Vampirella

In simple terms, Vampirella is one of the most complex characters (and one of the oldest ladies in comics) to successfully survive and develop in comic fantasyland.

She has experienced more origins than most other characters, each one building on the last and revealing new aspects of her destiny. She has died more than once, yet returned to save the world from destruction more than once. She has lived and loved, known tragedy and sublime happiness, and discovered she is immortal. And, to add to her many achievements, she is one foxy lady.

Vampirella is stronger today than she has ever been thanks to the imaginative revival of her comic by Harris Publications, who bought the rights to the character from Warren Publishing in 1983 after Warren Publishing was forced into bankruptcy in 1981.

Her first appearance was in 1969, when she burst on the comics world with dramatic style to complement the current horror magazines Creepy and Eerie that Jim Warren was building into a success story of their own, but Vampirella was different. Unlike her two colleagues, Uncle Creepy and Cousin Eerie, who existed solely to introduce the ghoulish stories in their respective publications, Vampirella starred in a story of her own in her own magazine. Although she started more as a spoof on science fiction comics of the time, within a few months she had rapidly developed a serious streak to her stories. This led to a superb series of classic stories that surpassed most comic story-telling at that time, and this trend continues today with her current monthly comic series.

In 1982 Jim Warren published his last Vampirella magazine, #112. Harris Publications Ltd bought the rights to the character, but the world had to wait until 1991 before she was relaunched in the now-classic series Morning in America. So began an amazing series of comics that continues today, matching Vampirella against foes far fiercer than before. Harris continued to develop the character through the 1990s into the new millennium, giving her a new origin and purpose that surpassed the original stories of a supposed alien visitor from the stars. All of this is explained in her origin.

Vampirella has always had style and character, whether she is the star-crossed vampiress from another galaxy or the unwitting victim of her mother’s temptation. Not for her the passive path of most women in comics (although that view of female characters was well and truly shattered during the 90s). Vampirella has always stood her own ground, fought her own battles and loved those she chose to.

Although she has spawned a number of spin-offs in other media (a made-for-TV film, four paperback books. action toys and statuettes) Vampirella remains true to her roots as being a comic-book character. Her strength lies in the graphic story medium, both from the viewpoint of her artistic possibilities and the power of the plots of her stories. She is not only good to look at but attracts the best story-telling talent around.

Perhaps the greatest revelation of all is that Vampirella is not simply a pinup in the briefest costume ever, an excuse to give the male readers someone to look at while they pretend to read the story. There are plenty of comics around that do provide scantily clad ladies for the sex-starved with virtually no plot and plenty of opportunities for the heroines to lose their clothes or suffer at the hands of dastardly villains who delight in tying them up to perform dreadful deeds. Not so for Vampirella, who is supported by stories with genuine plots, writing that explodes over the page and art that turns each story into reality. Vampirella provides solid graphic storytelling.

Vampirella is emancipated, strong, aggressive, loving and courageous as she battles the forces of evil who are trying to take over the Earth. No-one could accuse her of being just a sex symbol, and the villains had better watch out when they try to engage her in battle. She has little mercy for those who would prey on the innocent, and precious little patience for the incompetent.

In short, she is a comic-book phenomenon who, after all these years, just keeps on getting better and better.

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