October 8, 2011

Ye Olde School Café: Vampire Tales vol. 2

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Written by: Billy
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I hope everyone is having a great weekend, and enjoying this warm fall weather (at least on the east coast). It doesn’t really feel like October yet, but I’m going to try and get you in the mood with some more Marvel horror with Vampire Tales vol. 2, in this week’s Ye Olde School Café! Last week, we saw some great stuff that was the brainchild of some of comics’ greatest writers and artists. Well, this week will be no different, as people like Roy Thomas, Tony Isabella, and Doug Moench will be scripting some great stories. Let us not forget about the artwork of Tom Sutton, Rich Buckler, and Gil Kane, either! This volume is actually my favorite out of the three that have been released for a couple of reasons that I’ll share at the conclusion. Enough banter, let’s dive into the scary minds of these legendary creators right now!

The first of my highlights is “Lighthouse of the Possessed” by Don McGregor & Tom Sutton. It’s a continuation from volume 1 with Morbius and his new gal pal, Amanda Saint. Morbius and Amanda are on a hunt to find her father and mother. Both are missing, and one of them is involved in a crazy cult. The search has brought them to a town called Malevolence, in the state of  Maine. Here, Morbius walks along the beach with a huge lighthouse in the background. He’s on the hunt to satisfy his hunger for blood, but wants to keep a low profile all the same. He jumps some poor sap, and drains his blood. Upon returning to the inn where he and Amanda are staying, he’s approached by the innkeeper. A scary looking old hag that questions his whereabouts on such a cold and rainy night. At this point, we also see her even creepier friend, Oliver. He has an even uglier face than her, and a hook for a hand!

Later, we see the cult known as Demon Fire, and their crazed, supernatural leader Blood-Tide. We also see one of Demon Fire’s most prominent disciples, Amanda’s mother! As Amanda and Morbius are watching some TV in their room, Oliver tries to creep in and attack them. Morbius hears him, though, and tosses him out a second story window. At this moment, the cult members arrive and chase both Amanda and Morbius around the town. Once cornered, a member of the cult who appears to be an old hag swings an axe at Morbius, slicing open his arm. On the second attempt, Morbius is ready, and turns the tables on the attacker. The axe ends up buried in the skull of the woman, and after closer inspection, the woman turns out to be Amanda’s mother! Amanda faints, and Morbius carries her away.

"Bats" by Doug Moench & Paul Gulacy

My next favorite story (and coincidentally my son’s favorite, too) is “Somewhere Waits the Vampire” by Paul Reinman (artist – no writer listed). This story revolves around a young girl that is in love with a vampire named Kraska. Her father obviously doesn’t approve. His biggest reason is because years earlier vampires killed his wife and son, and also left a scar of the letter”V” on his chest as a reminder. One night when Sophia meets Kraska for some midnight lovin’, her father follows her, and fires an arrow at Kraska. The arrow hits Sophia, though, and she helps Kraska get away. Her father vows he’ll get revenge, and then takes Sophia to the doctor. She heals, but then goes right back to having her little rendezvous with Kraska. One night before their meeting, Sophia’s father makes a homemade trap made for a bear, but he modifies it with razor sharp silver teeth to kill Kraska. When Sophia makes her way through the forest, she accidentally steps on the trap meant for Kraska. Once again, Sophia’s father rushes her to the doctor’s office, but the doctor informs him that she’s dead. When he questions the doctor why it killed her, he’s shown the corpse. Sophia was a vampire, too, and silver is deadly to a vampire.

Some other great stories include “The Drifting Snow” by Tony Isabella. A tale of an old family mansion that houses a family secret. A secret that involves vampires that haunt the grounds surrounding the home, and anyone who ventures out at night becomes a late meal!

“A Vampire’s Home is his Castle,” by Doug Moench (writer) and Lombardia (artist), is a story of a local stone cutter that boasts of his fine work. The stone cutter is then forced into working for Count Varma. The Count uses the man’s family against him by vampirizing his young daughters and using them as guards to make sure the man does the work expected while he’s away for a few weeks. Varma gets quite a surprise, however, when he returns to his new home.

Also, “Lillith, Daughter of Dracula” by Marv Wolfman, Steve Gerber, Bob Brown, and Tom Palmer; and “The Color of Crimson Gold” by Doug Moench and Vicente Alcazar, are two more that are fantastic short stories. Two more chapters in the continuing story of Morbius and Amanda Saint versus Demon Fire are packed in this great book (twenty stories in all).

Do yourself a favor and pick this up, because if you consider the talent involved in this book, you know you can’t go wrong. The black and white format isn’t hindering in the least, either. Honestly, I think it adds to the macabre theme of the book. Definitely stop back in next week for some more great action in Ye Olde School Café!

Billy Dunleavy



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