Erik Burnham’s Writer’s Commentary on Vampirella/Dejah Thoris #2

A Writer’s Commentary: Erik Burnham on Vampirella/Dejah Thoris #2, on sale from Dynamite

Hey everybody. Vampirella and Dejah Thoris are back at it in the second chapter of A VAMPIRE OF MARS, and we’re about to join them.

Who is we, you may ask. You may also ponder other questions of a deep, philosophical bent. Or you may not. The point is, “we” includes you, the reader. It also includes me, Erik Burnham, who scripted out this comic; Ediano Silva, the artist who drew each and every panel; Dinei Ribeiro, colorist extraordinaire; Troy Peteri of a Larger World Studios on letters; Amy Jackson and Matt Idelson tag teaming the editing duties; and a special thanks to the lovely and talented Christos Gage.

We got covers, baby. Five, count ’em, FIVE covers. Cover A is by Jay Anacleto and Rain Berado; Cover B by Stephen Segovia and Ivan Nunes; Cover C comes from Carlo Pagulyan and Wil Quintana; the legendary Joe Jusko on Cover D; Covers E and F are, respectively, Vampirella and Dejah Thoris cosplay covers.

Are we all square on the credits? Yeah? Then let’s talk the second chapter of A VAMPIRE OF MARS….


We’re opening square with the Jeddak of Helium, Tardos Mors, listening to the situation involving Drakulon… and Vampirella’s request for help. With the beard on Tardos and the request for help, it feels a lot like some weird Santa Claus kind of moment.

Except in this case, the answer is no. (To be fair, Santa told me no a lot when I was a kid. I often asked for large sums of cash, and I’m not saying that had anything to do with anything, but it’s worth a ponder.)


Vampirella doesn’t quite take to being grabbed by a palace guard and gives him a little lovetap.

I mean, it was supposed to be a lovetap, but Ediano felt that this fella deserved to lose half his teeth.

I decided not to ever mess with Ediano.


Good way to show Vampi’s strength level, right? We thought so, too.

PAGES 04-07

And here’s some exposition — why can’t the people of Helium help? And if not them, who?

This is where we learn the afterlife of Barsoom takes place on the planet itself. It’s a place they can go.

PAGES 08-10
…And so they do. Thoats! Had to get some Martian — er, Barsoomian — critters into the mix. And a little bit of the differences between Barsoom and Drakulon. Some friendly banter, a race, and…

Ediano draws up the mouth of the River Iss and really does a beautiful job.

PAGES 12-13
Vampirella and Dejah Thoris journey up the Iss, giving us a little more time to discuss Martian customs, and Vampirella’s age! But when the ladies reach the end of the river, they don’t find heaven…

They find plant men! Plant men in the middle of draining the blood of a Thark!

I know it looks like they’re just holding him gently, but the palms of their hands have fang-filled mouths, and we can see that, too!

PAGES 15-18
Carnage, folks. Lots of carnage. Well, not really carnage. That’s a character from another company as well as something that probably doesn’t apply to the violent evisceration of barely-sentient bipedal plant vampires by two women. And violent evisceration is what happens.

And then the Therns show up.

These fellas wait and see if anyone survives the plant men, see, and then figures they’ll be good slave stock. Vampi and Dejah survived, so… and it doesn’t matter that they’re younger than the usual pilgrims. Not to the Therns. They don’t have any kind of youth discrimination in their ranks. That’s why we tolerate them.

That and they’ve developed a handheld device that weaponizes the properties of the 8th Ray of Light.

It can telekinetically restrain even Vampirella. That’s bad news for our heroines.

“The world you knew is gone.”

They have to escape. You know… the vampires are coming.

But space is big. They have a ways to go. Will they be here by Issue #3?

We’ll see in a few weeks!

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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