Another in my series of portraits of the OMW (Obscure Marvel Women), those nearly-forgotten femmes fatales of the OMU (Original Marvel Universe), presenting the tale of a bloodsucking fiend done in by her own dark obsessions.
Ursula Lensky was born during the Second World War on Manhattan’s Upper West Side to an extremely wealthy family. She lived a life of indulgence and luxury, which caused her to struggle against an all-pervading sense of boredom. As a result, she lived for the brief excitement that came from throwing herself into each new fad that came along. However, in her early teen years, she discovered what would become her life’s passion: the legend of Dracula, Lord of the Vampires.
In the early 1950s, Ursula went to see the new film Count Dracula starring Louis Belski. She became immediately fascinated with the suave, sexy, and dangerous title character, and continued to talk about the film long after her friends had moved on to other things. She soon picked up the Bram Stoker novel Dracula and fell in love with it. As she got older, Ursula’s fixation on Dracula only grew, much to her parents’ dismay.
Upon becoming an adult, Ursula bought a house in an exclusive neighborhood on Riverside Drive, overlooking the Hudson River. She had the interior decorated with a spooky bat motif that expressed her obsession with vampires. And though her penchant for wearing sexy black leather outfits caught the eye of numerous suitors, Ursula never married, for she could find no man who excited her as much as the Count Dracula of her fantasies.
Ursula loyally followed Louis Belski’s career as it slid into increasingly schlocky movies produced by Mallet Studios. His last film, The Fangs of Dracula, released in late 1966 after the actor’s death, was the worst ever, but Ursula went to see it anyway. She also built an impressive library of books about vampires and vampirism, ranging from scholarly works such as Elements on Vampirism: An Essay on the Life of the Undead to ridiculous tripe like Harold H. Harold’s A Count of Death.
All through the 1960s, Ursula had a subscription to the magazine True Vampire Stories. In February 1969, she especially enjoyed the cover story “I Loved a Vampire” by Aurora Rabinowitz, which purported to be a Boston woman’s account of her relationship with Dracula. The following summer saw two books published that also claimed to be eyewitness accounts of the Lord of the Undead, The Vampire Conspiracy by Harold H. Harold and The Night- Staker by Paul Butterworth. Ursula devoured both tales hungrily. Then, in October, she attended several performances of the new play The Passion of Dracula at the Cherry Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village.
Ursula’s most secret fervent wish was that the tales of Dracula were true, and she often fantasized about the Count seducing her. Thus, in March 1970, Ursula was saddened to read that much of the real Castle Dracula in Transylvania had been destroyed in a mysterious explosion. She went into a profound depression that was suddenly alleviated a few months later when she came across reports that the castle had been largely rebuilt. Few details of either incident were available, which only fed her imagination.
In the spring of 1971, the movie version of The Vampire Conspiracy premiered. To Ursula’s delight, Dracula subsequently became all the rage among her jaded coterie of chic jetsetters. As it had suddenly become stylish, she gave her obsession free rein, and was thrilled when she learned that an auction was to be held soon for items from Castle Dracula, many of which dated from the time of the infamous Vlad Ţepeş himself.
Thus, come June, Ursula donned her most sensuous black leather ensemble and made her way to the Rizzoli Auction Gallery a mere three miles from her house. She spared no expense and managed to get the bulk of the lots for herself. Before leaving, she arranged with the proprietor, Anton Rizzoli, to pick up the items herself the next night, not trusting Rizzoli to safely deliver the valuable antiques. Satisfied, she returned home and got ready for bed, slipping into a short, filmy nightgown. Suddenly, she saw an enormous bat scratching at her bedroom window. With devilish glee, she opened the window and let the creature in. To her surprise, it metamorphosed into a man—Count Dracula himself.
Looking deep into his blood-red eyes, Ursula accepted that he was indeed the legendary Dracula, and that her lifelong dream had become reality. She yielded to his clammy touch and felt his fetid breath on her flesh as he pressed her to the floor and slid on top of her. Then, as his fangs sank deep into her flesh, she was overcome with sexual ecstasy. Her mind finally cleared several minutes later, and at Dracula’s command she rose to her feet, a pool of blood coagulating in the thickly-piled carpet. She felt at once that she had grown fangs, and believed herself to have become a vampire.
Following her new master’s directions, Ursula dressed in her leather outfit again and returned to Rizzoli’s gallery. The heavy-set antiquarian allowed her inside, sweating profusely as she flirted with him. Then, she locked his gaze with her hypnotic eyes and attacked him, biting his neck and drinking his blood. Ursula reveled in the bloodlust that swept through her as she gulped and slurped the hot sticky fluid, and she found the experience incredibly erotic.
Suddenly, however, several New York City policemen broke down the door and rushed in, one of whom was brandishing a crucifix. Ursula recoiled from the holy symbol, hissing and spitting as the men tackled her and held her spread-eagled on the floor. Quickly, one of the officers placed a wooden stake over her heart and struck it with a large mallet, driving it deep into her chest. Ursula was killed instantly.
First and Final Appearance: Dracula Lives! #9
Sadly, Ursula Lensky had not become a true vampire, and might even have been saved by an experienced vampire hunter. The truth is, Dracula did not drink enough of her blood to kill her, as he did not want to have to wait three days to use her to extract his revenge upon Rizzoli (for looting Castle Dracula). Instead, he ingested only enough to cause her to immediately take on certain vampiric traits. Dracula used this technique from time to time, most notably on Storm of the X-Men during his first encounter with the mutant heroes. Of course, Dracula could have completed Ursula’s transformation subsequently if NYPD patrolman Lou Garver had not been hot on her trail. A novice vampire slayer, Garver could not have suspected that cutting off Ursula’s head, stuffing it with garlic, and setting her corpse on fire was thus completely unnecessary.