Thursday, May 31, 2012

YEAR 1969: VAMPIRELLA



As the sixties drew to a close the publishers of "mainstream" color comics were still hemmed in by their self-policing Comics Code.  However, for roughly five years Warren Publishing had been bypassing the restrictions of the Code with his black-and-white horror-comics magazines, CREEPY and EERIE, and no new anti-comics jeremiads were mounted against him.  In Sept 1969 Warren published the first issue of another b&w magazine, entitled VAMPIRELLA, created by horror-magazine icon Forrest J. Ackerman and artist Trina Robbins.

In early issues Vampirella-- an alien vampire from the planet Drakulon-- functioned much as did the horror-hosts of CREEPY and EERIE, serving as a "mistress of ceremonies" for an assortment of horror tales.  However, within a few months Vampirella became the star of her own horror-adventure stories, as she journeyed about the planet Earth, seeking to overthrow evil devil-cults and find romance at the same time.

Patently Vampirella's costume-- probably the most revealing to debut in the 1960s-- had a "Playboy Club" aesthetic behind it. That said, Vampirella was not reduced to an object by her skimpy attire.  She had a wealth of vampiric powers, including super-strength, hypnotism and the ability to grow batwings and fly.

An excellent essay on Vampirella's costume and one of her foremost artists, Jose Gonzales, can found at
The Groovy Age of Horror.

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