Since her relaunch at Dynamite, Vampirella has been a vampiric heroine with a heart of gold, waging war against all manners of supernatural menaces and metaphysical threats. But that wasn’t her original comic book role: when Vampi made her Warren Magazines debut more than four decades ago, she was also a horror host, introducing EC-esque horror tales in much the same manner as her fellow hosts Uncle Creepy and Cousin Eerie.
“Like her fellow Warren Publications horror hosts, Vampirella served as ‘ghostess with the mostest', lacing her introductions to the various stories that graced her black-and-white magazine with puns and double entendres,” Nancy Collins, writer of the critically acclaimed Vampirella ongoing series said.
Turns out that Collins has fond memories of Vampi’s early days—which is why she’s revisiting them in Vampirella: Feary Tales. “I was a regular reader of Vampirella and the other Warren Publications from junior high all the way into college,” Collins said. “For her 45th anniversary, I wanted to do something that would acknowledge that part of the character’s origins. We've got some of the best writers in comics slated to deliver the short, sharp shocks that the Warren magazines were famous for. I am both excited and humbled that these incredibly talented creators have signed on to celebrate Vampirella's birthday.”
"We first started working with Nancy when she was a part of the Legends of Red Sonja series that Gail Simone oversaw with Joe Rybandt - an incredible event celebrating Sonja's 40th Anniversary,” Dynamite CEO and Publisher Nick Barrucci said. “When Nancy took over as the writer of the new Vampirella series, she asked if she could do the same Legends-style concept for Vampirella's 45th Anniversary. How could we say no?”
In Feary Tales, a dimensional rift traps Vampirella in an alternate dimension where an enigmatic Storyteller forces her to live out classic tales of terror and whimsy, providing the context for a wealth of creative interpretations of the beloved character. As Collins explains, however, “this isn’t a collection of unconnected stories. Vampirella is the protagonist in each story. It’s similar to last year’s Legends of Red Sonja in that regard. And the events that occur in the conclusion of the Feary Tales mini will factor into the ‘The Accursed’ story arc that begins in Vampirella #7.
“There will be a framing sequence that I’m providing, as well as the introduction and final story, which will bookend the series. The framework has Vampirella trapped inside a mysterious volume of ‘Feary Tales’, where classic children’s bedtime stories are ghoulishly retold. A disembodied voice calling itself The Storyteller torments Vampirella with awful puns and informs her that the only way to return to her own world is to survive each Feary Tale until its ‘happily ever after’. Needless to say, what passes for ‘happy’ in the context of the series is closer to ‘horrific.’”
Collins has enlisted a very impressive talent lineup for Feary Tales, including Gail Simone, Stephen R. Bissette, Elmo Eklabuz, Ronilson Freire, Devin Grayson, Jack Jadson, Joe R. Lansdale, Elaine Lee, Stuart Moore, Steve Niles, John Shirley, Denis St. John, and Eric Trautmann. “The idea is that each story is a twisted reimaging of a classic children’s fairy tale, so I had everyone pick their favorite. Devin Grayson chose ‘Bluebeard,’ John Shirley picked ‘Cinderella,’ Gail Simone snapped up “The Little Mermaid,’ Stephen R. Bissette & Denis St. John claimed ‘Snow White,’ Elaine Lee snagged ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears,’ Joe & Keith Lansdale selected ‘Little Red Riding Hood,’ Stuart Moore asked for ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes,’ Eric Trautmann got ‘Hansel & Gretel,’ and Steve Niles has ‘The Frog Prince.’ In addition to the introduction in Feary Tales #1, I also write the final story in #5—which is based on ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ in case you were curious.”
Collins explained that most of the writers for the series “are either friends or colleagues I’ve known for some time. In the case of John Shirley, Steve Bissette, Joe Lansdale, and Stuart Moore, these are people I’ve called friends for over twenty years.
“I also wanted to include female authors known for writing strong female leads, which is why I chose Gail, Elaine and Devin. It didn’t hurt that Gail and Elaine are also friends, and I recently became an acquaintance of Devin thanks to Dynamite’s Legends of Red Sonja miniseries. Eric and Steve also write titles for Dynamic Forces—in fact, Eric was the first author to work on Vampirella after she became a Dynamite character.”
Most people think of Stephen Bissette as an artist rather than a writer, so it might be a surprise to see him supplying the words rather than the pictures for his contribution to Feary Tales. “Steve is one of my dearest friends as well as a fellow Swamp Thing creator. He is also a gifted writer, having won the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award for Long Fiction for his novella Aliens: Tribes, and he scripted his own creator-owned comic, the highly acclaimed Tyrant. He is also one of the leading authorities on the history of horror comics & film, having published The Weird World of Eerie Publications: Comic Gore That Warped Millions of Young Minds and Forgotten Horrors to the Nth Degree: Dispatches from a Collapsing Genre.”
Elaine Lee involvement might surprise some readers, since she’s best known for her work on the SF series Starstruck with Michael Wm Kaluta. However, as Collins pointed out, “she did create and write the vampire comic series Vamps for Vertigo and she wrote for one of the Clive Barker books for Marvel back in the 1990s. The original Starstruck was a pivotal discovery for me, and as one of the few female writers producing comics in the early 1980s, she was a huge influence and inspiration. I was thrilled, years later, when we finally met and became friends.”
Award-winning author Joe R. Lansdale is a welcome addition to any project; getting him on board for this one was quite easy, Collins said. “Joe and I have been good friends for over 25 years. He’s my bubba from a different mama, as we say in the South.”
“Nancy has brought her 'A' game, and has brought together an all-star line-up of writers to help celebrate the occasion, Nick Barrucci added. “Feary Tales is an incredible series with fantastic writers, and the diversity of its creative voices will bring new audiences to our femme fatale.”
Vampirella: Feary Tales #1, the premiere issue in a five-part miniseries, is scheduled for October 8th release. The book will be offered with a primary cover by Jay Anacleto, as well as variant covers by Joe Jusko, Art Adams, and Fabiano Neves and a “Warren Years Homage” subscription cover by David Roach.
Source: Cliff Biggers/Comic Shop News