Sure, some of our childhood favorites have fallen into obscurity over the years, but some licenses have been reborn, bigger – and better – than ever. Let’s take a look at who’s on top of the Property Ladder.
Holy crap! Remember Warren Publishing? No? That’s not terribly surprising. But more likely than not, you know Vampirella, even if you’ve never read one of her comics. Warren had a few horror anthology series dating back to the 1960s (Creepy is currently being collected and rereleased by Dark Horse). Each had a mascot/host character that introduced each story. It’s the Crypt Keeper formula, but in comics (and yes, I know the Crypt Kreeper started in comics). Of the three host characters, Uncle Creepy and Cousin Eerie didn’t do too much, but Vampirella eventually found her way into her own stories that would headline each issue. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out why she was the most popular host. Menfolk are simple creatures. What can I say?
Vampirella was from the planet Drakulon… Really. It was a world where blood flowed in the rivers and all the people were vampires by default since they needed blood to survive the same way we need water, though they don’t die in sunlight (nor do they sparkle) or anything like that. Her planet was nearly crippled by a draught before she made her way to Earth, where she became a bikini-clad heroine fighting evil vampires while mostly nekkid. Harris comics would later get the rights to the character after Warren fell and her adventures continued, now with the knowledge that Drakulon was actually a level of Hell and that Vampirella was the daughter of Lilith, the mother of all vampires (Lilith had a VERY similar role in Crimson). Anarchy Studios later released a new series called “Vampi,” a sword-slashing anime-infused take on the character.
Vampirella has existed almost as long as Spider-Man and has hundreds of comics under her belt (does that outfit even have a belt?) and yet she’s mostly known for her costume more than anything else. It’s ironic, then, that next month’s Vampirella #1 from Dynamite completely alters not only the vampiric vixen’s origin, but her iconic thong-and-boot costume as well. It’s certainly a different take on that character, but given how long it’s been since we’ve seen her in an ongoing series, maybe fresh is what she needs to give her a shot in the arm. Even Wonder Woman is wearing pants these days, after all.
There are a lot of collections available reprinting Vampirella’s early adventures and if you hit the dollar bins at your next con, I’ll bet you could easily find any of the several dozen crossover book she was in in the 90s (Vampirella/Shi, anyone?). Sure, her roots are a bit cheesy, but aren’t all of our favorite heroes’ origins equally questionable? At the very least, give the new series a shot. Vampires are all the rage now, or haven’t you heard?