I…Vampire

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Andrew Bennett
Ivampire 01 2011.jpg
Cover to I, Vampire #1 (September 2011).
Art by Jenny Frison.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance House of Mystery #290
Created by J. M. DeMatteis
Tom Sutton
In-story information
Full name Lord Andrew Bennett
Team affiliations Justice League Dark
Abilities Vampiric powers in including supernatural strength and speed, shapeshifiting into mist, bat or wolf, hypnosis.

I...Vampire was a 24 issue series, created by writer J. M. DeMatteis,[1] that appeared in House of Mystery between 1981 and 1983. It originally started as a backup story among House of Mystery's three story format but soon became so popular that it eventually overtook the title on the cover. Even I...Vampire's finale was almost book length.

Concept and creation[edit]

Cover to House of Mystery #290 (March 1981), the first appearance of Andrew Bennett. Art by Joe Kubert.

J. M. DeMatteis pitched the series to editor Len Wein under the title "Greenberg". Wein liked the concept but rejected the title and suggested "I, Vampire" instead.[2]

Fictional character biography (original series)[edit]

In 1591, after being turned into a vampire himself, Lord Andrew Bennett turned his lover, Mary Seward, into a vampire, and she became corrupted by the power. She took the name Mary, Queen of Blood and created a group of vampires called The Blood Red Moon bent on taking over the world. The series followed Bennett into the modern day as he tried to undo his mistake and take down Mary and The Blood Red Moon.

He was helped by his two companions Deborah Dancer, a beautiful young woman who Bennett saved from Mary at Woodstock (and was also his girlfriend) and Dmitri Mishkin, a Russian man whom Bennett rescued from Mary (and his own mother, turned by Mary) when Mishkin was a child.

To try and keep his humanity, Bennett made a vow to only drink the blood of animals and bottled human blood (which created a subtext of alcoholism). In the original series, Bennett keeps his companions at arm's length, particularly Dancer. For a time he stays away from them altogether for fear of putting them in danger.

Storylines included Mishkin's quest to find and destroy the vampire who was his mother, Bennett's pursuit of Mary through time periods leading back to a time before either of them were vampires (motivated on Mary's part by a desire to escape a strange sickness killing vampires in the present), and finally an experimental 'cure' for vampirism which leads to the final confrontation between the surviving protagonists and Mary.

Later stories[edit]

Bennett has attempted suicide on several occasions to end his curse, and has also been brought back to life after each attempt due to a higher power, as seen in the 1988 run of Doctor Fate. During this run, we also see Andrew Bennett interact with the Lords of Chaos and Order to seek an end to time, which does occur due to the vampire's involvement but is later reversed. He also appeared in Day of Vengeance as a background character in the Oblivion Bar, which became Shadowpact's headquarters. He appears as a supporting character in Doctor Thirteen backup stories in the 2006 miniseries Tales of the Unexpected.

Powers and abilities[edit]

Andrew Bennett has the powers of an Elder Vampire, as according to the DC Universe.[3] He can transform into mist, a bat, and a wolf,[4] and he has superior strength far beyond that of a mortal man. He is immortal and possesses the ability to turn others into vampires, a healing factor, and limited telepathy. His image cannot be seen, such as reflected in a mirror or captured on film.

However, he also has the weaknesses of a vampire. He is severely weakened by sunlight, losing most of his Vampire powers,[4] and he can be killed by silver, decapitation and a stake to the heart.

The New 52[edit]

The title was relaunched as part of DC Comics September 2011 company-wide title relaunch, The New 52. The initial creative team is Joshua Hale Fialkov writing and Andrea Sorrentino as penciller.[5] The first issue was very well received critically,[6] and was the 78th best selling comic in September 2011 by units.

In this version, Andrew Bennett is an older vampire (about 600 years old) but has the physical appearance of a man in his twenties. His former lover, Mary Queen of Blood, gathers an army of vampires to take over the world.[7] Wounded, trying to stop her, Andrew seeks out help from his old ally Professor John Troughton.[8] They are soon joined by a young vampire hunter Tig whose father had been turned into a vampire.[9] Traveling to Gotham City they, along with Batman confront Mary's horde.[10] However, Tig kills Andrew and unwittingly releases Cain, the original vampire, from extradimensional captivity. Cain takes command of the horde of vampires from Mary and begins absorbing magic. Tig, Troughton, Batman, and the Justice League Dark are almost overwhelmed by the vampires when Madame Xanadu manages to resurrect Andrew Bennett, who proceeds to kill Cain and claim leadership of the vampire horde for himself, promising a new era free from conflict with humans.[11]

In the New 52 reality vampires still possess superhuman strength, speed, agility, endurance, healing, and senses but no longer are destroyed or killed by sunlight but are instead greatly weakened by it, to the point where they become nearly completely human in nature. They have shown the ability to shapeshift to a greater extent than before, being able to become a variety of different forms, none of which have been completely defined. Vampires have also shown the ability to create clothes through shapeshifting. While all vampires can turn into wolves, Andrew has shown to be able to combine his wolf form with his natural 'human' form to create a monstrous werewolf-like creature. Andrew has also shown that he is able to change into a mist and back, being able to do this in combat as well to avoid strikes in the 'nick of time' rendering him intangible. He has also shown to be able to mist all of his clothes as well as the weapon he was carrying. Andrew can also turn into a bat colony or sprout large bat wings from his back in order to achieve flight. In addition, Andrew also has the ability to "sway" humans to do his bidding and can alter their memories. After the events from Rise of the Vampires, Andrew can cast magic and do things like resurrect people and vampires,[12] freeze his enemies,[12] absorb dark magic,[13] among other things. Besides his vampiric superpowers, Andrew has been shown to be an expert tracker and master swordsman with unparalleled combat skills.

The series ended in April 2013 with issue #19.[14] Fialkov was told about the cancellation when he finished the script for issue 15, and is satisfied with the conclusion to the series.[15]

Collected Editions[edit]

The Original Series was collected into a single volume in April 2012. It includes House of Mystery #290, 291, 293, 295, 297, 299, 302 and 304-319 and The Brave and the Bold #195 (ISBN 1401233716).

The first 6 issues of the New 52 Series were collected in October 2012 under the title I, Vampire, Volume 1: Tainted Love (ISBN 1401236871).

Issues 7-12 of the New 52 Series, along with Justice League Dark #7-8, was collected in March 2013 under the title I, Vampire, Volume 2: Rise of the Vampires.

Issue 0 and issues 13-19 of the New 52 Series were collected in December 2013 under the title I, Vampire, Volume 3: Wave of Mutilation.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 193. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. Writer J. M. DeMatteis unveiled vampire/vampire hunter Andrew Bennett with the help of artist Tom Sutton in The House of Mystery #290. 
  2. ^ Salicrup, Jim; Higgins, Mike (September 1986). "J. Marc DeMatteis (part 1)". Comics Interview (38) (Fictioneer Books). pp. 20–35. 
  3. ^ Rogers, Vaneta (October 31, 2011). "Fialkov Talks Batman, Constantine's Visits to I, VAMPIRE". Newsrama.
  4. ^ a b Joshua Hale Fialkov (w), I, Vampire #1 (November 2011). DC Comics
  5. ^ "The New Fifty-Two: I, Vampire". DC Comics. 
  6. ^ DCnU review community wrap up, www.multiversity.com, David Harper, 10-4-2011
  7. ^ I, Vampire #1-2 (September - October 2011)
  8. ^ I, Vampire #3 (November 2011)
  9. ^ I, Vampire #4 (December 2011)
  10. ^ I, Vampire #5-6 (January - February 2012)
  11. ^ I, Vampire #7-8, Justice League Dark #7-8 (March - April 2012)
  12. ^ a b I, Vampire #8
  13. ^ I, Vampire #12
  14. ^ http://www.newsarama.com/php/multimedia/album_view.php?gid=4778&page=8
  15. ^ Salvatore, Brian (23 January 2012), "Joshua Hale Fialkov on the End of “I, Vampire,” and What’s Next - Interview," Multiversity Comics.