Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Reader's Diary #1565- Kate Leth (writer), Eman Casallos (artist): Vampirella / Hollywood Horror

Kate Leth, whom I just happily discovered is Canadian, seems to have a knack for modernizing older comic book characters. Retaining enough character essence but making them contemporary, more attuned to today's values and issues (or as the young'uns might say, woke). She did so with Marvel's Hellcat and pulls it off again with Vampirella.

This is how Vampirella first appeared in 1969:

Believe it or not, this outfit got even smaller as time went on
Thankfully, there's been a lot of healthy discussion about the way that females have been portrayed in comics and we've seen some notable improvements. Indeed, the cover of Kate Leth and Eman Casallos's Vampirella: Hollywood Horror depicts an outfit much more conducive to kicking ass than showing ass.

Of course, vampire legends are often highly sexualized, and slut shaming Vampirella would be wrong, too. Fortunately Leth strikes the perfect balance with the character. Vampirella comes across as having a healthy sexual appetite. But even more impressively, Leth devises a way to reclaim the barely-there costume. Vampirella takes ownership.

Politics aside, this is a fun story. Alien vampires, werewolves, and demons? The camp of Hollywood is an ideal setting and the homage to old monster movies works perfectly. And the respect for the characters provides a much needed balance so that the novelty doesn't wear itself thin.

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