Sunday, January 1, 2012

Vampirella 2

Bill Hughes provides the cover for this issue of Vampirella, dated November 1969. Tom Sutton provides the story and art for the frontispiece "Vampi's Feary Tales".

First is "Evily" by Jerry Grandenetti (art) and Bill Parente (story). Evily is a sorceress who is Vampirella's cousin, living in a castle in the Black Forest of Vaalgania. She invites a number of guests to her castle for a party who are revealed to be monsters. She also brings back a number of people to the dead from her basement. The monsters bring her a cloaked figure which ends up being Vampirella in a cameo role. Vampirella demands Evily's throne and a spell of Evily is bounced back at her by her mirror, turning her into a cat. Some good art by Grandenetti, but a rather weak start to the issue.

Next is "Montezuma's Monster" by Tony Williamsune (art) and Don Glut (story). A trio of men head to Mexico to search for Montezuma's treasure. They eventually find it in a cave where they also find some mummified corpses and a drawing of Quetzalcoatl, a flying serprent that is said can turn any winged thing into itself. The men take the treasure and start heading back to the U.S. Along the way a buzzard turns into Quetzalcoatl and kills one of the men. The other men try to kill any bird they find along the way to prevent it from happening again. One of them plots to kill the other, but is killed by Quetzalcoatl, who had transformed from a mosquito, at the last second. The final man gets back to civilization and thinks he's made it back safely at the airport, but the airplane turns into Quetzalcoatl and kills him.

Third is "Down to Earth!", this issue's Vampirella story, by Mike Royer (art) and Forrest Ackerman (story). This story is notable for being the only instance where an issue had a Vampirella story but it did not lead off the issue. The story also features Vampirella's twin sister Draculina, in her sole appearance, who acts as host. This story features Vampirella trying out for a Monsterella contest at the Warren offices where she is selected the winner by James Warren and Forrest Ackerman, giving her the name Bambi Aurora. Traveling on a plane to Hollywood, a bolt of lightning strikes it, blowing it up. An absolutely horrific story with a ridiculous ending, this is probably the worst Vampirella story of all time. Thankfully this would be the last time Royer or Ackerman did a Vampirella story and she wouldn't start in a story again until issue 8.

Fourth is "Queen of Horror!" by Dick Piscopo (art) and Don Glut (story). Similar themed to the previous story, it is about a monster movie director, Katzman who is looking for a new hot theme since his movies haven't done well lately. His assistant, with the help of a "Gorry Hackerman" (an obvious nod to Forrest Ackerman) comes up with the idea of having a female monster. Their actress is found in a bar, a woman named Mildred who is soon renamed to Adriana. Adriana does very well in a series of hit monster movies. One night Katzman invites her to his home, telling her he is in love with her. Adriana tells him no man could be happy with her and reveals that she actually is a monster, transforming into a werewolf who kills him. Adriana looks enough like Vampirella that I half expected it to end up being her while reading the story.

Next is "The Octopus" by William Barry (art) and Nicola Cuti (story). A man named Gary is invited to his brother Carl's home along with his two children where he is shown a large octopus in the well. Carl brings Gary underwater with him to investigate where he kills him in order to get his inheritance. He later tries to kill Gary's children by pushing them into the well but falls in when they move out of the way and is killed by the Octopus. Carl later returns in Octopus form to kill the children but is killed by the corpse of Gary, who has returned to protect his childen.

Sixth is "One, Two, Three" by Ernie Colon (art) and Nicola Cuti (story). A pair of androids, Kleet and Lia are brought in front of a trio of robot judges, on trial for showing emotion. Flashbacks show how they got to this point, with Lia reading fairy tales to the children she takes care of. She becomes obsessed with being rescued by a hero and is thrown out of her master's home when a man comes to the door and she asks him to take her with him. She is pursued by robot searchers and is found by Kleet when she is found playing with flowers in a field. Kleet brings her to an abandoned post but they are eventually caught and brought before the judges. The two are found guilty and brought out to a home in the desert. They are destroyed soon after however when it is revealed that the home is on a nuclear bomb testing site.

The issue concludes with "Rhapsody in Red!" by Billy Graham (art) and Don Glut (story). A husband and wife are caught in a big rainstorm in Transylvania and come across a large castle. Inside the castle they meet the mysterious Countess Margat Sinovitz who lets them stay there. The two of them suspect the Countess is a vampire due to the lack of electricity and mirrors in the castle as well as her strong, bat-like hearing. She attacks the husband, turning him into a vampire. She wants him to become her husband but he instead bites his wife, making her a vampire as well and kills the Countess with a sword.