Comic Review: Planet of Vampires

Published: 1975
Written by: Larry Hama, John Albano
Art by: Pat Broderick, Frank McLaughlin, Russ Heath, Neal Adams (cover), Dick Giordano (cover), Larry Lieber (cover)

Atlas/Seaboard Comics, 96 Pages

Review:

Since Atlas/Seaboard Comics only lasted for a year or so, I’ve been trying to round up as many of them as I can. This series was the first one that I completed, so I wanted to give it a proper review.

What drew me to it was both the premise and the fact that it was written by Larry Hama. Granted, Hama only wrote the first issue, so that was a bit of a disappointment when I got to issue numero dos.

Another disappointment was that the third issue, the series’ last, is not a final issue or a conclusion to the story. It leaves you anticipating a fourth issue but one never came. So like all great things in my life, this ended on an unresolved cliffhanger.

But let’s be positive!

The cover art of the first issue was done by Neal Adams and man, it’s a dynamic, energetic and colorful image that hits the right notes for me. If I was a kid in 1975 (3 years before my birth) I would’ve been all over this book like I was all over Image Comics in 1992.

What I really dug about this is that Earth in this story felt a lot like the movie version of Logan’s Run, except overrun by vampires. What’s cool about that is that this comic was out a year before that film.

The story sees astronauts return to Earth from a mission that kept them in space for several years. Upon returning, the Earth looks like it was ravaged by war. The newly arrived astronauts are saved from ravenous humans but soon find out that their heroic hosts are alien vampires that farm humans for blood.

On paper, this comic has just about everything I could want in a ’70s, pulpy, sci-fi, horror story. It was like Buck Rogers meets Hammer Horror.

However, despite the fun story, solid art and my engagement in both of those things, it was pretty sad that it didn’t have a proper conclusion.

I’ve heard negative things about the quality of Atlas Comics’ releases but had they finished this tale, it would be considered a fairly satisfying comic.

Rating: 6.75/10
Pairs well with: other Atlas/Seaboard comic releases.

Vids I Dig 039: Comic Tropes: Atlas/Seaboard: The Company That Failed to Spite Marvel

From Comic Tropes’ YouTube description: Atlas/Seaboard is a fascinating short-lived publisher from the mid 1970s that tried to compete with DC and Marvel. They offered the best page rates and other incentives to attract some top talent like Steve Ditko, Neal Adams, Russ Heath and more. But the men running the show, Martin Goodman and his son Chip, were just trying to beat Marvel Comics overnight.

This episode explains the history of Atlas/Seaboard and reviews one of their comics, Tiger-Man, to show how troubled the comics they made were.