VAMPIRELLA ARCHIVES VOL. 4 (Dynamite, First Printing, 2012; Hardcover)
Collects Vampirella #22-28 and 1972 Vampirella Annual (cover dates Annual 1972- October, 1973)
Writers: Don Glut, Bill DuBay, Doug Moench, Steve Englehart, Tony Isabella (credit given to Len Wein; Isabella ghost-wrote the story for him), J.R. Cochran, Esteban Maroto, Dube, Steve Skeates, John Jacobson, Ed Newsome, Kevin Pagan, Gerry Bordeau, Jim Stenstrum, Robert Rosen, Nicola Cuti, W. Eaton, George Henderson, James Crawford, Lynn Marron, Jose Toutain, Flaxman Loew, Fernandez, Jose Bea, James Crawford, and Bruce Bezaire
Artists: Jose Gonzalez, Esteban Maroto, Rafael Auraleon, Bill DuBay, Jose Bea, Ramon Torrents, Munes, Fernandez, Escolano, and Felix Mas, with cover paintings by Aslan, Enrich Torres, and Sanjulian
Vampirella is the star of this series. Her story takes up a chunk of each issue and she hosts the rest of the stories a la the Cryptkeeper. She is all cheesecake and helped usher adolescent Baby Boomers through puberty. In all honesty, she is the least interesting aspect of the series to me, as I don't read comic books for that kind of inspiration. I much prefer the non-Vampirella stories. They are interchangeable with the stories found in the other Warren Magazines (Creepy and Eerie), meaning that they are well executed EC-inspired Horror.
|Artwork by Auraleon.|
The 1972 Annual, which was omitted from Vol. 3, is thankfully included here. Stories which were reprinted from earlier issues in the series are omitted from that issue, which is fine. #23's Cobra Queen is one of those morality type stories that is so familiar that it must be derived from a fable. Don Glut is a great writer and pulls it off fabulously.
A quick look at the list of writers above shows that this is a proverbial who's who of Bronze Age stars before they were stars. Doug Moench's talent was already fully formed, as his stories are a cut above the rest. All of the stories were good, and the art is top notch as well. Younger fans may not recognize many of the names above, but all of these writers and artists deserve your notice.
|Artwork by Auraleon.|
Rafael Auraleon's artwork is without peer. His art in #24's The Choice is fantastic, so photo realistic that if it were done today I would swear that he was a Photoshop cheat of an artist. I wonder if he used models for photo referencing. Look at that splash page from #25's The Haunted Child. He crams so much atmosphere into each panel, truly cinematic stuff. His panel composition is like a camera angle, with each panel being a different shot. Absolutely brilliant. I could sit here all day and gush about his work.
|Artwork by Auraleon.|
Munes is another artist whose artwork is museum worthy, as evidenced by #26's Blood Brothers! He uses solids to paint colors in your mind more effective than using actual color. #28's Old Texas Road is another creepy one.
This is fun, old-fashioned Horror, heavy on the haunted houses, werewolves, and the like. It is interesting to see slasher type Horror begin to creep in. Anxieties about the Viet Nam War and the Cold War would soon usher in a new breed of Horror movie the following year. Movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre would forever change the standards of what is considered Horror, but that is a different conversation altogether. I prefer the old school to what passes as Horror these days. Now get off of my lawn!
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.
The OCD zone- Dynamite lists the creator credits in the table of contents by the names used in the original issues. Some of these, such as Dube, were pseudonyms for creators. (Dube was Bill DuBay.) There is a difference between a pseudonym and a “stage name”.
Other credits are not included. For example, the artists who did the painted covers that made the series so famous are not listed in the table of contents of the book (although they are credited on the original issue letters pages, which are included). Dynamite should have an intern do five minutes of Internet research so that proper credit can be given to the creators. Cripes, I'd be willing to do it for a comp copy of the book.
This book is presented in the dimensions of the original magazine publications, meaning that this is the same height and width as Dark Horse's Creepy and Eerie Archives as well as their EC Archives.
Linework and Color restoration: These are all cleaned up high resolution scans of the original issues. Covers and the handful of pages originally presented in color are in full color here.
Paper stock: Thick glossy coated stock. I like the smell of these Chinese made books.
Binding: Smyth sewn binding, lays perfectly flat. This book will outlast me on this Earth.
Dustjacket and Hardback cover notes: Dustjacket is fully laminated. Hardback has faux leather casewrap and dye foil stamping on the cover and spine.