Sunday, June 8, 2008

House of Mystery presents "I... Vampire"

This post is for a good mate of mine in the U.K. who has the single best "All Things Vampire Blog" on the net, at least in my humble opinion. The website I refer to is Taliesin Meets The Vampires. Do yourself a very great favor and check it out (even if he is completely wrong about the Salem's Lot remake, {couldn't resist!}). So, Taliesin, (formally addressing him now) the sheer weight and volume with which you post is superhuman. I don't know if you're familiar with the topic of this post or not - you cover a lot of literature and I am sure you've got a stout back log of things to review. But, if you're not pal, then I think you really need to get a hold of this particular run of The House of Mystery. It is a classic 25 issue run - that is sadly neglected or forgotten today.

I came to the "I Vampire" run of The House of Mystery late. I started buying issues from the local newsstand towards the very end of the run (this was in 1983) - with about four or five issues left until the series ended. It took about 10 years to complete that run, but I finally did - somewhere in the late 90s. What we are presented with is an incredibly rich, historically irregular, mosaic that I devoured back then and still dig out about once a year to re-read. The protagonist (and character of the title) is Lord Andrew Bennett, former commander in Queen Elizabeth's military (and hero in the war with Spain) turned court composer and balladeer. Well, rather than fumble with my own summary, here's the text from the Wiki entry on I... Vampire. "In 1591, after being turned into a vampire himself, Lord Andrew Bennett turned his lover, Mary Seward, into a vampire, and she became corrupted by the power. She took the name Mary, Queen of Blood and created a group of vampires called The Blood Red Moon bent on taking over the world. The series followed Bennett into the modern day as he tried to undo his mistake and take down Mary and The Blood Red Moon."

The plotting, character arcs, social commentary, and certainly the art - are all superior. You have the prime makings here for either A) an incredible television series that could easily run 4-6 solid seasons, or B) a movie franchise, trilogy, whatever, that would be (if done properly) outstanding - for some reason I always saw Gabriel Byrne as Andrew Bennett. And on this note I present a long and angry aside - sorry bout the rant, but - the majority of dumb fuck execs in charge of property development/acquisition at the major studios are both A) content (lazy, complacent) remaking EVERY damn film they have the rights to, or B) spend too much money on crap spec scripts - give me a call, I'm a writer and professor of film, I've got hundreds of ideas about what properties you should be developing, many of which you ALREADY own. These claims are based off of simple industrial analyses that your massive accounting departments apparently never bothered to commission. And, yes, we, the masses, your consumers, are tired of remakes. Just take a look at your receipts why don't ya (April Fool's Day - 12 million - pee u.). We can stomach them occasionally, but a new one every month is RIDICULOUS. Okay, back to I... Vampire.

I remember riding my bike to Metro News and buying this issue (to your left). The Last Issue. I pulled off into the woods, sat by my comic reading tree, drank some pop and ate some junk food and read it. I was very very sad that day. It was the end of the road for Andrew Bennett, I had lost a good friend - even though I had only read several of the issues, I identified with his his loneliness and his sense of right and wrong. Mostly, however, I think I was just fascinated having read fiction where a vampire was the hero. So there you have it Tali - my simple account of what I consider (along with Wolfman and Colan's brilliant Tomb of Dracula) to be absolutely top notch, fantastic, literature. I've sent you an email with some additional information that might be useful for you about the series run. If you do have this series, let's see a review! If you don't, then I hope I've fed your curiosity a bit. Cheers mate!


Taliesin_ttlg said...

Chick, many thanks – I feel all aglow at the thought that there has been a blog entry made for me.

That said I’m digging my heals in over Salem’s Lot!!! Lol :)

I’m not familiar with House of Mystery – I was a big fan as a kid of DC (one name, Batman) but the range of DC comics available was small.

I will definitely keep an eye out – perhaps someone over at DC might consider putting them in a single volume. You have definitely fed my curiosity.

Re your rant – can’t disagree. There are so many stories out there which could be told, remakes are becoming a plague.

Chick Young said...

You're most welcome buddy. I have a few other obscure suggestions I'll get around to. As for Salem's Lot - fine, fine, we're at a stalemate. But, realize kind sir, you are in a vast minority on this one. Your opinion, however, is (as stated numerous times) one that I admire and respect.

Looking forward to your Monkees review! Cheers

Bill Courtney said...


I am back from Si Chuan. it was a tough few days and I am worn out, but got the Cafe updated a little.

I used to collect comics as well. I still check them out, but usually from the net. I just got in scans (poor really) of all the marvel Conan (great stuff with BWS in the early immortal issues) and the Jim Steranko Nick Fury collection. Also in the process of downloading almost all of the cap Americas. Bittorrents can get you a lot of stuff in a ready made format for sharing over the net.

I remember well the Gene Colan Dracula comics. I think some of the best drawings ever came from Colan, though I did not appreciate him when I was younger, I was so overwhelmed by Barry Smith and Neil Adams and those guys. Now when i study those old drawings I see the brilliance.

Recall the Mike Ploog Frankenstein? the first few issues were so amazing.

I recently got in the Warren Blazing Combat books from a BT site and will make a post on them. I had debated to do comic book posts but since you did i will. I was doing some sidebar pages, but will bring comic article to the front since horror comics and horror films are so entwined. Or comics and movies in general really.

Will check out Taliesin's site then watch a flick. I will do an essay on my trip and post on my wife's site and maybe you an have a read sometime. see ya

Chick Young said...


Oh yes, i've got the 6 issue run of Ploog's Frankenstein. Incredible artwork on that. I was a huge fan of BWS and Steranko, Adams, Colan, et. Got to meet Colan and Sternako - both incredibly COOL. I remarked on your website the other day that I have some catching up to do - been busy myself lately. take care pal!

Anonymous said...

Thanks you for this handsome article about I ... Vampire.

-- Michael