Vampirella, created by Forrest J. Ackerman and Trina Robbins, back in 1969 for Warren Publishing, has a nice place in pop culture history as a vampire pin-up in an amazing sling nearly-naked suit. It is definitely iconic and definitely sexy fun. What I’ve always maintained is that, while you can have all the sexy fun you want in comics, don’t try to pretend it is anything more than exploitation if your actual story hangs by a thread and you are, in fact, only selling T&A. If you want to sell T&A, then have the balls to be honest about it.
In the case of Vampirella, this puts Dynamite Entertainment in an interesting position, since they’ve taken over the rights to the character in 2010. Dynamite’s reboot began with a story by Eric Trautmann, an Xbox games writer. Vampi is covered up in some rugged, very unrevealing gear, helps out a homeless guy, and is very earnest and boring. I say this sort of tongue-in-cheek. I appreciate that Dynamite continues to explore possibilities for the sexy vampire. And that brings us to this one-shot story written by Mark Rahner, known for mixing political commentary with zombies in his series, “Rotten,” and illustrated by Cezar Razek, a Dynamite favorite (“Hack/Slash,” “Red Sonja”).
So, what do you get when you mix a terribly self-conscious sex symbol with a writer who revels in exposing the right wing agenda? Well, interestingly enough, you get Vampi right back into that bombshell bikini, no apologies. That is fine and Cezar Razek can draw the hell out of that assignment. I would just remind Mr. Rahner that the right wing, while repressed, enjoys cheesecake just as much, if not more so than liberals (since the right is supposed to be so repressed. Ha ha.) But that fact is not lost on this writer. As is his want, he takes things as far as he can go: the great menace in this issue is a bunch of demonic Pilgrims out to subdue lust by bludgeoning any fornicators in its sights, particularly teenaged fornicators! Down with the teenaged fornicators!
Hey, that could be the title to a forthcoming one-shot: “Vampirella and the Teenaged Fornicators!” I could write that one for you, Dynamite. Seriously, I can see Vampirella taking on more satire and just chucking away a lot, if not all, of the earnest crime fighter crap that just doesn’t go anywhere. Well, I’m sorry, but there is a lot of truth to what I’m saying. Yes, writing, good writing, matters. In Mr. Rahner’s case, he does something different, and interesting, here.
As far as this being a biting satire on Buffy The Vampier Slayer, I could take it or leave it. Overall, it comes across a bit too heavy-handed for my taste. If you really want to take on Joss Whedon, then you have to go about it more like a friendly rival and not just mock like poking fun at his use of pop culture references. These are references made by his characters within a larger context. If you really want to poke fun, it would involve more of the look and feel of the characters as in their tendency to be emo. Anyway, I don’t have much more to say on this other than this one-shot offers something different and it is worth considering as new paths are charted for the scantily-clad vampire.
This was a special Halloween release so you can already find it on the shelves or seek it out online. Visit Dynamite Entertainment.