A Brief History of Vampire Comics

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There weren’t a whole lot of vampires in American comic books before the early ’70s. Oh, there’d been a stray blood-sucker or two in the Golden Age, but comics tended to use them sparingly, and the original version of the Comics Code, in 1954, forbade the depiction of vampires (and other horror staples like zombies and werewolves) outright. In 1971, though, the Code was revised, with the magnificently awful sentence “Vampires, ghouls and werewolves shall be permitted to be used when handled in the classic tradition such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and other high calibre literary works written by Edgar Allen Poe, Saki, Conan Doyle and other respected authors whose works are read in schools around the world.” (The “walking dead” were still verboten, and the words “horror” and “terror” couldn’t be used in the titles of comics or the stories within them.) So here’s a brief history of some of the more notable comics vampires since then–and one who jumped the gun by a couple of years.