Planet of Vampires (Atlas Comics)Edit
There’s such a great story to the history of Atlas Comics. Atlas was only around for one short year in 1975, yet within that year they produced a wide array of comic books and black and white magazines covering all the different genres such as the Grim Ghost, Weird Tales of the Macabre, and The Hands of the Dragon. Atlas was able to bring together some of the best talents of the time, but unfortunately poor management and inexperienced editing led to the company’s demise. Fortunately these back issues can still be obtained like the one reviewed here, Planet of Vampires. It’s a fun read and is absolutely a creation of it’s time, being released in 1975. There’s definitely a “Planet of the Apes” and “Soylent Green” feel to the book which both released before this first issue.
The cover alone begs you to read it as the heavily underrated Pat Broderick and the legendary Neal Adams contribute to the exciting science fiction image.although,no where does cover depict a planet of vampires,it is eyecatching.It could have the cover of Hippie Astronautes vs the Planet of Hovercraft Bikers,for you can tell by the art. Add in the rich logo at the top and this book would be hard to ignore when it first hit the stands almost forty years ago. Pat Broderick’s art continues on into the interiors. His art has a clean look to it and he’s tasked to draw a lot of different faces and characters throughout, each with their own distinct look. Even the colors stand out as the whites of the astronauts uniforms contrast nicely with the colorful science fiction and citywide landscapes.
Long-time comic writer Larry Hama tells the story of a group of astronauts on an expedition to the planet Mars return to earth after five years to find it in a much more different and horrific place. Gangs have taken over the streets, while those who live in one of the last bastions of science and civilization the Dome, fight for their survival. All is not what it seems as the astronauts head into the Dome leading to an exciting conclusion that sets the stage for the next issue. At times the scripting and dialogue can be eye-rolling, but considering the time I give Hama a pass. It’s an engaging and fun read, and if you can find the issue it’s definitely recommended. The series only lasted a short three issues due to the collapse of Atlas, but much like the rest of Atlas’ line, this is a high quality book with some talented creators at the helm.
Planet of VampireEdit
Planet of Vampires was another attempt by former Marvel Comics publisher Martin Goodman's Atlas/Seaboard Comics to cash in on several genres or properties.Planet of the Apes,Vampires and Post Apocholyptic Horror Stories.Atlas Comics produced this short-lived comic series adapting Planet of the Vampires into a Post-Apocalyptic Free-For-All that actually was a lot of fun, even if it only lasted for three issues. The comic series essentially re-wrote things so that a bunch of astronauts (as in Planet of the Apes) returned from a manned-mission to Mars (around 2010, plus they had one woman crew-member), and as they approach Earth they can't raise mission control.There was a nuclear war-always a way to mess the world,so you tell science fictions stories,that don't quite our world.Decaying city with vampire and raggedy survivors barrows much stories like I am Legend ,and other two versions The last Man on Earth and The Omega Man. It also seems to have flung in a great chunk of Escape From New York, even though Escape From New York wasn't made until six years after this comic came out.Now,on surface mixing I am Legend/Omega Man/Last Man on Earth,with Planet of the Apes,and Escape from New York looks like a great idea.And maybe done right,it could have been and might still someday,but Atlas comics was not the ones to make it happen.
It says everything about Atlas' genius for filching that they could even steal ideas from movies that hadn't been made yet.The crew land in the middle of a royal mess, getting 'rescued' by dome-dwelling humanoids who turn out to vampires who are caught-up in a doomed never-ending cycle of internecine geurilla warfare with the more barbarous survivors outside the domes, sanguinous predation upon said survivors, and their own internal political squabbling within each of the various domes which have become xenophoobic, paranoid and ripe for overthrow by the heroic astronauts leading the assembled masses of the barbarian riff-raff hordes who would like nothing better than to destroy the bloodsuckers once and for all...except maybe kill one another off over various tribal squabbles.
- The Long Road Home was written by Larry Hama.The interior Art was by Pat Broderick/Frank McLaughlin.Editor was Larry Lieber April 21st, 2010. The crew of the Mars probe Aries VII returns home after a 5 year voyage,led by Captain Christopher Gallon-a long haired astronuate.Gallon and crew ,his Ellisa Gallon,Astronauts Craig and Brenda,plus token old man scientist Ben Levitz are stranded on Mars,as a nuclear war breaks out on Earth. They will return to an earth far different from when they first left.
It was a series,that showed promise,in it somewhat resembled a combination of Planet of the Apes and I am Legend,but delivered not much else but a bunch of story cliches,bad characterts and terrible plotting.Like alot of rushed comic concepts,Planet of the Vampire,simply skipped too fast through material,simply not to tell an engaging story,but just set up the series.Like Ironwulf,it fails to get one involved in the story.And proceeds to tell two junk stories before it gets the axe as a series.The characters,were too brace ballsy-yelling,screamming,bitching,crying and going through the motion,not as flesh and blood people trapped a weird scenario,but fictional meatpuppets,going through bad plotting to tell a bunch of cliches,that really go no place in three issue.And the never realized fourth issue,simply looked like a catch all despirate attempt to redo the book as Planet of the Ape Vampires
Captain Galland spends time yelling at his wife,who spends mopping because the world came to an end,while were up on Mars.Brenda-wife of the only other black members of the crew,cuts in defending Chris Galland was acting like a jerk.After a successful water landing outside of Coney Island, the astronauts are attacked by a group of savages.Ben Levitz,tells Captain Galland,the ships landing gear,is out of order.Obviously,this star ship,was designed to fly like a plane and looks a comic artist attempt to disguise Pota's Liberty One/Icarus.The ship splashes down outside Coney Island. One of the astronauts,an old man Ben is killed. Before the savages can inflict further damage, a small floating aircraft appears laying waste to the savages. The astronaut crew is taken to a huge dome,while two couples one white and other black survive . With the Empire State Building as it's axis,the heart of New York is encased in a huge dome it stands 1100 feet tall with 5 interior levels. The dome is designed to keep the savages out,because the inhabitants have immunity to the decease,that nearly whipped humanity. To the savages, the inhabitants of the Dome are known as Domies and evil beaurocratic monsters. The crew is soon introduced to the Proctor, the Dome Administrator. Captain Chris Galland recounts how the Aries VII first lost contact with Earth two years before. The last message that they received from Mission Control is that war had been declared between the major powers. The crew assumed the worst, that controlled nuclear war was raging across the face of the earth.Scenes show people,gulping in gas,we assume whatever crap turned people into vampire.Not only was the Planet of Vampires,but the Planet of Idiots,as well. The astronauts decided to continue to orbit Mars, hoping to hear something from earth. Soon, critical limitations of life support forced them to return to earth. After their meeting with the Proctor, the astronauts are taken to their quarters. On the way, they encounter a savage being taken to an "Indoctrination Facility".
Screams of terror cause them to investigate the facility. To their horror, they find an assembly line for extracting bodily fluids from humans. The People of the Dome are mechanized vampires,who need fresh blood to stay alive.Suddenly,Chris Galland and Craig whatever the fuck your last is bends a leg too far upon to kick the guard in the teeth.
Freeing what savages they can, they destroy the facility. The astronaut crew is led to freedom by Bruiser Culhane, Warlord of the Bay Ridge assassins. Captain Galland and his crew soon learn that the savages had developed immunity to the horrid new diseases that ravaged the land, while the people of the Dome developed no immunity and were susceptible to the plague.
The Domies extracted a serum from the blood of the savages in order to stay alive. Like the ancient vampires of lore, the Domies feasted on the blood of the savages in order to stay alive.Procter wants Captain Galland and his crew,because have untainted blood.Somehow,if all were true and earth could evolve such deadly plague,that would make drastic changes,would Galland and crew be the first dead of plague?Probably,if you read,you might wonder such thiungs,too.Certainly,now you are.
Shortly after escaping the Dome, Bruiser and the astronauts are confronted by Bad Lenny Siegle of the Myrtle Street Boys. The two gang leaders will fight to the death with the fate of the astronauts hanging in the balance.
Planet of Vampires #2,published in April 1975Quest for Blood.Story was by John Albano.Art for issue 2,was Pat Broderick/Frank McLaughlin.Editor - Larry Lieber.A battle rages for the control of two rival gangs. Bruiser Culhane of the Bay Ridge Assassins and Lenny Siegle of the Myrtle Avenue Boys will battle to the death.The gangs travel the old elevated train by way of hand carts. The fate of the astronauts also hangs in the balance.As the battle between the two warlords rages below, another battle takes place in the skies above. Astronauts Craig and Brenda have stolen a floater. They are being pursued by Domies.Bruiser overtakes Lenny but refuses to take his life. He proposes that the gangs rally together to battle the Domies. Lenny wants no part of a war against the Domies, but he has pledged his fellow gang members to the cause.After evading the Domies, Craig lands the floater. Chris Galland and Craig then rig the floater to explode. It does so as soon as the Domies approach it, obliterating everything in sight. As a beaten Lenny wanders the city street, he is spotted by a floater. His carelessness may cost him his life. As the vampires are about to strike, the floater is blown out of the sky by Bruiser and his gang. Grateful for saving his life, Lenny joins the battle against the Domies. Captain Galland decides to gather all the Tribal leaders in order to consolidate every group into one fighting unit. However, before any agreement can be struck, a huge armada of Dome dwellers attacks. Led by Captain Galland, they battle the Domies with their primitive weapons. As the battle rages, Ellisa and Brenda are taken hostage by the vampires and taken back to the Dome. Captain Galland vows to rescue the two women, even if he must destroy every vampire in the process.Despite a cover by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano showing a Drucula bunch of vampires,complete with capes,nothing inside remotely resembles the images on the cover.
Planet of Vampires #3 published in July 1975 was the final issue of the series and seemed to on the road of it's own self destruction,since issue one.Cover was by Russ Heath with Larry Lieber.One interesting note.Captain Galland is blond and darked as he was the two previous issue and the inside of this publication.His Ellisa appeared be somewhat drawn more Brena.The Blood Plague Story was by John Albano.Art was by Russ Heath and appeared a bit rushed.Larry Lieber once again was the series editor and it showed,he was not the talent,his brother Stan Lee was.An old army fighter plane is heading directly for the vampire's domed fortress.
As the Domies stare in horror, two pilots eject from the plane, which is laden with explosives. It crashes into the Dome, with the massive explosion rupturing an opening allowing the Astronauts access to search for their missing wives.Chris and Craig infiltrate deep within the Dome in search of Brenda and Elissa.
Breaking into a laboratory, they find Brenda dead, her body completely drained of blood. His wife now dead, a devastated Craig stays behind to grieve for his wife, while Chris goes in search of the Proctor. Upon finding the Proctor,Captain Chris Galland quickly puts a bullet thru his head. After leaving the Proctor's office, he encounters Craig, who has found Elissa, alive and well.Chris and Ellisa, using a floater, opt to leave the area, in hopes of finding a place where humans can live in harmony. They leave Craig behind, who cannot leave his dead wife Brenda. Thousands of miles into their journey, Chris and Elissa find no signs of life.
They are forced to land just outside of Los Angeles when the floater's fuel supply runs low.As they make there way thru the dense foliage, Elissa is attacked by a giant mutated spider. Chris tears the creature off his wife, but the damage has been done. Elissa Galland is dead. Captain Chris Galland is all alone on the Planet of Vampires.Two-page "next issue" spread in Planet of Vampires #3, art by Larry Lieber and Al Milgrom was published,showing a Kirby style drawing of Chris Galland and Craig,confronted by what appears,we assume vampire looking apes.Issue No#4 was completed,since all Atlas title ceased to exist.
The series ends,was far more question issued,than answered.How in five years,after a nuclear war,did half the lifeforms human or otherwise become vampire?Why were some humans,many the outcast immune?Badly executed covers,beyond the first issue ,combined with terrible writing and poor handling of characters,plus the reliance of vampire cliches doomed this book from the start.The title simply ran out of steam and never quite got anywhere worthe Other internal problems in the company (including a strong mandate to do unwise stuff from the Publisher) is generally attributed to be the main reason behind their collapse.://www.atlasarchives.com/comics/planetofvampires03.html