It’s the mid-90’s.
I am a little girl trapped in a mid-south state.
I want to grow up and become an X-Man.
We go to a comic book shop that was once obviously the waiting room and at least one patient’s room of a dentist’s office.
It’s brown on brown on gray. Even the roof is brown with a design that smacks of 1976 and it’s staying that way.
But this place that smells of indoor outdoor carpet, this is my heaven.
Long folding tables line every available wall leaving only a small trail for foot traffic. Every table contains as many long boxes that will fit upon it, with even more boxes underneath.
Meticulously, alphabetically ordered, the white boxes somehow make the brown walls and gray floors even more unsaturated.
However, not more so than the special comics that line the walls. Beautiful bursts of color in a convenient rectangular 6 7/8″ x 10 1/2″ in size. Like doors to other universes, I gazed at them in awe.
There above the second doorway from the entrance was a portrait of everything my little heart feared and adored…
Something terrifying and beautiful clutched at my soul. The foil shimmer reflected the yellowed light fixture only a foot away. That dark red blood…the beautiful matching letters above. This amazingly gimmicky cover grabbed the hand of that little girl and never let go.
Now that nostalgia has reared its ugly but beautiful-to-you head the meat (or rather blood) of the matter begins.
Vengeance of Vampirella #1 – Harris Comics 1994
No delicious sugar-coating, this comic is mediocre at best. It lives in my heart forever as the first comic I bought with my own saved money. Also, the first comic I ever bought based on cover alone (though not the last.)
This is the 90’s – gimmicky comic covers were everyone’s bread and butter. This one was no exception. Holographic foil blood form a pool for Vampirella to sit in and lounge while having a snack for good measure.
This cover is beautiful…In fact, let’s look at again.
I’m glad her collar could stay that white. Thanks, Clagon.
On page two we get a standard WHY WE ARE DOING THIS letter that seems customary whenever a comic line is revived or taken to a new arc.
A lot is said of showing Vampirella as a fearsome hunter instead of the Cheesecake Horror damsel that most know her as.
In the 90’s big muscles led to bad ass action ladies. There was little hope for princesses unless they had a Mohawk or wielded a gun.
What would be in store for this new bad ass (more bad ass?) Vampirella?
A lot of awkward caption boxes and multicultural people at a movie theater.
I’m still confused by the hunt being somehow unnatural for her.
But this is the 90’s so we’re here for the sexy sexy.
Check out that awesome finger reaching above the panel.
This is Vampirella, so of course there is no shortage of blood. From the cover to the first true action panel this is a blood bath…hence why she needed the pool on the cover.
From here we get to the first splash page, so purple Lord of the Rings extra didn’t get sliced up for just any old thing at least.
I adore a good splash page.
This is our first glimpse of the NEW Vampirella we’ve been hearing so much from in the caption panels. She looks relatively the same as the one we all know and love (some of us a little too much).
I really love the facial expression here. The awesome crop jacket is just a bonus.
I’m still not sure why they would choose Charles Dickens for commentary. Oliver Twist had vampires in it, right?
I feel the need to point out the amazing job titles on this project.
It reads like the production assistants on Elvira’s Movie Macabre or a Simpson’s Halloween episode
The title of this lovely story is Bloodshed. Kudos, they picked a theme and stuck with it.
The next few panels feature what we love best – sexy violence, breaking the laws of psychics and biology with a street fighter-style kick, and bosom knives.
After a few more cheap M. Bison moves, Rella gets her LotR extra just where she wants him and delivers the killing blow. The bright red-orange using for the sanguine spray is an awesome contrast to the purple skin of our villain. It’s especially needed since the background has also turned shades of purple.
As you can see the Troll was obviously not the big baddie (When are they ever? HELLO, SAURON!!??).
The next pages deal with the Vampirella version of the Legion of Doom. It’s basically a D&D party with a Terminator… No, really…
In issue #114 Vampirella saves John Connor.
So like all big baddies (or good sports teams in movies) they bring in a ringer… Meet Hemorrhage.
Words alone cannot express how ridiculous that pose is. Also, no nipples.
He looks like your typical villain.
Leather pants, no shirt, scar on the face, smokes cigarettes, no nipples.
We’ve seen it before. No reason to fear. Hell, the wonder twins’ Gleek could probably handle this, right?
Two pages that to this day freak my shit my out.
Apparently this no nips villain is just extra out there. Wanting to carry on with the blood theme they’ve worked so hard on and bring the new Vampirella out with a bang, Harris Comics made this asshole.
I’ll admit his power is pretty cool. The things you can do to display it artistically brings this comic over towards the actual macabre, adding the horror elements that Vampirella needs.
The sanguine spray (I am loving that phrase) in this last pages has left behind the orange and went for a more pink hue, undoubtedly wanting to make the victim seems more innocent, more human than our Sauron serving baddie from earlier.
The next few pages show Rella having a tiff with her hunky, soap opera (complete with five o’clock shadow) boyfriend, Adam, wherein one panel has her channeling a Cher music video.
She’s a vampire – why does she need to turn back time?
A few more soap opera scenes, this time where they make up and she changes from Cher to a Luis Royo Painting.
The year Vampirella went blonde.
The next few pages have Hemorrhage fighting D&D Legion of Doom’s token Werewolf. It’s pretty gruesome, and let’s just say he basically suffocates on his own blood until he’s shot. In fact, that’s exactly what happens.
The Short Version.
The next few pages have an old man we haven’t met yet drinking Scotch. (That may be one of the best sentences I’ve ever typed.) He reminiscences on some adventures that Vampirella has had involving killing Dracula.
Then there’s some time for Rella to reflect on what’s she doing and where’s she going, all the while breaking biology once again and having some kind of mind meld with herself.
The next page has some panels that show Hemorrhage tracking Vampirella to Old Man Scotch’s living room. While killing a dog. So yeah. This guy wins No Nips Asshole of the Year. The only good thing on these two pages is Rella packing a green sweater crop top. Because crop tops forever.
Now there’s a big ass blood beast made from human and dog blood and some kissy face makeup with Rella and Adam. We call her Rella cause Adam gets to, and we are WAY cooler than Adam with his daytime drama award.
The last two pages end with an action and “Action” page followed by Old Man Scotch and his blood beast buddy.
Old Man Scotch has some problems…also, breaking windows for no reason rules.
So begins Vengeance of Vampirella. She’s supposed to be all hardcore now, but for me she’s the same just ordered backwards – Violence Begets Cheesecake now.
Thanks for the indulgence of sharing this blood bath with you as my first post.
P.S. Since you made it to the end with me, I’ll give you the same gift Vengeance of Vampirella did at the very end
You cheeky monkeys.