The League Of Vampires

Publisher: Daily Express
Released: 25th October 1972 to
28th February 1973
Serial: #2066 to #2172
Artist: Yaroslav Horak
Writer: Jim Lawrence

Data Stream
Villains: Xerxes 'Big X' Xerophanos, Dr Jemail
Bond Girls: Margot Xerophanos, Tjana
Allies: Dolly Hamnet, Bridget, Isotta Cerulli, Bill Tanner, M
Locations: Ajaccio, Corsica; Amsterdam, Holland; London, UK; Ramsgate, UK;

Above: It is not made clear why Bond is in Corsica keeping an eye on a British reporter at the beginning of the story.

When a vampire cult is spreading fast and getting out of control, 007 sets out to save journalist Dolly Hamnet from trouble, but fails. Bond is knocked out cold whilst what appears to be a vampire kills her. MI6 recall 007 from the field as Andrea Stefanotis (a Greek ambassador), Cedric Hawes (a Member of Parliament), and agent Isotta Cerulli are all killed and the head count is rising fast. Bond is forced to leave behind fellow agent Bridget, who also dies at the hands of the cult.

Above: The opening panel of "The League Of Vampires"

Shipping magnate and world's richest man Xerxes 'Big X' Xerophanos alerts the authorities that his wife Margo may have fallen in to the hands of the cult. Bond goes undercover and by chance manages to disrupt a ceremony where she is to be killed. But Xerxes has been behind the cult all along, and after killing her wealthy father with a tactical nuclear warhead in Norfolk at a public event, he plans to present Margo's dead body and inherit her fortune. After the cult killing fails, Xerxes captures Margo and Bond and takes them aboard his ship where he will trigger the nuclear blast remotely. Bond threatens to blow up Xerxes' second warhead which he has stowed aboard and causes the crew to mutiny.

Above: Tjana is one of the rare Bond girls whose fate and motivations are left totally to the imagination of the reader. Sadly, she never made another appearance in the series.

Source To Strip
Fans of Ian Fleming may have to grit their teeth to get past the title of Jim Lawrence's original story for this outing, but like any good Bond plot, the initial impressions can be deceiving. For underneath the vampire cult and paraphernalia is a maniacal man after even more money and power, with a scheme that soon reveals itself to be as devious and deadly as any major villain's before.

Lawrence uses the (rather too sci-fi) cult well as a cover for his protagonists evil doings, but the vampire trappings still do not feel at home in a 007 adventure. Boiled down to its essence, Lawrence uses a cult to cover up his villain's activities (Live And Let Die), threatens to destroy part of the UK with a nuclear weapon (Moonraker) and plans the destruction of assets to increase the value of his own (Goldfinger).

It may seem like pick-and-mix plotting on Lawrence's part, but the ingredients blend well together and produce a solid story once the action picks up pace.

1972 must have marked a change in censorship policy at the Daily Express as artist Yaroslav Horak unapologetically fills strip after strip with naked or near-naked women. But as is usual for the Bond series, it is all done in the best possible taste, with every lady stunningly beautiful. The story also tips the balance for Horak's depiction of the villains, as they slide towards caricatures and less of the real-world imagery created earlier in the series. His action panels are top-draw as usual though, and there is interesting variation throughout the story despite its limited locales.

Above: Actions speak louder than words when Bond attempts to cripple the ship.

Best Line
Bond: "You speak English?... Good! Then I'll tell you once - get out of the car!"

When Bond questions the man following Dolly, he asks if he works for the Union Corse (the Corsican counterpart of the Sicilian Mafia) - in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service:, Bond's father-in-law Marc-Ange Draco is head of the Union Corse. James Bond must be losing his touch as a "secret" agent - reporter Dolly instantly recognises him as "the British agent who helped Zarkov defect in Vienna". Bill Tanner and Bond's investigation of Isotta's body introduces readers to the MI6 mortuary. Miss Moneypenny does not make an appearance. Five years after this story's publication, the movie incarnation of "The Spy Who Loved Me" would also use a shipping magnate as its central villain.

MI6 Rating


Available Now!

Publisher: Titan Books
Released: 22nd September 2006
Titles Included: "Trouble Spot", "Isle of Condors", " The League of Vampires", " Die With My Boots On"

"Trouble Spot" by Titan Books

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