Saturday, September 1, 2012


VAMPIRELLA ARCHIVES VOL. 2 (Dynamite, 2010: Hardcover)

Collects Vampirella Nos. 8-14 (cover dates November, 1970- November, 1971)

Writers: Archie Goodwin, Gardner Fox, Steve Skeates, Nick Cuti, Don Glut, Doug Moench, Wally Wood, Chris Fellner, Alac Justice, Gerry Conway, Denny O'Neil, Len Wein, Chuck McNaughton, Larry Herndon, Buddy Saunders, Sanho Kim, Jeff Jones, Dan Latimer, Bill Dubay, Gary Kaufman, and Lynn Maron

Artists: Tom Sutton, Billy Graham, Ken Barr, Jack Sparling, George Roussos, Tony Williamsune*, Jeff Jones, Joe Wehrle, Wally Wood, Jerry Grandenetti, Barry Windsor-Smith, Alac Justice, Ralph Reese, Frank Brunner, Neal Adams, Steve Englehart, L.M. Roca, Dave Cockrum, Sanho Kim, Jose' Gonzales, Steve Hickman, Jose M. Bea, Bill Dubay, Gary Kaufman, Mike Ploog, and Esteban Maroto

There is a marked improvement in the quality of the stories in these issues over the ones collected in Volume One. Vampirella benefited from being a magazine, free from the conventions of the Comics Code Authority which strangled creativity at the time. These stories are a mixed bag, being either hit or miss. 

Artwork by Wally Wood. Is Wally Wood the first to use full bleed artwork in comics?

Some stories, such as To Kill A God by Wally Wood and She'll Never Learn from issue 11, are excellent, while others fall flat on their face. The ones that are good are really good, while the ones that are bad tend to be really, really bad. 

Esteban Maroto makes his Warren Magazines debut here. He is an incredible artist whose work I have bumped into now and again, and I always enjoy it when I see it. Ken Barr is another artist whose work really shines here.

Archie Goodwin really locks into a groove and establishes a continuity for Vampirella. I can see why this was so popular with the Baby Boomers, especially those in their adolescence during the original publication dates. Lots of double entendre and cheescake poses in her stories, ripe for teenage fantasies. The best stories are the ones that don't feature Vampirella and are likely left over from the other Warren mags, Creepy and Eerie.

Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The OCD zone- I love the paper used in these books. It's a super-duper thick coated stock with a dull matte finish. While this book has sewn binding, the casing is glued square into the spine, which prevents the binding to flex so that the book can lay flat. This book weighs 3.2 pounds (1.4515 kilograms), and the super squared binding and spine make it uncomfortable to hold in your hand to read. It doesn't lay flat within the first or last 100 pages. It's slightly over 400 pages, so it only lays flat for half of the book. This is publishing amateur hour.

There is a page sequencing error in Issue 9. Page 7 is placed before Page 5 on Jack the Ripper Strikes Again. This is unfortunate and amateurish, but at least it's better than what happened with Volume 3, which omitted 3 pages of story from 3 different stories. I'm not looking forward to reading that one. Dynamite never acknowledged the fans' complaints, nor did they offer a solution.

Solutions other publishers who have made similar mistakes have offered: Marvel omitted a story page in one of their old G.I. Joe trade paperbacks, but included it in the back of the next volume. Gemstone repeated a cover and omitted another in Weird Science Archives Vol. 3. They printed out a tip-in sheet, which was sent to all retailers for those who ordered the book. They also went to great expense and cracked open every remaining copy in the warehouse, inserted the tip-in sheet, and resealed them. Fantagraphics/Blake Bell omitted two pages in two separate stories in The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3, and offered two solutions. Printable tip-in sheets on the Fantagraphics website and the complete stories will be included in Volume 4.

All are satisfactory solutions to unfortunate editorial errors. Dynamite has done nothing, and have as a result they have lost me. I won't be purchasing the rest of the run of this title.

Linework restoration rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Paper rating: 5 out of 5.

Binding rating: 2 out of 5.

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  1. very frustrating when there's a glaring error, i'd agree. the 6th hitman trade is missing an entire issue right towards the end of the story. realllly hacks me off!

    1. Say what? DC Comics Hitman vol. 6? Please clarify what you're talking about...