Dark Shadows, Issue #4
The Man Who Could Not Die
Gold Key Comics | February 1970
Recently cured of his vampiric curse, Barnabas Collins nonetheless is unable to find true peace as the Collins family’s dark history reaches across the gulf of time to torment him.
The restless spirits of Barnabas’ unnaturally deceased ancestors—murdered, burned at the stake as witches, or afflicted with the curse of the werewolf—are materializing at Collinwood to kill him and claim his soul. However, he discovers that the vengeful ghosts are actually being agitated into being by the presence of another, a living soul that cannot die, and whose continued existence drives the wrongly departed into a murderous frenzy. Devlin Collins, who in the seventeenth century made a deal with the devil to escape the clutches of the Black Plague, tires of the immortal life granted him, and needs Barnabas to die for an exchange of sorts—Barnabas’ soul in place of his own, releasing Devlin from his diabolical bargain and putting an end to his eternal suffering.
Attempting to fake his own death, Barnabas triggers a leap back in time to the year 1665, “because [he] is still of both worlds, [and he] can cross the barriers of space and time”—yes, that does sound like science—where (and when) Devlin meets an unexpected fate. The fourth installment of Gold Key’s Dark Shadow comic essentially delivers a tête-à-tête between Barnabas and Devlin Collins, eliminating all other current residents of Collinwood. This absence seems odd, since the story touches upon a familiar theme of family haunted by its own malevolent past.
But a time-traveling Barnabas Collins who battles a werewolf’s ghost along the way more than compensates.