Is the Assault On Vampirella Nearing Its End?

Last week I wrote about the new Vampirella one-shots that were solicited for April 2018. Based on the cover art and the story description, I think these comics will be a return to the classic Vampirella, or at least a step in that direction. That made me ask the question, are we witnessing the end of the recent assault on Vampirella?

For the last few years, we’ve seen nothing but attempts to “fix” Vampirella and strip her of everything familiar and remake her into a more “acceptable” character. This isn’t just an opinion. All you have to do is read what the recent writers have said in their own words, all of which has been well documented on this blog. It feels like that is going to be coming to end soon, and here’s why.

The pendulum is swinging back towards classic versions of characters industry-wide.  We first saw this with DC comics and their Rebirth initiative, which is attempting to restore some classic elements of characters and continuity that had been lost during the New 52 years. I think I can objectively say this has been very successful for DC. While they’ve removed the Rebirth branding on their comic books, the story is still on-going, most notably in the Doomsday Clock series.

Marvel Comics had been in the process of dismantling their well-known white male characters and replacing them minority (racial and religious), female, and LGBT versions. After the success of DC’s Rebirth, Marvel launched the Legacy initiative which is also attempting to restore some of the classic elements of their line-up as well as return to the original numbering system after years of relaunching everything after 20-30 issues. Of course the reason Marvel and DC are doing this is because of fan reaction. Fans do not like their characters to be fundamentally changed, especially when the change isn’t in service to the story being told. In Marvel’s case, I believe the changes were do to the political leanings of those making decisions, but the reason is really irrelevant. The fans said no, and the powers-that-be are finally listening.

Vampirella’s on-going series appears to be ending at 11 issues. Any time a series like Vampirella ends, you know it’s because they want to relaunch it and go in a different direction. They’re not going to go long without having a Vampirella title on the shelves each month. If they wanted to continue with the covered-up, short haired, LGBT Vampirella, they would do it in issue 12. I don’t know what the new series will be like, but based on the direction of the industry and what editor Joe Rybandt has hinted at, I think it has to be something like what made Vampirella a popular character to begin with. With the 50 year anniversary coming in 2019, now would be the time to start reestablishing the character that readers are familiar with. I can’t imagine they would go into the anniversary with a character that’s Vampirella in name only.

We’re already seeing the classic Vampirella creep back into the comics. Hack/Slash vs Vampirella by Shawn Aldridge and Rapha Lobosco has pretty straight-up classic Vampirella all around. Now with the two new one-shots coming, it feels like classic Vampi is inevitable at this point. Only time will tell, but the signs are positive and I hope I’m correct.

The next question is, what will the fan response be? I’ll be taking a look at that in an upcoming post. I don’t think the answer is quite as simple as we’d like to think.

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