At the comic shop the other day, I noticed the digest sized reprint of Vampire Tales - Volume 1. This reprint contains the first 3 issues of the Marvel magazine, in glorious black and white, the way it was originally published. It features stories by Steve Gerber, Pablo Marcos, Don McGregor, Rich Buckler, Gerry Conway, John Romita (Sr) and Esteban Moroto!
The star of Vampire Tales was Morbius, the Living Vampire, but he didn't make on the cover of the magazine until issue #3. This cover painting was credited to Luis Dominguez, but it also has touches of Romita, especially on the girl's face. I suspect that Romita did a cover rough and gave it to the painter.
I loved Morbius and these stories in Vampire Tales were far more graphic than his Spider-Man appearances. Don McGregor portrayed Morbius like a heroin addict, trying to refrain from drinking blood, then going crazy when he can't control the urge. McGregor set up an arc of stories involving the Demon Fire cult, and the first two were drawn by Rich Buckler. This is the splash page of the story in issue #3 and you can see Buckler's knack for innovative panel layout once again.
Besides Morbius, you get the first two Satana stories in this volume. The very first story was a teaser by Conway and Romita, only 4 pages long, but just perfect in execution. Romita's design for Satana's costume is wonderful. In the third issue it was Esteban Moroto who drew Satana. A wonderful artist, 180 degrees different than any Marvel artist, but the first thing he did was ditch Romita's costume! And it has been used rarely since. But the costume was resurrected a few years ago, in the Alex Ross/John Romita poster titled Mighty Marvel Heroes and Villains.
If you're a retro dude like me, or if you appreciate classic monsters with a bit of cheese, I think you'll like this reprint volume. Nuff Said!