Vampirella

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For the manga version of this character, see Vampi.
Vampirella
Vampirella #1 (Sept. 1969). Cover art by Frank Frazetta
Publication information
Publisher Warren Publishing
(1969–83)
Harris Publications
(1991–2010)
Dynamite Entertainment
(2010–Present)
First appearance September, 1969
Created by Forrest J Ackerman
Trina Robbins
In-story information
Alter ego
Species Vampire
Place of origin Drakulon
Earth
Notable aliases Vampi
Abilities Vampirism
Shapeshifting
Immortality
Superhuman Strength
Superhuman Speed
Superhuman Senses
Night Vision
Healing Factor
Flight
Hypnosis
Telepathy
Vampirella
Series publication information
Schedule Monthly
Format Ongoing series
Genre horror, fantastic
Publication date (Warren)
September 1969 – March 1983
(Harris – vol. 1)
November 1997 – April 2000
(Harris – vol. 2)
March 2001 – August 2003
(Dynamite)
November 2010 – Present
Number of issues (Warren): 112
(Harris – vol. 1): 26
(Harris – vol. 2): 22
(Dynamite): 10 (as of October, 2011)
Creative team
Writer(s) (Warren)
Archie Goodwin
(Harris – vol. 2)
Mike Millar
(Dynamite)
Eric Trautmann
Artist(s) (Warren)
Jose Gonzalez
Gonzalo Mayo
(Harris – vol. 1)
Louis Small
(Harris – vol. 2)
Mike Mayhew
(Dynamite)
Fabiano Neves

Vampirella is a fictional character, a comic book vampire superheroine created by Forrest J Ackerman and costume designer Trina Robbins in Warren Publishing's black-and-white horror comics magazine Vampirella #1 (Sept. 1969). Writer-editor Archie Goodwin later developed the character from horror-story hostess, in which capacity she remained through issue #8 (Nov. 1970), to a horror-drama leading character. Vampirella was ranked 35th in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.[1]

Publication history[edit]

Warren Publishing[edit]

Vampirella initially appeared in Warren Publishing's black-and-white horror-comics magazine Vampirella #1 (Sept. 1969), running to issue #112 (March 1983). The title was a sister magazine of Warren's horror anthologies Creepy and Eerie. Like those magazines' respective mascots, Uncle Creepy and Cousin Eerie, Vampirella hosted horror stories, though unlike them, she would also star in her own story, which would headline each issue. Vampirella was initially edited by Bill Parente. It would later be edited by Archie Goodwin (issues #7-12, 34-5), Billy Graham (#13-16), Bill DuBay (#21-50, 87-95, 101-102) and Louise Jones (#51-86).

As comics historian Richard J. Arndt describes, "Forrest Ackerman created, or at least had a strong hand in creating, Vampirella and he clearly had a major influence in shaping the lighthearted bad-girl story style of this issue as well." Her costume and hair style were designed by comics artist Trina Robbins. The character's first story artist was Tom Sutton. Artist Frank Frazetta's first-issue cover "was a substitute for the original cover by European artist Aslan."[2]

José González became the character's primary artist starting with issue #12. Other artists who would draw Vampirella during her magazine's original run included Gonzalo Mayo, Leopold Sanchez, Esteban Maroto, José Ortiz, Escolano, Rudy Nebres, Ramon Torrents, Pablo Marcos, Jim Janes, John Lakey, Val Lakey, and Louis Small, Jr..

Backup features appearing in Vampirella included "Tomb of the Gods", "Pantha" and "Fleur". Vampirella herself also appeared in a story with fellow Warren characters Pantha and the Rook in Eerie #94-95, and with most of the Warren characters in a company crossover special in Eerie #130. The final issue of the original Vampirella was cover-dated March 1983.

Harris Publications[edit]

Upon Warren's bankruptcy shortly afterward, Harris Publications acquired the company assets at auction in August 1983, although legal murkiness and a 1999 lawsuit by Warren publisher James Warren resulted in his reacquisition of the rights to sister publications Creepy and Eerie.[3][4] Harris Comics published Vampirella stories in various series and miniseries from 1991 to 2007. Harris also published Vampirella #113, a one-issue continuation of the original series, containing solely reprinted stories, in 1988.

At the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors convention in January 2007, Scott Licina, editor-in-chief of Fangoria Comics, announced his company had acquired the character from Harris.[5] However, on April 30, 2007, Harris editor Bon Alimagno denied there had been such an arrangement in place and that Fangoria's claim was "not factual".[6] Harris subsequently launched the title Vampirella Quarterly.

Dynamite Entertainment[edit]

On March 17, 2010, Dynamite Entertainment acquired the rights to Vampirella from Harris Comics.[7] The publisher started a new ongoing series with Vampirella #1, in November 2010. A new monthly series, Vampirella and the Scarlet Legion, was released in May 2011 following the main title.[8]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Vampirella was originally presented as an inhabitant of the planet Drakulon, a world where a vampiric race lived on blood and where blood flowed in rivers. Drakulon orbits twin suns that were causing droughts across the planet, marking certain doom for Vampirella and her race. The race of which Vampirella was born, the Vampiri, were able to transform themselves into bats at will, possessed superhuman physical attributes, sprout wings when required to fly, and drink blood.

The story begins with the inhabitants of Drakulon dying slowly due to the drying up of its blood. The last few lie dying when a spaceship from Earth crashes on the planet. Vampirella, sent to investigate, is attacked; retaliating, she discovers that the astronauts have blood in their veins. In order for her race to survive, she manages to pilot the ship back to Earth where her adventures begin. Vampirella becomes a "good" vampire, and devotes her energy to ridding our world of the evil kind. Evil vampires owe their existence to Dracula, who came from Drakulon but was corrupted by Chaos.[9]

Harris Comics revived Vampirella in the miniseries Morning In America, written by Kurt Busiek. Soon thereafter, the story "Mystery Walk" revised her origin. She learned that she was, in fact, the daughter of Lilith, whom popular medieval Jewish lore depicts as the first wife of Adam. Lilith would not submit to Adam and was cast out of Eden by God. Lilith spawned demons, but later repented and went to Eden to bear children to fight the evil she had created. Her first attempt was Madek and Magdalene, who turned to evil; Vampirella was her second. Her brother and sister brainwashed her into believing she was from the planet Drakulon.

Her origin was later revised in Vampirella Lives and elaborated on in Blood Lust. Drakulon was real, but was a place in Hell. Vampirella was brought to Eden, not born there. It is later implied that Vampirella was raised in Drakulon, not in Eden. She was made to believe that Drakulon was another planet by Lilith, not by her brother and sister. Vampirella and her boyfriend restore the rivers of blood to Drakulon, which weakens Lilith. Lilith is killed by the hand of God.

A further revision in the "World's End" storyline revealed that Lilith did not really repent and raised Vampirella to be good because she wanted to release the Heart of Darkness (heart of the fallen angel Malkuth) from Metatron's lance, which could only be done by a good person.

This story was revised again in Vampirella: Revelations. Lilith is again alive. Lilith still did not repent, but the reason she raised Vampirella good was that the existence of vampires made Lilith weaker and she wanted someone to kill them. Lilith had used a magic mirror to make Vampirella believe whatever variation on her origin was necessary at the time.

Characters[edit]

Vampirella Lives #2 (Jan. 1997). Cover art by Adam Hughes.
  • Vampirella
The heroine is a vampire, since she is the daughter of Lilith and needs blood to survive and has many of the typical vampiric powers, including superhuman physical abilities, shapeshifting into a bat, immortality, and a mesmeric stare. She is not prone to the race's traditional weaknesses, such as daylight, holy water, garlic, or crosses. She does not attack people to drink their blood, except occasionally when she herself is attacked or desires to kill. She is almost always scantily clad in her signature red sling suit with a white collar and wearing shiny black knee-high boots.
  • Conrad van Helsing
A blind, psychic vampire hunter. He was pursuing Dracula and initially tried to destroy Vampirella, believing her to be kin to that vampire lord.
  • Adam van Helsing
Conrad's son, and the last of a long line of vampire hunters, he followed his father's steps and became a paranormal researcher. He is portrayed as more open-minded than his father. He believed Vampirella was not evil, and eventually they fell in love. Vampirella has often helped Adam in his research. Adam was killed in Vengeance of Vampirella #25 by Mistress Nyx.
  • Tyler Westron
A physician who rescued Vampirella after a plane crash. Due to the injuries she sustained, he had to amputate her wings and was able to create a substitute blood serum that keeps Vampirella's thirst under control.
  • Pendragon / Mordecai the Great
A former sorcerer, now a sideshow magician. Vampirella calls him "Pendy dearest" and treats him as she would a kindly old uncle. While occasionally his knowledge of magic is useful to her, Pendragon is often a liability. In the Warren stories they often travel together, seeking out evil-doers, but Pendragon is generally depicted as getting lost, getting drunk, falling asleep, or otherwise fumbling at a critical moment, thus causing a crisis. Vampirella is deeply loyal to him, however; he is the only real family she has.
  • The Blood-Red Queen of Hearts
Formerly the Whore of Babylon, her spirit became infused with a Queen of Hearts playing card. Whenever a woman touches the card, she magically becomes this topless serial killer. Originally the Queen wanted to marry the mad-god Chaos, and she needed a dowry of seven human hearts. Vampirella's heart was to have been the last, but the Queen's demon lost his eyes and tore the Queen's out in anger. The Queen later cut out Vampirella's eyes in revenge, but the former was killed by the same demon and the latter had her eyes restored by a space doctor. The Queen's "sister," actually another woman possessed by the card, had an incubus kill six women for their hearts and planned to have Vampirella become the bride of Chaos. She then killed the incubus and used his heart to summon Chaos. But his spilled blood drove Vampirella into a feeding frenzy and she broke her bonds. She drank much of the Queen's blood, and then threw her into the mad-god's giant hand. He then took the latest Queen to his hellish dimension. The Queen later possessed Vampirella and her friends in the Queen's Gambit story arc.
  • Madek and Magdalene
Evil brother and sister of Vampirella, who planted false memories of the planet Drakulon in Vampirella's mind, in one version of her origin.
  • Draculina, Vampirella's blonde twin sister, who appeared once outside the story in Vampirella #2 and then never again until her appearance in a story almost 40 years later.
  • Nuberus
The demon who tempted Vampirella with her true origin in order to gain access to Earth.
  • Von Kreist
A former Prussian World War I officer, now a lich, who won his state of immortality in a card game with Satan, but at the price of steadily decaying alive. A cruel and sadistic mastermind, with a special victim preference in children.[10]
  • Mistress Nyx
The daughter of a liaison between the mad-god Chaos and Lucrezia Borgia.[11] A demonic persona, who is bent on destroying Vampirella.
  • Dixie Fattoni
One of two daughters of a Mafioso boss whom she was forced to kill by von Kreist; her twin sister Pixie was turned into a vampire by von Kreist's minions. Vampirella took the orphaned girl under her wing and trained her in combating vampires.
  • Pantha
Initially, alien shapeshifter from Vampirella's native planet who can morph into a black panther. She is generally portrayed as more violent and feral than Vampirella. Later stories rewrote her origin to that of an ancient Egyptian cursed by the gods because of a murderous spree. She is cursed to live forever, with periods where she does not know who or what she is.
  • Lilith
Vampirella's mother and the first woman created by God. Her story is told in the alternate version of the events of Genesis, she was the first wife of Adam, and the mother of demons. She sent her daughter to Earth to atone for her mistakes. Vampirella Revelations #0-3 (see Bibliography) revealed a more sinister side to her.

Powers and abilities[edit]

Vampirella possesses many of the typical powers of mythological vampires. She exerts super-strength when facing her opponents and can move so fast that she appears as a blur of motion.[12][13] Her senses are far beyond those of humans, allowing her to tell ones emotional state through their scent, hear things imperceptible to humans, and see clearly in total darkness.[12] She is very athletic, possessing great stamina, reflexes, and agility beyond that of humans. Her healing factor grants her great resilience and allows her to heal rapidly from her wounds and makes her immune to Earthly illness and toxins.

Whether she is able to turn other people into vampires is inconsistent. It was a plot point in the Warren era that she could not because she was a being from another planet and not a supernatural creature, but that origin was since revised and she could do it in the Shadowhawk crossover. However, that crossover is out of continuity for Shadowhawk and may be out of continuity for Vampirella.

She had the power to grow a giant pair of chiropteran wings to allow self-propelled flight. Her stare and even voice are hypnotic and seductive to humans, particularly males (she has been seen as having the ability to induce sexual arousal in men simply by being in their presence). She is shown to have the power of telepathy as she was able to hear the voices of demons inside Jackie Estacado's mind.[14]

She is immortal.

In addition to her supernatural abilities, Vampirella is a formidable hand-to-hand combatant and is shown to be skilled with modern-day firearms.[12][13]

Circulation figures[edit]

From annual required Statement of Circulation. "Copies printed" refers to total print run. "Total paid circulation" refers to number of copies actually sold, which is the above number minus returns, lost/damaged copies, and free/promotional copies.[15]

Vampirella (Warren)[edit]

Statement date / Published in Average, copies printed Average, total paid circulation Percent of run returned / Sell-through at retail
Oct. 1, 1974 / #42 (May 1974) 170,850 95,735 22.2% / 56.0%
Oct. 1, 1975 / #49 (March 1975) 175,150 97,530 20.0% / 55.7%
Oct. 1, 1976 / #58 (March 1976) 162,740 90,725 20.0% / 55.7%
Nov. 30, 1977 / #67 (March 1977) 165,400 92,125 20.0% / 55.7%
Sept. 30, 1978 / #76 (March 1978) 166,395 92,550 20.0% / 55.6%
Sept. 30, 1979 / #85 (March 1979) 161,745 90,050 20.0% / 55.7%
Sept. 30, 1980 / #94 (March 1980) 137,345 76,468 20.0% / 55.7%
Sept. 28, 1981 / #104 (April 1981) 129,311 71,923 20.0% / 55.6%
Oct. 1, 1982 / #112 (March 1982) 123,592 68,728 43.2% / 55.6%

Collected editions[edit]

Warren magazine stories[edit]

  • Vampirella vs. the Cult of Chaos (reprints from #8-9, 11-16)
  • Vampirella: Transcending Time & Space (reprints from #17-23)
  • Vampirella: A Scarlet Thirst (reprints from #30-31, 36, 71-72, 92, 94-96, 110)
  • Vampirella & the Blood-Red Queen of Hearts (reprints from #49, 60- 62, 65-66, 101-102)
  • Vampirella Classic #1-5
  • Vampirella of Drakulon #1-5, special issue #0
  • Vampirella Retro #1-3
  • Vampirella: Silver Anniversary Collection #1-4
  • Vampirella: Legendary Tales #1-2
  • Vampirella: Crimson Chronicles
  • Vampirella: Crimson Chronicles Maximum Volume 1 (reprints from #1-37), 448 pages, 2008, ISBN 0-910692-85-8

Film[edit]

Vampirella is a 1996 direct to video movie adaptation of the comic starring Talisa Soto, Roger Daltrey, Richard Joseph Paul, and Corinna Harney, directed by Jim Wynorski. A sequel was intended and announced in the ending credits, but it was not produced.

Live models[edit]

A variety of models have donned various versions of the trademark scanty outfit for magazine covers, posters, trading cards, and live appearances. The first model to wear the costume was Barbara Leigh on the cover of the original Warren Vampirella magazine (issue #67, March 1978).

Other versions[edit]

Vampi[edit]

In 2000 a comic book series entitled Vampi began circulation through Anarchy Studio. The series followed Vampi, an alternate futuristic version of Vampirella that seeks to find a cure for her vampirism. The main series ran for 25 issues. Several miniseries followed under the titles Vampi Vicious, Vampi Vicious Circle, Vampi Vicious Rampage, and Vampi vs. Xin. An omnibus edition collecting the first eighteen issues of the initial run was released in 2012 through Dynamite Entertainment.

Li'l Vampi[edit]

In January 2014 Dynamite Entertainment released Li'l Vampi, a one-shot comic book by writer Eric Trautmann and artist Agnes Garbowska.[16] The comic followed a child version of Vampirella as she tries to uncover why monsters are destroying the town of Stoker, Maine.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Frankenhoff, Brent (2011). Comics Buyer's Guide Presents: 100 Sexiest Women in Comics. Krause Publications. p. 29. ISBN 1-4402-2988-0. 
  2. ^ Arndt, Richard J. (September 22, 2008). "The Warren Magazines". Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved January 27, 2013.  Additional Webcitation archive.
  3. ^ Spurgeon, Tom. "News Watch: Warren Case Moves Forward: Publisher Claims Numerous Violations in Case Against Harris Publications," The Comics Journal #210 (Feb. 1999), pp. 11-13.
  4. ^ "News Watch: Jim Warren Sues Harris Publications" The Comics Journal #211 (Apr. 1999), p. 8.
  5. ^ Brady, Matt (January 11, 2007). "Updated: Fangoria Comics Acquires Vampirella". Newsarama. [dead link]
  6. ^ Arrant, Chris (April 30, 2007). "Bon Alimagno on Vampirella Quarterly". Newsarama. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Dynamite Entertainment Acquires Vampirella". Comic Book Resources. March 17, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Vampirella and the Scarlet Legion coming in May" - Comicvine, 2011-02-09
  9. ^ Story of Vampirella, from the website Vampilore
  10. ^ "Von Kreist". Vampirella Revealed. 
  11. ^ Vampirella #16
  12. ^ a b c VAMPIRELLA, volume 1, issue #4
  13. ^ a b VAMPIRELLA, volume 1, issue #10
  14. ^ The Darkness/Vampirella
  15. ^ "Vampirella Sales Figures". The Comics Chronicles. 
  16. ^ "Exclusive Extended Previews – Cryptozoic Man #3 and Li’l Vampi". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  17. ^ Thompson, Kelly. "LI'L VAMPI #1 (review)". CBR. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 

External links[edit]