Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Vampire Tales #7 - Blood Hunt!

Vampire Tales #7 is dated October, 1974 and sports an exceedingly lackluster cover by Jose Antonio Domingo. The cover is gruesome enough for a horror magazine, but feels merely lurid and not compelling in any sense. It's rather blah, though truly gross.

Morbius leads off again in a story by Don McGregor titled "Where is Gallows Bend and What the Hell am I Doing Here?" which sums up the story prettly well. The artwork is by Tom Sutton and looks fantastic. McGregor uses his multiple narrator thing again and it works a little better this time though it still slows down a story which rarely has much propulsion anyway. Morbius and Amanda Saint are still looking for her Dad who has fallen victim to the Demon-Fire cult and have followed clues which take them to a ghost town called Gallows Bend Nevada. There they confront some weirdo cult members with names like Apocalypse, Reaper, and Phineas T. Coroner. Morbius is pretty tested by these mopes but in the end survives barely.

"Sip the Sweet Poison" by Doug Moench and Billy Graham is a exceedingly well-told tale of a creepy little night watchman who looks like Peter Lorre and who likes to drink the blood in his care at the local hospital. When the shortages are noticed he takes steps to extend the inventory which comes back to haunt him when a real vampire appears. Graham's art is delightfully textured in this one, very moody.

"Devil's Den" by Carla Joseph returns with a focus this time new book collections by Arthur Machen and the final Dracula Hammer effort starring Christopher Lee The Satanic Rites of Dracula. Legend of the Golden Vampires also gets some attention.

"Bats" by Doug Moench is an artistic tour de force by Paul Gulacy with assists by Duffy Vohland. We have a silent story here which features vampires who live in caves but find time to afflict the local spelunkers. This is a tale with some tragedy but has an ending which might be considered happy in some quarters. Neat little exercise and very memorable.

"Agents of the Night Road" is another story by Moench and features some really choice artwork by Howard Chaykin allowing Chaykin to draw what he does best, some period characters in a vintage setting. We have two murderous highwaymen here who are not nearly as clever as they think they are when they seek the waylay the treasure they imagine to be on an incoming ship, one which turns out to harbor vampires.

This issue despite its lackluster cover features some outstanding and distinctive artwork by some of Marvel's best up and comers at the time. Rock solid issue.

More to come.

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