Review: Planet of Vampires #1

Planet of Vampires #1 cover
Cover by Pat Broderick and Neal Adams

Planet of Vampires #1
Published and © by Atlas (Seaboard), February 1975

Title: “The Long Road Home!”
Synopsis: A crew of astronauts returns to find a ravaged Earth split between two groups – human savages and high-tech vampires!

Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Pat Broderick
Inker: Frank McLaughlin

Review: Planet of Vampires is one of the rare Atlas (Seaboard) titles that isn’t an obvious riff on an established Marvel Comics concept. That’s not to say its very original, though, as this “Planet-of-the-Apes”-meets-“I-Am-Legend” series brings little new to the post-apocalyptic party. Still, Larry Hama sets up an interesting-enough world to invite readers back for more, and his script gets strong support from Pat Broderick and Frank McLaughlin. (Though Neal Adams only gets credit for cover inks, he’s a pretty obvious influence on Broderick’s work throughout.)

Grade: B

Second opinion: “Initially sporting the best art in the Atlas line.” – Mike Hall, Comic Effect #34, April-May 2003  … “One of Atlas’ most worthwhile efforts.” – Frank Plowright, FantaCo’s Chronicle’s Series Annual #1, 1983 … “Dull stuff.” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003

Cool factor: The Broderick/Adams cover is a nice one (but where are the vampires?) It’s also interesting to see Broderick’s early work, before it took a more cartoony turn.
Not-so-cool factor: The lack of originality. Really, just a little dash of something fresh could have made this book special.

Character quotable:Elissa! Stow your moping and feed us the trajectory plots.” – Captain Chris Galland, because the comics world apparently didn’t have enough gray-sideburned adventurers talking down to their teammate wives
A word from the editor: “Well, yeah, we had tried to get the rights to “I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson but we couldn’t.” – Jeff Rovin, explaining the similarities between Planet of Vampires and the sci-fi classic, in Comic Book Artist #16, December 2001

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on Aug. 3, 2009.

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