Gtv Cover
Kristy Valenti remembers GREENBERG THE VAMPIRE:

Written by J.M. DeMatteis and drawn by Mark Badger, GtV was Marvel’s 20th “graphic novel.” For Marvel, at that time, “Graphic novel” meant aping the European album format, and accordingly GtV is magazine-sized and in full color with high production value. Marvel’s initial graphic novel offerings were a mix of superhero and proto-Vertigo genre offerings. GtV obviously falls into the latter category: there are cusses in it, and I imagine the pitch was “a Woody Allen vampire movie.” The high concept is not completely without promise — there could be some very funny or even philosophical situations arising from the idea.

Those were the days of adventure and experimentation, weren’t they?


  1. Remember Dr. Doom/Dr. Strange? New Mutants? Death of Captain Marvel?

    This format also gave us God Loves, Man Kills, arguably Marvel’s best piece of serious superhero fiction, well ever. Though it’s shorter, I still don’t know why it doesn’t get put into the same category as DK and Watchmen. That book singlehandedly (singlebookedly?) made me look at comics differently.

    DC had a line of similar dimensions: Hunger Dogs, etc.

    Never read Greenberg though — why is he shooting the…wait, what is that thing?


  2. Lazy Nat doesn’t feel like joining another comics community to note this on the original article, so I’ll just note here that this was actually the second Greenberg tale, the first appearing in Bizarre Adventures (or perhaps whatever the title was before that, Marvel Thing-That-Will-Become-Bizarre-Adventures.) It may be that the earlier story would add more of the richness that Kristy seeks, I honestly do not recall at this point.

  3. It’s not as old as Greenberg the Vampire, but Dracula: A Symphony in Moonlight & Nightmares by Jon J. Muth is simply gorgeous. I remember thinking, really — this is Marvel?

  4. It wasn’t Marvel, it was John Muth.

    Don’t forget that Marvel also experimented with hardcover originals (about the same time that DC did with SON OF THE DEMON, which got spun into the current Batman storyline). Sure, there were some gems in the bunch (that Doom/Strange story comes to mind, particularly with the Mignola art), and RETURN TO BIG NOTHING, which is still an outstanding Punisher story.

    But a lot of that stuff just wasn’t very good at all. I seem to remember that the failures were placed on the format (which was spendy for the time) and not the content.

  5. I still have Greenberg the Vampire and seem to remember some other black and white stories being published in one of Marvel’s magazine titles? A very enjoyable graphic novel, but an odd choice alongside Jim Starlin’s Death of Captain Marvel and Walt Simonson’s Starslammers.

  6. Jon J. Muth’s Dracula is gorgeous! Their EPIC line of comics also displayed beautiful pages from Muth’s friend, Kent Williams. From the Epic anthology, Blood, Moonshadow, and their collaboration on Havok & Wolverine:Meltdown they were kings when it came to painting comics.

    As for Greenberg, the Vampire, I preferred Mark Badger’s work more on The Gargoyle mini-series.

  7. @Brad: I don’t know. It looks like a really big laptop with a really crappy monitor.

    We need an article on Marvel’s strangest and crappiest GNs of the era. Super Boxers! Wait, that’s all else I can add so maybe not.

  8. “The Death of Groo” was one of the best comics to come out of Marvel (Epic) during the 80’s. Creator owned too!

  9. The premise was: how would the Vampire mythos would play out if they were Jewish and not affected by the crosses etc? I drew that one which appeared behind Walt Simonson’s adaptation of the King short story “The Lawnmower Man”

  10. I remember the spinner racks which held the albums and comicbooks, found at the Waldenbooks and B. Dalton stores at the local shopping center. A few aisles away was the humor section, where one could find Raw, MAD, Bloom County, and Life Is Hell.
    If I find them today at reasonable prices, I buy them. The Thing/Incredible Hulk volume was pretty good. Later, Epic released the Mobius library, which is beautiful.
    DC’s best albums are the SF adaptations.

  11. “I loved the one that Charles Vess did of Spider-man. I wished I remembered the title….”

    You mean Spirits Of The Earth? That one took Spider-Man out of urban landscape and put him in the middle of Scotland.

  12. It may not be by Marvel dictate, but the Allenesque vibe is definitely there: Greenberg’s girlfriend is named “Denise Keaton,” and the closing line is: “you wanna play gynecologist?” (Which, and here’s just a personal aside here, a man should never, ever say to a woman. Japanese love hotel decor notwithstanding.) I know the movie came out long after the graphic novel, but Greenberg the Vampire is kind of like a bizarro Marvel version of Deconstructing Harry, mixed in with one of those movies where lots of women inexplicably pursue the Woody Allen stand-in.