Horror Comics

From Draculon With Love: The Eternal Allure of Vampirella

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Hey there, horror addicts! The Longbox of Darkness has returned from the land of the dead, and today we’ve got something bloody delectable on the table – a brand-new mini-blog! After going back and forth over dozens of potential names for it, I finally settled on “From Draculon With Love.” And you know what that means – We’re going to be talking about none other than the iconic, the sultry, the kick-ass, the stunningly alluring Night Goddess from Warren Magazines… the one and only Vampirella! 🦇

Vampirella First Appearance
Cover by Frank Frazetta (1969)

Born out of the tumultuous era of the late 1960s, Vampirella was not just a comic book character; she was a cultural phenomenon. Created by Forrest J. Ackerman and artist Trina Robbins, with her look later refined by the brilliant Frank Frazetta, she first graced the pages of Warren Publishing’s “Vampirella” magazine in 1969, as both a character and a horror host. Picture this: the world was undergoing seismic shifts in politics, civil rights, and cultural norms, and amidst all of this chaos, Warren Magazines threw a Molotov cocktail into the mix—a sci-fi horror character who was as intellectually compelling as she was visually captivating.

So, what makes Vampirella so enduring? First off, it’s her origin story that’s anything but typical. Hailing from the planet Drakulon where rivers flow with blood, she finds herself on Earth due to a cataclysmic drying of those very rivers. Once here, she assumes the mantle of an earthly vampire, albeit one who doesn’t relish the act of killing. And let’s not forget her iconic crimson sling suit, which broke not just fashion norms but also flung the doors wide open for strong, sensual, female characters in the comic book world.

Art by Sanjulián

But it’s not all about appearances. Vampirella has substance. Over the years, she has been portrayed as a complex individual, battling not just demons and monsters but also her ethical dilemmas. Is she a hero? Is she a villain? In truth, she’s an enigmatic blend, a morally gray character who evokes as much empathy as she does awe. Her stories explore themes of loneliness, alienation, and the eternal struggle between good and evil, making her relatable on a human level despite her otherworldly origins.

Another intriguing element is the evocative artwork that has graced the pages of Vampirella comics. From the lavish and intricate covers to the vivid storytelling panels, the art has always been a central character in Vampirella’s tale. Artists like José González, Sanjulián, and Enrich Torres have elevated her into a living, breathing muse rather than just ink on paper.

Art by José González

And then there’s her fanbase. From die-hard collectors of the Warren era to the newbies discovering her through reprints and modern adaptations, Vampirella’s appeal is universal. Her stories, often a delightful cocktail of horror, science fiction, and drama, resonate across generations. It’s this timelessness, combined with her unapologetic badassery, that makes Vampirella a beloved character even today.

In the next segment, we’ll dive into the epic introduction of Vampirella’s in her first appearance and why it remains a defining moment in the annals of horror comics. Read on!

Vampi’s Debut

All right! It’s time to relive the magic of the Night Goddess’ first appearance in Warren’s “Vampirella” #1, an issue that would forever change the horror comics landscape.

Let’s crack open that vintage 1969 masterpiece, shall we?

Firstly, you can’t talk about Vampirella without lauding the art. As you flip open that first issue, one thing is clear: this is no ordinary comic. The style was ahead of its time; it practically leapt off the pages and into the pop culture stratosphere. Tom Sutton, the maestro behind the art in Vampirella’s debut story, created an atmosphere thick with tension, imagination, and an undeniable erotic charge. The intricacies of the panel work, the emotive facial expressions, and the dynamic body postures are utterly captivating. But then, what else can you expect from a master like Sutton?

Here’s an overview of the story that started it all:

Vampirella #1

Story: “Vampirella of Draculon”

Writer: Forrest J. Ackerman

Illustrator: Tom Sutton

Date Published: September 1969

All right, horror addicts! This 7-page gem is the starting point of our blood-sipping heroine’s adventures. So what are you waiting for? Read on!

Vampirella First Appearance

Picture Draculon, a fascinating planet orbiting twin suns. Far from the classic horror stereotype, the vampires here are chill folks, living on a diet of blood—but get this, it’s from rivers, not from people’s necks! Talk about an alternative lifestyle, right? But alas, their utopia is facing an existential crisis: the rivers are drying up, thanks to those increasingly hot twin suns.

Vampirella First Appearance

Enter Vampirella, a resident of the city of Gosi-Bram—named as a nod to both Béla Lugosi and Bram Stoker. She’s dispatched to check out a spaceship crash and discovers humans!

After getting shot at in her bat form (rude!), she retaliates, finds out that human blood is pretty much like the blood rivers back home, and well, let’s just say she finds her own liquid buffet on board the ship. Her reaction? A delightful “Smorgasblood!”

Vampirella First Appearance

Ackerman lays it on thick with the puns—totally his style—while Sutton’s artwork is more subdued compared to his later, more horror-inflected stuff. A funny little hiccup in the story is a spelling inconsistency with the planet’s name, switching from a ‘C’ to a ‘K.’ But hey, they got it right from there on out!

It’s a lighthearted romp that sets the stage for Vampirella’s complex journey. A trip down memory lane that’s both entertaining and sets the foundation for what’s to come. And if you didn’t get the “Smorgasblood” joke, well, you’re catching on now! 🌌🦇

To sum up, Vampirella’s first appearance is a sensory experience: visually stunning, intellectually stimulating, and emotionally resonant. It’s a masterful blend of horror and science fiction, drenched in Gothic allure. It wasn’t just a comic; it was a statement, a stand against the status quo, a clarion call for a new kind of hero—or should we say anti-hero?

The Legacy of Vampirella

Hey, you made it to the final act! You’re as hardcore a fan as Vampirella is a badass, and that’s saying something. We’ve navigated the murky waters of her genesis, basked in the spine-tingling details of her first appearance, and taken a moment to appreciate the rich tapestry of art and storytelling that encapsulates this phenomenal character. So, what’s left? Well, let’s keep the Vampirella love going!

It’s almost supernatural how Vampirella has maintained her resonance over decades. From Warren Magazines to modern adaptations, she’s been a constant in the ever-changing world of horror comics. Her legacy is a testament not just to the creators who birthed and nurtured her but also to the fans—you and me—who’ve kept her alive in our collective consciousness.

Without Warren Publishing’s Horror Mags, it’s safe to say that The Longbox of Darkness would certainly be a dreary place indeed.

But hey, our work isn’t done yet. If you’ve loved diving deep into the world of Vampirella with me, then do the horror universe a favor—share this post! Let’s get more fans on this dark and delightful train. And if you’ve got any cool Vampirella stories, memories, or merchandise to share, I want to hear about it! Leave a comment below; let’s make this a hub for all things Vampirella.

Oh, and one last thing—don’t forget to subscribe to the blog for more fang-tastic content like this. There’s plenty more where this came from, and trust me, you won’t want to miss out on the spine-chilling adventures we’ve got lined up.

So go ahead, share, subscribe, and most importantly, keep the legacy of Vampirella alive and kicking. Together, let’s ensure that the Night Goddess reigns supreme for generations to come.

Thanks for reading, bloodsuckers. See you at the next moonrise, hopefully with your jugulars still intact. 🌕🦇

If any of you bloodsuckers want to read along with our continuing Vampirella coverage via LOD’s mini-blog From Draculon With Love, then we recommend the following collection that will be sure to titillate and terrify you. Check it out!

Article Info

Process: This post was outlined and drafted in LOD’s go-to writing app Scrivener, polished in Sudowrite, and rocketed into the Social Media Stratosphere by Crowdfire.

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On my fifth birthday a relative gifted me a black box filled with old horror, war, and superhero comics. On that day, my journey through the Weird began, and The Longbox of Darkness was born. Four decades of voracious reading later, and here we are.