Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Taking a Bite Out of Crime

The idea had already occurred to me. Why not make a vampire into a superhero?
So in 1971, I parted with 60 of the cents I’d earned as a cinema usher to snatch Eerie 32 off the Effingham, IL, newsstand, and treated myself to Superhero!, a comic horror story written by Steve Skeates and illustrated (with a wink at Gil Kane) by Tom Sutton.
The punch line? Crime Crusher’s crusade left bad guys bloodless.
The idea has been recycled several times, notably in the saga of Blade, the vampire hunter turned vampire created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist Gene Colan, who debuted in Tomb of Dracula 10 (July 1973).
On TV, we had Forever Knight, the 1989 vampire detective TV series about Nick Knight, and the 1999 Buffy spin-off series Angel.
The concept got the fully realized graphic novel treatment in 1996 with Kurt Busiek’s Astro City. Jeremiah Parrish, a 19th century Roman Catholic priest turned vampire, wages a mysterious war against crime as The Confessor, using Grandenetti Cathedral as his Batcave. Busiek played the tragic and heroic elements of the concept off against each other in a fine story.

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