Thursday, March 19, 2009

Vampirella 83

Jose Gonzalez and Kim McQuaite provide the cover for this all reprint issue of Vampirella, cover dated December 1979. Alas, by this point even the Vampirella reprint issues didn't have the usual new Vampi story they used to have.

First is "The God of Blood" by Jose Gonzalez (art) and Mike Butterworth (story, as Flaxman Loew), from Vampirella 30. In this story Vampirella meets a fellow illusionist who wears a mask and was actually given power from Chaos, which he chooses to abuse. The illusionist captures Vampirella and dresses as the sun god, but the actual sun god shows up and kills him, then kisses Vampirella as the story ends. This story is continued with the next story.

Second is "The Betrothed of the Sun-God!" by Jose Gonzalez (art) and Mike Butterworth (story, as Flaxman Loew), from Vampirella 31. In this story Vampi is the lover of a Sun God that can only appear once a month, but kills anyone who even appears to be attracted to Vampirella. At the same time Pendragon receives a message from a long lost relative and the two of them travel to Paris. The 'relative' is actually a con artist who cons people into putting her in their will, killing them soon afterwards. When handsome poet writes a poem for Vampi the Sun God desires to burn the entire city of Paris to the ground, but Vampi convinces him instead to simply strike the con artist's house with lightning, which kills her and her entire group of henchmen. Vampi then decides to break things off with the Sun God. Gonzalez's art here is very impressive.

Third is "Second Childhood" by Ramon Torrents (art) and Bruce Jones (story), from Creepy 88. This story is about a man, nicknamed Knobby and his rich friend, Chadwick. Chadwick, who with his wealth can have any woman he wants becomes enamored with a priestess in a small African village. Forbidden to be with her, he burns down the village and brings her back to the US. She refuses to sleep with him until drunk one night he rapes her. After their baby is born, Chadwick ends up going into an institution, being unable to write or talk anymore. Knobby goes to his home where he finds Chadwick's baby, which is revealed to actually have Chadwick's mind.

My number one warren story of all time is fourth, "Yellow Heat" by Russ Heath (art) and Bruce Jones (story), from Vampirella 58. Heath's art is some of the best to ever appear in a Warren story. This story takes place in Africa before World War I and surrounds Uthu, a young warrior in an African tribe. When a beautiful woman from an opposing tribe is captured, Uthu desires her for himself and challenges the chief when he claims her. In order to obtain her, the chief orders Uthu to accomplish a warrior's quest where he singlehandedly must kill a full grown lion with only a spear within 3 days. A near impossible task, things get even tougher for Uthu when a lion ambushes him unprepared. He gets very lucky however when a large snake attacks the lion, killing it. Uthu kills the snake and drags the lion back to his tribe, victorious. He enters the hut where the captured woman is waiting for him... and thats as far as I'm going to go. This story is memorable largely for having one of the biggest shock endings in Warren history and I'm not going to spoil it for my readers. Let me just say that the final panel is extremely horrific and startling, but ultimately makes sense within the confines of the story once you read it again. Just a fantastic, fantastic story.

Last is "Harry" by Jeff Jones (story & art), from Vampirella 32. This story was originally printed in color, but is black and white here. A very fast paced story at only 6 pages, it features a little girl walking around with her stuffed bunny rabbit Harry. Talking to herself, it becomes clear that her parents were killed in a fire because they didn't like him. Her head starts hurting and she collapses; someone else later finding Harry.

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