gretchin-lilith-gsch1-19-4-cauldron-1GRETCHIN

gretchin-lilith-gsch1-19-3-face-closeReal Name: Gretchin (surname unrevealed)

Identity/Class: Human magic-user;
    15th century Gypsy;
    Transylvanian citizen

Occupation: Unrevealed

Group Membership: Unspecified Gypsy community

Affiliations: Lilith (Daughter of Dracula), Zofia

Enemies: Dracula

Known Relatives: Arni (son, deceased), Viktor Benzel (descendant, deceased), Karl Benzel (descendant)

Aliases: "Gypsy" (from Zofia)

Base of Operations: Transylvania (part of modern Romania)

First Appearance: Giant-Size Chillers#1 (June,  1974)

Powers/Abilities: Gretchin had an unspecified level of magical knowledge. The only feat she was shown to perform is the transformation of Lilith from a human young girl to an adult vampire with a number of powers unique to vampires. Presumably the granting of these additional abilities forced the limitation of preventing Lilith from killing her father herself, but it is also possible that Gretchin specified this enchantment to prolong their conflict and as vengeance against Dracula's family. 

Height: Unrevealed (she is not clearly shown next to anyone of known height; Zofia did not seem much shorter than then 6'5" Dracula, and Gretchin seemed maybe just a little shorter than Zofia, so perhaps anywhere from 5'6" to 5'10")
Weight: Unrevealed (she was lean, so perhaps 120-140 lbs.)
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Gray (presumably a different color earlier in life)

History:

gretchin-lilith-gsch1-18-3-receivegretchin-lilith-gsch1-18-5-face

(Giant-Size Chillers#1 (fb) - BTS) - One year after their forced marriage, Vlad stripped Zofia of her royal standing and gave her one night to leave the castle with their daughter, Lilith. 

(Tomb of Dracula II#5 (fb) - BTS) - With no other place to go, Zofia fled to a nearby Gypsy camp and sought out the wizened elder Gretchin.

(Giant-Size Chillers#1 (fb)) - Zofia gave Lilith to Gretchin, paying her in gold to care for her, and asking her to to please never let Lilith come to harm. Knowing Zofia had been Dracula's wife, Gretchin promised to do so...

(Tomb of Dracula II#5 (fb) - BTS) - ...for as long as Gretchin lived.

(Giant-Size Chillers#1 (fb)) - Gretchin she noted that she felt the sorrow growing in Zofia's heart. Zofia then killed herself..

(Giant-Size Chillers#1 (fb) - BTS) - After Dracula had vampirized by the Gypsy named Lianda circa 1459, he lashed out and murdered the local Gypsies.

(Giant-Size Chillers#1 (fb)) - Gretchin watched helplessly as Dracula slew her son, Arni; although Gretchin was in clear site, he apparently departed without interacting with her. Kneeling over Arni's corpse, Gretchin lamented this "devil" having murdered her child, after which she -- 

(Tomb of Dracula II#5 (fb) - BTS) - ...maddened grief and rage...

 (Giant-Size Chillers#1 (fb)) - -- considered that she may have her revenge. Apologizing to "wife of Dracula," Gretchin noted that it was because of Zofia's husband that she must break her vow to Zofia.

    Stirring a cauldron, Gretchin told the young Lilith (see comments) to sleep well and not to awaken until her spell was cast. She continued that as her father was a vampire, Lilith would be one as well, but she would never fear the sun or cower from the crucifix; and until the day Dracula died, her soul would ever be alive: Should she perish, she would seek out another body to be reborn in, a body of an innocent like herself who wished death to her father...just as Gretchin wished death to Lilith's father. Lilith would forever haunt Dracula's presence and be his constant agony...gretchin-lilith-gsch1-19-5-cauldron-2

(Tomb of Dracula II#5 (fb) - BTS) - ...to thwart his plans and remind him always of the horror of his deeds.

(Giant-Size Chillers#1 (fb)) - As Lilith transformed...

(Tomb of Dracula II#5 (fb) - BTS) - ...from an innocent child...

 (Giant-Size Chillers#1 (fb)) - ...into an adult woman, Gretchin commanded Lilith, daughter of Dracula, to arise as Queen of the Undead.

(Tomb of Dracula I#60 (fb) - BTS) <Early 20th century> - Dracula destroyed Lilith by pushing her to fall on a spike.

(Tomb of Dracula II#5 (fb) - BTS) - Gretchin's spell allowed Lilith to resurrect herself.

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#13: Lilith entry) - The night Elizabeth Harker committed suicide over nightmares following Dracula's attacks, her husband, Quincy, vengefully slew Lilith.

(Tomb of Dracula II#5 (fb) - BTS) - Gretchin's spell allowed Lilith to resurrect herself in the body of Angel O'Hara.

(Uncanny X-Men Annual#6 - BTS) - Gretchin's spell allowed Lilith to possess the body of Kitty Pryde.

Comments: Created by Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan, and Frank Chiaramonte. 

    We don't know exactly when Dracula married Zofia. It was following Dracula's return to Transylvania in 1451 and throwing himself on the mercy of John Hunyadi. Dracula and Zofia were married for a year -- perhaps exactly one year, as he needed to fulfill some obligation -- and then he cast Zofia out. Lilith looked to be perhaps 5-10 years old when Gretchin transformed her (and it is not 100% certain that Gretchin transformed Lilith right away, although it seems that way from the way it was told). Tomb of Dracula II#5 described Dracula murdering Arni as "several years later" from Zofia's death. Regardless, I would think that Gretchin adopted Lilith around 1452-1454.

 

gretchin-lilith-todii5-18-2-receivegretchin-lilith-todii5-18-4-spell





     Tomb of Dracula II#5 had a flashback retelling Lilith's origins to some degree, with new art and a few more details. The images are different in positioning, etc. so they are likely serial rather than duplication/variation, and the black and white images offer a little better detail, although the image to the left doesn't reflect Gretchin's age as well.

This profile was completed 6/23/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Gretchin
should be distinguished from:  


Arni

gretchin-lilith-gsch1-19-1-arni-attackedgretchin-lilith-gsch1-19-2-arni-dead


(Giant-Size Chillers#1 (fb) - BTS) -
After Dracula had vampirized by the Gypsy named Lianda circa 1459, he lashed out and murdered the local Gypsies.

(Giant-Size Chillers#1 (fb)) - Gretchin watched helplessly as Dracula slew her son, Arni.

     Kneeling over Arni's corpse, Gretchin lamented this "devil" having murdered her child, after which she -- 

(Tomb of Dracula II#5 (fb) - BTS) - ...maddened grief and rage...

 (Giant-Size Chillers#1 (fb)) - -- considered that she may have her revenge. Apologizing to "wife of Dracula," Gretchin noted that it was because of Zofia's husband that she must break her vow to Zofia.

--Giant-Size Chillers#1

images: (without ads)

Giant-Size Chillers#1, pg. 18, panel 3 (receiving Lilith);
            panel 5 (face);
        pg. 19, panel 1 (Arni death);
            panel 2 (kneeling by Arni);
            panel 3 (face, close-up);
            panel 4 (stirring pot over young Lilith);
            panel 5 (stirring pot over aging Lilith)

Tomb of Dracula II#5, pg. 18, panel 2 (receiving Lilith);
            panel 4 (casting spell)


Appearances:
Giant-Size Chillers#1 (June,  1974) - Marv Wolfman (writer), Gene Colan (penciler), Frank Chiaramonte (inker), Roy Thomas (editor)
Tomb of Dracula II (magazine)#5 (June, 1980) - Ralph Macchio (writer/assistant editor), Lynne Graem (writers/editor), Gene Colan (penciler), Tom Palmer (inker), 


First posted09/05/2021
Last updated09/04/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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