Beneath The Planet Of The Atlas Vampires

Space is a vast place and so much of it is undiscovered. Sometimes we consider Pluto as a planet and other times we don’t! Image what and who is out there in the parts of space that we cannot explore and discover…imagine if many of our film/TV/Video Games/Comic aliens and space explorers were real…like what if Star Wars, Star Trek, Flash Gordon, Alien, Predator, The Black Hole, John Carter Warlord Of Mars, Destroy All Humans, Mars Attacks, Last Star Fighter, Space Invaders and all other matters of science fiction in media was real….like what if right now in the universe Buck Rogers is battling Crypto for the last slice of Pizza The Hut and The Predator is trying to hunt down some Klingons as he feels they are the ultimate prey! But in reality, it really is amazing that mankind in my lifetime will never really know what is truly out their in the Universe…heck we don’t even know much about our own deep oceans! For this update we are going to take a look at Atlas Comics and their series that blended adventure, sci-fi and horror together as of course I am talking about Planet Of The Vampires. So sit back, relax and go on a space travel with me here on Rotten Ink and let’s see what these bloodsuckers are up to in the cosmos.

When I was a youngster and first discovered Atlas Comics and it’s series Planet Of The Vampires thanks to Bookie Parlor I first thought this title was based on a 1965 film of the same name that was directed by Horror Icon Mario Bava, well that was until I read it and discovered it was its own world. Mario Bava is the master of Italian Horror and was the director of many great Horror Movies like Black Sunday, Black Sabbath, Blood And Black Lace, Kill Baby…Kill!, Hatchet For The Honeymoon, A Bay Of Blood, Baron Blood and Lisa And The Devil to name a few showing that he is a true icon of the genre. American International Pictures released Planet Of The Vampires in 1965 to theaters and drive-in’s and they were happy too do so as they had made a good profit off Bava films from the past. Planet Of The Vampires is a film that follows astronauts who go to an undiscovered planet and find themselves fighting among themselves and learn that something or someone on the planet is causing them to turn on themselves. This film is really good for a b-grade Sci-Fi film and really should have gotten the Dell Comic adaptation treatment, but to make it clear this Atlas Comic series is 100% not based on this film.

Disney has superhero movies on lockdown as the box office numbers for the Marvel Comic movies have broken records! Warner Brothers are still making some great superhero movies as well that are raking in the money with their DC Comic flicks. Well Paramount Pictures and Steven Paul with is SP Media Group want a slice of that comic book movie pie and Paul himself has bought the rights to Atlas Comics and want to turn the characters into movies as well as possible TV Shows! While this has been announced nothing as of yet is set to come out and what characters will get the movie or even streaming TV treatment. And for a long time reader of Atlas Comics I can say that this news is very cool and I can not wait to see movies based on the likes of Grim Ghost, Tiger-Man, Planet Of The Vampires and The Cougar to name a few. But lets also be honest with ourselves just like Atlas failed comeback to the world of comics in 2010 this could end up being gone before it even starts. So only time will tell if Atlas Comics will make an impact in the world of movies and I for one welcome these characters back to all forums of media.

On January 19, 2020 we decided to have a Horror Movie Marathon in order to celebrate the end of the Holiday season and we kicked off the day at 8am with the 1965 fright flick “Blood Beast From Outer Space” about a strange object that falls from space that brings with it a space traveler who is kidnapping Earth’s women to bring back to his home planet. The cheesy “Return Of The Killer Shrews” was next on tap and is the sequel to the 1959 film Killer Shrews and has ship boat Captain Thorne Sherman going back to the island and once more being attacked by killer shrews. The third film of the marathon was “Bat Outta Hell” about a group of wannabe filmmakers being attacked by 4 feet tall bat creatures. Next on the blood tap was the Universal International film “Curucu: Best Of The Amazon” about headhunters, explorers and a monster by the jungle river. Hammer Horror movie “The Abominable Snowman” starring Peter Cushing was next and was about climbers and explorers looking for the mythic monster the Yeti. The 6th film of the day was the indie Kaiju film “Reigo King Of The Sea Monsters” and has the Japanese navy fighting for their lives against a giant monster. “Prison Of The Dead” by Full Moon Entertainment was next and had a group of fans at an old funeral home that evil spirits and killer dead executioners are roaming around in. The Shudder exclusive film “Boar” starring Bill Mosley and Nathan Jones was next a film about a giant killer boar in the outback. What we watched next was “Camp Blood 8” a slasher film that featured the clown masked killer once more on a rampage of blood and carnage. The slasher film “Pickaxe” was next and was about an unstoppable killer returning from death and targeting a group of friends going to a rock concert. The final film of the night was “Haunt” that has a group of friends going into an extreme haunted house that’s ghoulish performers are out for flesh and blood. As always a great time watching Horror Movies with my lady Juliet. Oh and I know many of you readers like to know what we had to eat for the Marathon and we had Breakfast Casserole and Chicken with Oh My Garlic Sauce and for snacks we had Peanut Butter M&M’s and Potato Chips.

So for this Horror Movie Marathon we watched 11 films total and all from different subgenres in the world of Horror. And when it came to the Golden Turkey of the evening Juliet and I agreed that the worst film of the day was “Bat Outta Hell” as some of the acting was terrible, the CGI creatures effects looked cheap and it was kind of boring. But I must say Pickaxe for me almost made the Golden Turkey spot as I was very much disappointed in it and found it to be just kind of bland. For me the top three films of the day was simple as I would go # 1 Haunt as it was a pleasant surprise filled with great gore effects, some creepy moments and likable characters. My # 2 had to go to The Abominable Snow Man as it’s a classic Hammer Horror film and you cannot top Peter Cushing. And lastly my # 3 spot went to Boar as it was a great animal/nature run amok throwback film with some gruesome boar kills. I should also say that Camp Blood 8 was really solid and one of the better sequels that has been released these past few years. Juliet picked the following as her top 3 films of the event # 1 Haunt, # 2 Boar and for # 3 she picked Prison Of The Dead. I love having these marathons whether it’s with just Juliet or a room full of friends, it’s a great time to celebrate the world of Horror.

The Golden Chainsaw Award for most kills for the Marathon goes to the one and only undead slasher killer Alex Black from the film Pickaxe! This hulking killer racked up a body count of over 15 people and did so with brutal glee. One of his best kills is when he guts and kills a cheating boyfriend! While the film was not to best of the Marathon nor did it even come close to making either of our Top 3 lists, Pickaxe’s killer Alex Black did walk away with the Golden Chainsaw Award as he raised the bloody body count and made the event a little more splattery!

So now that we have talked about Atlas Comics and its possible future of being movies at your local cinemas soon as well as talked about the first Horror Movie Marathon of 2020, I think it’s now time that we land and take a look at the Planet Of The Vampires! I want to say that I read this comic series when I was a young teen and can remember liking it then. I want to also thank the gone but always iconic comic store Bookie Parlor for introducing me to Atlas Comics all those decades past. I want to thank the combo of Bell Book And Comic as well as Game Swap Kettering for having these issues in stock making this update possible. I want to remind you readers that I am grading them on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s sit back and see if these vampires have the bite to still capture my attention.

Planet Of Vampires # 1  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics     # 1 of 3

In the year 2010 the space shuttle Aries VII returns from a five-year mission on the planet Mars, the ships Captain is Chris Galland and on his crew is his wife Elissa among a few other members. Things are weird as they are not getting an response from Mission Control and after they have to land in the harbor near Brooklyn, New York they soon see the world has changed as the buildings are destroyed and crazed gangs of people are running loose and Captain Galland and his crew are saved by a costumed man who guns some of the savages down with his flying craft! Chris and his crew jump onto the ship and the man takes them to the Empire State building that now has a dome around the blocks around it and were what’s left of normal society lives after a war broke out that mostly destroyed the world. The crew are then introduced to The Proctor the man who built the dome and has kept people safe, and Captain Galland tells him about the mission on Mars they had. But as Galland and his people are walked out of The Proctor’s office they witness as guards are taking a savage to another room, and when he lets out a painful scream Captain Galland and crew spring into action and rush to the room to find that they savages are being drained of their blood! Captain Galland saves the savages who is being lead by Bruiser Culhane who comes up with a plan to split up into two teams to escape by air and by underground. Bruiser leads Galland and his wife underground and when they escape they are greeted by a rival band of savages!

The first issue of Planet Of The Vampires is one of those issues that is really slow moving, but is truly the groundwork for what this series was suppose to be all about. The plot takes elements from many different Sci-Fi films I feel like “Planet Of The Apes” and “Omega Man” and has a group returning to Earth after a long mission in space and when back the world is changed and filled with blood suckers and unruly wild gangs. Our main hero is Captain Galland who is a good captain, he is also kind of a firm jerk who seems to bully and talk very strictly to his wife Elissa, but while he is a jerk he is a hero who watches out for his crew, questions the murdering of people and saves countless lives but standing up for what’s right. Elissa seems like a nice woman and the rest of the crew is made up of Craig, Ben and Brenda all as well are good people and Ben was the brains of the team but he is taken down by the savages after landing. The savages are at war with those who live in the dome and are violent, but are the way they are in order to survive this new cruel world. The Proctor and his men claim they are not the bad ones and that they have to steal the blood of others in order to save themselves as the radiation they claim gave them a disease. But while slow the tense feeling is building as you are not sure really what is going on with those that live in the dome and why do they really need all that blood, not to mention those who live outside the dome are violent and act like savages for sure. I also like that our hero Captain Chris Galland while always wanting to do the right thing is also really kind of an ego driven jerk! The cover for this first issue is awesome and has a Star Wars comic look to it. The interior art is done by Pat Broderick and is really good and has a classic 70’s Marvel Comics look to it, Broderick has done art for many companies over the years including DC, Marvel, Eclipse and Devil’s Due. Over all this first issue is a great read that brings this world to life for reviewers.

Planet Of Vampires # 2  ***
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics     # 2 of 3

Bruiser Culhane has lead Chris & Elissa Galland into the arms of some very dangerous people who want to murder them all, but Bruiser comes up with an idea that has him fighting the leader of the group Lenny with the winner taking the lead of both tribes! The fight is brutal with Bruiser coming ahead and running both tribes, he even allows Lenny to live as Captain Chris Galland comes up with a plan that will have all the tribes come together and fight for their lives against the bloodsuckers who is the world’s real scumbag enemies. And after Craig and Brenda trick their followers they land and use the little flying craft as a bomb killing the pursuing vampires. As the savage tribes come together the vampires attack in full force and the battle leaves many dead on each side, and worse Elissa and Brenda have been kidnapped with the idea that they will be baby carries for The Proctor! During the battle Captain Galland is injured, but snaps and wants revenge when Craig informs him of the ladies kidnapping.

The plot of this second issue has Captain Galland bringing all the outside savage tribes together to make an army and pushes them to clash and fight with the larger and better-armed Bloodsucking Vampires…who of course destroy them in the battle. In fact Captain Chris Galland gets the tribes all riled up and acts as if their primitive weapons stand a chance and with them listing many of the savages loose their lives. So in other words Galland did not come up with a real battle plan and uses his own rage to lead people to their deaths. The savage tribes show that they truly are fighters as they do what they can to fight the vampires, and while many lost their lives other are taking prisoners so that they can be drained of blood. The Vampires of the Dome are very mad in this issue and when they come for revenge they are swift and brutal and kill as well as take hostages. Most of this issue is about Lenny’s dislike for Bruiser Culhane and how he learns to respect his one time enemy as well agrees to be apart of the tribe army to fight back. The cover for this issue is great and showcases evil vampires, and yet nothing like this happens in the issue. The interior art is done by Pat Broderick again and is fantastic and I really do dig his style. Over all this is another solid issue and one I can not wait to reread the third and final issue again, so let’s get to it.

Planet Of Vampires # 3  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25     Atlas Comics     # 3 of 3

The Vampire Dome soldiers are being warned about astronauts Captain Galland and Craig coming to the dome in order to get their ladies back, and while the guards laugh an old fighter plan crashes into them all killing them on the spot and near by our heroes start to make their way into the dome as their plan to wipeout their enemies worked. Captain Galland and Craig enter the dome and make quick work of many more vampire soldiers as they out smart the bloodsuckers, but Craig’s world falls apart when they find the body of Brenda who has been drained off all her blood! Captain Galland leaves his friend to grieve for a moment as he enters the office of The Proctor and kills the vampire leader with a bullet to his head. Captain Galland is then greeted by Craig who has found Elissa hurt but still alive. The three of them make their way to steal one of the bloodsuckers aircrafts and Craig stays behind at the dome as Elissa and Captain Galland take the craft and fly around looking for a safe place to live. The couple end up in LA that is as wild as New York and Elissa is attacked by a pair of giant vampire spiders and Captain Galland fights with all his might in order to save his wife…but to his horror she passes away from her injuries and Captain Galland is a man along in a savage and violent world.

The third and final issue in this Atlas Comic series ends like so many before and after it on a cliffhanger and the promise of a next issue that never was published as Atlas Comic closed its doors before they could hit the comic racks. The plot of this issue has only Captain Chris Galland and his best friend and crewmate Craig left as all the savages have been killed or taken and they want to get their wives back who have been kidnapped by the dome living vampires, and they try their best to do just that but in the end both men loose their wives to the grip of death and both find themselves sad, lonely and in a world that is cruel and unforgiving. Captain Chris Galland is a hero who throughout the series tries his best to take control and act as if his plans and ideas are what will change this savage world, and instead his ideas lead to many deaths of people as well as even his crew. To be honest while I do understand Captain Chris Galland’s want to stand up against the evil people of this new world, a part of me also felt like he did it all for his ego. His wife Elissa Galland is always the victim in these three issues and it goes from being talked down to by his wife all the way to being picked to be the mate of the creepy vampire leader. Craig and Brenda are good side characters and to be honest I think Craig is my favorite hero of the series as he comes off more real and loyal. The Proctor and his vampire soldiers have the weapons and numbers, but when push comes to shove they fall like a house of cards and are easily beaten and killed. I must say Planet Of The Vampires held up for me and I enjoyed it just like I did in my youth and while it’s very slow moving at the start it kicks in to be a very fun Sci-Fi, Action, Horror Comic read. While those looking for solid vampire horror might be disappointed as these vampires are not like Dracula, those who like science mixed in with their vampires will really enjoy it. The cover for this issue is good, and confusing as who in the hell are the blonde astronaut and the short black haired girl? The interior art this time around is done by Russ Heath and is as well has a very classic Marvel look to it. Over all Planet Of The Vampires is a great Atlas Comics series and while it’s not one of my top favorites, it is one that I have enjoyed and suggest to comic readers who enjoy Sci-Fi Horror. Check out the art below to see the style used in this series.

Planet Of The Vampires is a 70’s comic that showed that Atlas Comics had lots to offer in the world of comic books, as did the previous comic titles we covered like The Brute, The Cougar, Tiger-Man, Demon Hunter, The Destructor and The Hands Of The Dragon have all proven. It really is a shame that Atlas Comics closed its doors so quickly as it would have been nice to see were many of their classic characters would have went story wise and what new characters they could have created. But sadly, we cannot live in a world of what if and have to live in the now and lucky for Rotten Ink we have many other Atlas Comic titles to cover in the future. But for our next update we are walking away from the world of comic books and heading to the world of Horror Hosts as I cover a little unknown host named Theodore Puertoriquez who hosted Theodore’s Creepy Kitchen! So until next time read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a Meow-Tastic good time!

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