Friday, October 23, 2015

Vampire Tales #8 - Altar Of Blood!

Vampire Tales #8  is dated December 1974 and features another cover Jose Antonio Domingo. It does connect to a story in the magazine, but it seems pretty clear that the story was written and drawn after the cover. This one is a bit more dramatic though the yellow and green are unusual colors for a piece of horror art.

The first feature is "The Heart Devourer" by Tony Isabella and Ernie Chan and tells a yarn from Russian folklore about a vampire who kills his hunter and puts a rabbit in his chest to replace his heart making him a coward thereafter.

"High Midnight" by Don McGregor with art this time by Mike Vosburg and Frank Chiramonte closes out the long-running Demon-Fire saga. The adventure picks up where it left off last time and Morbius and Amanda Saint are recovering from the hanging death of her father. The assembled adherents of the Demon-Fire Cult attack and Morbius fends them off with some success, but it takes the intervention of a man named Howie Rivers to help resolve the situation. Rivers is the man who hopes to develop the area and has been frustrated in that endeavor and it turns out the Demon-Fire Cult is responsible for that. The cultists are killed and Howie and Amanda seemed to find a connection as Morbius disappears, his responsibility to keep Amanda having come to an end.

"The Vendetta" written by Carla and Gerry Conway features the utterly dandy artwork of Joe Staton. This might the only work like this that Staton did for Marvel, though he drew many similar stories for Charlton at about this same time. His style is still maturing and serves this tale well, a story about a murderous-minded brother who gets out of prison after ten years for killing a man who offended his sister to find that she has been a bit of a wanton since he left. He kills several people before confronting her and discovering she has changed since he left. This story seems to have been designed to explain the cover for the issue as the last few panels evoke the Domingo artwork very closely. Check out the story at this groovy link.

"The Inheritance" is a neat little horror story with great Alfredo Alcala artwork working from another script by the Conways. This one tells how a man becomes obsessed with a young boy and contrives to gain custody of him. The man has several secrets, some of which are perfect for a magazine with this title.

Art by  Gene Colan and Jack Abel from Blade's debut in Tomb of Dracula #10
"Beware the Legion" features some very tasty artwork by Tony DeZuniga and stars Blade the Vampire Slayer. The story is written by Blade's co-creater Marv Wolfman and has the stout-hearted slayer investigate the death of a man named "Billy Blue", a frequent visitor of the brothel Blade grew up in. He finds that vampires are the problem and takes steps to end that threat. The story ends on cliffhanger as the battle between Blade and the "Vampire Legion" gets underway.

And that wraps a solid issue of Vampire Tales. For me the Staton story is the highlight as I love his work, especially from this period when it had a fresh naive quality to it still.

More to come next time.

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