By various (Harris Comics)
Vampirella was the third title in Jim Warren’s burgeoning comic magazine empire. Issue one was released in September 1969 and starred a sexy alien vampire as well as a selection of short horror tales aimed at an older audience. The series ran until 1983, a soft-core, tongue-in-cheek horror romp, which ranged in quality from appalling to brilliant depending upon which of a simply vast pool of creators was working on the feature. After the collapse of Warren’s company the property languished until revived by Harris Comics and Dark Horse.
During the 1990s “Bad Girls” comics fad she was appeared in a veritable deluge of series and miniseries, and from that time comes this quirky collection of yarns culled from the pages of the Warren back catalogue. ‘Vampire of the Nile’ leads off, written by Flaxman Loew and brilliantly illustrated by the great Jose Ortiz, which reveals that the sexy bloodsucker is the reincarnation of the legendary Cleopatra.
A two part tale from #71 and 72 follows, both written by Bill Dubay, with art from Jose Gonzalez. ‘The Case of the Connected Clowns and the Collector’ and ‘The Beauty and the Behemoth’ find Vampirella among the modern glitterati of Hollywood, in a far more comedic tale of madmen and monsters. Right on their tail comes two shorts from #83.
Low and Gonzalez crafted both the gory ‘The God of Blood’ and its tragic sequel ‘The Betrothed of the Sun-God!’ before deferring to Rich Margopoulos and Rudy Nebres who produced the satanic thriller ‘Bracelets, Demons and Death’ in #92 and the robotic adversary known as ‘Death Machine’ in #94.
Vampi is a science-based vampire trapped on Earth, usually battling supernatural menaces, and in #95 and #96 she deals with two of the worst sorts in ‘A Plague of Vampires’ and ‘The Hound of Hell’, also by Margopoulos and Nebres. This slim tome concludes with a desperate hunt for a supernatural serial-killer in ‘A Feast of Fear’ by Margopoulos and Gonzalez.
Eccentric and never overly serious the original run of blood-drenched yarns won many devoted fans, more for the incredible European-styled black-and-white art than the scripting, and his scarce but worthwhile collection is a perfect example of just why. Perhaps without the excesses of a comics publishing frenzy to fuel hysteria, the time’s now right for a serious definitive collection, and as long as I’m wishing, a compendium of those marvelous painted covers that graced each issue as well…
™ & © 1993 Harris Publications, Inc. All Rights Reserved.