Strange Times & Places: Vampirella Manga

Welcome back to Strange Times & Places, where we’re turning our eyes away from the big two and towards the classic pin-up horror heroine Vampirella as we read the two Vampirella Manga ashcan specials.

How’s It Different?

These would be imaginary stories, placing monstrous femme fatales Vampirella and Pantha in thirtieth century Neo-Tokyo for reasons of aesthetic and to take advantage of Japanese storytelling tropes.

What’s The Story?

In Vampirella Manga 2999, Vampi and Pantha face off against a rampaging giant robot named Sumo Erectus. The outmatched lady monsters are rescued by fellow hero Johnny Banzai…before discovering that he’s the real bad guy, having sent the robot in an underhanded attempt to win Vampirella’s heart!

In Vampirella Manga 3000, Vampi & Pantha are sunbathing on an island vacation when the vampire vixen rescues a young woman being pursued through the jungle by some thugs. She finds that the island’s ruler selects young women to be his brides, whether they want the honor or not, and that Pantha’s the next victim destined to walk down the aisle!

Best of Differences

  • Kevin Lau’s manga inspired artwork is gorgeous, and he’d go on to co-create an ongoing Japanese-influenced Vampirella title, Vampi.
  • The dynamic between Vampirella and Pantha, where Vampi is the more intellectual and reserved partner while Pantha is hotheaded and outgoing, is very strong and a lot of fun.
  • Having the villains of both tales be creepy men who don’t particularly respect our heroines softens the blow of the cheese-cakey artwork.

Worst of Differences

  • Cheesecake, pin-up styled artwork is 100% to be expected while reading Vampirella. Like it or not, that’s who the character is. However, using a slight variation on Vampi’s iconic skimpy outfit in a story where art and characterization make her seem like a teenager…there’s just something a tad “Paging Roy Moore to the Red Courtesy Phone” about that.

Come Back Next Week for a New Installment of Tokusatsu Gesundheit!


About Chris Walker

Chris Walker (@back2past) is affectionately referred to as Back to the Past's social media lackey. He's all over finding nuggets of pop culture news, wherever they may be hiding!

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