Fiends of the Eastern Front is a comic published by 2000 AD.
In 1980, in the British sector of Berlin a cave is uncovered containing the skeleton of a German soldier clutching a diary. A German official and a British officer proceed to read it, recounting the story of private Hans Schmidt and his encounter with a group of vampiric soldiers during World War II.
Was followed by a sequel/interquel, Fiends of the Eastern Front: Stalingrad, the prequel 1812, which is set during The Napoleonic Wars, and Fiends Of The Western Front, which takes place during World War I.
This comic provides examples of:
- All Germans Are Nazis: Averted. In both stories, The Protagonist is a German footsoldier and is treated sympathetically.
- Alternate Continuity: In the form of an Intercontinuity Crossover with Durham Red titled The Scarlet Apocrypha, a series of one shot, self contained stories. In this version, Constanta, his unit and Hans all get wiped out by Red, who is fighting for the Soviet Union, armed with a pair of submachineguns loaded with Silver Bullets.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: After he believed that he had destroyed Captain Constanta, Hans is turned into a vampire by Constanta himself. Driven by an insatiable lust for blood, Hans is forced to feed on several Soviet soldiers before he decides to kill himself with his final Silver Bullet.
- Antagonist Title: The fiends are the evil vampires.
- Bad Boss: In 'Stalingrad'', when Constanta is put in charge of a section of the Stalingrad front, he often threatens the men under his command with death if they disobey his near-suicidal orders or has wounded men fed to his vampiric soldiers.
- Blood Knight: Constanta is an almost literal example. He has fought in many wars over many centuries just so he can kill and feed off as many humans as he can.
- Burn the Undead: Hans tries to destroy the vampiric Captain Constanta with a flamethrower while he's still sleeping in his coffin. It's not enough.
- Cannot Cross Running Water: When the Rumanian vampires begin to hunt their former German allies, Hans buys them some time by throwing a grenade onto a frozen lake, preventing the vampires from following them until it freezes over again.
- Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: The main character melts down silverware and forges them into bullets for his machine gun to fight Constanta's vampire troops.
- Driven to Suicide: Hans loads his final silver bullet into his sidearm to use on himself when he becomes a vampire.
- Eye Scream: Richter loses both his eyes when Constanta uses a grenade against the golem.
- Famous-Named Foreigner: Grigori Eisenstein. Eisenstein is actually a Jewish name, but still...
- From a Single Cell: Corporal Cringu explains that his master Captain Constanta can resurrect from the smallest leftover. Despite burning him to ashes, Hans finds out that it still wasn't enough.
- Golem: A Rabbi makes one in Stalingrad. It's about the only thing Constanta is afraid of. Turns out the Mamayev Kurgan is also one.
- Horror Hunger: When Hans is turned into a vampire, he is immediately struck by a lust for blood and attacks a group of nearby Russian soldiers.
- Improvised Cross: Hans uses two pieces of wood to make a makeshift cross to prevent the vampires for killing a Russian soldier.
- Intercontinuity Crossover:
- Interquel: The follow-up Stalingrad is set during the original story, which primarily takes place between 1941 and 1945.
- Mercy Kill: Hans kills his friend Karl at his request so that he won't be turned into a vampire.
- Missing Reflection: Hans realizes that the Romanian soldiers his company are partnered up with are vampires when he notices that they have no reflections in the water.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: The German soldiers are depicted as regular conscripts, with no mention of any Nazi affinities.
- Necromancer: Constanta is able to resurrect already-dead soldiers as mindless ghouls.
- Not His Sled: In 1812, which crosses over with The Duellists, both d'Hubert and Ferraud make appearances. However, Ferraud is quickly killed off by a hungry Constanta, making his later duels with d'Hubert from the film impossible. D'Hubert himself later also dies, but is resurrected as a servant of Baba Yaga.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Subverted; the vampires play almost every single vampire trope straight. They drink blood, are hurt by sunlight so they only appear during the night, they sleep in coffins, they don't have reflections, they can turn into both bats and wolves (as well as mist), they're vulnerable to crosses and garlic, they can't cross water, and can be killed by decapitation, fire, silver bullets, and a stake to the heart. About the only one missing is the vampire invitation. Double Subverted in later stories, which reveal that Constanta himself is the only "pure" vampire, having made a Deal with the Devil with a coven of witches to transform him as he was close to death; everyone else turned by Constanta are his acolytes, possessing a slightly less potent version of his power set.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Richter's dead comrades are resurrected by Constanta as zombies to use as cannon fodder.
- Prophetic Names: Grigori Eisenstein shares his first name with Rasputin. He is accordingly difficult to kill, going so far as a Not Quite Dead moment. Being a partially transformed vampire helps.
- The Renfield: Corporal Cringu is the human servant of the Rumanian vampires, responsible for driving a truck full of coffins near the frontlines and protecting them during daylight.
- Silver Bullet: Hans and Karl gather various silver items to melt them down for ammunition to use against the vampiric soldiers hunting them.
- Super Smoke: Captain Constanta and his vampire brigade are able to turn into mist. They most commonly use this during an attack against the Soviets: you can't exactly stop an enemy when they just seep into your tank cabin.
- Universal Ammunition: The Silver Bullets Hans and Karl use in a machinegun are apparently also compatible with Hans' sidearm.
- Vampires Sleep in Coffins: Captain Constanta and his vampire brigade rest in coffins during the day, when they are ferried around in a truck by their servant Cringu.
- Vampires Hate Garlic: Hans and Karl create a circle out of garlic so that the Rumanian vampires can't get near them.
- Weird Historical War: Rumanian vampire soldiers participate in World War II, at first on the German side, then against them when Rumania switches sides in 1944. Corporal Cringu mentions how his master has fought in many different wars throughout the centuries, including the Tartar invasions and the Ottoman wars. 1812 is set during the Napoleonic Wars and Fiends Of The Western Front takes place during World War I.
- Would Hurt a Child: In Stalingrad, Constanta personally tears the throat out of a little girl who had been sent to spy on them.
- You Can't Kill What's Already Dead: Constanta and his fellow vampires use their status as living dead to partake in numerous wars in search of prey, since most regular weapons are incapable of harming them or even slowing them down.