Behind the sharp fangs and vampiric powers, Vampirella has always been a cover girl -- and Dynamite Entertainment is celebrating Vampi's legacy with a number of variant covers from some top-tier artists from throughout the industry.
With such an iconic character, Dynamite picked four iconic artists -- Jelena Kevic Djurdjevic, Alex Ross, J. Scott Campbell and Joe Madureira -- to provide their own visions of the Vampirella franchise.
"I can't say it enough, we're really proud of Vampirella's launch. We're fortunate that we've had considerable retailer and fan support. Eric [Trautmann] has worked to create a tapestry that we believe will help launch her to new and existing fans. He's helped to ground her by bringing her back to her tenure by Archie Goodwin, that was expanded upon by Mark Millar, Grant Morrison and many others," said Nick Barrucci, publisher of Dynamite Entertainment. "The artists -- Joe Madureira, Alex Ross, Jelena Kevic Djurdjevic and J. Scott Campbell -- have drawn and painted covers of Vampirella in her iconic costume. It's a great to use as a bit more "sizzle" to Eric's "steak". We're extremely fortunate and thank the creators for their work, and the retailers and fans for their support.""We intentionally wanted to go with an iconic shot of Vampirella for the first issue, and I just wanted to try to do something in that "old" Vampirella style that everybody recognize. So I decided to go with the shot of her, approaching seductively towards the viewer, with that well known hellish background that we see through the gate behind her," said Djurdjevic. "It's basically an "invitation" for the new round, new series, new time for this character."
For Djurdjevic, the overwhelming reds to her cover were meant to highlight the themes of the Vampirella character. "Red color connects so many elements in any vampire story -- it's a color of blood, love, lust, danger, dusk, fire , etc." she said. "Here, one of the first thing that comes to your minds when thinking about Vampirella (except for her cleavage) is her red costume. So even just having her portrait on the cover with a graphic elements like bats and blood splatter will still tell the story and connect everything together.
"It has a terrific, brooding quality, all red mist and dusty skulls. Of them all, it's the one that, for me, hearkens back to the old Warren covers," Trautmann said of Djurdjevic's cover. "And again, there's that playful quality to Vampirella. The wicked grin, the cocked eyebrow, the slight tilt to the head. I'm very fond of it."Alex Ross, on the other hand, played up the terrifying aspects of the character, putting Vampirella back on the vampire planet of Draculon.
"In a weird way, Vampirella and I have had a long connection by which I’d been asked to do an image of her before, many years gone by, and never worked it out. So I’ve had a good long time to think about this particular icon," Ross said. "Knowing [that a depiction of her] origins place her on an all-vampire planet, Draculon, with oceans of blood, I figured this was a good place to establish her as well as use dripping blood to insinuate her near-nude costuming, but as more of an organic creation."
Ross also took Vampi's long and storied history -- particularly with a stable of legendary artists -- for a second variant cover. "I still had the yearning for an image that specifically regarded the very first, Frank Frazetta’s first painting of Vampirella #1 from forty-plus years ago," he said. "As I was only requested to do one piece, I petitioned to do the second one for the urging to connect with that legendary painting and pay tribute to the greatest fantasy artist of all time. I’ve still yet to connect with the wonderful door poster image of her that I grew up knowing and loving since I was a kid, and I’m hoping to still pay tribute to that as well with this renewed run of the character."
Campbell, meanwhile, took an approach that focused more on Vampirella's history as a comic book sex symbol. "In the past I've done a handful of Vampirella images and sometimes they fell a little more on the campy side and in this one in particular I went for a sort of moody, sort of gothic, sort of seductive approach," said Campbell. He added that he also wanted "to try to figure out a way of filling up the cover with Vampirella in such a way where it would really, hopefully, draw the reader in by filling up the space almost like a Rolling Stone cover, in that sort of vein."For Campbell, the process into making his cover showed the long-term side of making comics, as he was operating without knowing the ideas behind Trautmann's script. "I'll be honest with you, sometimes when I come up with these covers they haven't actually, the insides, especially on a debut book," he said. :I just had to go on past Vampirella mythology to decide on how I was going to draw the cover I really at the time wasn't sure what the inside was going to look like."
And what was the author's reaction to this pin-up cover? "It certainly was eye grabbing," Trautmann said. "It was lovely to see him return to Vampirella, as he is clearly no stranger to the character or the property. Jeff has a particularly strong ability to give a playful quality to his female characters, which I think works very well on this cover."
While writer Eric Trautmann and artist Wagner Reiss are doing away with the "space-thong" for the interiors of the book, the cover artists had very different perspectives on Vampi's original outfit."I think that by now Vampirella is already a classic, her costume and her nature are so outrageous, and in the same time very iconic. It's definitely one of the characters that stood the test of time, and she somehow managed to overcome that trashy 70's moment and look cool even nowadays. I mean, honestly, I'd always wondered about these "things" that cover her breasts, but hey, it seems to work," Djurdjevic said. "Anyway, she has a new costume, and I can't wait for it to be revealed in one of the next issues! Can't wait to have my take on it!"
Trautmann said that seeing Ross's covers was a particularly thrilling moment for his tenure on Vampirella. "[The covers are] amazingly well-painted, which is no big shock, because it's Alex Ross," Trautmann recalled. "Then there was my second reaction: "Oh my God. Alex Ross is painting covers for my book."
Campbell agreed. "I know that to me it's an iconic costume. I like that it still more or less looks the way it looked originally and I think that's what makes an iconic costume just that, because it does stay consistent, there's a simplicity to the design that makes it very recognizable, I think if it was overly complicated it wouldn't have nearly the same appeal -- and I like that."Which cover do you like the most?