Monday, February 6, 2012

Reviews- Vampire Tales Vol. 3; Atmospherics

VAMPIRE TALES VOL. 3 (Marvel, 2011; Softcover)

Collects Vampire Tales Nos. 8-11 (cover dates December, 1974- June, 1975)

Writers: Gerry Conway, Chris Claremont, Doug Moench, Don McGregor, Marv Wolfman and others

Artists: Sonny Trinidad, Alfredo Alcala, Tony DeZuniga, Russ Heath, Mike Vosburg, Yong Montano and others

Morbius the Living Vampire is one of my all-time favorite comic book characters. Indeed, I use his Marvel Value Stamp from the early '70s as my avatar on the Masterworks Message Board, so to get these classics collected is a dream come true.

Don McGregor's Morbius story (High Midnight from VT #8) was a chore to get through. While I love Morbius, McGregor uses the second party narrative to spew his personal philosophies of disdain for corporations, to the detriment of the story. While I share some of his views, I find it ironic that he uses an abundance of corporate owned popular culture icons as reference points for the actions of the characters. I don't believe that was his intention. It also severely dates his writing, as a younger reader picking up this book would be like “who is Rin Tin Tin?” I guess they could grab their smartphone and Google it. 

Doug Moench's writing is top notch as usual. He really had a gritty, street level approach to his writing. This straddles between zeitgeist and timeless, as these stories could just as easily be set in 2012.

Sonny Trinidad is an outstanding artist, one whose name isn't mentioned enough in conversation for my tastes. If he were an artist on a more commercially successful run of titles than these '70s Marvel black and white magazines then fandom would consider him a legend.

No, the gutters are not THAT tight. I just had to hold the book at a weird angle in order to get a relatively flat picture of the cover. Morbius rules!

Blade the Vampire Slayer is also a regular feature in this title. The restoration is worlds better here than on the old Blade: Black and White TPB.

The OCD zone- The restoration is excellent, with the exception of Blood Lunge from Vampire Tales #9. It's obviously scanned, and at a low resolution to boot. It has jagged lines and pixelation. Adding insult to injury, pages 2 and 3 are mixed up on that story. I am happy to see the covers in color. Marvel could've gone all cheap on us and printed them in black and white like the stories themselves.

This is one of the GN-TPB sized books, and despite the fact that the artwork was shrunk down from the original magazine size, it reads just fine. I would love to see this stuff collected in an omnibus or oversized hardcover but I can live with these three trades if not. I am just happy to see these lost classics finally collected. 

ATMOSPHERICS (Avatar, 2011- actually released in 2012; Softcover)

Original graphic novel

Writer: Warren Ellis

Artist: Ken Meyer, Jr.

Remastered and recolored from the original 2002 release, Atmospherics is a rollicking good time...if your idea of a good time is a completely nuts take on alien abductions and/or adverse reactions to heroin use. I thought that this was fantastic. I enjoy everything that I read by Warren Ellis. I don't own his entire catalog or anything, but his name attached to a project makes me more inclined to pick it up.

The OCD zone- This is basically a prestige format comic book/ graphic 'novelette'. I'd rather have a skinny 48 page book that is good than a bloated, 120 page trade paperback filled with nonsense double page spreads.

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  1. How was Claremont's writing on Vampire Tales?

  2. Good but not great. He wasn't up to speed yet. Doug Moench's stuff was the best in the book.

  3. I'm going to order volume 1 to test the waters.