Monday, September 10, 2018

Here There Be Monsters, Part Seven: Vampire Tales, Volume 2

 Another collection of 1970's Marvel magazine goodness.

 I don't know what possessed me to pass on the VAMPIRE TALES series when the trade paperbacks were released a few years ago, but thank God that the unholy trinity of digital, a 99 cent sale, and a new Kindle Fire tempted me to pick up all three volumes a few months ago.

 VAMPIRE TALES, VOLUME 2 collects VAMPIRE TALES #'s 4-7, and features such bronze age luminaries as Don McGregor, Tom Sutton, Paul Reinman, Doug Moench, Tony Isabella, Esteban Maroto, Ernie Chan, Boris Vallejo, Win Mortimer, Rich Buckler, Alan Kupperberg, Dick Giordano, Gil Kane, Frank Giacoia, Chris Claremont, Val Mayerik, Marv Wolfman, Steve Gerber, Pablo Marcos, Alfredo Alcala, Billy Graham, Paul Gulacy, and Howard Chaykin. Since we know going in that every tale is going to involve a Vampire, a lot of potential suspense is lost right out of the gate, but the creators are operating at such a high level that you don't even care. Clearly, the work that these men did on VAMPIRE TALES was a labor of love, and it's a shame that the magazine didn't last longer.

 Longtime Crabby Reviewer readers already know that I am none too fond of the majority of 1970's Marvel comics, and a lot of my most-hated creators are on full display here, but their work is, for the most part, better than their usual fare. (I still find Don McGregor to be virtually unreadable, but his endless yammering here is accompanied by artwork that took my mind off of his stoned-to-the-gills, stultifying prose.) There's also the usual assortment of movie, book, and historical non-fiction articles, all of which made for excellent time-capsule reading. I just wish that they had included the letters pages. (And again, I am struck by just how nonchalant these magazines were regarding witchcraft and of the columns invites witches and satanists to send in information about their covens for inclusion in a future column. I have no idea how Marvel didn't get into some kind of trouble with this stuff.....)

 VAMPIRE TALES, VOLUME 2 is a bloody feast of good reading, and earns a robust eight out of ten vampire bats:

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