Can the Success of Vampirella #1 Be Sustained?

By now you’ve probably seen the news that Dynamite has announced orders of 130,000 copies of Vampirella #1 which comes out in a couple of weeks. It’s been discussed quite a bit online, but I’d like to raise a question that hasn’t been talked about much – how much of this success can be sustained?

Every comic, I don’t care which one, experiences a drop-off after the first issue or after some kind of anniversary issue (like Action Comics #1000). This issue is both for Vampirella – the first issue of the series and the 50th anniversary of the character. Even with a big drop-off being pretty much a given, this could be an opportunity for some continued success. It’s going to be in front of more pairs of eyes than any Vampirella comic in Dynamite’s history, including people who probably wouldn’t normally read the character. If the book is good and has a strong story and the right characterization I think it could hang around as a top book for a while. Some of those new eyes will stick around.

It’s not like Vampirella hasn’t been a top character before. If you’re of the right age, you may remember that Vampirella was frequently featured as a top 10 character in Wizard Magazine during the 90’s alongside characters like Superman, Batman, Spider-man, and Spawn. At the time, Harris Comics had adapted Vampirella for the so-called “Bad Girl” comics genre that was booming at the time. The comics industry is different now, but there’s no reason Vampirella can’t rise to that level of popularity again. Dynamite has generated the buzz and has the attention of the comics world. Now they just need to deliver with a strong product that gives readers what they want.

I think it’s been proven that when creators wander too far from Vampirella’s core as a character it just doesn’t work. It seems obvious from reading interviews with writer Christopher Priest that this will be a different kind of story than we’ve seen before and I think that’s fine. The key will be getting her character right. If you do that, I think Vampirella can be successful in almost any type of story as long as it’s good. I remain optimistic about this series and I hope it will be successful beyond issue #1.

4 Comments

  1. This certainly is a milestone for Vampirella. As you say, some drop-off is inevitable, but Priest is one of the ‘in’ writers right now whose name will draw people. His proposed ‘real world’ setting will be interesting. That approach has been made to work in the past with Watchmen, Nolan’s Batman films, and to a lesser extent (although I liked it) the movie Man of Steel. Have to say though that I think taking that approach with a character like Vampirella is going to be a harder sell. Do we know yet what direction Priest is going in with the costume? I can see that potentially being a problem. Not thinking from a PC point of view (I’m fine with the amount of skin on show), but just the fact that it looks really campy. I know Vampirella IS campy, but I get the feeling that’s not what Priest is going for. And I guess origin-wise it’ll be ‘space-Vampi’. An alien visitor would be easier to swallow than an actual vampire!

    • In his interviews he said he was sticking with the original costume. I think he wants to show how the real world would react to Vampirella, costume and all, if she were real. I’ve always thought the suspension of disbelief makes reading comics more enjoyable. My preference is to put Vampirella in the classic costume and just have everyone in the book ignore it as if it’s normal. Not realistic, but it’s comics so I think that’s ok.

      • “I think he wants to show how the real world would react to Vampirella, costume and all, if she were real.”

        Interesting. Actually Vampirella: Hollywood Horror (I’ve just finished it) touches on that a little, with the whole social media/viral thing!

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