Vagina Dentata. Look it up, big boy.It’s springtime on the Internet, when a young man’s fancy turns to girls, girls, girls! Harris Comics knows this better than anyone; they staged an online survey so fanboys could vote for the next Vampirella model. Mmmmm… exploit-a-licious!By the way, did you know that last year Harris launched some kind of re-imagining of Vampirella as a bratty cyberpunk bloodsucker named Vampi? She wears little pleated skirts like manga heroines, she mixes sound for her friends’ band, and she drinks artificial blood so she doesn’t have to hurt widdle biddy humans.

Bah! I’m amazed that Harris could so misunderstand the original Vampirella. Too bad they didn’t read Jordan J. Titus’ essay “Gnashing of Teeth: The Vagina Dentata Motif in ‘Bad Girl’ Comics” in the Fall 2000 issue of the International Journal of Comic Art. As Titus explains, Vampirella serves as a focus of both male desire and male fear of female sexuality. Her popularity stems from the fact that she’s both a beautiful woman and a monster who devours (read: castrates) her victims.

Vampi just isn’t scary enough to pull off that trick. Granted, she alternates between teen vamp and sword-wielding ninja murder machine. But even as she’s slicing through the heads of hired thugs, she retains a cloying sense of manga ultra-cuteness. And her tortured monologues about loss and loneliness? Ugh. Bottom line: don’t mess with a classic of psycho-sexual misdirection.

Results of the Vampirella model search will announced in June.

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