TAJ NITAL

Real Name: Taj Nital

Identity/Class: Human (Indian) vampire

Occupation: Pawn of Varnae;
former Vampire-Hunter & servant of Rachel van Helsing

Group Membership: Possibly Bad Seed;
formerly Quincy Harker's Vampire-Hunters

Affiliations: Bloodstorm, Varnae;
formerly Blade, Edwin Dering, Mary Dering, Frank Drake, Edith Harker, Quincy Harker, Moorlands Monster, Ramon, Saint (Quincy's dog), Scotland Yard (Inspector Chelm, Inspector Manfred, others), Abraham van Helsing, Rachel van Helsing, Whitby

Enemies: Lenore Decade, Dracula, Clifton Graves, Janus, Legions of Doom, Nightstalkers (Blade, Frank Drake, Hannibal King), unidentified demons (behind the Black Mirror), vampires

Known RelativesAdri Nital (son), Jyoti Nital (wife)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Jajpur, India

First Appearance: Tomb of Dracula I#3 (July, 1972)

Powers/Abilities: As a vampire Taj possessed all the normal powers and weaknesses of a vampire. Since Dracula's attack years ago Taj had been mute because his larynx had been permanently damaged. Before he was turned into a vampire Taj, who was 6'6" tall, was famous for his skills as a tracker and his extreme strength (at times it seemed superhuman, but it wasn't AFAIK). During his life as a vampire-hunter he used wooden stakes to destroy the undead.

History:

(Tomb of Dracula I#7 (fb) - BTS) - Taj was a famous tracker of tigers and other creatures.

(Tomb of Dracula I#29 (fb) ) - Years ago Dracula and other vampires attacked Taj's family on their way home from the shopping plaza. Taj fought the vampires and was able to save his wife from them. Taj was then attacked by their leader Dracula. Taj watched as a vampire, who went after his wife, was killed by an arrow while Dracula laughed. Seconds later Taj saws how one of the vampires drank the blood of his infant son. Rachel van Helsing's second arrow came a few seconds too late to safe the child. Taj ran towards his son, but Dracula tripped him and ripped at Taj's throat before he was hit by an arrow as well.

(Tomb of Dracula I#29 (fb) - BTS) - Taj eventually left his wife when she cursed him for their son's death.

(Tomb of Dracula I#12 (fb) - BTS) - He became Rachel van Helsing's servant and a vampire hunter because she had saved his life. For the next five years he worked with her.

(Tomb of Dracula I#3) - Frank Drake jumped from London Bridge to commit suicide, but Taj grabbed him by his coat and pulled him back onto the bridge. Rachel van Helsing introduced herself and Taj to Drake. The trio then drove with a limousine to the hotel where Drake had brought Dracula's casket. When they heard a scream from the hotel's sub-basement the trio went down and found the night porter inside the casket. They also found Dracula and Clifton Graves, who tried to escape. Taj attacked Dracula with a stake, but was easily knocked to the ground. Dracula and Graves eventually got out and a breeze closed the locked door and left the vampire-hunters trapped inside until the police arrived. Taj, Rachel and Drake were taken to Scotland Yard where Inspector Chelm had few questions for them about the dead night porter.

  Some time later Taj and his friends killed the now vampiric night porter at the morgue in front of Chelm, who apologized to them. Taj gave the night porter the final blow with a stake through the heart.

(Tomb of Dracula I#4) - Taj waited at the limousine while Inspector Manfred, Rachel and Drake interrogated Ilsa Strangway's injured butler Manfred. Ilsa had become a victim of Dracula. At Strangway Mansion Taj used his tracking skills to lead his friends to the cave where Dracula was hiding. When they arrived they only found Graves, who was knocked out by Drake. Taj tied up Graves and then returned with Drake to the Strangway Mansion while Rachel stayed at the cave. At the mansion Taj saved Drake from Dracula with a flashlight (a cross was painted on its center). He gave Drake a flashlight as well and together they followed Dracula with the turned on flashlights into the mansion. Dracula found the mystic Black Mirror in Strangway Mansion and used the right incantations to activate it. He was ready to step through it when Taj found him. Taj tried to prevent Dracula's escape, but Dracula just pulled him inside the Black Mirror because the Black Mirror only stayed fluid for a few moments. Drake and Rachel arrived too late to help their comrade.

(Tomb of Dracula I#5) - Rachel and Drake saw Taj and Dracula disappear in the Black Mirror. Taj and Dracula landed in a strange dimension inhabited by demonic beings, which immediately attacked them. Dracula saved Taj because his search for a way out of this dimension could take some time and Taj was the only one he could feast on in this dimension. After escaping demons and living fungi Dracula and Taj found another Black Mirror. Dracula pushed Taj through the Black Mirror back to Earth. It brought them to Transylvania in the 19th century. Dracula put the unconscious Taj into a casket next to the Black Mirror.

  Days later Taj was rescued by Rachel and Drake, who had come to the past as well through the Black Mirror in Strangway Mansion. They went to the village inn where they were told that Dracula was loose again. Rachel led Taj and Drake through a shortcut to her grandfather's manor, but they were attacked by the vampiress Lenore, who had just been released by Dracula. Taj and Drake used a tombstone in the form of a cross to project a shadow that scarred away Lenore. Meanwhile Dracula had arrived at Helsing's manor to kill his old foe, but Taj, Rachel and Drake came to rescue Abraham. Dracula escaped and they came too late to stop him from leaving this time through the Black Mirror with Lenore.

(Tomb of Dracula I#6) - Taj, Rachel and Drake returned through the Black Mirror in the past to the one in Strangway Mansion. There the butler Whitby told them that Dracula had never returned through that Black Mirror. After Inspector Chelm told the vampire-hunters of a dead body on the moors the trio went to Lord and Lady Dering in the moors. After telling the Dering's of Dracula they went into the moors to hunt down Dracula and Lenore. Taj and Drake found the missing servant and then followed the scream of Rachel, who had already encountered Dracula and Lenore. Dracula fled after Lenore's death. The vampire-hunters returned to the Dering's. Taj carried the servant's corpse. The Dering's then told them about their monstrous son.

  Back in the moors Taj found Dracula's footprints which led him, Rachel and Drake to the ruins of Hagscroft Castle. Dracula already awaited them and knocked out Taj with an heavy lid. He regained consciousness after Rachel and Drake had been rescued by the Derings' son. Together with him they left the ruins.

(Tomb of Dracula I#7) - Taj, Rachel and Drake returned to the Derings, who were happy that their son wasn't the murderer. Lord Dering then gave Rachel a telegram from Quincy Harker. She told Taj to pack their bags for their return to London. They took the London Express and arrived in the morning in London where Quincy was already waiting for them with his daughter and dog. At Harker Estate Taj helped Quincy in a demonstration of a new weapon when he released a bat from a box.

  The next night Dracula attacked a man in front of Harker Estate. Taj helped Rachel when Dracula got her by her throat. He held Dracula down for Quincy, but before the old man could stake Dracula, he turned into mist and then flew slowly away as a bat. The vampire-hunters followed him to a house outside London. Taj pushed Drake up to a window, so he could see what was happening inside. Taj lowered Drake back to the ground after he had seen Dracula entering his coffin. Soon the vampire-hunters entered the house, overpowered Graves and then opened Dracula's coffin. Dracula began to laugh as his Legions of Doom (a bunch of hypnotized children) emerged from the shadows to kill Taj and the other vampire-hunters.

(Tomb of Dracula I#8) - Taj pried apart the iron bars at the window to create an escape route for himself and his friends. He and Drake helped Rachel to get outside, so she could open the door from there. Taj then rushed Quincy's wheelchair through the Legions of Doom. The vampire-hunters retreated to their car, but Taj couldn't start it. The children attacked the car until Edith Harker arrived in a helicopter to knock out the children with a sub-sonic scream and save her friends.

(Tomb of Dracula I#9) - Taj watched Rachel training her crossbow skills against a Dracula replica when Abraham suddenly received a call.

(Tomb of Dracula I#11 - BTS) - Quincy was alone at home and wondered where Taj had vanished to.

(Tomb of Dracula I#12) - Taj, Quincy, Edith, Drake, and Rachel surprised Dracula when he tried to kill Elizabeth Langley. Taj held onto Dracula when he turned into a bat and due to Taj's weight both fell back to the ground. Dracula landing was cushioned by Taj. When Taj came back to his feet Dracula was already flying away with Edith Harker as hostage.

  The next night Taj drove Quincy, Drake and Rachel to the house where Dracula wanting to meet them. Taj put Quincy into his wheelchair and then they all entered together the house. A blinding light was followed by darkness. Taj took a torch and lighted it up. The vampire-hunters were soon attacked by bats. Taj protected Rachel and Drake from the bats with a torch and a shield he took from a knights armor. Taj then joined Drake upstairs where they split up to search for Edith Harker. Taj found Edith, but it was a trap by Dracula, who once again knocked out Taj. Dracula escaped after a short fight with Blade and Drake. Blade helped Taj to get downstairs again when Edith talked to her friends and family from upstairs. She revealed that Dracula had turned her into a vampire. Taj watched as Quincy had to kill his own daughter.

(Tomb of Dracula I#13) - Taj comforted Rachel after Edith's death. Back at Quincy's manor Taj listened to Quincy's plan to go after Dracula once again. Quincy Harker's informants kept him informed about the location of Dracula. Taj was already driving Blade, Rachel, Quincy and Drake around when Quincy received another call that led them directly to Dracula's current location. Like so many times before Taj put Quincy back into his wheelchair upon arrival. They were in a small village and asked Jasper O'Conner in the post office if he had seen Dracula, but Jasper was enthralled by Dracula and couldn't answer them. Taj and his friends soon arrived at Dracula's current home. He awaited them and during the fight Taj was thrown out of a window by Dracula and fell into a pond below.

(Tomb of Dracula I#14) - Alive Taj rejoined his team and everyone was happy that he had survived the fall. Three nights later Taj was reading a newspaper when Drake stormed into Quincy's home to show them a poster with Dracula's corpse on it.

(Tomb of Dracula I#21) - One day Blade and Quincy had an argument because Blade wanted to kill vampires instead of waiting any longer like Quincy and his crew. Taj watched and tried to stop Blade from leaving, but he decided to let him go because Blade immediately threatened him.

(Giant-Size Chillers#1) - Quincy received a call from Rachel and told Taj that Dracula had finally died (yeah, sure). Taj retired to his room early that evening, which surprised Qincy a little bit. Taj had already packed a suitcase. He crumpled up a letter he had received from home and was angered that he had to leave London without telling his friends, but he had to return home to India.

(Tomb of Dracula I#23) - Back home in Jajpur, India Taj was brought to his old home by an old friend in a jeep.

(Tomb of Dracula I#24) - Taj was welcomed at home by his crippled wife. She knew that he never wanted to see her again, but she needed him because their son was dying. Taj slapped her and left the hut.

(Tomb of Dracula I#26) - Weeks later Taj was visited by Ramon in his hotel room. Once again Taj was told that his wife really needed him, that she regretted what she said to him after the accident that robbed her of her legs, that she loved Taj and that after his son's death, his wife would soon die as well. Taj had tears in his eyes and hit Ramon, but his old friend told him that he wouldn't leave without Taj, who understood him and stopped hitting Ramon.

(Tomb of Dracula I#27) - Ramon drove with Taj once again to his old home. Taj thought about Rachel, Quincy and Drake during the journey. Suddenly Ramon drove the jeep off the rode when a flaming chimera appeared in front of the car (an effect of the Chimera used by Dracula). Before it tumbled down the hill Taj jumped out and survived the accident unharmed.

(Tomb of Dracula I#28) - Taj returned to his wife and her excuses worked this time. Taj kissed her and then they entered the room of their son Adri, who had been turned into a vampire years ago. Although Adri was bound to his bed with cloves of garlic and surrounded by crosses of a religion Taj didn't believe in (Taj was Muslim and the crosses were obviously Christian) the villagers had become frightened of him. They stopped giving him the blood he needed and wanted to kill him. Taj's wife asked him to save their son from the villagers.

(Tomb of Dracula I#29) - Taj cried, but his wife reminded him that his tears couldn't save Adri. Taj's wife recounted what had happened to them years ago and she felt sorry that she had cursed Taj for the death of their son.

(Tomb of Dracula I#31) - Taj's wife had decided that it should be Taj, who put their son Adri to his final rest. Taj raised the stake, but he couldn't kill his own son even though he was a vampire. He left the hut, but he didn't let the approaching villagers enter his house, who accused Adri to responsible for the mysterious death of several animals.

(Tomb of Dracula I#32) - The villagers were ready to kill Adri, but Taj didn't move an inch from the door. They attacked Taj and broke into the hut. Taj jumped into his son's room to stop a villager from slaying his son with a knife, but he came too late.

(Tomb of Dracula I#33) - On a rainy day Taj and his wife stood at their son's grave, but Taj didn't feel guilty because he did everything he could've done. They were sad, but also relieved. Taj returned back home with his wife.

(Tomb of Dracula I#34) - After five years Taj was finally home and his wife was happy that they were together again. She told him how often Rachel wrote her to tell her how Taj was and that Rachel would be happy to know that Taj was finally at peace. Taj sat down and wrote a farewell letter Rachel.

(Nightstalkers#18 (fb) - BTS) - At some point after his return Varnae turned the former vampire-hunter Taj Nital into a vampire. Taj became a willing pawn in Varnae's plot against Dracula.

(Nightstalkers#17 (fb) - BTS) - Taj hired some thugs to help him abduct Janus, the son of Dracula. They succeeded and Taj took Janus with him, planning to leave the country a few days later at night.

(Nightstalkers#17) - Due to a bomb threat (Blade's plan) Taj's plane to New Dheli got delayed. Blade took the thugs leader to the airport, so he could point out his client. Blade and the guy got into a fight while driving to Taj's plane and the car crashed into the plane. Blade went on board to search for the bearded six-foot-six Indian while everyone was leaving the damaged plane. He found Taj and Blade asked him why he had abducted Dracula's son. Blade didn't expect an answer and was happy that Taj was back. Together they left the plane and without Blade seeing Taj's vampire fangs.

(Nightstalkers#18) - Outside the plane Taj attacked Blade, who was able to defend himself. Police arrived to take out the two strangers. Taj took several bullets before vamping out and grabbing Blade, who had just surrendered. He flew with Blade in the form of a giant bat-like creature to his master Varnae, who was waiting in an abandoned gas station. Taj took Blade's wooden daggers and burnt them, but Blade was just playing possum and attacked Varnae. Taj tackled Blade and then locked on a full nelson. While Taj held Blade several people arrived at the gas station including Blade's partners Drake and King. Drake tried to free Blade from Taj's grip, but was nearly knocked out by a single punch from the towering Indian. Varnae then ordered Taj to kill Blade, but he hesitated for a moment when Blade reminded Taj of his dead son Adri. Blade killed Taj with a dagger to his heart and then cried over the death of his old friend.

Comments: Created by Archie Goodwin, Gene Colan & Tom Palmer.

Sometimes Taj's last name was spelled with two "L" at the end.

In Tomb of Dracula I#3 Rachel claimed (lied) that Taj had been mute since childhood when he witnessed the destruction of his village by vampires. This story was retconned away by the flashback in Tomb of Dracula I#29.

Adri has a half-page entry in OHotMu Deluxe Edition#20 as part of the vampires entry.

He returned after nearly 20 years only to be turned into a vampire and to be killed off. Sad, but at least he returned unlike Janus, the son of Dracula, whose fate since his BTS abduction in Nightstalkers had been forgotten.

In Blade III#12 a prophecy was fulfilled that brought back all vampires that ever died. This most likely included Taj and his son Adri as well.
--Markus Raymond

Thanks to John Kaminski for the color scans of Tomb of Dracula I#29, Der_Gilb for the color scans from Tomb of Dracula I#6 & #28 and to the Grand Comic Book Database for the cover scan of Tomb of Dracula I#31.

His wife's first name was revealed in Taj's profile in Vampires: The Marvel Undead#1 (December, 2011).

Profile by Markus Raymond.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Taj Nital, his wife & Adri have no known connection to:


Adri Nital

Height: 5'1"
Weight: 95 lbs.
Eyes: Red
Hair: Black

(Tomb of Dracula I#29 (fb) ) - Years ago Adri was bitten by a vampire during an attack by Dracula and a bunch of vampires on his family in Jajpur.

(Tomb of Dracula I#29 (fb) - BTS) - Adri died and his mother cursed Taj for it, but soon Adri returned as a vampire.

(Tomb of Dracula I#28 (fb) - BTS) - For years Adri was kept alive by the villagers with blood transfusions.

(Tomb of Dracula I#33 (fb) - BTS) - Each sunset Adri hissed at his mother that he wanted the blood a vampire needed and not the blood that was pumped into him.

(Tomb of Dracula I#26-27 - BTS) - Taj's old friend Ramon asked Taj to return to his wife and son. On their way to the hut they had a car accident.

(Tomb of Dracula I#28) - Bound to his bed by cloves of garlic Adri witnessed the return of his father. Canisters of blood were pumped through his half-dead body, which was surrounded by crucifixes. Adri moaned as he slowly decomposed. The villagers wanted him dead because they were afraid he would break free. They refused to give him any more blood and were going to kill him the next morning.

(Tomb of Dracula I#29) - At Adri's bed Taj and his wife talked about the day that were attacked by vampires.

(Tomb of Dracula I#31) - She gave Taj a stake because she wanted him give their son his final rest instead of the villagers. Taj looked at his son with the stake in his hand and couldn't do it. Taj then left the hut to hold back the villagers from coming inside.

(Tomb of Dracula I#32) - The villagers overpowered Taj and got inside to Adri. One of them killed Adri with a knife.

--Tomb of Dracula I#28 (Tomb of Dracula I#29 (fb), 29 (fb) - BTS, 28 (fb) - BTS, 33 (fb) - BTS, 26-27 - BTS, 28-29, 31-32



Taj's wife

(Tomb of Dracula I#29 (fb) ) - Years ago Adri and her family were attacked by Dracula and a bunch of vampires. She dropped her baby when she was attacked by one of the vampires. She ran away after Taj pulled the vampire away from her. She didn't see the vampire, who crashed a wooden wagon on its side. The wagon crushed her legs as the vampire came closer. Before the vampire could bite her it was killed in mid-air by Rachel van Helsing with her crossbow.

(Tomb of Dracula I#29 (fb) - BTS) - She had lost her legs and was now bound to a wheelchair. She cursed Taj when Adri died after he was bitten by one of the vampires. Adri became a vampire and her words eventually drove Taj away.

(Tomb of Dracula I#28 (fb) - BTS) - For years the villagers helped her to keep Adri alive with blood transfusions.

(Tomb of Dracula I#33 (fb) - BTS) - Each sunset Adri hissed at his mother that he wanted the blood a vampire needed and not the blood that was pumped into him.

(Tomb of Dracula I#24) - She welcomed Taj back in their home. She knew that he never wished to see her again, but she needed him now because their son was dying. Taj slapped her and left.

(Tomb of Dracula I#26 - BTS) - She sent Taj's old friend Ramon to him to tell him that she needed Taj, that she regretted what she had said in the past and that she truly loved Taj. Ramon had promised not to return without Taj and eventually Taj went with him.

(Tomb of Dracula I#27- BTS) - Taj and Ramon had a car accident on their way to Taj's wife.

(Tomb of Dracula I#28) - When Taj returned to her once again she saw the hatred in his eyes. She personally told him how sorry she was for the things she had said in the past and began to cry. Taj kissed her and then they went to their son. She told him that the villagers had become afraid that Adri would break free one day and that they had decided to stop giving him blood. She revealed to Taj that the villagers wanted to kill Adri the next morning and asked Taj to protect him.

(Tomb of Dracula I#29) - At Adri's bed Taj and his wife remembered the day they were attacked by vampires. She felt sorry for her words in the past and was happy that Taj was back with her now.

(Tomb of Dracula I#31) - She asked Taj to kill their son with a stake. She knew Adri had to die, but she wanted him not to die at the hands of the villagers. Taj couldn't do it even though his wife insisted that they must. Taj left the hut to hold back the villagers.

(Tomb of Dracula I#32) - The villagers passed Taj and they weren't bothered by her pleas either. She knew anyway that Adri had to die and so her son was killed by one of the villagers.

(Tomb of Dracula I#33) - On a rainy day Taj and his wife stood at Adri's grave. They mourned his death, but they also felt relieved. She remembered how Adri hissed at her each sunset. Taj kissed his wife and then returned home with her.

(Tomb of Dracula I#34) - Back home she talked with Taj about his time with the vampire-hunters. She revealed to Taj that Rachel van Helsing had sent her many letters over the years to tell her how Taj was. She told Taj that Rachel would be happy to learn that Taj was at peace now. Taj then wrote a farewell letter to Rachel.

--Tomb of Dracula I#24 (Tomb of Dracula I#29 (fb), 29 (fb) - BTS, 28 (fb) - BTS, 33 (fb) - BTS, 24, 26-27 - BTS, 28-29, 31-34


images: (without ads)
Tomb of Dracula I#28, p1 (body shot)
Nightstalkers#17, p22, pan2 (head shot)
Tomb of Dracula I#29, p11, pan2 (scarred throat)
Tomb of Dracula I#6, p11, pan1 (with Dracula victim)
Tomb of Dracula I#31, Cover (VS Adri)
Nightstalkers#18, p2, pan5 (vamped out)
Nightstalkers#18, p16, pan2 (holding Blade)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#20, p40, pan1 (Adri body shot)
Tomb of Dracula I#28, p3, pan1 (Adri Nital bound)
Tomb of Dracula I#29, p7, pan6 (Taj's wife head shot)
Tomb of Dracula I#28, p1 (Taj's wife body shot)


Appearances:
Tomb of Dracula I#3 (July, 1972) - Archie Goodwin (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Tomb of Dracula I#4 (September, 1972) - Archie Goodwin (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Tomb of Dracula I#5-6 (November, 1972 - January, 1973) - Gardner F. Fox (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Tomb of Dracula I#7 (March, 1973) - Marv Wolfman (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Tomb of Dracula I#9 (June, 1973) - Marv Wolfman (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Tomb of Dracula I#11 (August, 1973) - Marv Wolfman (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Jack Abel (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Tomb of Dracula I#12-14 (September-November, 1973) - Marv Wolfman (writer/editor), Gene Colan (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks)
Tomb of Dracula I#21 (June, 1974) - Marv Wolfman (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Giant-Size Chillers#1 (June, 1974) - Marv Wolfman (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Frank Chiaramonte (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Tomb of Dracula I#23-24 (August-September, 1974) - Marv Wolfman (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Tomb of Dracula I#26-29 (November, 1974 - February, 1975) - Marv Wolfman (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Tomb of Dracula I#31-34 (February-May, 1975) - Marv Wolfman (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Len Wein (editor)
Nightstalkers#17 (March, 1994) - Frank Lovece (writer), Ed Murr (pencils), Frank Turner (inks), Chris Cooper & Bobbie Chase (editors)
Nightstalkers#18 (April, 1994) - Frank Lovece (writer), Doug Wheatley (pencils), Frank Turner (inks), Chris Cooper & Bobbie Chase (editors)


Last updated: 09/08/13

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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