Review: From the Stars…A Vampiress

A few months ago, I posted about a new Vampirella book that had just come out called From the Stars…A Vampiress: An Unauthorized Guide To Vampirella’s Classic Horror Adventures by Steven Roman. Well, I’ve had a chance to read and digest the book and I’d like to let you know what I thought of it.

What Mr. Roman has accomplished with this book is something that’s really been needed for the character of Vampirella. This is without a doubt the essential, authoritative reference book for anything related to the Warren-era Vampirella (the book does also cover a lot of post-Warren material, but the focus is squarely on the Warren Vampi). There are lots of books out there with good information – Empire of Monsters, The Art of Vampirella: The Warren Years, The Art of Jose Gonzalez, etc – but none offers such a broad, all encompassing look at the history of this character. The book is well sourced and documented and features quotes from the actual creators who were there during Vampirella’s hey-day.

My favorite part of the book is the Vampirella Episode Guide. The guide documents each of Vampirella’s appearances and adventures in the original Warren magazine. Roman provides the dates, issue numbers, creators, and plot summaries for each entry. I love this part of the book because it serves as an excellent reference guide for the serious Vampirella fan. If you’re like me, you often recall a certain story you’ve read but don’t know off-hand which particular issue it was in. This is a great way to quickly figure out which issue to pull from your collection. This is also a great guide for finding issues that certain creators worked on.

Outside of the Warren magazine, Roman takes a look at works in other media that were spawned by the magazine. Of course I’m talking about things like the ill-fated Hammer film, the panned 1997 film, and the Ron Goulart. The story of the Hammer film is broken down into way more detail than I’ve ever read before. Most of us know the broad-strokes version of the story, but Roman really provides a deep dive with great details that I was never aware of. For example, I’ve always heard that Caroline Munro was the first choice when it came to casting the part of Vampirella, but she dropped out because of the nudity that was required for the role. Then, as the story went, Barbara Leigh was brought in to play the title character. After reading this book, I now know this is actually backwards. Leigh was the original actress tapped to play Vampi and would have done so if the plans for the Hammer movie hadn’t gone south. It was after this that there was an attempt at reviving the film with Munro in the lead spot.

Roman rounds out the book with another excellent reference guide to all of Vampirella’s appearances in the Warren Era Checklist. This guide details every appearance within her own title, in other titles, and in subsequent reprints of Warren material. This is again an excellent guide for the serious fan who wants to collect or just know about every appearance of the Warren-era Vampirella.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough if you’re a Vampirella fan. It’s the only book of its kind and it deserves a spot on every fan’s bookcase. It’s the perfect companion to your Warren Vampirella collection and I know I’ll be referencing it often. You can pick up a copy for yourself at Amazon or directly from StarWarp Concepts.

5 Comments

  1. Thanks for the review – this sounds fantastic. Sounds like Roman really did his research. I will definitely pick this up at some point.

    I met Caroline Munro at London Comic Con about five years ago. She was just packing up when my kids and I caught her, and we ended up chatting to her for about 20 minutes. The kids took a couple of photos of me with her, then she insisted on going off and finding someone who could take a picture of us all together! Really lovely lady (still very attractive, too).

  2. Thanks for the awesome review, Pen! I appreciate it.

    On a related note, in that chapter about the disastrous Hammer Films adaptation, I talk about how Peter Cushing and Forrest J Ackerman appeared on the talk show Tomorrow with Tom Snyder to promote the film. (Snyder banned Barbara Leigh from appearing when she showed up in the Vampi costume.) Well, you can watch the entire episode here at YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4Pjsw0ELoI

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