REVIEW: Vampirella 1969

Writer: Nancy Collins, Eric Trautmann, Phil Hester, Mark Rahner, David Walker
Art: Fritz Casas, Brett Weldele, Jethro Morales, Colton Worley, Aneke
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment

Vampirella, or Vampi to her friends, has been around since 1969! Wow, by that standard, I am two years younger!  Still, everyone can agree she certainly looks better for her 46 years than I do for my 44.  Over that time, there have been a  number of different versions; alien, vampire, something in-between?  This edition, in a similar vein to the Red Sonja 1973 looks to celebrate that diversity rather than try to repaint everything into a continuity mashing whole.  As it’s an anthology, I’ll look at each part separately.

’69 (W) Nancy Collins; (A) Fritz Casas

The most recent writer of Vampi tales kicks off the book with a strong opening. Her Vampi is a strong character, making no apologies for how she dresses, even though whilst she is commended for her strength of character, on the flip side it does seem to encourage some potentially unwanted attention.  The tale is quite simple and as the conclusion suggests, looks to set Vampi on her cause.  Fritz Casas art is strong lines highlighting a strong woman, replacing some of the cheesecake element with a Pual Gulacy sense of musculature.  This look is a direct contradiction to later stories in the book.

Mercy’s Lullaby (W) Eric Trautmann (A) Brett Weldele

Along with ’69 this  is probably one of the strongest stories in the book.  Eric Trautmann puts together a sad story of doing horrible things for good reasons creating, at the start at least, to a level of conflict.  The story is simple enough, but the art by Brett Weldele is gorgeous, especially when combined with the painted approach to the colors by Inlight Studios

Magic (W) Phil Hester (A) Jethro Morales

This tale is, for me the weakest of the batch on show.  Its kind of potted history of a certain of period of Vampi’s career.  As such, for fans who may not be aware of her history, this may seem like a bit of a non sequitur.  Still the art by Jethro Morales kind of fits the Dynamite house style, making this the least impressive, creatively.

The Beelzebums (W) Mark Rahner (A) Colton Worley

At first glance, I wasn’t that impressed with this story.  Mark Rahner fills the dialogue with groovy 60’s speech which distracts and Vampi seems to be little more than a sexy dancer looking for a thrill.  But stick with it, Rahner pulls it out at the end.  The art by Colton Worley fits the era well, with a grungy, dark look.

Werewolves of Dixie (W) David F. Walker (A) Aneke

Writer David F. Walker creates a new character for Vampi to interact with, one who has her own quest.  The story is pretty much  a fight story, with the new pairing taking on said werewolves.  Aneke has been drawing for Dynamite for a while so her work is quite recognizable, in this case, with a more dynamic approach than seen recently.

So there you have it, a quintet of stories, each showcasing everyone’s half-dressed vampire/alien, out just in time for the announced re-vamp (no pun intended) scheduled for the new year, showing that there still life in the undead Vampire Queen.

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