Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Review- VAMPIRELLA ARCHIVES VOL. 3 HC

VAMPIRELLA ARCHIVES VOL. 3 (Dynamite, 2011; Hardcover)
Collects Vampirella Nos. 15-21 (cover dates January- December, 1972)

Writers: Archie Goodwin, Don McGregor, Doug Moench, Dave Mitchell, Pat Boyette, Nicola Cuti, Don Glut, Bill Dubay, Nebot, Gus St. Anthony, Jan S. Strnad, T. Casey Brennan, Mike Jennings, Esteban Maroto, Steve Skeates, Kevin Pagan, Martin Pasko, Greg Potter, Chad Archer, and Chuck McNaughton.
Artists: Jose' Gonzalez, Esteban Maroto, Jose Bea, Richard Corben, Luis Garcia, Nebot, Auraleon, Pat Boyette, Bill Dubay, Felix Mas, Jerry Grandenetti, L.M. Roca, Luis Dominguez, and Martin Pasko.

The Warren magazines are a mixed bag in terms of quality, although this series is much better three books in. Vampirella the character has become more three-dimensional and less cheesecakey. The weaker stories were the ones with Vampirella in them. The better ones were the generic Warren Horror stories which would be interchangeable with either of the other titles, Creepy and Eerie. These were, of course, variations of old Pre-Code Horror comics such as those found in EC, Harvey, etc. of two decades prior. I don't need the wheel reinvented, just give me some solid old school Horror and I am happy. Even though this was a magazine which eschewed the Comics Code Authority of the day, there is little in the way of gore. Most of the taboos found here which would have raised the ire of the CCA would be slight nudity, excessive faux-occult references, and vampires and the like.
Gorilla My Dreams (issue #16) is one of those tried and true Horror stories which has been told so many times that it is almost impossible to pinpoint where it originally came from. I'm going to go with the old saying that all cliches come from either The Bible or Shakespeare. Surely this can be found in either one, right? (Insert winky-faced smiley guy.)
This book is filled to the brim with talent. Many of the writers, such as Don McGregor and Doug Moench, would go on to great acclaim over at Marvel (and later DC as well for Moench). On the art side there are fewer “names” but no less talent. Artists such as Esteban Maroto and Luis Garcia offer stunning photo-realistic artwork decades prior to Photoshop. Some of these cats are awe inspiring, and I can't help but wonder why they didn't stick around. Maybe they left comics to pursue more lucrative graphic design or commercial artwork.
The concerns of young people of the time, such as drugs, feminism, nuclear annihilation, and the overall anxiety and sense of foreboding of the era are all captured brilliantly here. I tend to read old comics with the era that they were written in in mind. Some of this material holds up in 2013 by 2013 standards, other stuff is lovably dated and charming and quaint.
There are some real problems with this book, though, and you must read this edition of The OCD zone below for more information on that. Before we end the review portion, I must give credit to the following fine human beings for their invaluable assistance:
Special thanks to Aussie Stu from the Masterworks Message Board for furnishing me with high resolution TIFs of the two missing story pages.
Special thanks to KOBE 27 from the Masterworks Message Board for furnishing scans of the two missing text pages.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.
The OCD zone- This book is missing several pages. I have emailed and Tweeted Dynamite Entertainment about this and have yet to get a response.
Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I have obtained scans of the missing story pages and printed them out and tipped them in myself. The following pages are missing:
Page 17 of ...And Be A Bride Of Chaos from issue 16 (Page 22 of the issue proper).
Page 8 of Death In The Shadows from issue 17. This page is the climax of the story for crying out loud! (Page 41 of the issue proper.)
Second page of the Scarlett Letters column in issue 20. 
Second page of the Vampi's Flames fan story column from issue 20.
So there they are...the four missing pages! Just print them out, trim them accordingly, and tip them in! Thanks again to Aussie Stu, who provided super high quality TIFs of the story pages, and KOBE 27, who did the JPEGs of the text pages. You guys rock!
Dynamite had three courses of action that they could have done to rectify these errors:
  1. Recalled the entire run and pulped it and/or manually glued in tip-in sheets of the missing pages.
  2. Offered high resolution PDFs on their site for people to print and then tip-in themselves, or...
  3. Done #2 and then reprint the complete stories with an apology in Volume 4. NONE of these things happened. Dynamite is clowntown and I know of many folks who have quit this line of books because of the fiasco that is Vampirella Archives Volume 3.
Dynamite also screwed up by not including the Vampirella 1972 Annual, which had an all-new cover and a brand new 15 page story, The Origin Of Vampirella. This story was reprinted in issue 46, albeit with a new script.
It would be nice if a company doing a high end series of Archives like this, which are by design completist be all, end all editions, would do 10 minutes of research online when mapping these books out. Dynamite should also pay more attention when mapping these books out. People make mistakes, but owning up to them is part of being human. Dynamite has lost a lot of goodwill with the fans of these books.
Gripe for Volume 2 that I did not include in that book's review years ago: The story Fiends In The Night from issue 10 was not included in that book because it featured Uncle Creepy. This is at least understandable as Dynamite's license does not include that character, I am just mentioning it as a point of reference for the OCD completists out there. 
Curiouser and curiouser...this was found on Page 77, in one of the stories missing a page. Note how the *box refers to the Creepy Classics Trade Paperback from the '90s rather than the original issue. Is it possible that Harris did paste ups? Or is this the case of altered film? Or is it that Dynamite are simply incompetent boobs?
DVD-style Extras included in this book: A three page preview of Dynamite's new Vampirella series.
Linework and Color restoration rating: 5 out of 5. Solid restoration.
Paper rating: 5 out of 5. Beautiful thick coated stock, dull matte semi-glossy. Considerably less glossy than Dark Horse's Creepy and Eerie Archives
Binding rating: 4.25 out of 5. While the binding is indeed sewn, the book block is glued square to the casing, rendering it a two-fisted read for roughly a quarter of the book. It is a durable binding but will not lay completely flat in the very front or the very back of the book.



2 comments:

  1. Have you contacted Bleeding Cool? Getting them on the case might help spur Dynamite to some action

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    Replies
    1. I should have done that when the book came out in early 2011. lol I finally rotated it through the backlog, which is why I'm addressing it now.

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