I know this book isn’t exactly new, but I’ve just recently acquired it, so I thought it deserved a review on the blog. This is a book showcasing the art of Vampirella artist Jose Gonzalez. The book reprints 11 full Vampirella stories from the Warren magazine drawn by Gonzalez. The pages are printed at full size. These are photos of the original art, so you get a better idea of what the original art actually looks like. You can see notes in the margins and other details that aren’t visible in the printed magazine.
This book is BIG. It has to be to print this artwork at 100%. I knew what the dimensions of the book were before I bought it (14.75 x 21.25 inches), but you really can’t truly appreciate it until you have it in hand. I’ve included some pictures below to try to put it in perspective, but I don’t really think they do it justice. The size is the main selling point of this book because it makes Gonzalez’s artwork even more impressive. After looking at these images, you will have an even greater appreciation for his talent. The guy could flat-out draw. In my opinion he is up there with the most talented artists to ever draw sequential art pages, if not the most talented.
The book’s cover has a matte finish overall, with a selective gloss varnish over the text, Vampirella’s figure, and the bat logo on the reverse. It looks really nice and the gloss finish really sets Vampirella apart from the rest of the cover. The inside cover features an even larger version of the cover art in black and red. This book won’t fit on many bookshelves, but the presentation is so beautiful it’s probably best left out where it can be seen and appreciated regularly. This book is what Vampirella and Jose Gonzalez deserve and every Vampirella fan should try to take a look at this book if not own it.
As I mentioned above, the book features 11 full Vampirella stories. This is great because you can also read the story while appreciating the art. Even if you’ve read the stories before, reading them in this format is a whole different experience. There are stories from throughout Vampirella’s run with Warren and you can see Gonzalez’s art style evolving as you read the early stories and work your way toward the end of the series. Below is a list of the stories and the issue that they originally appeared in:
The Resurrection of Papa Voudou!, issue 15
…And Be a Bride of Chaos, issue 16
Shadow of Dracula, issue 19
Slithers of the Sand!, issue 21
The Blood Queen of Bayou Parish!, issue 23
Return Trip, issue 27
The Curse of the MacDaemons!, issue 28
She Who Waits, issue 37
An Eye For An Eye, issue 61
Spawn Of the Star Beast, issue 108
The Walker of Worlds, issue 112
So, now for the bottom line. This book is quite pricey. The suggested retail price is a hefty $150, but the street price has come down on it quite a bit recently. You can easily find it for $100 or even a bit less. I don’t know how many of these were printed, but if/when it goes out of print, I imagine a copy of it will command a handsome sum. Is the book worth it? I guess the answer to that will be different for different people. I certainly can’t think of anything Dynamite could have done to make it better which wouldn’t also increase the price. You do get what you pay for and it’s a lot. I’ve never paid this much for a book in my life, so I’ve gone back and forth about whether I would buy it since it was released. I finally decided to pull the trigger when I found it for a good price. I figured I could always sell it and probably make most of my money back. After having it in hand and being engrossed in this incredible artwork, I doubt I will ever part with this book.