I don’t want this post to come off as though I’m slamming Dynamine Entertainment. I love Dynamite. They’ve put out some really strong Vampirella comics, their Green Hornet stuff is phenomenal, Red Sonja is always a good bet, and the pulp stuff is really fun. However, I think they’ve fired some blanks lately with Vampirella and I find myself puzzled about it (and I don’t think I’m alone).
Dynamite owns the rights to a character with an almost 50 year publishing history. The road map for success is right in front of them, but lately it feels like someone over there is holding the map upside down. I’m not advocating that they simply repeat the past, but I don’t see the need in this wholesale reinvention that seems to have been going on for the last 2 years.
Vampirella’s costume was completely redesigned for Kate Leth’s series to the point that the only vestiges remaining of the classic suit were a collar and logo. Her characterization remained largely consistent with what we’ve been used to, although I wasn’t really a fan her being this celebrity entertainment personality. That series lasted six issues and now we’ve received another new ongoing series (I use the term “ongoing” loosely, as it doesn’t seem like Dynamite does true ongoing series anymore). Again, we have a completely new costume that has no resemblance to the classic costume. Even Vampi’s trademark hair style is a thing of the past. And to top it off, I find the characterization in this series completely foreign. The only thing that makes this a Vampirella comic is the title on the cover.
So that brings me to my question – why is Dynamite doing this? They seem to be hellbent on reinventing this character as if there was something wrong with the way she was portrayed from 1969 until 2015.
At first, I thought Dynamite was embarrassed by her costume because it showed too much skin. I still think there may be some truth to that, but it doesn’t explain why they’ve changed the character even further in this current series. I also think it’s interesting to note that they did the same thing with Red Sonja’s attire at the same time. However, Red Sonja went back to her classic costume in her newest series while Dynamite opted to revamp (no pun intended) Vampirella’s again rather than return the the classic, iconic look.
One thing that we as fans sometimes forget is that this is a business for the publishers and they are going to put out what they think will sell the most comics. With that in mind, I think it’s safe to say that Dynamite felt that Vampirella’s look was preventing her from selling more books. Maybe they think the changes will help them reach more female fans, which seems to be something all of the comic book publishers covet. Did female comic book fans look at Vampirella and think “I’d like to read about a female vampire superhero, but Vampirella shows too much of her stomach?” Not sure I buy that, but maybe Dynamite’s editorial team does.
In the end, we’re probably never going to know what the powers-that-be at Dynamite are thinking. There’s no way they’ll ever give us an honest answer no matter how much longtime fans deserve one. They have essentially yanked a beloved character away from us and there’s nothing we can do about it. I don’t know what they’re hoping to accomplish, but I do know they are frustrating a lot of fans. It will be very interesting the see what happens on this front in the future.
I’ll be posting a follow-up to this post soon where I’ll lay out what I would do if I were in charge of Dynamite/Vampirella.