Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Vampirella 35

For my first issue of Vampirella, I'm going to take a look at issue #35, from August 1974. The sexy cover is by Enrich, who was the most prolific cover artist for this title. This issue, similar to Creepy #64 a few days ago was edited by Archie Goodwin during his short return as editor to Warren in 1974.

The Vampirella story this issue is titled "The Blood Gulper", with art by Jose Ortiz and story by Flaxman Loew. 'Flaxman Loew' was a pseudonym for Mike Butterworth. I never thought his stories were that bad, but they seemed to get criticized frequently in the letters column. Admittingly he would use certain themes repeatedly and pretty much ignored the Van Helsings in all his stories, so I can see where some of the criticism is coming from. This story is about an artificial singer that needs an entire human body's worth of blood a day to continue operating. Naturally when people start appearing with their blood drained, it's all blamed on Vampi. An okay story, with very good art by Ortiz, who made his first Warren appearance with this story.

Next up is Relatives by Esteban Maroto (art) and Bruce Bezaire (story) about a pair of astronauts who encounter a civilization of bizarre looking aliens. One of the astronauts, a deeply religious man, refuses to believe that the aliens are intelligent and kills one of them, only to later find out that they were praying when they met him. A fairly good, although quite short, sci-fi story with some extremely odd looking aliens.
Third is "Our Tarts Were Young and Gay" by Ramon Torrents (art) and John Jacobson (story). This story stars the witch Fleur, who was, for a short time, a backup heroine in Vampirella. This story features her encounter in a brothel with a very odd customer. After this issue Fleur wouldn't have her own story in Vampirella again for years, although she did have a short cameo in a Vampirella story in issue #50. Terrific art by Torrents and the best of the Fleur stories in my opinion.

Fourth is "Pure As Snow" by Felix Mas (art) and Jack Butterworth (story), this issue's color story. This story takes place mostly in a log cabin in the midst of winter, where a man's fiance dies during the night yet her corpse behaves like it is still is alive. While the story ain't bad, the coloring on this story is absolutely dreadful.

"The Night Ran Red With Gore" by Auraleon (art) and Carl Wessler (story) is fifth. It's about a woman and her daughter who flee from a vampire... or do they? As it turns out in the end, the man they were fleeing was a vampire hunter, and the girl was the vampire all along. Auraleon's art perfectly fits this story, although the ending was rather predictable.

The issue wraps up with "Rendezvous", which was both drawn and written by Fernando Fernandez. By far the issue's best story, and one of the top 10 Warren stories ever in my opinion. It was ranked the 18th best Warren story of all time in the Warren companion. The story surrounds a young woman whose husband has gone to war and is being pursued by a jealous suitor in her empty house. On of the best Warren shock endings of all time, so I'll leave it as a surprise. Fernandez was both a terrific artist and writer, and this was the best of his stories.

Quite a good issue of Vampi from Warren's top period of output.

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