throughout this story, setting him somewhat apart as a malevolent force crawling up from Odette's own id as the vampire's power over her grows and distorts her life's work. McLeod also lays down gray tones and creates lighting effects during Odette's transformations with what appears to be airbrush. Reading some of these later Marvel mags, a lot of inkers seem to have been enchanted with the airbrush for tonal work as opposed to doing the traditional ink washes. I wonder if there's some Richard Corben influence going on there, or if the airbrush lent itself to faster turnaround times, or perhaps a little of both.
|Bob Mackie vampire.|