50 years of Vampirella

by Blaise Tassone

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‘Vampirella’ and ‘horror’ go together like ‘Superman’ and ‘cape and tights’. Although not as well-established a part of comic book history as the Man of Steel, Vampirella nonetheless has been around for a while. Debuting in 1969, as a spin-off female-Dracula with a sc-fi twist, the character is still going strong today. As we celebrate her 50th birthday, one consequence of her longevity is that some of her back issues are more collectible and valuable than ever.

In this post, I look at collectible Vampirella over the last 50 years.

Created by created by Forrest J Ackerman and Trina Robbins, Vampirella (like the Crypt Keeper) started out as a mere horror ‘hostess’ introducing other creepy tales. Under the auspice of Archie Goodwin, the character moved to the forefront and began taking a leading role, one of the first bad girls in comics to do this.

Vampirella, as mentioned, has subsequently become a staple in the horror genre. So popular is she become since her debut that this character managed to both survive the decline of the horror genre (in the 1990s) while simultaneously avoiding any connection to one of the big two publishers DC/Marvel. This means that, like Archie, Vampirella has her own universe and that has translated into a wider fandom that includes merchandise and even a terrible 1996 Roger Corman B-movie – not to mention a ubiquitous cos-play presence.

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Vampirella #1 (September 1969) – Introduction of Vampirella in original costume and wings; Franzetta cover; Adams & Crandall art

Over the years a lot of heavy talent in the industry has worked on Vampirella. Among the more notable can be cited: Christopher Priest, Alan Moore, Gary Frank, Bruce Timm and Grant Morrison, to name only a select group. In terms of artists she managed to attract one of the best when Frank Frazetta was brought on board by Warren Publishing to draw the stunning cover on the debut issue of her comic magazine. The Frazetta cover alone makes this a collectible and valuable. With 543 total copies listed on the CGC census, this is the most regularly traded Vampirella comic with strong positive long tern returns on all grades. Short term three months, the best return has been on 7.0 after three sales with a positive +25% roi. The last two eBay sales were for: $799.95 (06/14/2019) and a cool $1, 000.00 (07/10/2019). Current FMV in pristine 9.8 = something like $35,000.00 (last actual 9.8 sale was back in 2016 (Heritage Auction on May 13) and sold for $13, 145.00. Nuff Said!

 

 

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Vampirella #2 (November 1969) – Second appearance of Vampirella; First appearance of Draculina; first Evily

Proudly taking its place beside Creepy and Eerie, Vampirella soon developed into a horror anthology mag to be reckoned with. Regular backup features included: “Tomb of the Gods”, “Pantha” and “Fleur”. Although this is confusing, Vampirella isn’t actually related to Dracula. He’s an earth based Vampire; she’s an alien. As is her twin sister Draculina who first appears here, although their cousin, Evily, who also debuts here, is a witch. Don’t ask. A 9.6 of this issue sold recently on eBay for $635.00 (08/16/2019). A 9.4 sold on eBay on 07/30/2019 for $349.95. These strong prices are trending up on 9.4 and 9.0 long term and there are mixed returns on all other grades.

 

 

 

 

 

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Vampirella #8 (November 1970) – First Full Length Solo-Story in her Magazine

Vampirella’s illustrated tales to bewitch and bedevil finally gave her the spotlight starting in this comic. An 11 page standalone story begins the rise of the Vampirella mythos. This comic is the first full length Vampirella feature and it’s worth seeking out for that reason. Hailing from the planet Drakulon, with an alien physiology, the Vampirella mythos would change throughout the years but what never changes is her iconic red sling bikini. The most recent sale of issue #8, a 9.6, went for $370.00 on eBay on 08/16/2019. Returns long term, however, look fairly beak with strong negative trends in almost all grades over the last 15 years.

 

 

 

 

 

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Eerie #95 (August 1978) – Vampirella story with Pantha and Rook

This is the second part of a two-part Vampirella tale also featuring Warren characters Pantha and the Rook. This comic has the distinction of being the daughter of Lilith’s first story outside of her self-titled magazine. The stunning action cover by Jordi Penalva doesn’t hurt either. The most recent sale (a 9.6 auctioned at Heritage) sold for $144.00 on 03/12/2016. Sounds like a bargain to me.

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