Monday, October 27, 2008

Sucking the Life Out of Halloween: Vampirella 2006 Halloween Special

Christmas gets a proverbial twelve days of anticipation and celebration, teeming with carols and gift-giving and office parties, and Easter gets forty days of reflection and introspection with Lent, but what of Halloween? Sure, we spend weeks decorating, brainstorming costumes, watching scary movies, and buying candy, but this isn’t an official calendar countdown. Further, the real festivity is reserved for just a few fleeting nighttime hours, and just as quickly as it comes, it goes. Boycotted by churches and quickly usurped by Christmas, Halloween always gets the short end of the stick . . . but not here at A Comic A Day! Longtime readers know I love Halloween, so this week I’m dedicated to heralding its arrival with a series of holiday-related comic book reviews. Take that, birth of Christ!*

In fact, I picked up Vampirella 2006 Halloween Special several months ago at the Frank & Sons Collectibles Show anticipating this very week, and since I’ve never read a Vampirella story before, what better time than around a holiday that practically celebrates blood sucking? Phil Hester’s credit on the cover certainly sealed the deal, and although he doesn’t illustrate the issue, he is more than capable of writing a suspenseful story with its own peculiar twist. For Halloween, he went for less Big Pumpkin and more Dear Penthouse, with a tale so thick with sexual tension that the terms “trick” and “treat” began to take on a whole new meaning. Of course, when the title character fights crime in a costume made of glorified dental floss, what should I expect? Seriously, Vampirella makes Elvira look like the Warrior Nun -- well, that’s not saying much, either, but you know what I mean.

In this issue, Vampirella befriends a Las Vegas tattoo artist, whose violent past comes back to haunt him thanks to our heroine’s supernatural sense of rough justice, but not before she passes the time under the needle recounting her origin. While longtime Vampirella fans could’ve easily flipped past these two pages, I found the concise flashback, and despite this issue’s roots in Halloween, I certainly won’t be afraid to pick up a future issue starring this demonic damsel . . . even if artist Stephen Segovia’s liberal use of butt cleavage is the norm for Vampirella stories. Since she spent half of this issue under a towel in a tattoo shop, I’m sure Segovia didn’t have much of a choice anyway, but like many readers I can’t imagine that he really complained about it.

Whether or not Halloween ever warrants an official pre-game countdown, aside from ABC Family’s scary movie marathon, Phil Hester uses Vampirella to remind us that, like a tattoo, this hallowed holiday is here to stay. Considering that children and adults alike seize the opportunity to dress up like their favorite superheroes and sci-fi characters, it’s no wonder Halloween has always had a friend in comics.

Vampirella 2006 Halloween Special was published by Harris Comics, written by Phil Hester, illustrated by Stephen Segovia, colored by Jay David Ramos, and lettered by Ed Dukeshire.

*Actually, I already have a fun bunch of Christmas-themed comics to read in December, too . . . Dang, Halloween just can’t win.

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