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The man who painted Vampirella: The hypnotic artwork of Enrique Torres-Prat
12.13.2017
11:57 am
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A painting of Vampirella by Spanish artist, Enrique Torres-Prat.
 
Spanish comic book artists have had a thing for drawing Vampirella for decades. This is an indisputable fact. Even though the very first illustration of Vampirella is credited to Brooklyn, New York native Frank Frazetta, there are more than a few prominent Spanish artists responsible for creating incredible, almost tangible paintings of one of the world’s most famous female comic book characters. For instance, Jose “Pepe” Gonzalez was a fucking legend when it came to his illustrations and paintings of Vampirella, and his many fans say that his artistic portrayal of the she-vampire perfectly defined the character. In fact, when Frank Frazetta was asked for his opinion about Gonzalez he responded saying that “no one drew women as beautifully as José Gonzalez.” Work by other well-known Spanish artists who drew Vampirella, such as the man who is the subject of this post, Enrique Torres-Prat (aka Enric/Enrich), was compiled into a fantastic book that came out just this past January, Masters of Spanish Comic Book Art, a must-have book that will make your coffee table much more appealing.

Torres-Prat/Enric is a revered artist and his original Vampirella paintings are known to sell for thousands of dollars when and if they become available. It has also been noted by Vampirella experts that Enric was likely the only artist to paint Vampirella into a triptych (a three-paneled painting). His experience with formal artistic training and education as a youth was vast and Ernic had the good fortune to be able to travel around the world during that time visiting museums in Amsterdam and the United States, soaking in work by the true masters such as one of his primary inspirations, Rembrandt. In 1971 the artist scored his first U.S. gig when his artwork was chosen to appear on the cover of People Machines—a collection of science fiction stories written by Jack Williamson who many called “The Dean of Science Fiction” as they did his peer, Robert Heinlein. This success would lead Enric to Warren Publishing where he would ink the covers of horror comic staples, Eerie and Creepy as well as Vampirella. 52 of Enric’s paintings of Vampirella would adorn the cover of the magazine during his time with Warren Publishing. José Gonzalez may be considered the definitive benchmark for Vampirella’s look, but it was Enric paintings that would become synonymous with the ethos of the dangerously-drawn, vampiric femme-fatale.
 

 

 
Many more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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12.13.2017
11:57 am
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Anton LaVey, Son of Satan & Vampirella make for fantastically weird ‘Illegal Mego’ action figures
08.30.2017
12:17 pm
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One of Todd Waters’ customized Anton LaVey “Illegal Mego” action figures.
 
Michigan native Todd Waters started collecting action figures made by toy giant Mego in the 1970s when he was just a toddler and simply never stopped. He and his brother were so obsessed with the action figures put out by Mego that they started tricking out their own characters together as kids. In a 2007 interview Waters recalled that his very first custom figure was Spider-Man which he customized with ripped clothing and a removable mask which he still owns.

Eventually, Waters learned to sew which allowed him to make more creative costumes for his action figures, which he also hand-paints. After clicking through Waters’ Flickr, I was delighted to discover the wide variety of action figures he has made that include some cool, fringe characters such as two different versions of Anton LaVey, the supernatural “Brother Voodoo” from Marvel Comics, and his self-proclaimed favorite, a customized “Dr. Zachary Smith” as played by actor Jonathan Harris in the vintage television series, Lost in Space. As I’m sure you may be wondering, yes, Waters does occasionally sell his figures—but only does so to raise the funds to create more of his wacky custom treasures. If you’re interested in trying to acquire one of Waters’ unique figures, he can be contacted via his Flickr page.
 

“Man-Thing” figure. “Man-Thing” made his first appearance in the Marvel comic ‘Savage Tales’ in 1971.
 

“The Son of Satan” figure. “The Son of Satan” made his debut in 1973 in ‘Ghost Rider’ #1.
 
More Mego madness after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.30.2017
12:17 pm
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In the flesh: The voluptuous models who brought the famous female vampire Vampirella to life


Model Barbara Leigh as Vampirella on the cover of issue #78 (May, 1979.)
 
Comic book vampire/alien and femme fatale superhero Vampirella first crashed to Earth in her spaceship after departing her home planet of “Drakulon” (where instead of water the rivers ran full of blood) in the first issue of Vampirella magazine in 1969. The character was primarily created by Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine’s Forrest J. Ackerman—inspired by the formidable beauty of Italian actress Marisa Mell—and her look was designed by artist Trina Robbins. Robbins, a self-professed “school nerd” is also known for being the first woman to draw Wonder Woman. Originally put out by Warren Publishing in simple black and white, Warren would publish 112 issues of Vampirella before going under in 1983. From that point forward two other publishing houses, specifically, Harris Publications and Dynamite Entertainment would modify the character’s storyline, but not her look which consisted of a racy, costume-malfunction-waiting-to-happen blood-red monokini. You may not even be reading this right now because you’re still busy gawking the image of model Barbara Leigh at the top of this post wearing what amounts to a few yards of strategically placed cloth over her impossible body.

On that note, let’s get on with the task of checking out a few of the women who became the real-life character over the last few decades.
 

The very first living and breathing “Vampirella,” Kathy Bushman. This photo of Bushman was taken in 1969 at the World Science Fiction Convention in St. Louis where she caught the eye of Vampirella creator Forrest J. Ackerman (pictured to the left).

Apparently, the very first “live model” to wear the dangerous Vampirella costume was Kathy Bushman at The World Science Fiction Convention (known as Worldcon) in St. Louis in 1969. According to a fansite for the convention, Bushman made the costume herself by hand (since she didn’t have a sewing machine) and paired it with a short black cape and pair of pale blue kitten-heeled pumps. The costume won her an “Honorable Mention,” at the convention and she would go on to become an influential costume designer contributing prolifically to Worldcon for decades.

Barbara Leigh—a woman who probably guided her fair share of boys through puberty—was the first “real” girl to appear on the cover of the magazine starting sometime in 1975. The lucky Leigh would also sign on with Hammer Films to play the vampire vixen for at least six movies. Initially, the part had been offered to two Hammer girls—Caroline Munro and Valerie Leon who both turned the role down due to the nudity it required. Sadly the project never really got off the ground, Leigh decided to get hitched and promptly left show business.

In the 1990s there were a few notable IRL Vampirella’s—Penthouse Pet Julie Strain and Cathy Christian. The most famous 90s version of Vampirella is Talisa Soto. Soto starred in the 1996 film adaptation Vampirella (along with Roger Daltrey by the way) directed by Roger Corman protege, Jim Wynorski. Christian would be the first “official” Vampirella model to represent the legacy in the convention circuit in the early 90s, though she never appeared on the cover of Vampirella. She did, however, score a role as the model used by Topps for their very first Vampirella trading cards from 1995. Strain’s image, as well as illustrated versions of the bombshell, appeared widely in the magazine. Her portrayal of Vampirella was also used to create a small series of Vampirella-themed action figures put out in 2000 by Moore Action Collectables. The Images below are NSFW.
 

Kathy Bushman, 1969.
 

Barbara Leigh.
 

An illustration of Barbara Leigh as Vampirella by American artist Bob Larkin on the cover of issue #78, October, 1978.
 
More Vampy action after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.21.2017
12:25 pm
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