Saturday, August 29, 2009

Random Reads: "Heart of a Vampire"

While "Iron" Mike Grell was making his reputation as DC's hottest sci-fi artist on Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes and Green Lantern/Green Arrow, he slipped in this far-out fable featuring his facility for fear-fraught figments. I can't for the life of me understand why Grell wasn't tapped to be The Batman's regular penciler, 'cause this little-seen classic sure goes a long way in proving that the man had the chops to capture the mood and mystery integral to the adventure of the Dark Knight. At least that's Ol' Groove's opinion. (Oh, and far be it from me to slight the writing skills of Elliot S! Maggin--he's grrrreat! But you knew that, right?) From Detective Comics #455 (October 1976), here's "Heart of a Vampire"!


  1. Is it just me, or does DeCobra look like Barnabas Collins from "Dark Shadows" fame? Perhaps Mike Grell was watching too much TV in the 70s.

    Great post as always Groove!

  2. Grell was trying to make him look like Christopher Lee. I think he did a great job, especially in the last panel of page 9.

  3. Yeah, I get the Christopher Lee vibe, too. I'm surprise nobody's commented on DeCobra's Phantom Stranger-ish garb.

  4. Stumbled upon this classic in a 3/39cents coverless comics in plastic wrap decades ago,talk about entertainment for less than half a buck.A genuinely creepy tale with art that rivals Neal Adams rendition of the darkknight.Now that's how you put together a comic that fans want.

  5. It's one of my favorite Batman comics. It gave me my first nightmare.

  6. I think it is a mix of Christopher Lee and Frank Langella (see lower right panel on pg 9). Granted, the DRACULA movie would come out 3 years later, but Langella was already well known for playing Dracula in the stage play, which led to the John Badham movie being made.

    It is interesting that there are panels that are almost verbatim poses that Christopher Lee had in his Hammer DRACULA films.

    Regardless, cool stuff all around. Remember stumbling upon this when I was 9.



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

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As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1970s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!