Monday, October 5, 2015

Vampire Tales #2 - Blood Sacrifices!

Vampire Tales #2 is dated October 1972 and features a evocative cover by Jose Antonio Domingo which as far as I can tell doesn't relate to any of the stories in the magazine.

The lead story features Morbius the Living Vampire. Written by Don McGregor and drawn by Rich Buckler in a very muscular style with inks by Pablo Marcos, this story shows the tormented nature of Morbius as hunts for victims to slake his bloody thirst while at the same time trying to stop a demonic cult who seek to capture and sacrifice a beautiful and painfully naive young woman named Amanda Saint. Check it out at this groovy link.

"V Is for Vampire" is a one-pager from the editors laying out what is in this issue of Vampire Tales

"Witch Hunt" is a terribly effective little four-page offering reprinted from the Atlas days. Mannie Banks is the artist as we learn the terrible secret of a seemingly nice girl.

This one first appeared under the title of "Bewitched" in Journey into Mystery #15.

"A Vampire by Any Other Name - A Look at Lugosi's Non-Dracula Roles" by Dough Moench does just what the title suggests. Movies mentioned are Mark of the Vampire, Return of the Vampire, and Plan 9 From Outer Space among others. 

"Five Claws of Typhon" is a new and rather compelling story by Gardner Fox with some lush artwork by Jesus Blasco. But Blasco must not have been able to complete this epic or the pages were lost as ace bullpen artist John Romita steps in to finish up the last few pages.

"A Generation of Vampires" is part two of Chris Claremont's extended review of The Vampire - His Kith and Kin by Montague Summers

And speaking of John Romita (as I was a paragraph ago), he gives us one of his absolute best efforts ever when we finally get to meet the ravishing Satana Hellstrom, the Devil's Daughter. Written by Roy Thomas, this stunningly effective four-pager shows remarkable restraint on the writer's part as the story unfolds. Here are those outstanding pages in their entirety.

Arguably the the best story ever to appear in Marvel's black and white magazines, this four page opus really shows how horror can be done. Magnificent!

And speaking of magnificent next up is a reprint from Marvel's own recent past, the stellar Jim Steranko story "At the Stroke of Midnight".

This story originally appeared in Tower of Shadows #1 under a cover by John Romita. This alas was the story which caused Steranko to depart from Marvel for a time. He vigorously objected to attempted changes in the story by editor Stan Lee.

To wrap up this issue we have another dandy story titled "The Praying Mantis Principle" by Don McGregor and Rich Buckler, this time with inks by Klaus Janson and Carlos Garzon which introduces Hodiah Twist and his partner Jeavons. Twist is a man living through the tragedy of 1930's depression-era New York City and he has in an effort to deal with that retreated into a fantasy of sorts where he is a Sherlock  Holmes like detective and Jeavons is his Watson. They find themselves dealing with a brothel full of vampires in this frothy and very atmospheric yarn.

The Vampire Tales "Feature Page" showcases small reviews of two then-current horror flicks -- The Vault of Horror and the Daughters of Satan. Neither gets a very rosy review.

And with that the second issue of Vampire Tales comes to a close.It was one of the best and much stronger overall than the first issue. The Morbius series gets a real injection of atmosphere and the stellar story debuting Satanna is most excellent as I've said. Hodiah Twist is a fun character, who as far as I can discover only appears one more time.

More to come.

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  1. If I’m remembering correctly, on Morbius there was some intent (voiced on color comic letters pages responses) – to have the color comic lean towards a more sci-fi bent whereas for the b&w Vampire Tales Morbius features (where presumably the writer & artist had more freedom) – the intent was for it to be a bit more in the graphic horror vein…Thanks too for showing the Satana pages. I always liked that character…I need to get my hands on those 3 fairly recent Vampire Tales collections…

    1. Whether that was the intent, it sure was the result. Morbius is a vivid character, but a horror one through and through. That's his proper environment. The collections are pretty nifty. I had a hard time finding all three. I like to see something similar for other of the vintage black and white mags as the articles, for all their trendy conversational tone, do add luster to the vintage reading experience.

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  2. I think Hodiah Twist was the character that Hawk's father was hooked on in Amazing Adventures/Killraven story "Only the Computer Shows Me Any Respect".


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