When Potters Bar was namechecked in Marvel horror comic

Panels from the Tomb of Dracula comic which referenced Potters Bar.

Panels from the Tomb of Dracula comic which referenced Potters Bar. - Credit: Matt Adams

The references to Potters Bar in popular culture are sadly few and far between, unless of course you count the time the town was given a namecheck in a 1970s Marvel horror comic.

Penned by Marv Wolfman, who later co-created the New Teen Titans, and illustrated with gothic majesty by former Daredevil artist Gene Colan, Tomb of Dracula was a smash hit for the publisher between April 1972 and August 1979, and won critical acclaim from fans across the world.

Over the course of 70 issues, we saw the eponymous count pursued across the globe by a team of vampire hunters which included Blade, later portrayed by Wesley Snipes in a hit movie trilogy, and descendants of Dracula and his adversary Abraham Van Helsing themselves.

But it was in issue #9 that we saw an apparently dead Dracula hauled out of the sea by a small town fisherman, and brought to the local church because, as one character explains: "Doc Birney's still out at Potters Bar..."

The double-page spread from issue #9 of Tomb of Dracula.

The double-page spread from issue #9 of Tomb of Dracula. - Credit: Matt Adams

Now if there's one thing you can guarantee from American comics is a complete lack of geographical awareness when it comes to the UK, and a tendency to portray the country as a mish-mash of Victoriana and the Swinging Sixties, so we decided to check whether Wolfman was actually referring to our very own Potters Bar in the comic.

Naturally asking anyone to remember something they wrote 50 years ago is a bit of a stretch, but after contacting Marv in the States he was swift to reply: "Back then I did a lot of research on areas I could use and probably saw a mention of it somewhere, liked the name, and checked it out to see if it was usable. I was always using local areas to make Tomb of Dracula (TOD) more realistic. As you go through TOD you’ll see lots of real places I mention."

So there you have it, a one-off nod to Potters Bar in one of the top Marvel Comics series of the 1970s! How's that for obscure?

The front cover of Tomb of Dracula #9.

The front cover of Tomb of Dracula #9. - Credit: Marvel.com