Vampirella #1 (Bloodstalk)
Ron Goulart | Warner Books | 1975 | 141 pages
First book in a series of novelizations of the Warren Publishing horror-comic series, featuring the interstellar blood-sucking heroine.
After surviving a plane crash, Vampirella succumbs to her growing vampiric hunger and feeds on the only other survivor. Driven by guilt over her action, she stumbles across an old sanitarium and is captured by Adam Westron, a doctor who immediately recognizes her true nature. Dr. Westron offers Vampirella a proposal. He has developed a serum that will substitute for human blood, freeing her from her dependence upon human victims. However, this freedom comes with a price—in exchange for his continued supply of the serum, Vampirella must become Dr. Westron’s mistress!
Fighting back against her captor, Vampirella discovers that Dr. Weston is part of a larger network of evil, The Companions of Chaos. Following the instructions in an arcane book of magic called The Crimson Chronicles, the Companions aim to raise demons from the void of another dimension through human sacrifice. Vampirella vows to smash this organization, which seems to have cells beyond the immediate confines of the sanitarium.
Unfortunately for Vampirella, the victim she killed at the crash site was the brother of noted vampire-hunter, Kurt Van Helsing. The blind and elderly Kurt, grandson of the Van Helsing that fought the legendary Count Dracula, possesses the gift of E.S.P, and along with his son Adam, has vowed to track down and destroy the predator responsible for the killing. Reading much like a comic book, the story zips along from sanitarium to demon cult ritual to dark carnival, with Vampirella’s pursuers propelled by a lazy reliance on E.S.P. visions.
Van Helsing brought one hand up to press against his pale forehead. “I…see her,“ he said. “I…see her…at…yes, at a carnival.”
Lacking the immediate voluptuousness of the original comic art illustration, the novel’s Vampirella reads as a rather bland heroine, reduced to repeated descriptions of being “long-legged” or “dark-haired.” A brief flashback providing our heroine’s origin story—essentially, she escapes in a rocket ship from a doomed planet formed with rivers of blood—does little to, ahem, flesh out her character. However, titillation-seekers could simply close the book and stare into the cleavage of the José González cover art.