SMIRNOFF, GREGOR

Real Name: Gregor Smirnoff

Identity/Class: Human (magic user); former Soviet citizen

Occupation: College Professor; Cult Leader

Group Membership: Former leader of the Belonging

Affiliations: Former agent of Dracula and possibly Asmodeus;
Rachel van Helsing (former lover); Marlene McKenna and Frank Drake (pawns)

Enemies: Dracula; Marlene McKenna and Frank Drake

Known Relatives: wife (unnamed and unseen, married for 35 years)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Georgetown University, Washington, DC; various Universities across the USA and Russia;
born in Kamenka, performed rituals in Siberia

First Appearance: Tomb of Dracula III#1 (Epic Comics, 1991)

Powers/Abilities: Smirnoff had extensive knowledge of psychology, the soul, and certain aspects of the occult. He has performed spells enabling him to commune with demons, open portals into other dimensions, and to summon a deceased soul and transplant it into a living being. However, his spells required extensive preparation and were of little use in a combat situation. His knowledge of psychology allowed him to manipulate others to his own ends.

Due to one of his spells gone awry, the skin on Smirnoff's skin had become translucent--the organs of his abdomen and thorax could be seen through his skin. He also claimed to have lost his soul and to have been in severe pain and was dying (slooooooowwwwwwwly) as a result.

History: (Tomb of Dracula III#2 (fb)) - Smirnoff studied dream phenomena for over forty years, initially in the former Soviet Union. In Siberia, he was part of a group of researchers brought together to study the preternatural. He learned of the soul's existence and was overwhelmed by its potential power. He understood how it could be used as a weapon.
However, his research was not funded and so he left the Russia and came to America. He sought work at a University, knowing that these were places of unrest, where the students seek answers...and esacape. Smirnoff gave the students an excuse to come together, to party, to believe in something. He needed them passionate. Their blood had to be vital. He made them think--made them create, and then made them destroy their creations in one orgiastic frenzy. At the moment of the destruction of their own creation, he could tap into their souls. Perhaps all he could take was an insignificant flash of psychic inspiration, but he could store that power and wield that energy.

At some point in his experiments, he opened portals into other realities--the worlds of nightmare and death--and was changed. His flesh was rendered translucent and his soul destroyed.

 

 

(Tomb of Dracula III#1 (fb)) - Smirnoff sought out the vampire lord Dracula, in hopes that he would transform him into a vampire, as well, so that he could be saved from the slow death he was suffering as a result of the loss of his soul. To this end, he traveled to Boston, Massachusetts, where a would-be writer (Harold H. Harold) connected him with Rachel van Helsing. Without Dracula to give her life meaning, she had sunken into a deep, depression and had even become an alcoholic. Smirnoff seduced her and even moved in with her for a time. He learned a great deal from her, but she apparently lost interest in him when he ran out of questions. However, she could never remember quite where Dracula had been buried (or she pretended not to remember).

(Tomb of Dracula III#1 (fb)) - After the death of Rachel van Helsing (and the destruction of Dracula via the Montesi Formula), Smirnoff made his skills available to Frank Drake, who was having a nervous breakdown. Independently, Smirnoff also was sought out by Marlene McKenna, who possessed great latent psychic and empathic power. Smirnoff was hopeful that he could combine the knowledge of Drake with that of Rachel van Helsing to locate Dracula. He thus introduced Drake and McKenna and encouraged them into a relationship, which eventually resulted in marriage.

(Tomb of Dracula III#2 (fb)) - Smirnoff developed the Belonging in campuses across the country. The students took to the rituals with great abandon. He used a fraction of those energies to find and summon the soul of Rachel van Helsing. A fraction more was used to implant her soul in Marlene (whom he had been guiding towards this moment by encouraging her to learn as much as possible about Drake's vampire-hunting past).

(Tomb of Dracula III#2 (fb)-BTS) - Gregor sent his wife back to visit Russia, apparently wanting to keep her safe from the mystical forces with which he would soon be involved. I guess she never noticed (or at least didn't mind) his see-through skin?

(Tomb of Dracula III#1) - Meanwhile, Dracula's remains had been reformed by a demon known as Asmodeus, and replaced in the exact site and state of his death at the hands of Quincy Harker. When Rachel's soul surfaced and took dominance over Marlene's form, Smirnoff jumped Drake and took Marlene/Rachel, allowing her to lead him to Castle Dracula. There Smirnoff removed the silver spoke, resurrecting the vamprie lord once again.

(Tomb of Dracula III#2) - Smirnoff brought Dracula to his mansion in the US, where he explained his history and the reasons for his actions. He offered Dracula nearly incalculable power from the Belonging, and brought him to parties to meet people of wealth and power. Dracula was mildly amused by Smirnoff initially, but quickly tired of him. Dracula decided to grant him peace from his suffering--with death--and tore his head off.

Comments: Created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan.

Continuity or not Continuity...that is the question. This is discussed in the comments section of the Dracula profile, and I say "yea." The biggest unresolved question is the minor continuity glitches/gaps/errors in the life of Rachel van Helsing. Nothing that can't be spackled together, I say. Just add an ounce of Topical and a pinch of Magic (affecting the memories of her former friends).
I'd say that Smirnoff's first meeting with Rachel van Helsing came shortly after Tomb of Dracula I#70, when Dracula was dead, or at least assumed to still be. They had their little tryst, and then broke up. Smirnoff apparently missed the boat and was unable to meet up with Dracula (why he couldn't just use a nice little vampiress, or any other vampire, is beyond me...maybe he needed the magical power of Dracula himself to overcome his own magical injuries) b/t ToD I#70 and Dr. Strange II#62, when Dracula was resurrected and then destroyed by the Montesi formula.

I guess in the not too distant future, Smirnoff will have to have been from Russia, and not the USSR. I don't really care, though.

CLARIFICATIONS:
No known connection to:


Appearances:
Tomb of Dracula III#1-2 (1991) - Marv Wolfman (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Al Williamson (inks), Terry Kavanagh & Mark Powers (editors)


Last updated: 11/10/02

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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