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.