Pitch Me: Vampirella Magazine
Let’s get it out of the way: Vampirella is a cheesecake comic. Like Empowered, Vampirella’s visuals are largely about its barely dressed, eponymous lead. Vampy is a space-vampire in a weird bathing suit and go-go boots, and she’s (not) here for your blood. Done.
Hailing from the planet Drakulon, where the rivers and lakes flow with blood, not water, she’s less predator, than kind hearted last daughter of a lost world. Sound familiar? It was a popular theme, back in the day. But while Vampy has a plethora of weird superpowers, and she spends her days battling bizarre evils and strange happenstance, she’s no Supergirl. Her adventures are unashamedly sexy, sometimes morbid or horrific, but never depressingly dark. Sometimes she eats people; sometimes she fights cat people. Vampirella is fun, is what I’m saying.
Vampirella Magazine was published by Warren, and like Creepy and Eerie, it’s a no holds barred festival of weird. Vampy headlines at least one story in each issue of the anthology comic. The rest is a mix of ongoing features like “Pantha” and “Tomb of the Gods”, and original horror and fantasy. The art, especially during its 70s golden age under Jose Gonzalez, is legitimately awesome. It’s weird, and pretty, and pulpy as hell. Gorgeous Frank Frazetta covers abound. Vampy’s origin story is especially good—the fall of the psychedelic vampire planet Drakulon, manages somehow to be moving, even with all the creeping fantasy plants, and assault by colourist.
I recommend checking out her wacky origin in Vampirella #1, and then skipping forward to the Gonzalez issues, where Vampy takes on a more truly starring role, and she becomes the vampire we know and love today. Characterization is shaky to start, with the writer and publisher figuring out what exactly they want to do with both Vampy and with Vampirella Magazine, but by the time Gonzalez takes over the book, it’s pure campy fun. Vampirella is not a comic that takes itself terribly seriously, and it’s absolutely, and happily, lowbrow, pulpy entertainment.
If you like old-timey pulp horror and fantasy, Vampirella will be a delight.
Vampirella Magazine is available in hardcover as Vampirella Archives. The books are pricey, but they’re a fairly good reprint, and the most complete run available.
Oh hey, I’m back. Sorry for the huge gap in posting, but my schedule should allow for semi-regular updates again.