When Marvel jumped into the black and white magazine business in a big way in the early 70's, they did it with gusto. Riding the wave of interest in monster characters which had blossomed in the color comics, they sought to do a somewhat more "mature" version of these characters in the less restricted black and white arena. Dracula Lives and Monsters Unleashed featured iconic monsters, Dracula and Frankenstein respectively, characters with at least some name recognition beyond the Marvel Universe.
Not so with Vampire Tales, a title which featured the misadventures of Marvel's own Morbius the Living Vampire. Created in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man, Michael Morbius was a neat fusion of science and sorcery and a striking character visually. He is featured in these issues with some very muscular artwork by Pablo Marcos, Rich Buckler and later Tom Sutton. Also on hand in this series was Satana the Devil's Daughter and sibling to Damon Hellstrom, and a spin-off character from the successful Tomb of Dracula series, Blade the Vampire Killer. The series ran for eleven issues plus an annual full of reprint material. Then the black and white boom was done and the characters moved onto mostly four-color adventures since.
Recently Marvel reprinted the whole of the Vampire Tales material in three not-quite digest-sized volumes. The reprints are on quality stock and featured the color covers in vivid hues. The magazines are reprinted in order and in total. All the material is here, including vintage articles on all manner of things vampire and horror in general. It's always a hoot to read contemporaneous articles about movies which have long ago become classics. These little volumes are true time capsules from the early 1970's, one of my favorite places to hang out.
Never shy about its vintage material Marvel also included lots of stuff from the 1950's Atlas days in these comics to fill them out. It's all here. The volumes at twenty bucks stalled me, it seemed this stuff was worthy of single Essentials volume, but this past week I was able to bring two of the volumes home with some in-store credits and picked up the third one off Amazon for small money. So given that, I'm able to enjoy without feeling especially gouged.
Below are the covers of the three new volumes, done in a very low-key two-tone style along with the issues they contain. There's something disturbingly attractive about the truly lurid covers for Vampire Tales.