Death Panels, Part II: Comics Continue to Resurrect the Vampire Legend

"The Flapping Head"

October calls for scares, and despite the very scary state of the world, there is still a desire for entertainment that frightens us. Here we look at the broad, deep legacy of horror comics in a series that delves into the genre's many variations and highlights from the 1940s to the present.

The creak of a coffin lid. The silky whisk of a black cape. That whole Cure aesthetic, all sickly pale with doomed eyes. The slow, sensual draining of human life to sustain that of the parasitic yet tragic undead ghouls who take it — shape-shifting phantoms who have seen the centuries pass by like so many weeks or hours, watching the world evolve from towering edifices long believed either abandoned or haunted.

These Romantic notions, charged with sex, atmosphere, and dread, are exactly the reasons why — just as we start to think that we are sick to death of vampires — we are sucked right back into their ominous black folds.

Horror comics have not been immune to the charms of the vampire, having contributed mightily to their cultural oeuvre. After comic books gained strength in the 1930s, vampire stories were often featured in the Golden Age horror anthologies. Later, even the most well-known comic book superheroes have come face-to-face with vampires. Today, in the age of reboots and belated sequels, some comics continue to expand on — rather than regurgitate — the vast edifice of vampire lore.


View Comments