Vampirella — Part II

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The sec­ond install­ment about the mes­mer­ic char­ac­ter Vampirella

The Cos­tume: The most strik­ing image of Vam­pirella is, of course, her cos­tume. It first appeared on the cov­er of the “Vam­pirella” #1 by not­ed fan­ta­sy artist Frank Frazetta, but he was­n’t the one who designed it. (Anoth­er artist had already cre­at­ed the cov­er art for the issue but edi­tor Jim War­ren want­ed some­thing more dra­mat­ic.) As War­ren was try­ing to describe how the cos­tume should look over phone to Frazetta, artist Tri­na Rob­bins, who hap­pened to be in the room with War­ren, began sketch­ing out a design. Once it was done, she took over speak­ing on the phone, describ­ing her design to Frazetta, who would lat­er add the bat image and the armband.

The Nov­els: Six nov­el adap­ta­tions of the ear­ly sto­ries were released, all adapt­ed by SF author and comics fan and his­to­ry expert Ron Goulart, although no cred­it is giv­en the orig­i­nal script writ­ers. The six nov­els are:

  1. “Blood­stalk” “Beau­ti­ful. Mys­te­ri­ous. Dead­ly. Lost in a world not her own. Thirst­ing for love … adven­ture  … blood!”
  2. “On Alien Wings”
  3. “Dead­walk” “The beau­ti­ful but dead­ly siren form the stars bat­tles the evil of Voodoo and the Undead of the Earth”
  4. “Blood Wed­ding” “Evil forces con­spire to mar­ry the beau­ti­ful alien to her most unspeak­able enemy!”
  5. “Deathgame” “The beau­ti­ful alien plays at love with a stranger whose secret is more dead­ly than her own blood lust”
  6. “Snakegod” “In the jun­gle, the beau­ti­ful alien con­fronts an evil priest­ess who wants her lover — and her life!”


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The Movie: In 1996, “Vam­pirella”, a direct to video pro­duc­tion was released, star­ring Tal­isa Soto as Vam­pirella and Roger Dal­trey (of The Who) as the antag­o­nist Vlad. The sto­ry gen­er­al­ly fol­lowed Vam­pirella’s ori­gin sto­ry, com­plete with her trav­el to Earth, where she is now hunt­ing Vlad, the per­son who mur­dered her father and the rest of the Draku­lo­ni­ans. It does fea­ture two scenes of a sort of vam­pire mes­merism: one, dur­ing land­ing, when Vam­pirella emerges into the rock­et con­trol room and use her mes­mer­ic pow­ers to make the astro­nauts for­get her, although here its more like tele­path­ic mind con­trol; and two, where Vlad uses his pow­er to escape being imprisoned.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, despite her ear­li­er agree­ment, Soto would not wear the orig­i­nal cos­tume, even though it had been worn by a num­ber of mod­els over the years (on many mag­a­zine cov­ers, among oth­er places) so a mod­i­fied ver­sion of the cos­tume was used, being much less revealing.

The Har­ris Pub­li­ca­tion Era: When Har­ris Pub­li­ca­tions took over the rights and the pub­li­ca­tion of the char­ac­ter, they made sig­nif­i­cant changes to her. Most sig­nif­i­cant­ly was that she dis­cov­ered her whole his­to­ry was a lie: she was in fact the daugh­ter of Lilith, the first wife of Adam from Hebrew leg­ends. Lilith was eject­ed from the Gar­den of Eden for not sub­mit­ting to Adam and so instead trav­eled to Hell and became the moth­er of vam­pires. Vam­pirella was her last child, con­ceived as a counter to the rest of her chil­dren as a means of seek­ing for­give­ness, but her mem­o­ries were altered by her sib­lings Madek and Mag­da­lene to keep her from achiev­ing her true pow­er and com­plet­ing her mission.

How­ev­er, as the daugh­ter of Lilith, Vam­pirella pos­sess­es the pow­er of a suc­cubus, mean­ing that she can be irre­sistible to any man if she choos­es. As such, its actu­al­ly not much dif­fer­ent from her mes­mer­iz­ing gaze as it appeared in the War­ren sto­ries, as there she only used it on men. How­ev­er, she has used this abil­i­ty even less than she did in her ear­li­er incar­na­tion, rely­ing on almost exclu­sive­ly her super­nat­ur­al strength and fight­ing ability.

Oth­er than that, Vam­pirella’s mis­sion is large­ly the same, fight­ing on the side of human­i­ty against the oth­er vampires.

The Dyna­mite Pub­li­ca­tion Era: In 2010, Dyna­mite Pub­li­ca­tions bought the rights to Vam­pirella. From what lit­tle they have pub­lished at this time, it appears they are keep­ing to the same sto­ry­line and origin.

Com­men­tary: The par­al­lels to the char­ac­ter of the Shad­ow are strik­ing: both were cre­at­ed to be hosts of their respec­tive pub­li­ca­tions but soon went on to be pop­u­lar and pro­duc­tive char­ac­ters in their own right, evolv­ing and chang­ing. Plus, in cer­tain incar­na­tions, they both had hyp­not­ic pow­ers. It would be inter­est­ing to see a cross-over between the two, but that’s unlike­ly, if only for the fact they’re of dif­fer­ent eras. (Vam­pirella by Kalu­ta: that’s a yum­my image to con­sid­er, though.)

Also: giv­en that all Draku­lo­ni­ans could mes­mer­ize, how did their soci­ety func­tion, if the more pow­er­ful mes­merists could enforce their will over the oth­ers? Cer­tain­ly there had to be some pow­er lev­el dif­fer­ence between indi­vid­u­als. Were they ruled by the strongest mes­merists, or was there some soci­etal restric­tion on using their pow­er on oth­ers? If there was, could it be because of past mis­use? The soci­ety of Mar­i­on Zim­mer Bradley’s world of Dark­over comes to mind here: past mis­use of their psy­chic abil­i­ties to cre­ate hor­rif­ic weapons of mass destruc­tion led to an unbreak­able  soci­etal taboo against per­son­al weapons with any range out­side the wield­er’s phys­i­cal reach.


2 comments to Vampirella — Part II

  • Darci

    It’s been many years since I read any sto­ries based on Draku­lon, but was­n’t part of the descrip­tion that they had once been tech­no­log­i­cal­ly advanced, but had fall­en to the state of hunter-gath­er­ers? Your hypoth­e­sis about what would hap­pen to a soci­ety that devel­oped such mes­mer­ic pow­ers may be the expla­na­tion, rather than the eco­log­i­cal dis­as­ter we saw when we first vis­it­ed the planet.

    I hope some­one picks up on that cue!

  • TeraS

    I’ve been hav­ing all sorts of prob­lems try­ing to define if Vampi is a Suc­cubus or not to be hon­est. The prob­lem comes from her vam­pir­ic her­itage which to me seems at odds with her being a Succubus…

    It could be just anoth­er story…

    Still, I can hope that she becomes less vam­pir­ic and more Suc­cubus like…