Editor’s Note: The following entries are the winners and finalists from the Vampirella ReVamp contest, with prizes provided by Harris Comics. We received more than 100 entries! Our special guests this week are writer and Herstorian, Trina Robbins, creator of the original costume design of Vampirella; artist Joe Jusko, creator some of the most memorable art in Vampirella’s history, most notably his distinctive cover art and work in the fully painted book, Blood Lust; and Dan Brereton, cartoonist & creator of The Nocturnals, who is working on a 2008 Vampirella Quarterly Halloween Special. – Dean Trippe
GRAND PRIZE WINNER!
Composite Score: 93
Dean: Okay, I realize this is kinda of a departure for the character, but there really is nothing more fun in this contest than race-car driving Vampirella and her night-creature alter ego (demonstration illo here!). Holy smack, I’d buy this comic two times a week. Ralph has ditched a single uniform in favor of a red/white style theme and a scary/sexy (scary-sexy?) demon-bat alter ego. Extra points for the Vampimobile. Wow.
Joel: Wow, we have, what? three designs to choose from, here? I love the bat-form, which is appropriately creepy. Vampires seem to work best if there’s some element of revulsion there to balance out the predatory sexiness. Or is that just me? The first human design looks a little too much like 80’s Michael Jackson. I like the spirit of it, and think that just changing out the jacket would go a long way to bringing it up to speed. But the winner here is “Racecar Vampy!” I can hear the theme music!
Jon: Ten ten ten ten ten. Ten.
Rachel: Can someone please explain to me why Ralph Niese is not ridiculously famous?
Dan: So easy to give this a 10. This is my pick for winner.
Trina: 10. For both ideas!
Vito: There’s a lot going on here and while I love all of them, my eye just goes straight to Racecar Vampy. I mentioned it in Maris’ design, and I’ve said it a few times in the past, but this image, alone and without the other two, immediately gives me story ideas. Immediately! The design is Speed Racer meets Toth drag racing comics or Vampirella meets Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! The heart on the side is a great touch.
Chris: Man, this really works – it’d be a restyling of Vampirella to some degree but it really works as a modern-retro kind of thing. Could you get Christina Ricci to play Vampirella?
Jusko: I really like the red costume, but not the “Bratz” clothing or the demon-bat thingy. Vampi’s NOT a monster.
Jess: Racecar Vampy has won my heart completely, especially if she can change into the feral form from that outfit.
SECOND PRIZE WINNER!
Composite Score: 87.5
Dean: Well, you know, WOW. Joe’s work as usual, is so clean and sensible. This outfit is functional, cute, and clearly says Vampirella. The dress is an elegant solution to this challenge. I love the collar, the peek-a-boo opening (the diamond shape recalls her earlier costume), and the surprisingly sexy placement of the bat-emblem. This is crazy good work.
Rachel: This is a less dramatic restyling than many of the others, but those subtle changes make a surprisingly big difference. Joe manages to combine the sexy edginess of the original costume with a more updated, polished aesthetic, and the result is gorgeous. It also plays up the sci-fi nature of Vampirella’s origins, which I dig.
Joel: It’s hard to judge Joe’s designs, sometimes, because he draws so danged beautifully that he could sell me on anything. If Joe had drawn the IronSpidey suit, I’m pretty sure I would have cheered it. Trying to filter the design away from the drawing, I think it’s pretty good—spunky in a fun, retro, roller-derby kind of way—but I can’t really see it being adopted as Vampirella’s new look.
Rachel: Neither can I, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be!
Jon: This is such a fun design, it’s very reminiscent of her horror host origins – you could see her introducing some quirky old horror stories. There’s something about those boots and the collar in combination with the dress and hairstyle that gives her kind of a retro sci-fi feel, as well. Vampirella, Atom Age Vampiress…
Rachel: Jon, I think you’re thinking of Vampira, not Vampirella…
Jon: Vampirella originally served the capacity of “horror host” in the first eight issues of her eponymous book, before becoming the central character in the lead feature … I ALSO like Vampira, though!
Rachel: I fail at Vampire Horror Host Trivia.
Vito: Like Zacherly and Ghoulardi?
Dan: Great drawing, good design. Too much white leather and the hair- again, I suspect its short only to make her look different and to push the dragon lady motif, but the dragon lady motif doesn’t need to have short hair to work. Confounds me. It’s so close. There were several other similar designs, but they weren’t drawn half as well, but their costumes were stronger.
Trina: Sort of Vampi meets Mary Marvel, or Vampi meets Power Girl.
Vito: I love it. I don’t mind all that white in the costume, or rather, I don’t mind it with this costume. Some of the other designs in the contest used white, but they didn’t pop out at me like this one does (or rather, they popped out in the wrong way). To me, it’s a radical update and it’s fantastic. The less said the better…the design says it all! But can she hunt vamps in it?
Chris: 8. Joe’s art style really works for me throughout all these contests, and this one again doesn’t fail to impress me. I really like this but it feels like it needs something to make it right.
Jusko: 8. I like this a lot. I like that the gloves and boots are close to her skin color so that they don’t overwhelm the dress. While impractical, I would bring the heels back to elongate her legs and sleeken the design. I miss the identifiable split bangs, too.
Jess: Love it, love it, love it. I look at this design, and I just know she’s a vampire from space!
THIRD PRIZE WINNER!
Composite Score: 81
Joel: This is the Vampirella I’d like to read about. She looks ready for adventure! The short-legged body suit looks practical enough for, say, acrobatic werewolf hunting. The mini-jacket adds a nice note of elegance. The proportions of covered arms, torso, bare legs, and boots all balance each other out very nicely. And the yellow bat emblems at the shoulders and heels make for some bright little accents. The classic suit is paid homage to, but without any of its, uhm, excesses.
Jon: At first glance, I thought this was Hogwarts Vampirella. In a good way. This certainly makes Vampirella look younger, maybe more approachable as an adventure character. I love the flipped collar on the jacket, the cut of the boots, and – oh, I just noticed a little bat wing motif to the back of the jacket – nice! Really beautiful lines throughout the whole thing.
Dean: I think this is the first entry from Salume that just doesn’t work for me. It’s the shorts. They look like bicycle shorts or a wrestling singlet. The rest is solid. I like the micro-jacket, and the bat emblem on the shoulder. The boots are slick, and I like the seams. But I’d way rather have seen boyshorts or pants. Bike shorts just…I dunno…I can’t take the bike shorts.
Rachel: Solid design, and definitely a different spin on the character. My one concern is that it loses some of the self-conscious sexiness that I think is kinda essential to Vampirella.
Dan: I agree-this is great. This is evocative. As Joel said, you’d pick this book up. She looks ready for adventure and fun. If Vampi were to take a less adult direction, I could see this as the girl. The shorts are funky and the dagger is, too, but those are small considerations. I’d give her some kind of black utility belt with a bat symbol.
Trina: At last, something a human or vampire woman could really wear and move around in, without the costume falling off! Yes, I love it!
Vito: Jemma strikes again. I have to be honest, I didn’t think she’d be able to pull this off because it seems like so far out of her comfort zone, but God bless Jemma Salume! She is a force to be reckoned with! Jemma gets design and style and she understands the concept of functionality too. Dean is right…the shorts look a little odd, but it’s still a great design. I have to say though…this isn’t the Vampirella I’m used to and that’s great! This is a new direction!
Chris: Man o man. Or wo-man o wo-man. The costume, the jacket, the boots. I think Jemma could easily make this a 10 with some more thought put in into the bat placement… and more accessories.
Jusko: I don’t know. Looks very “schoolgirl” to me. Great for an alternate, more youth oriented approach, though. Lacks the sex appeal that’s inherent in Vampi.
Jess: I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but yeah, it’s not sexy enough. And it’s the bike shorts, which are among the least erotic of garments. They need to be either much longer or much shorter. I’d also like to see how the neck area is working – is it a halter top and a jacket? On the other hand, the jacket and boots are fantastic. If those shorts were pants, I’d be all over this.
Joel: Man, so much hate for the shorts! But look at the proportions of this costume: the arms to the torso to the upper legs to the lower legs. Those bottoms of those shorts are in perfect harmony with the rest of the design! It sometimes takes awhile to get used to innovative fashion—you guys will come around.
Vito: I’m already there with you, Joel.
Composite Score: 76.5
Dean: I’m totally sold on the main body of the suit. The peek-a-boo zipper with the bat-emblem pull is stellar. I can’t tell if the wings and extended arms are supposed to be physical or costume, but it looks super cool. The only big drawback in my book are the gold anklets. I think this look would be better served with some red and black boots.
Joel: My inner ten-year-old is always bugged by characters where the line between costume-design and body-design are blurred. Does the costume stretch over her wing-membranes, or are her wings red and black? My outer adult, oddly, is much more willing to overlook petty logic if the results are sufficiently cool, and this is a pretty cool look. The reversed coloring on the wings and collar is a really dynamic visual effect that adds a lot of motion to the character. And I like the bare feet and bangles. They give her a lightness, like this character is more at home in the air than on the ground. Speaking of which, does she some sort of adhesive sole stuck to the bottoms of her feet? Odd. I bet Daniel has something interesting in mind, there. I wish I knew what it was.
Rachel: I love it when designs take something that was originally purely visual and make it practical–the zipper-pull bat is a really, really cool idea. And I love the interplay of the red and black elements. Skip the anklets, though–they just don’t fit the rest of the look.
Dan: Very cool. The anklets seem a bit incongruous, but the rest of it is really cool. I’ve actually been toying with the idea of having her bikini top close over her chest like that- the bat zipper is perfect. I can see this design working- I wouldn’t crop her hair ( dont know why thats so often the first thing to go in these) and I’d give her boots, but the rest is spot on.
Vito: I initially had an 8 and had to change it to a 9. This is wonderful! The zipper is what changed my mind. The fact that the costume is versatile is a big big plus. There’s an edginess to this that is kind of deceptive…you don’t see it at first. But yeah, I’m a big fan of this one.
Trina: Yeah, the wings are definitely cool!
Chris: Definitely cool to add the wings to the wardrobe, and the pull-down zipper is an interesting concept but not practical… but was Vampirella ever practical?
Jon: I almost think this one could have been one of those choice Vampirella costumes which could have worked without the open panel in the front – I wish we had gotten a full frontal shot (think clean thoughts, folks) with the zipper closed and the collar raised. Also, there’s something simultaneously feral and controlled about having a full-sleeve top with high collar and gloves, and then bare feet. That’s possibly my actual favorite part of the design.
Jusko: Not a big fan of the anthropomorphic look. Not crazy about the hot pants and bare feet, either.
Jess: Oh man, I love this. I dig the bangles, the zipper (everyone loves the zipper!), and the color scheme. I only took a point off because I can’t tell if the wings are real wings or arms, because in the zipping inset it looks like she has regular hands. With a bit of clarification there this would be getting full marks from me.
Composite Score: 72.5
Dean: For me, this is the best update of the classic V-suit. It’s edgy, it’s rock, it’s wicked. The extended bat emblem is SO good. I love the way the red connects up with the leggings. This is immediately recognizable as Vampirella and the modifications are clever and stylish.
Jon: I’m glad that someone took on the task of translating the original costume. The … I guess we ought to just call it “The Crotch Bat,” because that’s where it always ends up … I like how it’s integrated into the cut-outs on the front and side. The boots work really well as thigh-highs, and I like the wide-open back and sides (Apropros of nothing, I think I’ve seen ladies dressed like this down at the Swap Meet). I’m taking points away for losing the collar (on every design that does), though, I think that removes something iconic from the silhouette and palette.
Rachel: I think that “Crotch Bat” may be one of the least okay phrases in the English language.
Jon: How about “Swimsuit Area Fledermaus?”
Joel: “Cootchie Chiroptera”?
Rachel: Honestly, this one just doesn’t do much for me. The squared-off lines look really awkward and boxy, especially in the back. The other problem I see is that it’s a costume that depends on drawing style to work – it looks gorgeous in Evan’s angular style, and I could see Stuart Immonen pulling it off, but not many others.
Dan: I like it all except the squared-off bat.
Vito: I’m with Dean on this one. It LOOKS like Vampirella, and is a great update of the classic costume. This is easily recognizable and I could see this one taking the big prize.
Joel: I like the bat, and the connection between boot-tops and bikini-bottoms, but the open back and half-mast butt-cover make makes me think more of a sad stripper than a supernatural adventurer.
Jess: Yes! Where is her butt crack? I mean, I don’t need this to be a Coppertone ad, but the back shot is very confusing to me. You can’t change the anatomy of the body to allow you to push the boundaries of the skin you show. The boxiness doesn’t work for me either, although I like the boots.
Trina: Just how would this stay on?
Chris: This gets points for taking the style of the current Vampirella and unapologetically bringing it forward. It’s really close. I could see a 9 or a 10 if the artist really brainstormed on this for a couple weeks.
Vito: I think it’s funny that the ladies scored lower than the guys here.
Rachel: Ladies like Joel?
Joel: Oh, great. Now I’m gonna have to thumping my chest and cleaning my teeth with a roofing nail until I get my he-man cred back. Again.
Jusko: My fave so far. I’m a bit of a Vampi purest, and I think this comes really close to keeping the character recognizable while updating it a bit. I never liked the high boots because I thought they threw the costume off balance, but by bringing the red down her thighs the costume flows nicely into them. I kinda miss the collar and bat wing earrings, though.
Composite Score: 71
Dean: Ming is one of our best regulars, and once again, she’s brought her A game, which, to be honest, just makes most folks’ A games look like C games. Okay, I don’t know if that metaphor makes any sense, so let’s get back to the design. Ming’s multi-section body suit is cool and looks ready for far more action-battling than her classic suit. I see this as leather, ribbed plastic sections, and spandex. The cut-out sections are more interesting than most, implying a sense of alien culture not seen in most takes on the character. The vibe is vampire, retro, and badass. Great stuff, though I miss the gold bat emblem.
Jon: If costume design was a watch, you could set it by Ming Doyle. She’s nailed all the iconic elements of Vampirella, captured the lines of the original costume, given her maturity, kept her sexy. The only reasons I’m not giving this a straight ten is that I miss having the golden bat silhouette somewhere on the costume (the belly panel seems to be crying out for it) and I don’t quite ‘feel’ the cut-out patches on the back of the legs – seems like that would allow the fabric to gather awkwardly whenever she sat down …
Vito: The term “belly panel” makes me shudder.
Rachel: I can’t shake the vague sense that this is a riding costume. I think it’s got something to do with the paneling on the legs and crotch. Love the neckline and sleeves and the way the collar is worked in.
Dan: [Rated Without Comment]
Trina: And just what is the purpose of the cut-out thighs?
Vito: I think the cool thing about this is the details Ming included. First, the different shades of red are really cool…they streamline the costume and force the eye up and down, so I feel like you’re taking in the character as well as the costume. There’s a classic feel here, but not retro. It feels like I’m looking at Ingrid Pitt or Caroline Munro in a Hammer vampire flick. The other thing I like is…I can look at this and see a vampire.
Chris: Ming comes in with a great piece of illustration, but I feel a little lost in terms of the costume. It doesn’t hit the ‘definitive’ mark that someone like Vampirella needs to keep going.
Joel: I’m always pleased to see a new submission by Ming, who brings the most wonderful and unexpected influences to her her designs. The palette of reds and the patterning of textures is working really well, here. The ribbed areas and the odd jodhpur-style thigh-and-crotch panel make this look a suit designed to move in—a real action-suit. But, like the others, I’m not sure I get the cut-outs. They seem a little arbitrary. I do love that weird snake/globe/driftwood thing, though.
Jusko: I like it a lot, with or without the cut out thighs, though the cut outs do help balance the suit. If a more action oriented Vampi is the desire then this works perfectly! I’d put the bat emblem back on her crotch. This would be a fun costume for me to paint.
Vito: High praise indeed, Joe!
Jess: For one I’m not feeling a Ming design – the cutouts just seem too random to me, and with the different shades and textures on the red the whole thing becomes too busy.
Fernando Alberto de Melo e Faro Lucas
Composite Score: 70.5
Dean: I love this clever revamp. Obviously, the cloth elements would have to be glued one to work like this, but again, I don’t think you can fault a Vampirella redesign on that count. I totally dig the jagged claw shapes, the emphasized bat-emblem, and the one full-panted left leg. Haha. Very cool.
Jon: I was hoping this one would make it to the finals. What a shocking design, incredibly innovative … practically alarming. I love the blood-red claw motifs – originally, I was bemoaning the absence of Vampirella’s signature flared collar, until I realized that the white tips on her hair evoke the same element. Smart! I do wish she had more of a distinctive silhouette, though – as it stands, if you saw her in the shadows, she’d just look like Victoria Beckham naked.
Dean: Oh man, Jon, I didn’t even catch the white tipped hair. That’s brilliant. This design deserves an anime action series.
Rachel: Damn, that’s sharp. I’d like to see how it works from more angles, though. Incidentally, I’m ordinarily a stickler about practicality, but I’m waiving that here, ’cause this is a character who has both sci-fi and mystical elements. As far as I’m concerned, normal limitations probably don’t apply.
Dan: Overall, very strong in concept. The short hair, again, eludes me, but the idea of her costume as an extention of her body, which exists in the book, is, um, well-suited to this concept. Glue isn’t needed, as Vampi can arrange it at will. The hint of an idea that the costume is arranged blood is fascinating as well. Solid and dramatic.
Vito: Too Witchblade looking for me. But it’s too strong of a piece to be scored lower. Dan’s right, it’s a strong concept, but looking at it, I didn’t see Vampirella; I saw a different character.
Trina: Sorry to keep being the practical one, but I want Vampi to wear something that stays on!
Dean: Considering the original costume’s practicality problems, I think most folks are willing to stretch believability a bit more than they would with another character, making the costume’s impracticality a feature rather than a hindrance. In this case, I don’t mind that at all.
Chris: This really pushes Vampirella to her more supernatural side and there’s nothing wrong with that. The white-tipped hair and the blood talons are really imaginative.
Joel: While the strong diagonal asymmetry of this costume works well with this pose, I don’t think it would translate well into others. Imagine this same costume in just a straight standing position—say, Vampirella waiting in line for a coffee. However, if, as Dan infers, the costume is magicked-up blood, then it could be constantly shifting around on her to create a similarly dynamic form for any pose.
Jusko: Nice, strong graphic design, but would need to be body paint or a “Venom” type of thing to work.
Jess: Very striking, but I would also like to see it from other angles and in other poses. It feels a little unbalanced to me right now.
Note: More Runners Up after the jump! – D.T.
Composite Score: 67.5
Dean: I really like how spunky-fun this one is, but the elements lean more military (guess which!) and the look definitely skews younger than the current Vampirella. Spunky sidekick?
Rachel: I was tempted to mark this higher just ’cause I love the boots so much–anyone know where I can find a pair of those? I read this design as way more punk than military (although I suppose there’s cross-over there, too). It’s a fun take on the costume, and I love the way Edward’s assembled a recognizable costume out of street clothes. Not necessarily the Vampirella we know, but a very cool interpretation of the character.
Joel: Holy Crap, look at those shoes! Outstanding! The rest of the outfit seems like almost an after-thought, however. If all of it was as considered as the foot gear, this would be a truly formidable design.
Dan: [Rated Without Comment]
Trina: Another cute goth look, maybe for Vampi’s teen sister?
Vito: There’s nothing wrong with this one except it’s a little too…human, for my tastes. It doesn’t go to either the horror side or the sci-fi side (unless Edward was thinking of The Fifth Element, which is a fine way to go). I’m sorry but I need just a touch more of either sci-fi or horror for this one to go over the top. The shades are really cool…wonder what they look like on.
Chris: I really wanted this one to win, but when I put on my ‘judging’ hat I have to judge it on if it’s Vampirella. Great sunglasses, belt, boots and costume but it’s not her. It does however spur a lot of ways to shoehorn it into Vampirella continuity. What if Vampirella was a title passed down in the family? This could be the classic Vampi’s daughter carving out her own niche.
Jon: I think I’m with everyone who suggests that this implies a different character from a similar background as Vampi – Vampi’s younger sister, niece, sidekick, admirer, maybe even Vampirella after a dip in the fountain of youth. Great costume all around, really a lot of fun, but it screams “next generation” rather than “next iteration.”
Jess: What Jon said.
Jusko: Cute design, but I think it would alienate longtime readers.
Vito: I didn’t notice it until just now, but those suspenders are almost the original costume.
Composite Score: 63.5
Dean: Okay, following my thoughts on Jason Chalker’s entry, this is what that Vampirella wears when sent out on a mission! Haha. I dig the vampire-spy-vibe here, but I’m kind of missing some of Vampirella’s key identifiers. I’d ditch the red undewear and add a gold bat emblem. Goregous drawing from Carly, as usual.
Vito: Ignore the gun and replace it with a stake. If you take this design for what it is, it is exactly what Vampirella should be. Science fiction, gothy…it’s all right there. The top is fantastic, and Dan, notice the hair! The contrast with the reds and blacks are great too. If Carly had incorporated the gold bat somewhere in this design, I might have gone to a full 10. I really like this one…in fact, I liked a lot of the entries! Just goes to show you that everyone that submitted did a great job!
Trina: Cool, sci-fi Vampi. I like this a lot.
Chris: I can see where this is going, and Vito’s right on the money when he talks a sci-fi/goth blend here. Skin-tight but no skin showing though — would Vampirella do that? I’m asking you. Trina’s original design went forward with a non-usual cut of costume, and I think this design’s lack of it detracts a bit from what could be a 9.
Vito: Thing is…if you replaced all the black in this costume with flesh, the score drops significantly. If the midriff was bare, it’d be ok, but I love the contrasts.
Rachel: Likewise. It’s all about the red and black. My one squick on this one is the panties-over-jumpsuit effect, which I’m not particularly fond of, but the cut of the top more than makes up for it.
Jess: I’m not feel the panties either, or the belt – if they disappeared, this would be just about perfect for me.
Jusko: It’s a very cool, Sci-Fi design, but aside from the bangs (which for me are an imperative) not enough of it says “Vampi”. I would tweak it a bit more. The gun is out of place. Maybe a high tech pistol crossbow would work. Whether or not this is Vampi depends on what direction the book takes.
Joel: I get why some people say this isn’t right for the character, but if there were a Vampirella 2099 comic, a de-pantied version of this would be the perfect design for it. That collar looks like it’s designed for some serious neck-protection. The whole costume has a futureplastic battle armor vibe that this looks like a Vampirella who is ready to really take the fight to the monsters of the world.
Composite Score: 63
Dean: I love this. Aman’s updated elements from Vampirella’s classic uniform into a slick futuristic redesign. I especially dig the revamped bat emblem and the tiny gold spikes on the heels! It has a strong Batman Beyond vibe (always a plus). The top seems more conceptual than practical, but for this character, that doesn’t bother me much. Cool wins out.
Joel: This is a nicely realized design with a slick, futuristic feel, but dang, she must need a couple rolls of double-stick tape to keep it on.
Rachel: Joel, that’s clearly Space Vampire Technology! I love the lines of this–super sleek and stylish–and the way the white collar is worked in.
Jon: For something that’s skin-tight and shiny, it strikes me as very inorganic. If a sleek, futuristic look was what the artist wanted to do, then the costume should probably follow the lines of the body, rather than breaking across them. Good balance of the colors, I certainly ‘get’ Vampirella from that alone, but the costume itself looks awkward.
Dan: [Rated Without Comment]
Trina: How does the top stay on?
Vito: One of my favorites. It’s definitely an updated look, which is the whole point of this contest; let’s bring Vampirella into the new millennium. This is Vampirella meets Blade Runner.
Chris: Aman does some good work here, with the design of the pants and the sleeves but i think the torso piece is even more impractical than the original costume that draws so much ire. Aman’s got good sense, but I’d like to see him play with it more.
Jusko: Nice design, though maybe a bit too futuristic for a gothic character like Vampi.
Jess: Points for pulling in the whole sci-fi alien shebang, but as Jon says, it really does itself no favors by breaking up the lines of the body. Not to mention that judging by that waistband there must be a whole lot of tushy on view back there.
Composite Score: 63
Dean: Very moody! I like that Art took a real chance here by ditching the classic red. Art’s take has a decidedly villainous edge to it. I like the goth vibe and the subtle bat-emblem callbacks. Great unique hair style, btw.
Jon: Loving Art’s design, but going red with the costume and gold with the accessories would have done wonders for making this a Vampirella, as opposed to a neat Goth character. The little peek of bare midriff is nice, works well with the top. I wish I could see this with a more familiar palette …
Dan: [Rated Without Comment]
Trina: Now we’re getting somewhere. Cutely and stylishly gothic. Trouble is, it doesn’t say
Vito: It’s edgy and cutting edge. Trina is right though; it doesn’t say “Vampirella.” Maybe if the costume were all crimson? I’d go to 9 if the hair was simpler.
Rachel: I really, really like the way the bat is worked into the waistband of the pants, and the little notch.
Joel: This is very close to being exactly what I think Vampirella would look like if she were created today. I agree that the inclusion of red would do a lot—maybe not even going all red, but just the leather panels where Vampirella’s current costume is.
Chris: This look’s at home with the 90s Vampirella spin-off, Vampi. A great illustration, but it’s not Vampirella herself.
Jusko. Great “Goth” design, but seems more an adversary for Vampi than Vampi herself.
Jess: I’m with Trina and Vito on this – great design, not Vampirella. I love the Victorian touches, though, especially the cuffs.
Composite Score: 62.5
Dean: Bad. Ass. I can’t even look at this image without seeing the next five battle moves that follow this pause. Gilles is clearly alluding to another famous vampire’s armour, but also maintaining some serious Vampirella vibe with the gold parts and even some of the seams. Pretty cool.
Joel: This is an intriguingly disturbing submission. The evocation of flayed muscle and beautifully serene face makes this Vampirella look very, very dangerous.
Rachel: It’s beautiful and genuinely disturbing at the same time–my only question is whether it’s Vampirella. Regardless, I’d definitely read the adventures of any character in that costume.
Dan: It is disturbing. Again, the short hair puts me in mind of Kabuki. Coppola’s Dracula armor also comes to mind. I don’t know who this Vampi is, but she would be a wholly new and sobering concept for the character.
Trina: Is this supposed to be knit? That’s what it looks like. At last, maybe something to keep Vampi warm in cold weather!
Vito: It reminds me of the Coppola Dracula movie too, Dan. I think this one is good, but maybe this could be another denizen of Drakulon? It’s close, but not close enough.
Joel: The Coppola call is a good one. My first thought was “Clive Barker.”
Chris: The Coppola reference is an apt one. I admire the attempt to have Vampirella more clothed and warm in the winter months, but I don’t see the personality of Vampirella wearing this one.
Jusko: Nice drawing. Maybe too Japanese, and definitely too “Hellraiser”.
Jess: Nicely creepy. I’m not in love with the garters, and this seems more serious than Vampirella has ever come off to me, but I’m kind of afraid to give this Vampi a lower score – she might eat my lungs.
Composite Score: 61
Dean: Betty Page meets Vampirella. I like the clean styling, but it doesn’t feel edgy enough for Vampirella to me. I dig the V-stripe neckline on the top, though.
Rachel: This is a Vampirella I could absolutely see as a horror host (thanks for that fact, Jon!)–can’t you picture her lounging on the title page, lollipop in hand, introducing the story? The only part of this outfit that I’m not fond of is the collar, which looks a little too Snow White-ish.
Dan: [Rated Without Comment]
Vito: It’s simple and that is part of the charm of it. It’s a good entry, but that collar is distracting where everything else is minimal (in the sense that it’s simple, not tiny). It should be bigger or not there at all. Go big or go home. If this were a t-shirt, I’d totally buy it for my wife.
Trina: [Rated Without Comment]
Chris: Doing the perfect “Project: Rooftop” piece is hard, because the aim is to create something better in all aspects than what’s currently clothed. While I like the style here, I think it’s more an alternate than a definitive piece of Vampirella work. It’s very charming in a retro vamp sort of way, but it looks more like a person dressed up as Vampirella than Vampirella the person.
Jon: I was having a hard time elucidating my feelings on this one, so I’m lucky that Chris came along and did it for me. Can I have you do all my hard thinking for me, Chris? It’d be easier on the old noodle.
Jusko: More “Barbarella” than “Vampirella”. Interesting retro design, tho!
Joel: I don’t have much to add to what’s already been said. This is a nice piece, but it seems more like a Vampirella-inspired roller derbier than the fangy lady herself. And I’m not sure what the collar is doing—a back view would be informative.
Jess: I seriously dig the retro vibe, and the costume itself is solid and workable. I’d like to see the yellow and white incorporated more, but mostly this piece just makes me smile.
Composite Score: 60.5
Dean: I don’t know how exactly, but Joel’s managed to say Superhero, Alien, and Vampire all at once. Impressive. I really love the material for the skirt and top. It’s like a reflective, flexible, molded plastic? Gorgeous. The goth-themed ruffles add some regality, and the enlarged bat symbol is very confident. Sexy, classy, and (with the all-business boots) totally tough. This is a masterwork in conveying multiple concepts.
Jon: I’m friends with Joel, so I’m going to recuse myself from giving a numerical score to affect the voting. I will say this though: It has a distinct silhouette, all the Vampirella costume elements are there, the ridges accentuate the curves of the body, the colors and highlighting on the shiny parts make for a nice contrast to the soft white ruffles, and the whole thing evokes a Bram Stoker’s Dracula-meets-club scene culture vibe. She has a no-nonsense attitude. Many thumbs go up!
Joel: You don’t get off that easily, Jon. If we started recusing ourselves from rating from friends, we wouldn’t have anything to rate!
Jon: Okay, done! I’m only dinging it a little because while it suits Vampirella really well as a horror host and vampire pin-up, it doesn’t seem it’d be much good when she’s fighting werewolves or some of that other stuff they make her do sometimes.
Rachel: I just can’t do it. The ruffles!
Dan: Again, short hair that doesn’t serve a Vampi design. Its very goth, save for that, and could appeal to that crowd if the skirt were longer.
Trina: Cut the top longer, to avoid falling-out-of top syndrome and I’d have given it a 10.
Vito: Solid design, but the frilly bits make me cringe just a little. The hair is a little…weird. I love the collar though.
Chris: Vampirella’s vicious step-mother. A great design that evokes alot of story-telling potential, but ultimately I can’t see Vampirella having this in her wardrobe closet.
Joel: There are a lot elements I like here, such as the big ol’ Bat bow-tie, but I don’t think the design holds together. The business of the outfit itself, with its shiny diagonal ribbing and ruffly trim would work on a full dress, but contrasts awkwardly with all the bared skin. I’d love to see a less abbreviated version of this outfit.
Jusko: Too Marie Antoinette. The ruffles and baggy design are just not practical for battle; too much to grab onto. Same reason female police officers are not allowed to wear ponytails on duty and male cops neckties are clip-ons. Too historical in design, like an ‘Elseworlds’ Vampi.
Jess: It’s too busy for me. The heavy boots fight the ruffles, the modern plastic fights the Scarlett O’Hara curls… I am quite enamored of the giant neckbat, though.
Composite Score: 60.5
Dean: This is super cute. I’m not sold on the pants poofing out at the boots, but everything else is so stylin’. The popped collar jacket (note the simple gold stripes on the arm!) is wicked, and the long top with the subtle bat emblem is very cool. I could totally see Vampirella wearing outfits like this when not adventuring, hanging out around town. Strong stuff.
Dan: Style aside, this is strong. Reminds me of the brief Wonder Woman costume of the 60’s. Not sure about the pants…
Trina: So maybe this is Vampi in civvies? I’m seeing so many cute manga-inspired vamis here, I love it!
Vito: I’m trying to divorce the design from the drawing (which is a fine, strong piece), but it just doesn’t say “Vampirella” to me. If I looked at this with no other information, I wouldn’t think Vampirella. Maybe it’s the white jacket and boots…might be too light for a horror character.
Joel: Rosemary’s style is so cute that I kinda missed the charms of this design on the first couple glances. I think the white is overpowering, and would like to see another color for the jacket and boots, but otherwise, I agree with Trina that this would make a fine set of civvies.
Chris: The Vampirella earrings make an overdue appearance here, and I like the subtle accents that are on display here. An amazing illustration, but in the end it’s not Vampirella.
Rachel: Again, this is a costume that seems more Vampirella-inspired than Vampirella herself. That said, it’s still pretty awesome.
Jusko: Very cute for a doll line and a terrific illustration.
Jess: Cute, but not only does nothing about this say “Vampirella” to me, nothing about it even says “action.” She looks like she’s on line at the bank.
Composite Score: 59
Dean: As usual, Maris is an example of how to break the rules and still win over the judges. This is cute, fun, conceptual, and confident. I think I’d have prefered to see the hair black and the dress red, because that would’ve felt more Vampirella specific. But it’s hard to say anything against a design this strong and welcoming.
Rachel: If you had told me before this that I’d see a cool YA entry in this contest, I would never have believed it. Extra points for messing with my expectations, and for the absurdly cute bat, which rocks my socks, but ultimately, this isn’t properly Vampirella. If the contest were for full revamps of the character, this would do brilliantly.
Joel: Somebody please give Maris an all-ages adventure book. Whether she wants one or not. She has a duty to the children of the world. I mean, that bat! Look at that bat!
Rachel: I second this proposal! She can have adventures with Maris’s unbelievably awesome Cowgirl Wonder Woman!
Jon: It’s breaking my heart that I can’t, in good faith, give this a high score – but it’s just not really a Vampirella redesign. If we were voting for an all brand-new All-Ages Vampire Girl character, then this one would have my vote hands-down. As an update to Vampirella … well, I’d be surprised to see a Vampi comic with her on the cover, to say the least. And yes, the bat is unbelievably cute, as is her pose as she rides upon it. The bat is singing sonar circles! Can I give this a ten in my heart?
Dan: I hate to be so tough. She’s very sweet. My daughters and I already love this Vampi, watch the animated show, collect the toys and read the comics… in a parallel dimension.
Trina: Oh, this is so cute! And I love the flying bat! It’s hardly Vampi, but how about a new character called “Vampirette?”
Vito: I’m with Jon on this. I would love to give this a higher score because it makes me think of the story possibilities that this image, accompanied with the title, “Vampirella,” would evoke. But, I have to be honest. It’s not Vampirella to me. It kills me a little inside to know that this isn’t Vampirella.
Chris: 4 for Vampirella, 10 for something else. If Vampirella could support a YA line, I’d give Maris a headstart at getting this going.
Jusko: I just can’t take this seriously as an authentic Vampirella redesign. As an alternate children’s version it’s adorable, but not right for this contest.
Jess: Oh, I would read this book so hard – if only it were Vampirella.
Composite Score: 58.5
Dean: I like the ancient Egyptian theme. The translucent cape is probably my favorite part. I’m worried the whole thing feels a little fragile, like this Vamirella couldn’t really take a hit, nor give any back. The costume is very pretty, definitely appealling, but I think Vampirella leans more towards simplification and toughness than historical and complicated. Still, a strong entry with a unique take.
Chris: This just works for me. Ceremonial while still being modern, Wu’s design takes the idea of the original costume and updates it without doing it out of tradition. I’d like to see this in action to see how it works.
Vito: It’s a great spin on a classic. While looking at all the entries, I was very keen on some simple criteria. 1, does it look like a costume a character in a horror comic would wear? 2, or, does it look like a sci-fi character? 3, does it look like a Dracula, I mean, vampire? Annie’s hits all but the sci-fi angle, and that’s acceptable. Everything looks wearable, and by that I mean, it not only looks like a feasible costume on a comic book character, but it looks like something someone could wear for Halloween. This reminds me of Adam Cadwell’s entry…the collar. This collar works for me because it’s big. I’m interested in what Trina and Dan have to say because, to me, this is as close to the classic look as any of the entries and could be implemented today and not really throw readers for a loop. This, I must say, is perfect.
Rachel: The boots and bracelets are marvelous, and just based on look, this costume is great. But when you draw a costume to look like cloth, I expect it to behave like cloth, and gorgeous as this is, it has some serious logistical problems. The cut of the top is one that can work, assuming it’s tight enough–with the way this is draped, though, Vampirella’s boobs would be flying the first time she bent over. If it were tight, it would be fine, but then it would lose some of the lines that make it work.
Trina: What Rachel sez. More falling-out-of-top syndrome. Hey, you keep adding new designs!
Jusko: I like the overall design, especially the distressed, shar pei- like leather boots. Tighten up the bra, add the earrings and bangs and you’re good to go. I also like the diaphanous cape. Great color balance.
Joel: The blood samples in test tubes are a cute thought, but should probably be left out. They seem impractical. Otherwise, this is a fun outfit with a great pulp vibe. The negative space in the boots is an odd but inspired way of making the boots relate to the rest of the barely-there garment.
Jess: I would simplify the boots, and I feel like the blood-capsule-garter really throws the balance off, but I like this a lot. The ponytail and the shorts particularly work for me.
Composite Score: 50
Dean: The strong “V” emphasis really works here. I like how Brad’s kept the character’s sexiness, but toughened it up a lot. I also dig the hair style. I think she needs a sword. Or a battle axe. And a fight scene against hordes of demon warriors. Let’s get on that.
Rachel: Based on the entries we saw, it seems like a lot of the challenge of Vampirella comes from creating something that works like lingerie–sexy, minimal coverage–without actually looking like lingerie, and Brad’s done that beautifully here. That said, I’m not particularly fond of the lines of the boots-over-stocking-tops, nor of the tape-over-boobs bodice, although I do like the general shape and the layers of Vs.
Dan: [Rated Without Comment]
Vito: I really like this one, but I think it might be too over the top. Everything is here…horror, sci-fi, and futuristic. I just think that…dare I say, it’s not modest enough for me? Kind of a dumb reason (all things considered), but I just don’t feel it for this one like I do for some of the others. I love the V motif though (especially since I have a “v” name…wonder what Brad would create for a Vito costume).
Trina: I don’t like the scary dominatrix look.
Chris: Shades of Mark Teixiera and some European influences in Brad’s work here. He’s really got the imposing but sexy nature of Vampirella going on here. The hair really makes it work.
Joel: Too be blunt, the whole reason this contest is interesting is that Vampirella’s present look narrows her appeal to a, uhm, very specific demographic (hint: it involves moustaches). I see the point of this exercise to both update and broaden her appeal. This design doesn’t really do either.
Jusko: Nice, but looks like Vampi’s “Dark Doppleganger”. Reminds me too much of Fakk 2.
Jess: I agree with Vito that there’s a little too much happening here. Maybe if we lost the lace and mesh accents? I think the overall shape of the costume is powerful, though, and I love the high collar – a wise choice for someone who knows full well the perils of neck-bites!
INELLIGIBLE STAFF ENTRY!
Composite Score: Awesome
Dean: As usual, Joel’s attention to detail here is so wonderful. The top alone deserves a full review. I dig how he’s modified the classic Vampirella collar into a more functional form. The hint of the footwear is intriguing, too. I’m not full sold on the long skirt, which is what makes this Vampirella look somewhat less physically active than the other entries here. But it does have that cool horror host vibe calling back to Vampirella’s origins.
Dan: This is so out of left field, but I like it! I think I’d make her less-bat-faced, but the concept is very strong and again, evocative and fun.
Trina: Sooo cute, but more for Wendy the Witch than for Vampi. Still, a girl has to have more than one outfit in her closet!
Vito: It’s like Jemma…this is an entirely new direction (if it were implemented) and it’d be unfamiliar. I think it’s fun, but it might be a little to baroque for Vampirella.
Rachel: I like the look and lines, but the cutout in the top strikes me as a trifle awkward. I agree, too, that it’s a little baroque for Vampirella, but I’m intrigued the styling of the shirt makes me wonder how it would look as a leotard…
Jess: Ooh, yes. This is adorable, but dropping the skirt (oh, you know what I mean) would make it read more like Vampirella to me.
Joel: One of the reasons I like to submit to the contests, even though I’m ineligible for the fabulous honors and prizes, is that it gives me such clear appreciation of the thought and effort that goes into these submissions. In this case, I think the top was headed somewhere interesting, but the skirt really doesn’t work. And why is she standing like a school marm about to whack you with a ruler?
Chris: Joel’s coming in with a lot of story with his style here. What’s up with the sword? I want to know.
Joel: As a matter of fact, it’s a fabled monster-killing sword with one cutting edge of iron, and the other of silver (neither of which are very good for keeping an edge, so it needs a lot of sharpening). It has, over the years, been blessed by Saints, Imams, Rabbis, Shamans, Shinto Priests, Pope Joan, 2 Bodhisattvas, the Archangel Michael, and a particularly serene Taiwanese baker who is not recognized by any religion. I intended for it’s name to be “fang” in Daco-Romanian, but Babelfish doesn’t list that as an option. Ah, well. I also have sketches of her pet, an ermine with the soul of an 11th Century hedonistic monk, and notes on an expansion/obfuscation of her origin. Sadly, none of this changes the fact that she came off looking like a naughty school marm.
Jusko: VERY cute though not in the running. Mary Poppins meets Vampirella! :-)
Editor’s Note: Check back next week for more Vampirellas in the ReVamp Honorable Mentions! – D.T.