Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Vampire Tales #10 - Plague Of Blood!

Vampire Tales #10 is dated April, 1975 and features a striking Richard Hexcox cover featuring Morbius the Living Vampire in all his vile glory. It's a great cover, maybe my favorite of all the Vampire Tales covers. It speaks directly to the main story in the issue, a multi-part Morbius epic.

"A Taste of Crimson Life" by Doug Moench and Sonny Trinidad occupies most of this issue, divided in three parts throughout the magazine. The first part titled "First Phase: Fast of Blood" begins with Morbius seeking a quiet isolated place to experiment on his tortured state and hopefully find a cure. He finds and rents a room in an lonely house in Painesville, Pennsylvania and meets his landlady Alicia Twain, a forlorn and lonely woman who against her better judgment invades his privacy and discovers his secret. Morbius in an effort to not slay the woman to slake his thirst flies from the house in a frenzy. To read this story in its entirety (save for a few splash pages) in the original art for check out this link.Trinidad's work fairly shines.

Next up is another story about a house titled "A House of Pleasure, The House of Death" written by Moench with some really outstanding artwork by Mike Vosburg and Howard Nostrand. In this one a man seeks a mansion in which it is rumored a man will find erotic delights but no one speaks of it directly since no one seems to every return. He goes there, finds it filled with beautiful vampire women who seek his blood, but he is prepared and uses stakes to fend them off. He battles the vampires and finds his father, the king of the region who has succumb to the vampires and dies in his son's arms. The prince, now the king burns the mansion down killing the vampires, but at the cost of his own sanity it seems.

The second part of the Morbius story is titled "Second Phase: Temptation" and finds Morbius entering the town of Painesville and finding a victim. He returns to the house to find Alicia willing to help him. Meanwhile the miners who live there go to the lonely house and confront Alicia who defies them. They have been trying to get her to move out since the house sits on a precious vein of copper but anger rules the day and they kill her with an axe. Morbius finds her and swears vengeance. 

"Blindspot" by Gerry Conway and Virgilio Redondo and Alfredo Alcala has a vampire dealing with the consequences of losing track of time and using a blind man's glasses which obscure the sun. It turns out poorly for the blood sucker.

The final installment of the Morbius tale is titled "Third Phase: Feast of Blood" and it shows Morbius at his most vicious as he wipes out the murderous miners of Painesville, taking some mark of vengeance for the death of his friend Alicia Twain.

The Morbius story this time was extra long and different than the McGregor stories of previous issues which had become weighted down with overwritten allusions to politics and switches in narrative points of view. Moench gives us a much more straight-forward yarn which showcases Morbius and makes him the most bizarre thing in the story, a remarkable difference.

One more issue to come before the series gets cancelled. More on that next time.

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