Vampirella by Joe Jusko
|First appearance||September 1969|
|Created by||Forrest J. Ackerman
|Place of origin||Drakulon|
|Vampirella #1 (September 1969). Cover art by Frank Frazetta|
|Series publication information|
|Number of issues|
Vampirella is a fictional character, a comic book vampire superheroine created by Forrest J Ackerman and comic book artist Trina Robbins in Warren Publishing's black-and-white horror comics magazine Vampirella #1 (September 1969). Writer-editor Archie Goodwin later developed the character from horror-story hostess, in which capacity she remained through issue #8 (November 1970), to a horror-drama leading character. Vampirella was ranked 35th in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.
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, 34–35), 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."
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 (#112) was cover-dated March 1983.
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. 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. 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". Harris subsequently launched the title Vampirella Quarterly.
On March 17, 2010, Dynamite Entertainment acquired the rights to Vampirella from Harris Comics. 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. The series lasted for thirty-eight issues before concluding in January 2014. The character and series was rebooted in June 2014 with Vampirella #1 by author Nancy Collins. The series was then relaunched in 2016 but set in the same continuity with another Vampirella #1 in March 2016 with a new costume. In 2017, Vampirella was relaunched again in another new series, first written by Paul Cornell, and later by Jeremy Whitley.
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.
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.
When Dynamite Entertainment acquired the character, they started off with the death of Adam Van Helsing and Vampirella working reluctantly with Dracula against a rebellious cult of his former followers. Acquiring Sofia Murray as her sidekick, she proceeded to become involved in a plot by the Vatican which ultimately resurrected Von Kreist as well as got Sofia killed. Vampirella severed her ties with the Vatican and found herself working for the forces of Order again. Reuniting with a resurrected Adam Van Helsing, Pendragon, and other characters from the Warren Magazine run, they visit the future and discover the world destroyed by the supernatural. Trying to form a supernatural kingdom to contradict this, Vampirella falls prey to a conspiracy by Dracula and a group of vampire knights which ultimately result in reality being unraveled. Lilith proceeds to banish Vampirella from her universe in order to save her.
Vampirella was relaunched with Our Lady Of Shadows as an agent of the Vatican before being relaunched again with a new costume in Hollywood Horror under author Kate Leth. In this universe, Vampirella has recently come to Earth and become a Hollywood scream queen. She lives with her live-in boyfriend Tristan and butler Coleridge.
After falling into a thousand-year sleep, Vampirella awakes in a bizarre, dystopic future, where she meets her new sidekick and girlfriend, Vicki Vincent, and a black cat that she names Grit. After going on a journey through her own mind, Vampirella learns that she has absorbed all the memories and experiences of a hundred Vampirellas from parallel universes.
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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. Her senses are far beyond those of humans, allowing her to tell one's emotional state through their scent, hear things imperceptible to humans, and see clearly in total darkness. 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.
She is immortal.
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.
|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%|
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.
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.
In January 2014 Dynamite Entertainment released Li'l Vampi, a one-shot comic book by writer Eric Trautmann and artist Agnes Garbowska. The comic followed a child version of Vampirella as she tries to uncover why monsters are destroying the town of Stoker, Maine.
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