Vampirella is a fictional character, a comic book vampire heroine created by Forrest J Ackerman for Warren Publishing's namesake black-and-white horror-comics magazine, and developed by Archie Goodwin with artists Frank Frazetta and Tom Sutton.
Vampirella first appeared as a horror-story hostess in Vampirella #1 (Sept. 1969), continuing in that capacity through issue #8 (Nov. 1970) when she was "revamped" as a leading character.
She is considered a vampire, since she needs blood to survive and has many of the typical vampiric powers, including increased strength and reflexes, shapeshifting into a bat, and a mesmeric stare. She is not prone to the group's traditional weaknesses, such as daylight, holy water, garlic, or crosses. She cannot, most importantly, transform others into vampires. She does not attack people to drink their blood, except occasionally when she herself is attacked. She is almost always scantily clad in her signature red suit with a white collar and wearing shiny black thigh-high boots.
Vampirella was originally presented as an inhabitant of the planet Draculon, a world where people lived on blood and where blood flowed in rivers. Draculon orbits two twin suns that were causing droughts across the planet, marking certain doom for Vampirella and her race. The race of which Vampirella was born, the Vampiri, were able to transform themselves into bats at will, sprout wings when required, and drink blood.
The story begins with the inhabitants of Draculon dying slowly due to the drying up of its blood. The last few lie dying when a spaceship from Earth crashes on the planet. Vampirella, sent to investigate, is attacked; retaliating, she discovers that the astronauts have blood in their veins. In order for her race to survive, she manages to pilot the ship back to Earth where her adventures begin. Vampirella becomes a "good" vampire, and devotes her energy to ridding our world of the homegrown "evil" kind.
A direct-to-video movie adaptation was released in 1996, starring Talisa Soto.
A variety of models have donned various versions of the trademark scanty outfit for magazine covers, posters, trading cards, and live appearances. The first model to wear the costume was Barbara Leigh on the cover of the original Warren Vampirella magazine, #67 (March 1978). Other officially licensed models have included:
- Philadelphia City Paper, Jan. 6-12,2005: "Jim Warren Meets Vampirella"
- "The Warren Magazines", by Richard J. Arndt
- The Comics Journal #253: "The Vampirella Wars"
- Sascha Knopf
- Den of Geek: "To Hell With Spandex: Dead sexy — a look back at Vampirella and the occult superheroes/heroines of the naughty 1970s", by Martin Anderson, January 2, 2008
- Vampilore: reference site for all things Vampirella