From Vampironica to Buffy the Vampire Slayer: 10 best vampire comic series explored
Vampires have a wide variety of stories in literature and media. Even Marvel and DC have their blood-sucking characters that are mainstays and well known among the inhabitants of their universes. Dracula himself is a major character in Marvel, making appearances in the X-Men and Blade stories.
With Morbius recently premiering in movie theaters across the globe, it's time to look at these literary characters and their deep history in the land of comic books. They survive by drinking blood and avoiding sunlight, but some writers have attempted to make these creatures their own by reenvisioning them.
If you are a fan of the gothic horror creatures of the dark, these comics are for you.
Vampires rule the night in these comics
Everybody knows about Archie and his friends. This little series in question focuses on the famous Veronica in an alternate universe where she is transformed into a vampiric version of herself. She ends up dealing with the fact that she is a bloodsucker and may have to feed on people she has known her whole life to survive.
It became such a hit with fans that it created its own horror universe with other titles like Jughead: The Hunger. There was even a crossover between the two in Jughead: The Hunger versus Vampironica.
The series is written and illustrated by Greg and Meg Smallwood.
Originally a Japanese manga, Hellsing was brought to America through Dark Horse Publishing, and it expanded on the already classic literary character of Dracula. After being defeated by the Van Helsing patriarch, Dracula became Alucard (Dracula spelled backward) and the loyal servant of the Hellsing organization, hunting fellow vampires and other supernatural beings.
Alucard uses a bevy of powers to take on the Nazis, the Catholic Church, immature vampires, and a Cheshire cat. Along the way, he takes a fledgling vampire, Seras Victoria, under his wing to train her to survive as a bloodsucker.
The manga has a rich history filled with intriguing characters that will keep you turning pages and asking for more.
Vampirella has been around for a long time and has had numerous prolific writers and artists work on the pages inside her comics. From Warren Ellis to Jeph Loeb, many writers have broken into the industry by starting on Vampirella. That alone promises a wide range of stories and themes thanks to each writer's perspective differing.
Not only does having multiple writers throughout the years offer different perspectives, but it allows opportunities to revise a character's history. Vampirella went through several publishers. While this can be seen as messy or problematic, it has managed to keep her fresh.
4) Bleed Them Dry
Set in a cyberpunk future, Bleed Them Dry shows a world where humans and the undead coexist. Detective Harper Halloway is tasked with investigating a series of murders along with her vampiric partner Atticus Black.
An unfortunate series of events takes place that puts Harper on the run. She may have to turn to an unlikely ally to survive, and a conspiracy unfolds that puts her in more danger than she originally anticipated.
This series by Vault Comics is something that you should sink your teeth into.
5) Angel + Spike
After the success of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics along with its spin-off, Angel: After the Fall, Boom! Studios decided to reimagine the famous characters with their own continuities. Angel + Spike is not set in the same universe fans are used to, though.
Instead of Angel arriving in Sunnydale to protect Buffy from various threats, he is the threat. On a mission to save his soul, Angel arrives in Sunnydale to kill the slayer.
However, he only manages to make an enemy. The series also sees Spike lead a small group of hunters against a demonic threat in Los Angeles.
While not technically a vampire himself, Eric Brooks the slayer, better known as Blade, is an excellent character to follow in Marvel comics. Initially, he was a human immune to vampire bites, but that was eventually changed to make him part vamp.
Blade made his first appearance back in 1971 in The Tomb of Dracula in a supporting role but has since become the main character of his own comics. His goal in life is to rid the world of all vampires. He's had frequent run-ins with notable vampires like Dracula, Morbius, and Dracula's son, Xarus.
Marvel has confirmed a new movie is in the works with Mahershala Ali in the title role. This will bring Blade into the MCU, along with other supernatural characters.
7) American Vampire
Scott Snyder already proved to have the writing chops for darker stories with his long run on Batman. This series sets itself apart from other vampiric tales by exploring the legends from various countries.
It follows Skinner Sweet, who returns to life only to discover he is undead. However, he is a slightly different kind of bloodsucker with an all-new set of strengths and weaknesses.
It also follows his progeny, Pearl Jones, who uses her gifts of unlife to take revenge against the group of bloodsuckers that killed her.
If a fresh look at the undead that traverses across time and turns a classic tale on its head isn't enough to interest somebody, perhaps being written by Scott Snyder and the prolific Stephen King will sweeten the pot. The first five issues told two stories, and one of those stories was written by the master of horror himself.
After that, however, Scott Snyder took over sole writing duty, but it maintains its quality.
8) 30 Days of Night
30 Days of Night took a well-known fact about Alaska and turned it on its head. Parts of Alaska are dark for entire months throughout the year due to its proximity to the North Pole.
Vamps thrive in darkness. Naturally, bloodsuckers should be taking advantage of this fact and using the population as their food source.
After first being published in 2002, 30 Days of Night received multiple sequels and spin-offs, further solidifying its mythology. It eventually became a movie under the same name, starring Josh Hartnett and Danny Huston, in 2007.
8) Vampire: The Masquerade
Not many tabletop role-playing games see enough success to warrant a comic book series. Not unless it's Dungeons & Dragons.
But, the 1991 series, Vampire: The Masquerade, managed to be a big enough hit that it was able to branch out into the realm of comics successfully.
Following characters from thirteen different clans of vamps, VtM has a rich history as in-depth as it is intriguing. Vault Comics began publishing these comics in 2020, with notable writers like Tim Seeley, Tini Howard, and Blake Howard guiding the story.
The interesting thing about this story is that it takes place within the pre-established World of Darkness canon. The story follows a vampiric enforcer/courier in Minneapolis who cares for her human sister, who has dementia.
Eventually, the main character is pulled into a conspiracy that begins to tear apart the vampire community.
10) Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Following the season seven television series ending, creator Joss Whedon decided to keep the series going differently. He turned to comic books to tell his story.
The first story arc is titled Season 8, and it was supposed to last only twenty-five issues. However, the core series ran for forty issues due to its success.
Continuing where the television series left off, fans watched an army of slayers trained. Familiar faces such as Xander, Giles, and Willow return to help Buffy run a vast network of slayers, witches, seers, and psychics across the globe.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer's popularity garnered the attention of other publishers like IDW. Joss Whedon eventually struck a deal to continue the story from the Angel TV series and expand it into the comic series Angel: After the Fall.
Naturally, Spike had to receive his own series. So, he did, and it served as a way to bridge the Angel and Buffy series.
Note: This article reflects the author's views.