Acclaimed writer Christopher Priest has been getting accolades for his exciting run on the new Vampi ongoing series for Dynamite. Now, in collaboration with the publisher, Priest is preparing to celebrate Black History Month with February’s Vampirella #8.
“It’s a significant and unique gesture on Dynamite’s part to work with me to acknowledge the contributions of African American artists in this industry with a set of covers exclusively developed by artists of color,” said Priest. “Both my veteran buddies and inspiring boundary breakers creating their own unique expressions of our favorite Vampiri.”
Priest and editor Matt Idelson gathered the team of Denys Cowan, Alitha Martinez, Mark Beachum, and Afua Richardson to contribute their covers based on a simple premise: Imagine creating Vampirella in 1969 as if her appearance was inspired by African American women rather than the Bettie Page/Barbarella approach of James Warren, Forrest J. Ackerman, Frank Frazetta, and Trina Robbins. In addition to each artist’s rendition, cosplayer Mai joins the group for her own cover.
Cowan said, “It’s always great to work with Mr. Priest and I’ve always been a Vampirella fan! I love the older covers and loved the black and white interior art from the 1970s. This was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with a favorite character in a different way.”
Martinez, one of the most prolific African American female artists, said, “Vampirella is one of those iconic characters who you instantly recognize. In reimagining her I had to try to preserve what made her so viable. For me, it wasn’t her body but the strength and beauty of her face, and touch of danger in her eyes. While her raven hair is a princess of darkness staple, there’s something magical about textured hair, like a crown for a queen, that begs to be touched. We should want and fear vampires at the same time.”
Beachum is returning to Vampi after having done covers for the Harris era. Dynamite is representing him and Louis Small Jr. as “Icon Incentive” covers.
“I was about 10 or 11 when I discovered Warren and that international cast of artists expanded my interest in art beyond the bandwidth of mainstream superheroes. Esteban Maroto, Jose Gonzalez, Jordi Bernet, Gonzalo Mayo, Frazetta, Vaughn Bode, Sanjulian, and Enrich Torres were like a huge crew of brilliant art teachers showing me what was possible. Vampirella functioned as a landmark that provoked the modern era of creators to expand their ambitions. This is what inspired, has sustained, and continues to instruct me to this day.”
“Vampirella is as provocative as she is powerful,” explained Richardson. “I love how she’s evolved through time. You didn’t see a lot of lady heroes in 1969. But Trina Robbins was always great about making mighty maidens who didn’t need saving. Now she’s in the hands of Christopher Priest who always has an amazing way of breathing a new life and perspective into legacy characters. I’m honored to be a part of this.”
Fans of series regulars will still have their pick of covers from Guillem March, Fay Dalton, Ergun Gunduz, and Lucio Parrillo.
“Christopher’s work on this series has been astonishing, his ideas continue to grow the tapestry of Vampirella as an iconic comics character right up there with the greats,” said Nick Barrucci, Dynamite Ceo and Publisher. “This initiative he came to us with was too exciting to not get behind 100%.”
Vampirella #8 will be available for preorder in December and is slated for a February release. For digital, head over to Comixology, Kindle, iBooks, Google Play, Dynamite Digital, ComicsPlus, and more. Check out Dynamite’s website for more on the series.