Sunday, December 16, 2012

Vampire Tales – volume 1 – review

Author: Various

Artist: Various

First Published: 2010 (this format)

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: Morbius the living vampire and Satana the Devil’s daughter!

The reluctant revenant and the sinister succubus – two of Marvel’s most preternatural protagonists – go up against demons, cults and mortals even more monstrous than themselves! Featuring black-and-white horror tales from the 1970s horror boom and some of the genre’s greatest talents, collected for the first time! Plus: adaptations of classic terror tales from literature!

The review: Vampire Tales first appeared in 1973 and was more a zine than a comic book, with articles as well as short comic tales – some standalone and some revisited each issue. This small, digest sized volume contains a full reprint of issues 1-3.

The articles are a little bit cheesy but they are often amusing. There is a split (running over 5 issues) look at Summer’s The Vampire; his Kith and Kin and I was amused by the article listing some of the worst vampire films ever (though some doozies had yet to be filmed in 1973, obviously, and so are not listed).

However, like me, you are probably more interested in the comic strips. As I suggested, some (like Marvel mainstay Morbius) have an on-running story – in the case of Morbius a battle with the Demon-Fire cult. Morbius himself is an interesting character, his vampirism was created by science (as he tried to cure himself of a blood disease, in Spider-man) and he is conflicted, haunted by the deeds his hunger forces upon him.

The other on-running story is that of Satana. More energy vampire or succubus than blood-sucking vampire I was interested to note that she also ate the souls of her victims – that took the form of butterflies or moths.

The first issue has Marvel’s retelling of Polidori’s the Vampyre: a Tale and a personal favourite story was an adaptation of August Derleth’s Bat’s Belfry. There were one or two stories that went off track into demon or werewolf territory, which seemed a shame as I am sure there was plenty of vampire material available.

There is no mistaking the fact that the artwork is 1970s and is lovely for it and the reprint is just that, no colourisation has been entered into. All in all a great trip back into comic history. 8 out of 10.