Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Horror is Sexy…See Vampirella

Back before Pamela Anderson made blonds synonymous with red swimsuits, there was a sexy brunette who did the same, and she did it all for fifty cents…and mostly in black and white as well!

Vampirella premiered in Vampirella #1 (September, 1969), with a stunning cover by Frank Frazetta.  Vampirella was created by Forrest J. Ackerman, and though Tom Sutton did the art of her first appearance, Trina Robbins came up with the hair and design of her iconic look.

Vampirella was an alien vampire from the planet Draculon, and for the first seven issues of her Warren Publishing magazine, she was the hostess of tales of horror…with tales of her own starting with her getting her regular costume (in a tale with art by Mike Royer in #2, in November, 1969) and with issue #8 (November, 1970), her adventures were a regular feature, when Archie Goodwin first took over editing of the book.

The magazine proved quite popular, and even added color inserts over time (but still stayed mostly black and white), and was published in magazine format, mostly to get into better circulation and avoid the Comic Code Authority of the time (the tales were a little racy…though nothing like the magazine 1984/later called 1994, and its tales, especially those of Frank Thorne‘s Ghita of Alizarr…very loosely based on his work with Red Sonja at Marvel…but, Ghita was a blond, not a redhead).

At one time, Vampirella was even to be a movie by Hammer Films (mostly noted for it’s sexy 1960s and 1970s remakes of classic Universal Horror films) with model/actress Barbara Leigh, but the studio failed before the project could get anywhere (though Barbara was immortalized in the red suit, as she appeared at conventions, and had seven covers of the magazine devoted to her as Vampirella…#67, 69, 71, 73, 74, 76, 77 and 78).  As the red suit proved to be very popular at comic conventions – with women wearing it, and the wide-eyed boys who followed them around – being an official Vampirella model became an important event (as Brinke Stevens began her modelling career that way!).

The series lasted for 112 issues (until March, 1983) at Warren (along with an annual and a special, that reprinted key issues), and Harris Publications even had an issue #113 in magazine size in 1988, before Vampirella came back again, this time in more traditonal comic book form…and her origin switched from science to a more traditional Earthbound vampire origin (making her the daughter of Lilith, the first wife of Adam….) and Harris Comics had a few different Vampirella models, including Cathy Christian, Kitana Baker, Julie Strain and Maria Di Angelis.

There was even a movie in 1996, with Bond girl Talisa Soto as Vampirella, and Roger Daltrey in there as well…but, well, it was direct to video, and…not really to talk about (though by this time, Drakulon became the preferred spelling of her planet’s name).

Dynamite Comics revived the character in 2010, and, along with publishing current comics about Vampirella, offers a series of graphic novels that reprint the original Warren tales and that incredible poster by Jose Gonzalez that opened this article!  Hope you enjoyed this little bite of Vampirella…and tell us if you need more bite to our coverage of Vampirella!  Check out the covers of the current ten volumes of Hardcovers produced by Dynamite…

Dynamite Archive #1 features Vampirella #1-7, with the stories that started it all, including that Frank Frazetta cover and work inside by Neal Adams, Don Glut, Mike Royer, Ernie Colon, Jerry Grandenetti, Jack Sparling, Gardner Fox, Tom Sutton and Jeff Jones!

Dynamite Archive #2 features Vampirella #8-14 features Vampirella art by Jose Gonzalez, as well as tales of horror by artists and writers like Neal Adams, Jeff Jones, Dave Cockrum, Frank Brunner, Steve Englehart, Denny O’Neil, Wally Wood, Steve Skeates, Don Glut, George Roussos, Jerry Grandenetti, Gardner Fox, Tom Sutton, Nicola Cuti, Sam Glanzman, Mike Ploog and more!

Dynamite Archive #3 features Vampirella #15-21, with work by Archie Goodwin, Jose Gonzalez, Doug Moench, Richard Corben, Pat Boyette, Don Glut, Jan Strnad, Steve Skeates, Reed Crandall, Denny O’Neill, Rich Buckler and, more, including Vampirella’s encounter with Dracula!

Dynamite Archive #4 features Vampirella #22-28, with work by  Esteban Moroto, Steve Englehart, Jose Gonzalez, Jose Bea, Don McGregor, Wally Wood, Steve Skeates, Bill DuBay and more, and the color sections are in color!

Dynamite Archive #5 features Vampirella #29-35 with work by Doug Moench, Steve Skeates, Jeff Jones, Bernie Wrightson, Budd Lewis, Richard Corben, Auraleon, Jose Gonzalez, Jose Bea and many more, and includes the introduction of Pantha, a beautiful were-panther in her own feature!

Dynamite Archive #6 features Vampirella #36-42, with work by Don Glut, Jose Gonzalez, Archie Goodwin, Felix Mas, Jose Bea, Esteban Maroto, Ramon Torrents, Steve Skeates, Doug Moench, Paul Neary, Budd Lewis, Jose Gonzalez and many more, celebrating the 5th Anniversary of Vampirella!

Dynamite Archive #7 features Vampirella #43-49, with work by Jose Gonzalez, Victor Mora, Esteban Maroto, Ramon Torrents, Gerry Boudreau, Isidro Mones, Auraleon, Luis Garcia, Len Wein, Budd Lewis and many more, adding new foes like the Blood Red Queen of Hearts and more battles with the forces of Chaos!

Dynamite Archive #8 features Vampirella #50-56, with work by Jose Gonzalez, Esteban Maroto, Ramon Torrents, Bill DuBay, Howard Chaykin, Zesar, Leopold Sanchez, Auraleon, Gerry Boudreau, Jose Ortiz, Enrich Torres, Bruce Jones, Gonzalo Mayo, Jan Strnad, Richard Corben, Manuel Sanjulian and many more, facing off against many menaces and the undead!

Dynamite Archive #9 features Vampirella #57-64, with work by Jose Gonzalez, Esteban Maroto, Dick Giordano, Carmine Infantino,  Bruce Jones, Gonzalo Mayo, Roger McKenzie, Budd Lewis, Bill DuBay and many more, with everyone's favorite vampire babe facing more horror than she could handle from Earth and beyond!

Dynamite Archive #10 features Vampirella #65-71, with work by Jose Gonzalez, Leo Duranoma, Jose Ortiz, Bruce Jones, Enrich Torres, Gonzalo Mayo, Roger McKenzie, Gerry Boudreau, Bill DuBay and many more, with our heroine facing mysteries, robots, aliens and more menaces...including photo covers!

Dynamite Archive #11 features Vampirella #72-79 has mostly photo covers of Barbara Leigh as Vampirella, though Enrich TorresBob Larkin, Jose Gonzalez and Jordi Penalva each painted one, with stories by Bill DuBay, Auraleon, Nicola Cuti, Cary Bates, Len Wein, Bruce Jones, Michael Fleisher and more, art by Jose Gonzalez, Auraleon, Gonzalo Mayo, Leo Duranona, Jose Ortiz, Val Mayerik, Alex Nino, Russ Heath, Jim Starlin and more on the insides as Vampirella goes through the end of the 1970s!

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