Even if you’ve never read a single comic, everyone knows VAMPIRELLA. This always vampiric, sometimes alien, hero has been taking readers on epic adventures for more than fifty years. For Comic-Con@Home, the folks at Dynamic Entertainment put together a fantastic panel of writers, artists, and editors, responsible for some of VAMPIRELLA’s most iconic moments, to talk about everyone’s favorite female vampire.
Panelists included the writers Christopher Priest and Tom Sniegoski, artists Meghan Hetrick and Lucio Parrillo, and editor Matt Idelson. This incredible panel of talent drew on their collected 100+ years of comics experience to break down why they thought VAMPIRELLA has never lost popularity with audiences.
“She’s in on the joke,” says Priest. As opposed to other comics heroes, VAMPIRELLA doesn’t take herself too seriously, looking directly at the reader with that knowing glance. But most importantly for Priest, it’s the “unapologetic sexuality of the character” that plays the biggest role in her continued popularity.
Hetrick agreed. “It’s the costume.”
But, VAMPIRELLA isn’t just the costume, as Priest pointed out. When he first started writing for VAMPIRELLA, his goal was to try to “move beyond” the barely-there jumpsuit. He spent time trying to think deeply about who the character was, what she wanted, and what obstacles were in her way. This work led him to take the undead vixen in new directions. Directions so new, in fact, he often referred to his time working on the book as the “Kelvin Universe”—or alternate reality—because he was certain that whoever wrote the book after him would definitely “undo” what he was creating.
Lucio Porello and Meghan Hetrick also discussed VAMPIRELLA’s visual timelessness, first brought to life by Frank Frazetta. In Porello’s opinion, Frazetta’s style gave VAMPIRELLA a solid, three-dimensional feeling that still influences her portrayal today.
But working on such a storied character can have challenges, and the panelists discussed their feelings on that front. Fans have expectations, and comics creators don’t want to disappoint. “They fought me tooth and nail on the leather jacket,” Tom Sniegoski revealed.
“I’m not locked into a story, necessarily,” said Hetrick, whose covers aren’t often required to reflect the particulars of any given comic. This allows the artist to draw for herself and really dive into whatever strikes her fancy. One of her standout covers featured VAMPIRELLA in a striking art nouveau style. “It was neat to take a character and take an art history style, and throw her into it and see what happens.”
But while it’s great to look back at VAMPIRELLA’s past, fans of the comic will be excited to learn that the panel also touches on her future. VAMPIRELLA #15 will be a ghost story, says Priest, and there may be some interesting color choices at play in the book. But what those may be, only time will tell.
This entire panel is a must-see, so check out the full video below!