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V Is For Vampy

(This  Stripped column originally appeared in the October 2-9, 1997 Long Island Voice. Click on the artwork for a larger image.)

by Beth Hannan Rimmels

'NUFF SAID:

"Guys just don't get it. You can't really know anyone, until you see how they act trynna get into your pants."

— Amy in Preacher #28

Vampirella has long been a guilty favorite of mine. Well, maybe "guilty" is a little harsh, but when I’m extolling the intelligence and diversity of comics today, Vampirella doesn’t spring to the top of the list, which is a shame because it is good.

I think part of the problem is that it’s easy for people to assume Vampirella is just another bad girl book and it takes longer to explain that it’s not than the few seconds I have before a non-comics reader’s eyes glaze over from lack of interest. Far from it, Vampirella is "tits and ass" above bad girl books like Lady Death. Hell, Lady Death isn’t fit to touch Vampirella’s thigh-high, spiked boots. But that’s a rant for another day. If I go into that today, I won’t get to the best part.

The best part, or one of several great news items, is a new Vampirella miniseries hitting the stores now, Vampirella: Blood Lust. Why is it great? First, it’s fully painted by Joe Jusko, known for his work on Marvel Masterpieces and it’s gorgeous. I originally only saw B&W photocopies of the first issue, which usually doesn’t do artwork justice. In this case, the quality still shined through. Then I saw a color sample that had me salivating for the real first issue even though I’ve read it. Better yet, the story is by James Robinson, whose work I grow more fond of with time. V:BL is set between the miniseries Vampirella: Death and Destruction, in which both Vampirella and Adam Van Helsing are killed by Nyx, and Vampirella Lives!, which brings her, but not Adam, back. V:BL is set in the part of hell that is Drakulon, which in Vampy’s past has been described as another planet. That’s the only drawback to Vampirella — her history is a tad convoluted due to "false" memories but Harris Comics has been trying to smooth out the inconsistencies and generally succeeding. Regardless, Vampy discovers that the rivers of blood that feed the vampires of Drakulon are drying up and Vampirella must face her mother, Lilith, to correct things.

The rest of the good news includes the fact that Vampirella’s going monthly (so far it’s been one miniseries after another) as of November and will be written by Mark Millar and (drum roll, please) Grant Morrison. Yes, that Grant Morrison from The Invisibles and the new JLA. Pencils by Amanda Connor are icing on the cake.

Before that, in October, of course, Harris will celebrate Dracula’s 100th anniversary with Vampirella/Dracula: The Centennial. The prestige format one-shot features a painted cover by John Bolton and contains three stories: "Vampirella vs. Dracula" by James Robinson, David Mack and Rick Mays; "Necromance" by Warren Ellis and Mark Beachum; and, perhaps most surprising, "Dracula for the Millennium" by Alan Moore and Gary Frank. Yes, the Alan Moore whose seminal work on Watchman, V for Vendetta, Give Me Liberty and more redefined comics as well as leading the Brit invasion that included Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis and others. I’m dying to see this one.

Also interesting is a Vampirella Crossover Gallery (a cool twist I’m surprised no one’s done before) and Vampirella/Shi. I’ve only seen samples of both, but they look good.

So stop reading the bloodless knock-offs and pick up Vampirella. The art’s easy on the eyes, if tough on the hormones, and the stories are entertaining. Just skip the garlic with dinner first.