Monday, October 13, 2014

Revenge of the Unliving!

If you thought in our last post that Frank Robbins drew sexy vampires, wait'll you see how Jordi Bernet delivers them unto us in this one! I had a few people write in applauding the black and white 70's mag posts, so I thought we'd do a few more before getting back into the golden color moldies. Bernet is one of my all time favorite illustrators, anyone unfamiliar with his Torpedo series should take some notes to check it out ASAP.

From the August 1973 debut issue of Vampire Tales #1, with a script by Gardner Fox.


Alex said...

James Gordon? And bats? This Gardner Fox fellow wasn't by any chance a former Batman writer was he?

Brian Barnes said...

The story, eh, enjoyable but a bit convenient (especially her strength) to get the plot points it needs to.

The art? This is why so many of us love B&W art. When in color, it's a lot harder to do all the spot black like in this one. It shows real menace and real darkness. Page 2, Panel 1 and the zombie on Page 7, Panel 5 are things you couldn't do well in a color magazine.

Last page, panel 2 is great -- the way her hair mixes with the wind and frames the roof zombie.

"Was there really a dead guy on the roof? I guess we will never know" except you just got attacked by a vampire, I think you can believe the roof zombie.

BTW, "I loved you too much so I'll just bound you for eternity, and if you get out, then I'll kill you." Yikes, thanks! That's real love!

Thwacko said...

Great art. Reminds me of newspaper strip art, sort of like Ken Bald on Dark Shadows, but with a Gene Colan flair.

Mestiere said...

Funny that the artist chose not to put a widow's peak on Melissa's rather generous fivehead.

This is one case were the art is rather better than the writing. Like Melissa correctly said—and as we learned from reading Bram Stoker's Dracula—a vampire is far stronger than a human. They have the strength of twenty men. And even if Melissa only had the strength of twenty women that still should have been enough not to be overpowered by James Gordon. And why didn't he kill her the first time? He saved his descendant, but not that innocent female victim. Still, it was an entertaining story with good looking art.

It looks like my idea of telling true-life scary stories for Halloween was not well received, judging by the thunderous silence. Still, because of JMR777's kind words i'll give it one more try. I'll call this one ...

Whispers in the Dark

This happened to my mother in 1972. Back then my father had a job that required him to get up really early. My mother would get up, make him breakfast, kiss him goodbye and go back to bed. One time she had just done that when she discovered something was wrong. She was paralized. She couldn't move or make a sound. That's when she noticed that there was somebody else in the room. It was pitch black but she could feel a presence. In fact, there seemed to be a lot of people in the room. Although she couldn't see them, she had the overwhelming subjective impression that they weren't human. And they didn't seem to be very tall.

They were talking. It seemed to be some kind of foreign language she couldn't identify. One of the creatures was whispering right into her ear. She could feel it's breath. By now my poor mother was beside herself with fear. She had a history of tremendous night terrors as a child that always seemed unjustified. She also had suffered from massive nosebleeds of unknown origin. She would wake up with her pillow caked with blood. There was never an explanation even though her father was a doctor. Now as an adult it looked like her fears had been justified all along.

My family was in the Jehovah's Witnesses back then (not anymore). Making a Herculean effort, my mother managed to say one word: "Jehovah". Once she managed to say a word (perhaps any word would have had the same effect) it was as if a spell (or hypnotic trance?) was broken. She could move again. She jumped out of her bed and turned on the light, revealing an empty room.

During those years the exact same experience happened to one of my mother's sisters.

brandiweed said...

The vampiress looks like she might have been modeled on Barbara Steele. Wonder if she was?

Karswell said...

>The vampiress looks like she might have been modeled on Barbara Steele

Maybe... I was actually thinking there were a few panels that looked swiped from Twins of Evil (Mary and Madeline Collinson) ...some Hammer film anyway.

Sorry Mesterie, your previous story would've been more effective to me if I didn't live in a city where EVERY SINGLE PERSON wears a stupid red baseball cap 24/7 every single day of the year, even babies --Go Cardinals! :P

This story was better, only somewhat let down by yet another religious twist... you should find someone to illustrate these into a single page, 6 panel comic like Ace does with their bonus fillers!

Mestiere said...

"Sorry Mesterie, your previous story would've been more effective..."

They are not fiction. I told them as closely as I could to the way they were told to me. I'm sorry you did not like them. I'll stop telling them.

Karswell said...

Yikes, I'm rubbing everyone the wrong way today... I think you (and anyone else) should definitely share scary stories here, it's Interesting for sure... but be ready for any criticism similar to any usual criticism found on any regular post here too!

So bring it on people-- try to scare us! Whether it's real or fiction...

Grant said...

The lines from Melissa about her physical strength comment make me wonder, has that ever been played very often with female vampires (as opposed to males like Christopher Lee's Dracula)? Of course, thanks to action movies an super hero ones, inordinately strong women have become a real cliché, but does that include many vampires (apart from "re-imagined" action film ones)?

When it comes to Mestiere's idea, I wish I had some true stories to contribute, but (with maybe one or two exceptions) I don't.

JMR777 said...

Look on the bright side, Mesterie, at least you have interesting tales to tell. Maybe you could write a book about your family experiences (with names changed to protect the privacy of your family members). We all like a good ghost story/strange tale/unexplained yarn, and you might as well get a few bucks out of it to share with your family.

As for the vampire tale, it was a good tale, though sometimes too much of a good thing ends up being a bad thing. The first page is a bit too black in the panels, maybe a bit more grey than black would have helped. This is just my humble opinion, no knock against the tale or Karswell, it was a good tale overall.

Mr. Cavin said...

It's a damn good thing the first victim she came across wore a cape. Otherwise she would have turned into a rat, I guess, and it would have taken her a heck of a lot more time to dig up hip young jive-talkin' Jim Gordon.

I thought the Cardinals hat joke was hilarious! Cor, the thin skin on folks. Look, Mestiere, I thought the story itself was pretty cool, too. It's funny, though, that all those miniature old-world fairy-type peeps--from garden gnomes to friggin Papa Smurf--all have red hats on. What gives? My mother has a very similar story today's tale herself. Sounds to me like classic sleep paralysis (check the wiki page, it's pretty awesome how closely your description fits) and pavor nocturnus. Note that there is evidence to indicate that parasomnia is congenital. Sweet dreams.

Mestiere said...

"Sounds to me like classic sleep paralysis..."

I actually tried to post the "debunkers" version of my two stories, but it looks like "Red Cap" didn't allow it. Sure, sleep paralysis and a hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucination would be standard explanations. My cousin's sighting of "Red Cap" would be just a dream. Her son would just have an imaginary friend who wore a red cap by coincidence.

You see, I have been reading comics here for free for years and have given nothing back except comments. I only have some reprints of EC horror comics which never get published here so I figured: "You know, Halloween is coming and I have a lot of scary stories, maybe they'll like that!" I would start with some of the milder, apparently easily debunkable stuff that has happened to me and my family and, depending on the reactions, I would move on to some of the heavier, not so easily debunkable incidents, some of which happened in front of multiple witnesses. Perhaps some of the other commenters would share their own stories and we could get some interesting back-and-forth going. It could be something new to do, something fun!

Or not. If even the milder things that I told came across as bad fiction, what hope do my other stories have? It's not about "thin skin", but about me not being able to do these stories justice by presenting them in a compelling, interesting but believable way. I can't blame the readers! I blame me.

Of course, I couldn't have known that it wouldn't work until I tried. I'm glad I did.

Karswell said...

I appreciate the idea of wanting to give back and contribute. I've been trying to get people to do this for years here and only occasionally has anyone even bothered. Mesterie, for example, has always been one to chime in with interesting tidbits that expand on the post itself. Others: Mr C, Brandi, Brian, JMR etc, the list goes on, you people know who you are and you've all become invaluable life blood to my posts with your comments.

Now if people wish to share their own scary stories here that's fine, but personally I'd prefer if you do this then your story should at least be relevant in theme to the post as well, otherwise it detracts from it and sends the comments spiraling off on a completely different tangent, and that's not really why I started this blog. I've put a lot of hard work into my blog(s) and ultimately they are mine to moderate and do with how I see fit. It's that simple. No matter what one wishes to say in the comments, the spotlight should always remain pointed directly on the post.

Thanks again to everyone who has bothered and contributed here over the years, the main reason I'm still doing this is because of you :)

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

This was actually my first encounter (in 1975) with Bernet's great art in an italian horror magazine printing miscellaneous stories from various Marvel mags ('twas called the "Corriere della Paura" = the "Fear Gazette" or the "Fright Herald", or something ).
As an 8 years old boy, I was struck by the "dark" beauty of this lovely vampress. I thought she only wanted to stay with her man, not turning him into a vampire, and her death made me sad. To me, page 1 has "Barbara Steele" written all over it.
I think Bernet's evolution as an artist has been amazing, he has achieved a great synthesis, though I'm not mad for some of his latter works like "Clara de noche" (only a matter of taste I guess).He's a master of black and white surely.
I still have this mag somewhere (after a while it became "La tomba di Dracula", italian version of TOD, still in big mag size and B/W) but I wish to thank you for bringing back memories.