“I prefer to remain and protect those whom you would destroy.”
-Van Helsing, Dracula (1931)
Abraham Van Helsing only had one truly canonical appearance, arriving as he did mid-way through Bram Stoker’s Dracula. However, so strong was the Dutch professor’s hold on the public imagination, and so fierce his rivalry with the Lord of the Undead, that he has followed his nightmare enemy into the Twentieth Century like a gin-drinking Fury.
Described by Stoker as ‘a man of medium weight, strongly built, with his shoulders set back over a broad, deep chest…’ Van Helsing radiates physical and mental vitality, placing him in dynamic opposition to the ambulatory black hole that is Dracula. Van Helsing exudes the stuff of life, where Dracula only consumes. Besides his physicality, Van Helsing is ‘a philosopher and metaphysician, and one of the most advanced scientists of his day’; again, this is in contrast to Dracula, who is mired in Old World nightmare and squalor. One represents life, knowledge and light, while the other brings only darkness and decay. Van Helsing, like John Silence, is a representative of all that is good in man, set in opposition to malign forces which seek to pervert the natural world.
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