Paper Cuts: Vampirella Part 1

Mark Millar. Grant Morrison. Warren Ellis. James Robinson. Kurt Busiek. Alan Moore. Jeph Loeb. Amanda Conner. Jimmy Palmiotti. Tim Sale.

If I told you all those comic legends have given their talent to the same character that has been around for nearly 50 years, would you be able to guess the character? With all those creators working on the same property, you may think that it was a classic, iconic comic that currently dominates toy shelves and the big screen.

This icon was introduced in 1969 – just six years after, Avengers #1 – but she was not wearing tights. She was clad in a skin tight, red bikini.  It was the comics’ most infamous vampire, Vampirella.

It is hard to imagine that so many creators have worked on her over the years, yet the book for most comic circles goes relatively unnoticed in most comic circles.

For this very special edition of Paper Cuts, I wanted to tackle a couple issues of Vampirella in honor of Vampirella #0 which hit shelves last week and relaunch her series yet again.

Vampirella: Monthly Series Preview Edition #1 (Harris)

This could be arguably the most iconic team to work on the title. Grant Morrison and Mark Millar on writing duties, with art provided by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti.  While this was only a preview, the sole purpose of this was to get readers on board with the new launch and new direction of Vampirella.

The Amanda Conner art was clearly before the full height of her artistic powers, but still wonderful to marvel over. Her classic cartooning is very present, but the dark inks and heavy shadow cover the art, when they should have been highlighting her line work.

The story was engaging and felt more like a noir instead of your standard horror affair.

If you can find this preview issue and were looking to get into Vampirella, this is the perfect jumping on point. While it honors the continuity placed on it from years of storytelling before, the story is easy to follow for a new reader and gives you a fun timeline to follow in the back.  There are also interviews with the entire creative team.

Had this been the first issue I picked up of Vampirella ever, I may have been converted to a regular reader.

Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

Vampirella #0 (Dynamite)

The newest launch for Vampirella is written by Paul Cornell, who has written everything from Wolverine to Doctor Who. He also follows in the steps of classic Vampirella writers being from over the pond.  Jimmy Broxton tackles the art duties. He has worked with former series artist, Jimmy Palmiotti.

While this preview issue certainly sets the stage, it trots out one of my least favorite tropes: characters referencing their old continuity as a literal storybook of their past. While it will work once in a while with more tongue and cheek books like Die Kitty Die, here it felt a bit a forced.

Overall, the story does not give much away as far as the direction this book is going to head in so it is hard to grab one and really want more solely based on this issue alone which makes it a bit of a stumble. However, it is well-written with enough intrigue that it should be able to hook people who were interested in the series in the first place, whether that be a long time fan or someone discovering the character for the first time.

I really enjoyed the art, which had the very same aesthetic as the classic vampire comic, 30 Days of Night. It also felt like it belonged in the film universe of Day Watch and Night Watch. It’s a credit to Broxton that he is able to give a feel to the book so quickly in a short page count.

This zero issue also is packed full of interviews in the back. Unfortunately they are for all other books not named Vampirella.

Overall, it is hard to argue against buying this book since it carries a cover price of $0.25.

Ratings: 3.5 out of 5

Stay tuned for next week, when we take a look into a couple other re-launches of Vampirella, as well as some classic anthology stories.

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