Updated: Nov 6, 2019
Vampirella Vol. 5 #2, Variant, Dynamite Entertainment, by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau.
First, a Disclaimer: this Southern Gentleman didn’t decide easily to feature such a (ahem) titillating cover, for fear of alienating any of our audience, but Artgerm’s IMO brilliant concept won out over the risk of awarding and presenting such a gratuitous image.
Artgerm’s first depiction of Vampirella was a variant for issue #1 of the most recent volume of the alien vampire’s adventures. But it wasn’t considered for POP Cover Of The Week because it was image only, with no trade dress, which I consider to be an integral part of comic cover design.
But this week Dynamite has cited popular demand for another cover version featuring Artgerm’s illustration, and issue #2 is being published with trade dress, making it eligible for POP Cover Of The Week. The trade dress (the comic title logo, the publisher's logo, issue number, etc.) is minimally designed, and the timeless comic title logo and 50th anniversary logo are placed at the bottom to anchor the cover design. The days are long gone when a comic's title had to appear in the top third of a cover for newsstand and spinner rack visibility.
Why is Artgerm’s concept so great? Two reasons (and not the two you’re thinking of!): twin trails of blood drip from Vampirella’s fangs, cascading in perfect symmetry down her neck and body, forming her signature red costume. It’s an idea that is so simple and brilliant, it’s hard to believe no one else has thought to do it on over 50 years of Vampirella covers.
Artgerm has also made a great choice to make the illustration in grayscale, which makes all the spot reds pop. A choice I don't quite understand is the addition of a watery/oily film running over the entire image. I think it detracts rather than adds anything.
If gratuitous near-nudity isn’t controversial enough, consider the red moon behind Vampirella’s head, looking every bit like the holy halos depicted on saintly figures in fine art paintings. Still not blasphemous enough for you? Vampirella’s arms are outstretched in a Crucifixion pose.
Hopefully the next POP Cover Of The Week will be one that doesn't need a disclaimer!