One of the problems with a long running comic title is that what seemed a good idea at the time (bitten by a radioactive spider ... found a stick in a cave that turns you into a god when you bang it on the floor... etc.) is that once the title is established and has a large following the "origin" seems a little lame. And so it was with the origin of Vampirella. Though her absence in the years between the end of the Warren era and the beginning of the Harris era was covered in the Morning In America books, it was still not entirely plausible to the new breed of readers. Her origin was "updated" in the Vengeance of Vampirella series, but there were still a few loose ends.
Mike Carey took on the task of bringing Vampirella's origin into the 21st Century and tidying up the loose ends in Revelations.
Revelations #0 - July 2005
Regular Harris Cover - Jusko $0.50
Signed Virgin cover - Joe Jusko (20 copies) $24.95
Jay Company Colour Virgin Cover - Ebas (100 copies) $15.00
Jay Company B&W Virgin Cover - Ebas (100 copies) $15.00
Jay Company Gold Foil Virgin Cover - Ebas (100 copies) $15.00
Jay Company Museum Edition - Joe Jusko (50 copies) $100.00
Jay Company Museum Edition - Ebas (25 copies) $100.00
Revelations - Prelude [Story, Mike Carey; Art, Mike Lilly and Bob Almond]
A quiet night in a vampire bar and the guys are discussing Vampirella. Urban Legend or fact? An old vampire claims he was there when she was made and knows all about her. The question of whether she is real or not is answered when she slaughters all in the bar, except the old vampire. Taunting Vampirella, he places a doubt in her mind as to the veracity of her mission on Earth just before she kills him.
The seed of doubt has been planted.
Though a short story, it is quite adult and dark. The artwork is stunning and holds out the promise of a top rate series to come.
The idea of selling the #0 edition at only 25¢ was a great marketing move. It was so cheap you couldn't afford to say "No"! I don't know how well it sold, but I'm sure many people who didn't read Vampirella bought it because it was so cheap, and then considered reading/ buying the rest of the series.
Early 2006 saw the reappearance of the #0 edition at the Los Angeles Wizard World Comic Convention with a range of limited editions "rebadged" by Jay Company Comics.
What Jay Company did was to add a new cover over the old one, so when you open the cover you see the original Jusko cover inside. The internal comic is almost identical to the original, the only difference being the back cover doesn't have an advert for Revelations 1, rather a plain black cover with a "Limited Edition" statement (click for scan of back cover).
Though this may seem a bit of a swiz considering that one extra piece of paper has increased the price of the comic thirty fold, it has to be said that the cover art by Ebas (Eric Basaldua) is stunning in the extreme. Ebas was also responsible for the cover of the Darkness/Vampirella crossover.
Regular Cover A - José Gonzalez $2.99
Virgin Cover A - José Gonzalez (1,500 copies) $14.95
Regular Cover B - Texiera $2.99
Virgin Cover B - Texiera (15,000 copies) $14.95
Revelations - 1 [Story, Mike Carey; Art, Mike Lilly and Bob Almond]
Again, we start in a bar. Vampirella is talking to Harry Krishna about her first origin which was an illusion while waiting for their vampire target. After the inevitable massacre Harry suggests a psychic to help Vampirella come to terms with her conflicting memories. Glass, a blind, mentally disturbed psychic, starts to tease out her memories.
They see Lilith in Hell before Vampirella is born (from the memories that others have of Vampirella). Ill in bed, her demon lover (Belial) explains that her children, the Wamphyri, are draining her life force to sustain their own. Lilith decides to create a new version of herself, from her own undiluted blood mingled with the soil of Drakulon - Vampirella.
Childhood memories are examined; Lilith showing Vampirella the heart of Drakulon and indoctrinating her to kill her "brothers and sisters"; the creation of the Eidolon, a mystic mirror to warp Vampirella's mind; the demon explaining Vampirella's mission to kill her siblings for eternity so their power returns to Lilith and she can then get revenge on the "children of Adam" (mankind) and destroy their world.
Whilst locked a psychic trance a bunch of demons appear and kill Glass, leaving Vampirella helpless and locked in her child persona.
The promise of a mind boggling story and art in Revelations #0 is completely fulfilled. Every page, every panel is a treasure and the cliff hanger ending leaves you counting the days until Revelations 2!
The two regular covers are supplemented by a Virgin edition of each, which has to be applauded as the covers feature the art of two of the best Vampirella artists ever, Mark Texiera and the legendary José "Pepe" Gonzalez.
After decades of absence José Gonzalez returns from the ether with a completely new Vampirella painting. I am a great fan /aficionado of Gonzalez' Vampirella work, loving it from the early days of Warren Publishing, and consider him to be the artist that put Vampirella "on the map". However, I have to say that the Vampirella on the cover of Revelations #1 is not quite the Vampirella of the Warren era. It is indisputably Vampirella, and José Gonzalez' art is instantly recognisable. Something is subtly different.
I'm not sure exactly what has changed, but I would say that the Warren Vampirella had a bit more of a "Latin" influence, whereas this Vampirella is a little more "caucasian". The new Gonzalez' Vampirella is still a stunning beauty, but not the same old Gonzalez' Vampirella. I thought it may be that he is using a different model, but all of Pepe Gonzalez' art comes straight from his heart and mind.
However, if someone were to send me the original painting for this cover I would treasure it more than any other Vampirella item I own! And if that isn't a hint I don't know what is!
TRIVIA: The Texeira edition is sometimes called the "boob" cover and the Gonzalez' edition the "non-boob" cover, as the Texeira painting shows Vampirella slightly exposed. Take a close look at her left breast behind her arm. I have to admit that I didn't notice this at all but was educated by Ang and Dee via email.
Regular Cover A - Beck $2.99
Virgin Cover A - Beck (1,500 copies) $14.95
Regular Cover B - Lilly $2.99
Virgin Cover B - Lilly (15,000 copies) $14.95
Revelations - 2 [Story, Mike Carey; Art, Mike Lilly and Bob Almond]
>Straight into Hell, and the demon Lord Belial (Lilith's lover) ponders his prisoner, Vampirella, now locked into a regressed childhood. The power of the Eidolon is explained; it instills a set of memories that will give reason for Vampirella's mission on Earth. And as Vampirella grows and becomes more sophisticated and intelligent so will her memories adjust to provide a new origin that will always make sense to her - "so she'll never question. And she'll never stop."
Skip to the destruction of Lilith by God. Belial has a fail safe; he can revive Lilith with the blood of her true child, but Vampirella is locked within her own mind, her link to the Eidolon broken (by Glass, presumably). Belial decides to take Vampirella back to Drakulon and re-establish the link with the Eidolon, and to attempt to revive Lilith.
On route, the demon Althator starts to beat the "child" Vampirella in revenge for killing his brother and others. During the whipping, the ghost of Glass appears to Vampirella, explaining that when he was killed a part of his mind was still in her mind, causing her to be locked into her childhood. To release her he "dies" again.
Restored to her senses, Vampirella extracts revenge on Althator and the surrounding demons before making her escape, followed by Belial and his hordes.
As visions of Hell go, this is a real beauty - both in concept and artwork. Belial is well characterised, and you almost feel sorry for him when his plans go awry as Vampirella comes to her senses.
The story is well paced and gripping and when Vampirella regains her senses the look on her face tells you that when you turn the page all hell will break loose (no pun intended).
Once more, the reader is left waiting for the next episode of the story, sure in the knowledge that Vampirella is about to do what she does best!
The theme of two regular covers each with a virgin variants is continued throughout the series.
Regular Cover A - Horne $2.99
Virgin Cover A - Horne (1,500 copies) $14.95
Regular Cover B - Jusko $2.99
Virgin Cover B - Jusko (1,500 copies) $14.95
Revelations - 3 [Story, Mike Carey; Art, Mike Lilly and Bob Almond]
Pondering the knowledge that she was a virgin birth from the soil of Drakulon and the blood of Lilith, a tool forged to fulfil Lilith's purpose, Vampirella is attacked by a squadron of flying demons. Created a monster, she returns the monstrosity to her creators.
Returning to Drakulon, Vampirella destroys the Eidolon but is attacked by Belial's army. Outnumbered thousands to one she goes into a blood frenzy and destroys them all. During the melee, Belial effects his plan to revive Lilith.
In the aftermath only Belial remains, and a now revived Lilith. The energies of the lives Vampirella took in the battle were channeled through her into the remains of Lilith (as she had been designed to do) and Lilith rose from the ashes. A Mother/Daughter confrontation occurs and Lilith admits she has no further use for Vampirella, who was only created as a tool to provide her with power and strength. As powerful as Vampirella is, her mother (created by God himself) is more powerful and shows her colours as the mother of all vampires by biting Vampirella and draining her to the point of death. As Vampirella dies she reaches out and touches the heart of Drakulon, her only true "mother". In a surge of energy from Drakulon itself Vampirella destroys Lilith, and leaving Belial in despair walks out into the Drakulonian sunlight.
Phew! The only way to really appreciate this story is to read it from start to finish in one go. So it may pay you, gentle reader, to buy the trade Paperback version that compiles the whole story in one volume.
I cannot praise the team that put this story arc together enough. Harris has not skimped on quality at any stage; top writer, top artists, top quality printing.
Everything is the best it could be, and this story marks a whole new direction for Vampirella. She was created as the ultimate killing machine with the sole purpose of providing energy for Lilith. With Lilith gone, the killing machine remains, but her purpose is gone.
Sadly, this series is both the pinnacle of Harris' Vampirella and her swan song. The promise of Revelations II never came to fruition, the Sword of Dracula crossover was a repeat of a previous comic book and eventually Harris' sold the title to another publisher.
Revelations Book 1. Trade Paperback (2006)
Regular cover - Joe Jusko $12.95
Signed Regular cover - Joe Jusko (100 copies) $19.95
Revelations [Artists, Mike Lilly, Bob Almond, Jay Fotos; Writer, Mike Carey]
The complete Revelations story arc from Book 1 Issues #0-3 are included with many pages retouched specifically for the collection.
Also included is Carey's complete script for issue #1, an exclusive interview with him and a peek inside Mike Lilly's sketchbook!
Ideal for the new reader and the established fan alike, this TPB takes you through the whole, definitive Vampirella origin story in one go. Great story, stunning art and presented in one solid chunk, the frustration of waiting for the next issue to come out is removed.
A key point in Vampirella's history.
Vampirella Revelations II - Prototype Edition (November 2006)
Regular Cover - Al Rio - $4.95
Limited Edition cover (500 only)- Al Rio - $9.95
Revelations II [Story, Christopher Priest; Art, Eric Battle]
The SWAT team move in only to find a battle royal in progress. Vampirella is cleaning out a vampire nest! After the slaughter we get a quick view of Vampirella in her "civvies" and (to give Eric Battle his dues) she is still a hottie in jeans and t-shirt!
This is what used to be called an Ash Can. An interesting view of the writer's script and an interview with Eric Battle are included.