By AL J. Vermette
There are many, many vampires out there who kill for blood, sport or just
to having something to do on a slow night. They have cool names like
Dracula, Barlow, Barnabas or Spike and their name like the deadly looks
stand out in ones mind just before they rip into ones throat. But one stands
out even more than these monsters of the night. She with hair of raven
black, pale white skin, knee high leather boots and God all mightily don't
forget about that outfit making her the first hot and sexy vampire to come
along since TV Horror Host Vampira. Yes, she stands out above all
vampires as she sinks her teeth into your neck.....and you may not even
want to stop her. She is Vampirella and for more than 40 years she has
been a true comic book icon.
Created in 1969 by Forrest J. Ackerman, best known as the editor of the
grand daddy of all horror/monster magazines "Famous Monsters of Filmland"
and the man who invented the word Sci/fi. His idea was to have a new vision
of a vampire who came from outer space from the dying world Drakulon who
comes to Earth for a better life or unlife. In Vampirella's world all people live
on blood, in fact the rich red drink flows freely in rivers, streams and oceans.
A planet where vampires are the norm until the planets twin suns started
drying up all the worlds blood leaving it's people no food source. As her
people slowly die off, a spaceship crash lands on Drakulon from a far off
world. As Vampirella goes to check it out, she finds that the people that flew
the ship have in fact brought blood with them...within their own veins. After
feeding on the ships already dead and with nothing to lose with her people
now dead, the young lovely flies the ship on automatic pilot back to its home
Vampirella was envisioned as a sort of horror host and mascot for a new
comic book line as a spin off of Famous Monsters. Her publisher, Warren
Publishing, had two comics already in production called "Creepy" and "Eerie"
who both had hosts and mascots called Uncle Creepy and Cousin Eerie.
Vampirella was to be the newest comic with her hosting new stories and also
staring in stories of her own as well. Her very drop dead looks and stand out
costume made her an instant hit and gave the dark haired lovely a 14 year
print run with Warren Publishing until they shut down production of all their
publishing projects in 1983. With poor sales of "Famous Monsters of
Filmland" due in part to other horror magazines that were now getting their
readers such as "Fangoria" and others, the first ever horror/monster
magazine and all it's sister publications soon followed to a slow death.
Vampirella though like all vampires soon would rise from the grave when
Harris Publications took over the title in 1991. Harris would carry the comic
as part of their line until 2010 when they sold the rights to Dynamite
Entertainment who are relessing new books to this day.
Ok, I know you have been waiting for me to talk about that outfit. Yeah
you know the one. Believe it or not, Vampirella's most iconic feature... her
red thong like costume was created by a woman. (Yes a woman!) Trina
Robbins artist and costume designer came up with the outfit when she,
Ackerman and the head of Warren Publishing James Warren were trying to
come up with a costume to outfit their new comic book bad girl. Robbins
drew out a few drawings and came up with the near nothing red rubber
strech thong that wraps around her slender body. No shock there that the
men all loved it and like magic their vampire space girl had a look that would
stand out on any vampire even more than Dracula's long black cape. She
was not only a hit but a full icon all unto itself.
As with many vampires, she is blessed with the power to turn herself into
a bat. Spouting .bat wings and taking flight are just some of the things this
hot little vamp can do. She also has superhuman strength, vision and speed
along with immortality. Though a vampire, she does not have any of the
same weaknesses of others of her kind such as daylight, crosses and
blessed water will not affect her. She also can not turn others into vampires
and she does not kill to feed on the living but only drinks blood from those
who attack her.
Since her very beginnings artists have lined up to take their shot at
drawing the scantily clad vixen for covers and inside art for the "Vampirella"
comics. The first ever cover for the 1969 September issue was given to
artist Frank Frazetta, who placed the dark angel in a striking pose before a
rising full moon. This image commanded attention and was the first of many
to feature the vampire from the stars. Other artists who worked on issues in
and out of the cover were Gonzalo Mayo, Leopold Sanchez, Esteban Maroto
and with Jose Gozalez as her main artist from Issue #12 and on. In the early
years of the comic she would even do cross-over issues with that of her
sister publications "Creepy" and "Eerie" and have pretty vampire hang with
Uncle Creepy and Cousin Eerie.
In 1996, Vampirella was turned into a live action direct to video movie with
Talisa Soto playing the hero in red. The hard to find film was said to have a
sequel but it never came about and the first film was all but forhotten about..
(Shocking I know!) Over the years, many young and lovely dark haired
models took on the role and the string suit of the comic icon for comic book
conventions and other genre events. Women such as Julie Strain, Brinke
Stevens, Diana Knight and Alexxus Young to name only a few who were
brave enough to dare to ware the super skimpy outfit.
Today Vampirella still holds her grip on the publishing world as Dynamite
Entertainment has taking her into this new decade and I'm sure she will like
her species live on forever.