When Vampires Strike

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When Vampires Strike
Start date: August 30th, 2010
End date: February 26th, 2011
# of strips: 156 (26 weeks)
Writer: Fred Fredericks
Artist: Fred Fredericks
Preceded by: "The Return of Doctor HI-5"
Followed by: "Guest in the House"

"When Vampires Strike" is the 260th Mandrake daily story. The story was written and drawn by Fred Fredericks.

Plot Summary

In the outskirts of the quiet town of Timber Lake, two young schoolgirls, Nell and Vera, were taking a stroll along a tranquil country road. Nell decided to sit down and finish reading a romantic book about vampires and ghosts, while Vera headed home. Soon after, Millie, a policewoman on patrol, discovered Nell in distress with vampire-like marks on her throat. A suspect was swiftly apprehended, but refused to divulge his name, only instructing Millie to contact someone named Mandrake. Intrigued, Mandrake decided to investigate the situation in Timber Lake.

Upon his arrival, Mandrake sensed an air of unease, with the residents reluctant to speak to him. During a visit to the police station, Mandrake was attacked by a bat, but Millie managed to fend it off. Inside the station, Mandrake faced resistance from the police, and Chief Bailey refused to introduce him to the unknown prisoner. Mandrake utilized his invisibility power and discovered that the mysterious prisoner was his nephew, Eric. To his astonishment, Mandrake witnessed Eric transforming into a bat and then reappearing in his cell.

Mandrake was convinced of Eric's innocence in harming the young schoolgirl. He sought out Doctor Risk, who had been treating Nell. The doctor revealed that Nell had deep infected bites on her neck, which had miraculously disappeared. Mandrake was granted permission to speak with Nell, but during the visit, a wolf-like figure and a vampire appeared. Outside, the townsfolk were convinced that the unknown prisoner was a vampire. Led by Sully, a mob approached the prison demanding the vampire be handed over. However, they were interrupted when a swarm of giant bats attacked them.

Mandrake realized the town's inhabitants were terrified, believing the town was haunted. However, Mandrake sensed something was amiss and decided to investigate further. In the foggy, deserted city at night, he encountered situations that would have frightened an ordinary person. Despite this, Mandrake pressed on, following a laughter to a forest clearing where he met Hector.

Hector revealed that he was from Gameland, a planet where the game itself was their way of life. He had created a virtual reality game called "When Vampires Strike," which used holograms in real life to scare people. Hector aimed to frighten 100 percent of the residents, and Mandrake was the last person unaffected. Hector attempted to increase the scare factor by unleashing terrifying holograms on Mandrake.

However, Mandrake, with the help of Millie, managed to outwit Hector by transporting them to another temporary dimension. There, Mandrake used his magical illusions to scare Hector, forcing him to admit defeat. When they returned, Hector lost control of his holograms, and they turned on him. Millie tried to intervene and accidentally and luckily managed to deactivated the holograms entirely.

Hector realized his game, "When Vampires Strike," wouldn't succeed as planned and decided to return home. Eric was released, and Mandrake invited him to join him in Xanadu, but Eric declined, intending to search for his father, Derek.


Recurring characters

One-time characters

  • Nell, a schoolgirl up at Timber Lake
  • Vera, a schoolgirl up at Timber Lake
  • Millie, a policewoman up at Timber Lake
  • Chief Bailey, chief of the Timber Lake police
  • Doctor Risk, in Timber Lake
  • Hector, from Gameland
  • Sully, a man in Timber Lake


  • New York City
  • Timber Lake, a small city
    • the police station
  • Gameland, a planet

Behind the scenes


  • The title for the story taken from the strip of August 30th, 2010 (Beginning: When Vampires Strike).

Easter Eggs

  • Mandrake says that his friend, the Phantom, has an "old jungle saying": "When magic fails, start punching."


This story has been published in the following publications: