Sunday, 13 September 2015
Warren Comics: Vampirella #42 (1975)
Warren Publishing aimed it's black and white horror anthology titles at a more mature market, in other words comics for adults and because of this were outside the rather restrictive Comics Code Authority that was responsible for censoring the mainstream publishers such as DC and Marvel.
In addition to their horror anthologies Creepy and Eerie, they also published Vampirella, the tales of a Vampire from the Planet Draculon who came to Earth to fight vampires and other evils in the skimpiest of costumes possible. As such it did have a certain appeal in those less than politically correct days, but compared to the graphics produced by some modern publishers such as Avatar, the scenes are in fact quite tame.
Like Warrens other comics Vampirella is an anthology title led by tales of the vampire herself and contained another ongoing series Pantha about a woman who turned into a Panther which could be gruesome. You really didn't want to make her angry.
Subscriptions came with a free gift of the poster below. I have a modern reprint of this and it is in fact life size and will fit on your bedroom door.
In this issue, Vampirella and her companion Pendragon crash land in the Amazon and face The Mountain of Skulls built by cannibal women who eat their victims and then plate the skulls in gold. Whilst Vampi wanders off to try and find help her fellow survivors are captured and the noisy one gets his head lopped ready for dinner.
Vampi manages to locate assistance in the form of some gold hunters so you just know things are not going to end well.
This is followed by an odd tail called ...Just beyond Eternity, best described as a tale of survival and love during and after the first world war. Laugh Clown Laugh! comes next with the downfall of Barnum's most famous clown because of man's mistrust of those who are different. A morality tale if you wish.
Pantha appears in the seedy world of strippers, used and abused by those around her until one ftal advance causes her to turn and tear her harasser apart. This story (which involved lesbianism) did cause some consternation in the letter pages a couple of issues on.
The final tale, The Whitfield Contract is about an assassin with a bit of a twist as he decides to retire and renege on his last assignment.
These comics actually stand up to the test of time and are well worth reading.
Vampirella ran for 113 issues from 1969 to 1988.
However her story does not end there. The rights to this character where first taken over by Harris Comics and today the licence is with Dynamite Entertainment.
Vampirella continues her fight against evil!
First and last issues of the Warren run.