It’s that time again, boys and girls! That’s right ACB’s Comic Book Monsters has returned! This year, I’ll be looking at a slice of some of the creepiest comic book series of all time! I’ll be covering a series a day in reverse chronological order. So, check under your beds and lock the doors and windows. It’s time to take a look at today’s featured series…
Comic Book Monsters – October 22nd: Vampirella
Vampirella might just be the most famous of all comic book monster girls. Unlike the more mystical vampires we are used to, Vampirella is actually an alien. She is a vampire in the sense that she requires blood to survive. The planet she hails from is Drakulon where everyone is born as a vampire and rivers flow with blood. Drakulon orbits two suns and as temperatures rose, the rivers began drying up. This was leading to the extinction of her people. When a spaceship from Earth crash lands on Drakulon, Vampirella investigates. When she discovered the pilots had blood in their veins, she decides to take the ship back to Earth.
On Earth, Vampirella decides to become a “good” vampire and help the humans destroy the more mystical, “bad” vampires. She’s initially attacked by a descendent of the famous Van Helsing family when he was chasing down Dracula. Van Helsing, believing her to be one of Dracula’s minions, he goes after her until she proves her actual good intentions. In fact, Vampirella will only drink from humans to defend herself. She only takes blood from other animals or blood given to her. But thankfully for all us guys, she hardly wears any clothing.
People of Vampirella’s race have most of the powers of vampires, like transformation into bats, hypnotic stares, increased speed and strength. The positive side is that Drakulons do not have any of the typical downsides to being a vampire. They can be out in the daylight. They aren’t affected by holy water or garlic. Most importantly, they don’t turn others into vampires. Vampirella did have the ability to sprout bat wings, but lost her wings in order to survive a plane crash.
Vampirella’s earliest appearances wasn’t as a lead character in a narrative story. In fact, she was a horror host and the Vampirella comics were created as a sister title to Warren Publishing’s already popular horror anthology series Creepy and Eerie. The first seven issues of the series actually had her hosting stories that featured mostly female lead characters. When Archie Goodwin took over as the editor of the book, he saw the potential to expand on her character and give her an actual horror/drama type of adventures. The series would run for 14 years and 112 issues. In 1988, a 113th issue was published as a special issue featuring Vampi (originally a re-imagining of Vampirella that became her own thing) and Panthra.
After Warren Publishing folded, Harris Comics took over the rights to publish Vampirella. From 1991 to 2007, Harris would publish a series of one shots and mini-series featuring the character in various adventures. During this time Harris did attempt some different ideas with the character. A Kurt Busiek series linked Vampirella more to the typical style of vampires than her actual sci-fi roots. The series tied her exisitance to an actual biblical character, Lilith, the first wife of Adam who was evicted from the Garden of Eden after not agreeing to submit to Adam. As told in some cultures, Lilith would go to Hell, mate with demons and give birth to vampires. No shit. Vampirella would become a daughter of Lilith and sent to Earth to destroy all vampires. Still not tugging your leg on this. In this story, Drakulon was a part of hell that Lilith ruled.
Whether or not messing around with the history of Vampirella did in the run that Harris produced is irrelevent. What is important is that the character is alive and well at Dynamic Forces. Since 2010, the publisher has had the rights to the character and is currently publishing two titles featuring the femme fatale – Vampirella and Vampirella and the Scarlet Legion. Both titles are still running and Dynamic Forces has also begun publishing archival reprints and other trades like omnibii and collections from different creators. Not only that, but Hustler Magazine recently featured several cosplay models in some of the hottest costumes. Of course, Vampirella was represented.
Speaking of models representing Vampirella, there is a connection between the character and the world of James Bond. Caroline Munro, from one of the finer Bond films, The Spy Who Loved Me, was once a model for a version of Vamirella. Then, in the mid-1990s, Talisa Soto, from the 1989 Bond film Licence to Kill, actually starred as Vampirella in a direct-to-video movie. A sequel was planned but never produced.
That does it for today’s Comic Book Monsters. Check back at midnight tomorrow because as DC claimed, it’s The Witching Hour!