I ... Vampire

I … Vampire

(pop culture)

“I … Vampire” was a popular series of vampire stories that appeared in The House of Mystery, a comic book published by DC Comics in the 1980s. The series began in the March 1981 issue (No. 290) and appeared periodically through the August 1983 issue (No. 319). “I … Vampire” told the story of Lord Andrew Bennett who was raised during the Elizabethan Era in England of the late sixteenth century. Bennett was a hero of the Spanish War and a well-known figure at court. Then in 1591 he was bitten by a dearg-dul, a type of vampire found in Ireland, and became a vampire himself. He was in love with Mary Seward, personal handmaiden to the queen. When she discovered his condition, she wanted to spend eternity with him and demanded that he make her a vampire. As a vampire, she felt superior to the human race and could rule the world, an idea Bennett rejected. She left him and he vowed to find her and save her soul, which he had despoiled. Although he had a thirst for blood, Bennett had sworn off human blood. Their conflict continued into the 1980s and provided the tension for the stories of the series. Mary built an international organization to seek control of the planet.

The organization, the Blood Red Moon, commanded a large number of vampires that operated as Mary’s agents. Bennett had a difficult time killing them because most of the things that hurt them were dangerous to him. Their conflict climaxed in a rush to gain what was termed the Russian Formula. The Russians discovered that vampirism was caused by a virus. Taking the formula made one a new kind of vampire, with all the vampiric powers (strength, transformation, etc.) but free from the limitations of the undead and able to live on common human food rather than blood. After Bennett secured and took some of the formula, he was able to walk in the sunlight. He discovered Mary’s headquarters and prepared to destroy her and her sleeping vampire cohorts. As he went to do this, however, he suddenly found himself unable to move. He learned too late that the formula was designed to create new vampires who were free of bloodlust and was not meant to be consumed by those who were already vampires. Although alive and conscious, Bennett could feel his body sink into rigor mortis.

As Bennett lay dying, Mary bit Bennett’s human girlfriend, Deborah Dancer. It seemed that his final damnation was to know that she had become Mary’s willing servant. However, Deborah had already taken the Russian Formula and was instead transformed into the new kind of vampire. She fought Mary and dragged her body into the sunlight, where Mary perished. Deborah returned to the dying Bennett to inform him of Mary’s death and of her love. Thus, “I … Vampire” ends with Bennett dying in peace and Deborah living on as the new kind of vampire.


The House of Mystery. Nos. 290–319. New York: DC Comics, 1981–83.