Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Creepy 20

Here's a very reprint heavy issue of Creepy from Warren's dark age. The cover is a reprint from Famous Monster #4 by Albert Nuetzell. It's one of Creepy's bizarrest covers, featuring a green one eyed creature with long arms. No frontis this issue.

First up is "Thumbs Down" by Al Williamson (art) and Anne Murphy (story), originally from Creepy #6. This story may be the most reprinted in Warren's history. Can't count how many times this story ended up being reprinted over the years. The story features a crooked arena games master who has his top gladiator killed only for him to come back from the dead to take revenge.

"The Inheritors of Earth" by Hector Castellon (art & story) is second. The story feaures a chemical company employee creating a spray that kills cochroaches. He is suddenly transported to a world of giant insects where humanoids try to capture the formula. He escapes from the world only for them to get him back in the real world. Not that good of a story and hard to follow as well.

Another new story, "Beauty or the Beast!" by Sal Trapani (art) and Len Brown (story) is next. Four astronauts land upon an Earth like planet. Two are quickly killed. Another heads out and finds a beautiful woman, whom he tries to bring back with him. His colleague refuses, thinking she is probably responsible for the deaths, and brings her outside, only to get killed as well. Our protagonist finally tells her off only to have second thoughts. He heads back out to find her but now finds her killed, and finds what was really killing everyone, the male of the species, a hideous monster. The monster appears to be a swipe from the story "Counter-Clockwise" from the EC comic Weird Fantasy #18.

Another reprint from Creepy #6, "The Cask of Amontillado" is next, with art by Reed Crandall and story by Archie Goodwin. This is obviously an adaption of the classic Edgar Allen Poe story, featuring a man who encloses a colleague of his in a brick tomb. Goodwin adds a new ending to the story, where the protagonist, now an old man, returns to the scene of the crime and is killed when the chamber floods and the corpse of his colleague pulls him under water.

Another reprinted adaption is up next, "The Damned Thing!" from Creepy #4. It features art by Gray Morrow and story by Archie Goodwin. The story features a monster who is of a color that makes it appear invisible to the human eye. Upon being told of the monster, men are skeptical of it, only for the creature to appear and kill them. Very good story with a very scary looking ape-like monster, when it finally is able to be seen at the end.

Last is "A Vested Interest", originally published in Creepy #8. It has art by Geroge Tuska and story by Ron Parker. It featuers a man who sees a werewolf but finds no one believing him except a single man he meets at a bar. The man brings him to an alley at night and reveals himself to be the werewolf. Our hero thinks he's tricked him, shooting silver bullets from his camera, but the werewolf has outsmarted him, wearing a bullet-proof vest! Tuska's art is not too good here, but it is a fun story.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Vampirella 17

This issue's cover is by Enrich. The frontis for this issue, "Vampi's Feary Tales: The Story of Arachne" is by Auraleon (art) and Jan Strnad (story), featuring the origin of the spider.

This issue's Vampi story is "...Beware, Dreamers!" by Jose Gonzalez (art) and T. Casey Brennan (story). Vampi, Pendragon and Adam come across a masked man chained to the ground. Taking off his mask, they are drawn into a dream world. Meanwhile a man, Ernie Johnson, summons a demon serving Chaos and is ordered to kill our three heroes. Our heroes meet Norto in the dream world, the man they found on the ground. They are confronted by a pterodactyl then Johnson, now known as 'Deathslayer'. He kills Norto, which upsets the demon, killing him, and freeing our heroes from the dreamworld.

Next up is "Horus", drawn and written by Esteban Maroto. This story is the first of the series "Tomb of the Gods", which was originally printed in Spain a few years before its appearance here. Although part of a series, all of the Tomb of the Gods stories were self-contained and can be read in any order. The stories generally were quite surreal, and hence hard to summarize here. This story features a man and woman in ancient Egypt confronting the Egyptian God Horus, guarding the sleep of someone, who ends up being the man himself.

"Death in the Shadows" by Luis Garcia (art) and Doug Moench (story) is next. Garcia is my personal favorite of all Warren artists. This story features a girl who exhibits very strange behavior, such as sleeping only during the day. Her parents put her in an asylum, and she is eventually released. Although it appears that she's a vampire, in the end it ends up that its actually her father who is the vampire.

Next is "A Man's World" by Jose Bea (art) and Mike Jennings (story). A pair of reporters visit an all female colony which is located near where a murder took place. There they are treated like kings, including being fed a significantly large amount of food. Eventually they realize the truth, that the women have literally been eating men. They try to escape but are unsuccessful.

Fifth is "Lover of the Bayou" by L.M. Roca (art) and Jan Strnad (story), featuring a girl who lives in the swamp with her parents. She keeps hearing of an entity called 'The Lover' but her parents won't reveal exactly what it is. She heads out for a walk in the swamp and is rescued by a handsome man who tells her that he invented 'The Lover' as a way to scare people away from his home so he'd have some peace and quiet. Only it ends up that he's been lying, and he locks her in a room with 'The Lover', a tentacled monster, which kills her.

Last is 'The Wedding Ring' by Jerry Grandenetti (art) and Steve Skeates (story). A man goes to visit two old friends who got married. The man had always liked the wife and forces himself on her when he learns her husband is away. It ends up that she's a member of a strange cult that causes a ring to appear and shrink around his neck, strangling him.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Eerie 47

Here's another issue of Eerie featuring a Dracula cover, this time done by Luis Dominguez.

Up first is the second part of the Dracula series, "Enter the Dead Thing", continuing from Eerie #46. Art is once again by Tom Sutton and story by Bill Dubay. Having bitten the witch and her assistant, they are now vampires along with Dracula on the ship departing from San Francisco. A rotting corpse kept in a coffin on the ship ends up coming to life and wreacking havok, forcing Dracula and his underlings to turn into bats and escape, heading to Transylvania. There, a man with a shotgun fires upon Dracula, and this is where our story ends, to be continued in the next issue.

Second is "Lillith", which at 19 pages is one of the longest non-series stories to appear in Eerie's history. Art is by Jaime Brocal and story is by Nicola Cuti. The story features the tale of Lillith, Adam's first companion and her quest throughout history to find him and Eve so Satan will restore her lost beauty. As usual, Brocal's art is quite good.

Third is "Snake Man" by Martin Salvador (art) and Greg Potter (story). A man, Kari, dying in the desert is saved by Jerimiah, a man who has transformed into a snake man. They go on a quest to find a snake god, Slikandai and succesfully find him. Slikandai turns Jerimiah back to a real man, but Kari is forced to become a sacrifice for it to occur.

Fourth is "The Message is the Medium" by Paul Neary (art) and Doug Moench (story). Neary, who was originally from England is a pretty good artist with a unique look who'd do a number of stories for Warren. The story this time is hardly that good though, featuring a man who kills his wife, but later encounters her when he takes part in a seance with his lover.

Last is this issue's segment of Dax, "Gemma-5", with art and story by Esteban Maroto. Dax encounters a beautiful woman with sparkling skin who is a slave to a barbarian on the planet Gemma-5. Dax defeats the barbarian and saves her, and later encounters even more barbarians and fights them. The woman escapes by heading into a body of water where she goes into a spaceship and blasts off into space. It seems that like Dax, she too was an alien to the planet and decides to save it from colonization due to her encounters with Dax.

Overall, quite a good issue outside of Moench's story.

Creepy 61

A pretty good issue of Creepy from 1974. This was the first of 4 issues edited by Archie Goodwin during his short return to Warren as editor. A pretty good issue which would preview some of the terrific stuff that would be coming in Creepy over the next year.

Behind the Sanjulian cover of a mummy's tomb is the frontis, "Child of Hell", with art and story by Bill Dubay. This was the last of the frontis stories, they would be replaced with portraits of Uncle Creepy starting with the next issue.

First up is "A Stranger in Eternity" by Adolfo Abellan (art) and T. Casey Brennan (story). This story is a sequel to the story "A Stranger in Hell" from Eerie #38, which I have reviewed earlier in this blog. This story features the main character of that story in long rambling conversations with the cloaked female character he had encountered before. Like the first story, this story makes little to no sense and is quite poor. That said, Abellan's art is somewhat better than usual here.

Second is "Advent of the Scrap-Heap!" by Jose Gual (art) and Rich Margopoulos (story). When a group of mobsters kill a monk mistakenly, his spirit causes a conglomoration of trash and junk to form a humanoid giant that goes on a rampage in order to take revenge. A rather odd premise, but not that bad of a story.

Third is "The Ghouls" by Martin Salvador (art) and Carl Wessler (story), about a pair of grave robbers who encounter a group of vampires in a graveyard. It ends up that one of the robbers set up the other, making a deal with the vampires to feast on his body, as he's a ghoul who will get the body after the blood is drained from it. Wessler's story here reminds me of his EC work from approximately 20 years earlier.

This issue's color story is "Terror Tomb" with both story and art by who else, but Richard Corben, who did the color story in Creepy for about 10 straight issues during this period. This is a very fun comedic story about a group of archaeologists who go into a mummy's tomb where some of the locals are setting them up by bringing the mummy back to life. Only things don't exactly go as planned for all involved.

"The Blood Colored Bike" is next, which like the previous story is handled by a single person, this time Jose Bea. The story's about a pair of factory owners who clash over the idea of purchasing a motor bike. The owner desiring the bike ends up killing the other one with an axe and buys his bike, only for the ghost of his dead partner to haunt him while riding it until he rides off a cliff. The lead character's desire for a bike is rather goofy, but overall not that bad a story.

"Twisted Medicine" by Leo Summers (art) and Steve Skeates (story) is the issue's best story, about a one armed hunchback who plans revenge on the witch he works for only for his plans to go up in smoke when she uses him as one of her ingredients for a spell. Intersperced throughout the story is the path of a boy growing up and joining the military. In the end it ends up the entire story was a hallucination of a blind, deaf and handless veteran laying in a hospital bed. This story would end up being one of Warren's most controversial stories ever (although not the most, that title would almost certainly go to "Landscape" from Blazing Combat #2) due to the ending, and was the centerpiece of an attack on Warren in a page long letter published in issue 64, which resulted in months of debate in the letter page.

Last up is "Encore Ghastly" which is written and drawn by Tom Sutton. One of Sutton's last jobs for Warren, the art here is one of his best. The story is about an old man based on Dr. Frederick Werthem (whose unfounded attacks on comics almost destroyed the entire industry in the 1950's and led to the creation of the Comics Code) who has been the subject of attempted murder. In the end it ends up the killer after him is an artist based on horror artist "Ghastly" Graham Ingels whose upset over the impact his work had on his job prospects. With horror comics popular again, he's happy to attempt a comeback, using Werthem's blood as ink in his story. Terrific tribute to EC great Ingels, who was one of the very few EC artists who never worked for Warren (having left the medium altogether by that time).

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Vampirella 67

The cover of this issue features Barbara Leigh dressed as Vampirella, in the first of about a half a dozen or so covers featuring her. The Vampirella story for this issue is "The Glorious Return of Sweet Baby Theda" by Jose Gonzalez (art) and Bill Dubay (story). Vampirella and Pantha head to Hollywood and immediately get picked by an old woman, Theda to take part in a movie about her. In actuality, Theda seeks to take Vampi's face and Pantha's body and attempt her own comeback. Luckily for our heroines, Theda's butler saves them and they are able to escape.

"The Quest" by Ramon Torrents (art) and Budd Lewis (story) is next. This story features an Amazoness-esque heroine who tries to save a holy city from a group of barbarians. In the city she finds a group of dead lords as well as a pair of bizarre pillars made up of naked people who ask her to join them. After saving the city from the Barbarians she does so. The final page reveals that the entire city is actually a giant spaceship of aliens whose time goes much, much slower than ours. All the humans in the pillars end up being used as fuel for the ship. Quite an interesting story here.

"Fish Bait" by Alex Nino (art) and Nicola Cuti (story) is next. It features an underground city that is overrun by sea monster. The entire human populace of the city end up being used as fishbait for the fish people who live nearby.

"Home Sweet Horologium" is next, by Paul Neary (art) and Nicola Cuti (story). This story is about an Earth colony that keeps being attacked by a large creature, 'Dathra'. A man goes after the creature and harms it, but it ends up the creature was actually his son, who, as the first born on the colony ended up turning into a monster at night. Having harmed him, the boy remains a monster permanently.

"Choice Cuts" by Russ Heath (art) and Cary Bates (story) is next, a very short story at only three pages long. Its about a man and fiance who crash in the desert and are stranded for over two months. Eventually the man is forced to feed her by chopping his own legs off and feeding them to her. Pretty good story here.

Last is "The Last Dragon King" by Esteban Maroto (art) and Roger McKenzie (story). This story, which is in color features a reptilian humanoid hero and his dragon pet who fight a number of other reptilian creatures. Not McKenzie or Maroto's best hour here.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Eerie 28

Up today is Eerie #28. It features a cover by Pat Boyette, one of only two covers he did for Warren (the other being Creepy #33, which came out right around the same time as this issue). the frontis is "Eerie's Monster Gallery: Saucerians!" with art and story by Tom Sutton.

Up first is "The Hidden Evils!" by Dan Adkins (art) and James Haggenmiller (story). The son of a mayor is possessed by an evil demon. The church attempts to stop him to no avail. A mysterious man named Astan arrives and says he'll be able to stop him. Through an exorcism he is able to get rid of the demon from his body. The demon swears revenge until Astan reveals that he is Satan himself, upset that the demon didn't go after a bigger target like the mayor himself.

Second is "The Beast in the Swamp" by Billy Graham (art) and Bill Warren (story). This rather dull story is about a barbarian and the various creatures he encounters. He eventually kills a 'monster' that ends up being an astronaut from Earth. Nothing all that interesting here.

"The Rescue Party" is third, with art by Jack Sparling and story by Buddy Saunders. An owner of a mine repeatedly puts little effort in saving the lives of those trapped in mine cave-ins, not wanting to spend too much money. When he is trapped in a cave in he finds a group trying to dig him out... the corpses of those killed before! Sparling's art seems somewhat better than usual here.

"Follow Apollo" with art by Tom Sutton and story by R. Michael Rosen is the 'true' story about what happened during the first moon landing, where one of the astronauts apparantly passes away after his spacesuit is torn apart on the moon's surface. During quarantine back on Earth the truth is revealed, germs from the moon infected him and take over the other astronauts. When the astronauts are released from quarantine a few weeks later, they're ready to infect the entire planet.

"Ice Scream" with art by Bill Dubay and story by R. Michael Rosen is up next. This story is about the dissappearance of multiple bodies from the cryogenics section of the hospital. No one is able to solve the mystery, and even the Director falls victim when he suffers from a blood clot that forces him to go under cryogenics as well. It ends up that the janitor, a ghoul, has been stealing the bodies to feed his ghoul body.

Sixth is "Pit of Evil" by Dick Piscopo (art) and Al Hewetson (story). This story features a boxer who is transported to a mysterious dimension where he must fight a large humanoid creature, with the prize being a planet for a whole year as a reward. This story isn't very interesting at all, and Piscopo's art is hardly too good.

Last is the cover story, "The Last Train to Orion!" with both art and story by Pat Boyette. In the far future the young of society have taken control and either kill the old or force them to cover themselves with masks. They travel from planet to planet finding more space to live. Suddenly, an atomic mass arrives and wipes all of them out. It ends up that they, and all of humanity were just germs within the body of a giant hideous alien. A pretty good story, although it goes a number of different directions for such a short story. Probably this issue's best.

Overall, not that impressive an issue; then again few from this period of time were.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Creepy 5

Here's an early issue of Creepy from 1965 from Warren's original golden age. The cover is one of many Frank Frazetta classics. Frazetta did almost all of the early Warren covers, many of which would be reprinted in the later years as Warren declined tremendously. This cover would be re-used itself for the second to last issue of Creepy in 1983.

After the frontis "Creepy's Loathsome Lore" by Angelo Torres (art) and Archie Goodwin (story), featuring zombies, is "Family Reunion!", also written by Goodwin, with art by Joe Orlando. When an elderly farmer passes away, his youngest son murders his older brothers so he can have complete control of the farm and sell it to someone else. His brothers come back as a two headed rotting corpse and take revenge.

Up next is "Untimely Tomb!" by Angelo Torres (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). The title is credited to Anne Murphy, Goodwin's wife. This story features a doctor who is humiliated when a girl whom he pronounced dead is found alive by her brother, only for her to die due to being entombed alive. The brother confronts the doctor, who strikes him down and ends up killing him. When his corpse is put in the doctor's family crypt he fears that it is alive and heads inside, dying of fright after thinking it true. Only it ends up the corpse was stored elsewhere and he was on his own after all. This story is ranked within the top 25 stories in Warren's history in the Warren Companion, although I have a hard time seeing why. Torres and Goodwin had plenty of other stories such as "Soul of Horror", "Dark House of Dreams", "Ogre's Castle" and others that I felt were a lot better than this story.

"Sand Doom" by Al Williamson (art) and Archie Goodwin (story) is third. A man abandons his partner in the desert and finds a treasure guarded by a woman and snakes. The woman warns him not to take the treasure or he'll be cursed, but he guns her down and takes the treasure anyway. As he continues through the desert he discovers that the treasure has turned into a snake, which bites him and turns him into a snake as well.

"The Judge's House", a Bram Stoker adaption is next, with art by Reed Crandall and story by Goodwin. A man moves into a house that was owned by an evil judge. As the nights pass he finds a number of rats inhabiting the house with him. Eventually the ghost of the judge himself appears from out of a portrait in the house and kills him.

Fifth is "Grave Undertaking" by Alex Toth (art) and Goodwin (story). This story was Toth's first one for Warren. A pair of undertakers make a deal with a doctor to bring him dead bodies for use in medical classes. They initially dig up graves, then start committing murder to fulfill this task. Upon hearing of a nearby town with a number of deaths, they head there and take all the bodies. What they hadn't realized was that all these people died from a vampire, and thus have become vampires themselves!

Last is "Revenge of the Beast" by Gray Morrow (art) and Goodwin (story). Five men scouting for railroad tracks encounter gold in the desert, along with an old indian man who tells them to leave. They gun down the man then split up. Soon all but two are dead. The last remaining men encounter the indian man again, and transform into beasts that kill each other, just what happened to the three other ones.

Overall, a terrific issue, with outstanding stories and art for all six stories here. I'll probably lean towards "Grave Undertaking" as being the best one overall here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Vampirella 14

Here's another fairly early issue of Vampirella. the cover's by Sanjulian, one of his earliest for Warren. Blogger isn't working too good today, so I unfortunately can't seem to upload the cover. Sorry!

As usual, our first story stars Vampirella, this one titled "Isle of the Huntress", drawn by Jose Gonzalez and written by Archie Goodwin. The early Vampirella stories were probably the best of the stories featuring her. As for Gonzalez, he was perfectly suited for drawing Vampirella. This story surrounds Vampi, Pendragon and Adam arriving on an island where a werewolf like
beast roams. The werewolf is actually a woman who lives on the island with her husband, who while looking for a cure also procures bait to be hunted by her in her wolf form. Vampi & friends are able to save themselves from being prey and kill the two of them. A pretty good story, in stark contrast to some of the recent Vampis I've been covering from the later issues.

The cover story, "The Wedding Gift" is up next, with art by Mike Ploog and story by Nicola Cuti. The story features Pandora of the Greek legend who is imprisoned and helped by her husband, in exchange for subjugating herself to him.

The "Sword of Light" by Sam Glanzman (story and art) is third, featuring a Queen's kingdom being taken over by a warrior king, Yekkun. One of her subjects deals with a witch to save her by tranforming him into a rat and carrying a ring to her, which she is able to transform into a sword of light and kill Yekun. This would be Glanzman's sole story for Warren.

Fourth is "Deadman's Treasure!", with art by Tom Sutton and story by Lynn Marron, in her Warren debut. A large oaf of a man named Ernie is revealed to have a past life as a pirate when he is hypnotized at a carnival. A man attending the carnival and the hypnotizer use him to find themselves the treasure, but find him too much in character when they discover it, as in
his pirate persona he kills the both of them.

Last is "Wolf Hunt" with art by Esteban Maroto, in his Warren debut, and story by Joe Wehrle. An old man finds a woman who transforms into a wolf in the moonlight and captures her in his castle. She is eventually able to escape and take revenge. As always, Maroto's art is quite good here, the best of the issue.

Overall not a great issue, but the artwork is pretty good across the board at least.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Eerie 39

Here's issue 39 of Eerie, from April 1972. The cover is by Ken Kelly. featuring the interior tale, 'The Disenfranchised'. The frontis for this issue is "Eerie's Monster Gallery: The Mysterious Men in Black!" by Richard Brassford (art) and Doug Moench (story).

Up first is a terrific story, "Head Shop" by Jose Bea (art) and Don Glut (story). A man passing a hat shop one day finds a head dummy that looks almost real. The man becomes obsessed with the head and passes it each day as it goes to work. After a while passes though he notices the head decomposing. The man tries to get himself to stop looking, but he can't control himself and the head gets worse and worse looking. Eventually he confronts the owner of the shop, who hadn't realized that the head was rotting and replaces it by chopping off our protagonist's head.

Up next is "Just Passing Through" by Auraleon (art) and Steve Skeates (story). The story features a gigantic man whose discovered in the hills one day. The giant slowly shrinks until he becomes the size of a normal person and joins society. While there he meets a woman and after having sex he leaves, telling her their child will leave her someday. The man dissappears into the mountains, still shrinking. Years later the son finds himself shrinking too.

Third is "The Disenfranchised" by Tom Sutton (art) and J.R. Cochran (story), who was Associate Editor at the time. The story features a boy whose permanently scarred after his father's butcher shop is closed down, his father dies, and he is evicted from his home. The boy wanders the streets with a huge grin on his face, carrying a cleaver with him that has replaced one of his hands.

The first of a 12 part series "Dax the Warrior" is fourth, a series I already talked about briefly with Eerie #46. This story features Dax meeting a woman, Freya, who is captured by a winged demon. Dax fights the demon and is able to rescue her, but her body becomes ravaged with leprosy. As usual for this series, a lot of terrific, exotic art here.

This issue's weakest effort is "Yesterday is the Day Before Tomorrow" by Dave Cockrum (art) and Doug Moench (story). A thief living in an advanced society steals a time machine and goes 30 years in the future so he can steal invention blueprints and pattent them in his own time. The only problem is the blueprints he steals end up being from his future self, whom he murders, not knowing the truth until he returns to his own time.

Last is "Ortaa!" by Jaime Brocal (art) and Kevin Pagan (story). An archaeologist studying the origin of the Aztecs keeps having horrific dreams about a sacrifical ritual and keeps talking about a being called 'Ortaa'. Heading into some ruins, he encounters Ortaa, a giant tentacled heart which he is able to kill. 'Ortaa' representing his own heart however, he passes away after defeating it.

Overall a very good issue, with "Head Shop" and "The Disenfranchised" being the best.

Creepy 138

Here's one of the later issues of Creepy, from the summer of 1982. By this point the quality of the Warren magazines were even lower than they had been in the late 1960's, with numerous reprinted covers and pretty much every other issue was all reprints. And the new material? Hardly that good. Anyway, this issue's all new, starting with a cover by Sanjulian, his final for Creepy. Uncle Creepy also has an early one page feature drawn by Berni Wrightson. One of the few good things about the final couple of years of Warren is that they did return the one page intros by the hosts (except for Vampi, who would have a drawing on the table of contents page), although they did include them in the inside of the mags rather than the front inside cover as they had done in the mid 1970's.

First story is "Lamb to the Slaughter" by Delando Nino (art) and John Jacobson (story). The story features a woman, Caroline, who comes under a strange trance due to a connection she has with a newly discovered mummy. At the same time, a colleague of hers, Portia has found the ability to use the mummy's body to commit murder using a medallion she has. Portia tries to get Caroline to kill her father, whom she has a grudge against, but Caroline is able to destroy the mummy instead, and all ends up okay. This story uses similar plot devices from the series "The Mummy Walks", which appeared in Eerie in 1973 and 1974.

Up next is "Derelict!" by Fred Carrillo (art) and Danielle Dubay (story). I would assume Danielle is Bill Dubay's, wife, but I don't know for sure. This story is about a father and son who come across a derelict german ship in the ocean. They head aboard and through the ship's log, find that a werewolf had run loose on the ship. The werewolf eventually is able to kill both the father and son. Yawn.

Third is a fantasy story, "Fools and Kings!" by Martin Salvador (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). A court jester and his witch friend try to manipulate a king, wizard and barbarian into taking each other out so they can control the thrown. In the end they are successful as the witch is wed to the prince and both the king and wizard are killed. The witch betrays the jester though, as she's truly with the barbarian.

Fourth is "Dreamworld" by Jun Lofamia (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). A soap opera star quits her role and returns to her hometown and stays with a neighbor and her retarded son when she finds her parents aren't home. The son, obsessed with TV, thinks that she is a real murderer and tries to kill her, taking place in a chase that occurs through the woods. The son eventually ends up accidently killing his mother then is killed by the actress.

Last is "The Cry of the Glipins" by John Garcia & Rudy Nebres (art) and Dan Hallassey (story).
A spaceship comes across a lizard like creature whose race was wiped out by humanity. The creature demands a human as a sacrifice to let them pass. The men initially fight it, but eventually give in and give it the man it desires. The two either merge, or interbreed (the end of the story is kind of confusing) into a new being.

Just not that great an issue. Can't say I'm a big fan of many of the artists here, and even the good ones like Sanjulian and Salvador are hardly in their finest hour. Likewise from a story standpoint, Jacobson and Boudreau, who turned out a bunch of terrific stories in the 1970's have quite dull stuff in this issue. Definately not a recommended issue from me!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Vampirella 89

Since I missed making a post on friday, here's another quick post. Here's another late issue of Vampirella with only 3 stories. Enrich's cover was originally published on a paperback book a few years back.

This issue's Vampi story, "A Gathering of Wizards" features Vampi, Pantha, Adam and Conrad being captured in Las Vegas by Father Joseph, whom they had met back in issue 73's full length story. When another adversary, Ten Ichi appears, they fight which gives Vampirella the opportunity to escape and save the day. As usual with the stories from this era, the Vampi story is the most dissappointing one in the issue. Art is by Rudy Nebres and story's by Bill Dubay, under his pseudonym Will Richardson.

Second is "Over the Edge!" by Auraleon (art) and Bruce Jones (story). On a hunting trip a man is on with his brother and wife, his wife is accidently shot. While she is able to recover from her wounds, she acts completely differently, and slowly starts rotting, as if she was dead. Despite this, she still desires her husband and scares him so much that he ends up falling off a cliff to his death. It ends up the whole thing was a charade. The wife was never actually shot, she conspired with her husband's brother to use a cyborg version of her to scare him to his death. Only as they leave, the two of them get in a car crash and she is killed, and the brother is pursued by the rotting cyborg copy. Pretty good story, which is quite similar thematically to last issue's "Night Walk".

Last is "Sight Unseen" by Jose Ortiz (art) and Bruce Jones (story). A young blind woman goes to see her husband on an island only to find him having an affair and plotting to get her killed. She is pursued by multiple assassins and manages to escape time and time again despite being blind, but is eventually caught and brought to her husband to be killed. It ends up all being fake, as her husband set up the whole thing to prove to her how she can get by despite being blind. Upset at him, she orders her dog to kill him. A long story with amazing art from Ortiz on the main character throughout the story. It was selected as one of the top 25 stories in Warren's history in the Warren Companion, although its entry had multiple errors (like claiming the story was set in the pre-Civil war time period). While I wouldn't rank it that high, it is still a damn good story.

Eerie 46

This issue features a cover with Dracula holding a female victim in his arms. The frontis for this issue is "Portrait of Dracula" by Auraleon (art) and Fred Ott (story). This two pager spans both the front and back inside covers.

First story is "Dracula", with art by Tom Sutton (the first two pages feature art from Bill Dubay) and written by Dubay. This story is the first of a three part series starring Dracula, who had originally appeared in a few Vampirella stories in issues 16 through 21. The story features Dracula being sent to a sea port in the early 1900's where he takes over a ship and encounters a haggered witch whose been eating hearts to stay alive. After the Conjuress (a powerful being who was also from the Vampirella series) is killed by her, Dracula kills both the witch and her assistant. Pretty good story here, which would continue over the next few issues.

Next is "The Things in the Dark" by Jim Janes (art) and Fred Ott (story). Janes was usually paired with another artist in his stories, and unless I'm mistaken, this is his only solo story. A caretaker of a graveyard asks a supernatural expert to help him solve the mysteries of the events taking place in the graveyard. It ends up that a group of giant worms have eaten all the bodies in the graveyard and the caretaker brought in the expert to be a meal for them. Janes's art is pretty good here, its too bad he didn't do more solo stories.

Third is "Garganza!" by Paul Neary (art) and Bill Warren (story). This story is Warren's version of Godzilla, feauturing a tyranosaurus rex running amock in Tokyo, and managing to wipe out all of human society only for things to start all over again millions of years later.

Next is "The Root of Evil" by Martin Salvador (art) and Mike Jennings (story). A bum is hired by a scientist to take part in an experiment to help humans be able to breath carbon dioxide. As the days go by, his body slowly turns into a tree while a nearby plant becomes more and more human. Eventually the tree-man is unleashed on society, but is luckily able to be stopped.

Fifth is "Planet of the Werewolves!" by Reed Crandall (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). Crandall's art is absolutely dreadful here, the worst art he'd ever do on a story for Warren. A trio of astronauts come across a planet overrun by werewolves, except for a single man, who they bring aboard. One of the astronauts is killed while repairs are being done. Eventually the other two discover the truth, that the man they brought aboard is a vampire, whose going to get them to take him to Earth. Crandall's art kind of spoils what is otherwise not that bad a story.

Last is "The Giant", part of the 'Dax the Warrior' series, with art and story by Esteban Maroto. This series was a reprinting of 'Manly' which Maroto had originally done in Spain. Except for the final story, all the stories were stand alones and can be read in any order. I don't expect to review them in order on this blog due to that fact, although I will try to do the finale last. Anyway, this story surrounds Dax encountering a cyclops giant and the wizard controlling him. Dax refuses the wizard's offer to take his place and defeats both the cyclops and him.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Creepy 25

Despite being from Creepy's dark ages, this is actually a terrific issue, although half of it due to reprinted stories...

The cover for this issue, credited to Richard Conway is arguably the most bizarre in Warren's history. It consists of 12 postage stamp-size pictures of an Uncle Creepy mask, dressed in Santa clothing. Quite an odd one. The frontis for this issue, "Creepy's Loathsome Lore" features exorcism and while uncredited, is obviously drawn by Ernie Colon.

Up first is one of this issue's new stories, "Keep Your Spirits Up" by Reed Crandall (art) and Bill Parente (writer). Parente was the editor of Creepy during this era, and wrote all the new stories in this issue. Crandall was one of the first of the original artists to return following Warren's downturn (which started with the previously reviewed issue 18), and his art here is as good as ever. The story surrounds an artist who travels to the spirit world in order to get inspiration. The spirits don't like him being there, and he eventually ends up going there so much that he is killed by them. Best of the new stories in this issue, although all of them are good.

The first of the reprints is "Witch's Tide" by Eugene Colan (art) and Archie Goodwin (story), originally printed in Eerie #7. The story is about a group of sea beasts that are attacking people in a small town. The townfolks think the daughter of an admitted witch is luring the beasts to the town, so they kill her and burn her corpse. But it ends up that she was actually attemping to keep the beasts away from the town, and with her dead, the beasts are quickly able to overrun the town. A great story, as most of the Goodwin era ones were.

Another new story is up next, "Their Journey's End" by Ernie Colon (art) and Bill Parente (story). This story takes place over 1000 years in the future, where people are arrested by a government entity known as 'The Ministry' for having free thoughts. A few people jailed for their free thoughts escape to another dimension where they think things will work out alright for them... ...only it ends up being Nazi Germany. Another top-notch story here.

"It That Lurks!" by Dan Adkins (art) and Archie Goodwin (story) is another reprint from Eerie #7. A pair of men encounter a dinosaur lurking in quicksand in the deep jungle. They shoot it with tranquilizer darts only for it to submerge under the quicksand. One of the men, seeking glory heads in the quicksand after it and is killed. The other man is about to depart when he sees his wife in the quicksand and also heads in, to his death. It ends up neither the dinosaur or the man's wife were ever truly there, but actually were generated as a trap (that which the victim wanted the most) by the quicksand. Yet another terrific story here.

Another reprint's up next, "Deep Ruby" by Steve Ditko (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). A man is encountered by a homeless bum who holds a large ruby. Fascinated by the ruby, the man is suddenly drawn into it, where he encounters various demons. Trapped in the ruby, he deals with the bum to be let out, but only by switching places with the bum as the keeper of the ruby, trapped in that role until someone else becomes trapped in it. Good story, although probably the least best of the issue (which still makes it great compared to a lot of other stories from this era).

The issue wraps up with "An Unlikely Visitor" by Tony Williamsune (art) and Bill Parente (story). A man goes to see his aunt, after not seeing her for fifteen years, having been warned by his father to stay away from the place due to a 'curse'. Years before a woman was murdered and his uncle was accused of the murder. The whole story makes it seem like the main character's relatives are going to kill him, but it ends up that he is revealed as the killer all along after transforming into a hideous beast.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Vampirella 6

Another early issue of Vampirella, with no actual Vampirella story. The cover is by Ken Kelly, his first for Warren, featuring a young woman walking down a dark alley were a ugly creature lurks with a club. The frontis for this issue is "Vampi's Feary Tales: The Centaur" by Dan Adkins.

Up first is "The Curse of Circe" by Jerry Grandenetti (art) and Gardner Fox (story). A man is lost at sea and ends up landing on an island, populated by beautiful women, the most beautiful of which is named Circe. After a night of passion, he wakes up, to find that he's been turned into a pig! With the help of another woman he is able to return to his human form and the two escape, only to end up dying while at sea.

Up next is "The Brothers Death" by Jack Sparling (art) and Nicola Cuti (story). A girl obsessed with death is transported to a medieval type world where the Brothers Death battle the evil Gurn. The girl is captured by Gurn, then rescued by the brothers. A rare Warren tale with a happy ending, this is not all that good of a story, probably the worst of the issue.

"Darkworth" by Mike Royer (art) and Nicola Cuti (story) features a stripper who becomes the assistant to a Magician, Darkworth. Darkworth becomes famous through his magic, but seeking more, plans to escape from being buried alive. Upon finding out that she's cheating on him, Darkworth's assistant Togo clubs the stripper to death and while he's digging from underground, Darkworth finds her corpse. This story seems like it just ends right in the middle, without much of an ending.

"A New Girl in Town" by Dan Adkins (art) and Gardner Fox (story) is about a girl who goes to visit her parents in a weird town. The address her parents gave her ends up being a graveyard, as she's dead and doesn't know about it. A very short story, at just 4 pages in length.

"Victim of the Vampire" by Frank Bolle (art) and Vern Bennett (story) is next. A rich man's wife is being pursued by a vampire. With the help of a priest they're able to rescue her by hiding in a coffin. An okay story, but not that great.

Sixth is "One Way Trip!" by Tony Williamsune (art) and Larry Herndon (story). A man overdosing on drugs encounters a horrific monster in his dreams. After getting treatment he thinks he's okay, only to find out that the monster is real.

Last is "The Wolf-Man", once again by Frank Bolle (art) and Buddy Saunders (story). A woman plots with her lover to kill her husband, Roger. Finding him with another woman in the woods, they follow, and end up killing a wolf whom his lover claims is Roger. The lover is killed soon afterwards, but upon finding a tape recording, it is revealed that Roger switched minds with a wolf, and his human body, occupied with the wolf's mind kills both his wife and her lover. Not a bad story, one of the issue's better ones.

Overall this issue is average at best. It'd be another year or so before Vampirella as a magazine really started turning out high qualify stuff consistently.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Eerie 21

This issue of Eerie, another one from Warren's dark ages in the late 1960's features one of their most bizarre covers, by Vic Prezio, featuring a weird creature that looks like a pumpkin with legs and a face. Behind the cover is this issue's version of Eerie's Monster Gallery , "Lucifer's Legions" by Tom Sutton.

Up first is "Point of View" by Rocco Mastroserio (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). This story is a reprint from Eerie #6. It features an insane asylum where one of the patients thinks he's Dr. Frankenstein. After the inmates take over the asylum, he transfers the director's brain into one of the other inmates.

"Miscalculation" is next, with art by Tony Williamsune and story by Bill Parente. The story surrounds a war between the US and the USSR based on calculations from a computer. It ends up that the comptuers wanted humanity to wipe itself out and that's exactly what ends up happenening.

Another reprint drawn by Mastroserio and written by Goodwin is up next, "Terror in the Tomb", from Eerie #9. A pair of archeologists encounter a mummy guarding a pharoah's tomb which ends up coming alive. They destroy it, only to later find out that it was guarding them from the evil pharoah, whose still alive and kills them.

"Fatal Diagnosis" by Ernie Colon (art) and Bill Parente (story) is next. Similar to the story "A Stake in the Game" which I reviewed from Eerie 38, this features a vampire in a hospital that has been stealing blood. A doctor manages to kill the vampire, but it ends up he did it because he's a vampire himself and wanted all the blood to himself. Colon's art is quite poor in this story.

Another reprint is next, "Warrior of Death", by Steve Ditko (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). A warrior, Zahran finds himself dying after a long battle and is encountered by Death. Zahran deals with Death to become invulnerable so he can kill many more on the battlefield. As he gets more and more powerful, Zahran becomes drunk with power. He encounters a young boy, Valric on the battlefield but ends up being killed by him, as it ends up that Valric made the same deal with Death that Zahran had. Good story that Ditko's art fits perfectly.

Last up is "House of Fiends" by Jerry Grandenetti (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). A new doctor visits a young woman who is chained up by her aunt and uncle, accused as being crazy. She tells the doctor that they are a werewolf and vampire, and that their servant is a ghoul, and he has been brought here for them to kill. The doctor witnesses all three becoming the creatures she stated they were and manages to kill them all. Only it ends up that she is a witch and had tricked him into thinking they were these horrific creatures. Grandenetti's art style was quite different than most of the artists that worked for Warren but I've always enjoyed his work a lot.

Overall can't say I'm too pleased with this issue as 4 out of 6 stories are reprints. Neither of the new stories are all that good. The reprints certainly are good stories, particularly the Ditko and Grandenetti ones, but that 2/3 of the issue is reprints certainly is dissappointing.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Creepy 123

This issue of Creepy came during Bill Dubay's second period of editorship, while he was under the alias "Will Richardson". During this time period the quality of Warren's magazines were steadily going down, although overall this is a fairly good issue. The sexy cover is by Ken Kelly, one of his better ones.

First story is "Kiss of the Plague!" by Leo Summers & Alex Toth (art) and Doug Moench (story). Given that Summers stopped working for Warren around 1975, and Moench likewise vanished from the pages of Warren around that period (outside of the 3 part series 'Blood on Black Satin' published in Eerie towards the end of Louise Jones's time as editor) one wonders if this story wasn't prepared years before and just sat around for a few years. Anyway, any story with Alex Toth art is something easy to enjoy and this story is no exception. The Summers/Toth combo provides an interesting art style, although this would be their only work together at Warren. The story surrounds a woman who dies of the plague. Her family and husband's family slowly start being murdered. Suspecting it was the husband, the last 2 remaining relatives kill him, only to find out that it was her all along, and that she was never actually dead, just horrifically disfigured from the plague. Very good story here.

Up next is "Hands of Fate" by Martin Salvador (art) and Carl Wessler (story). Wessler is another writer who was prominent at Warren in the mid 1970's, but by this point had left the company, making me wonder if this is another story that was held in reserves for a while. The story is about a murderer held in an institution who killed three different people with his hands. One night he finds his cell door unlocked and he takes the opportunity to escape. He hitchhikes and ends up getting picked up by the ghost of one of his victims. The other two victims soon arrive and chop off his hands. Although the whole experience ended up being a dream, it frightens him so much that he loses the use of his hands permanently.

Third is "They Don't Make Movies" by Carmine Infantiono & Alfredo Alcala (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). Except for a single story in Creepy #83, Infantino never inked his own artwork at Warren and was often paired with one of many different inkers including Alex Nino, Walt Simonson, Dick Giordano and Alacala. The result was a somewhat unique style of art each time. Although admittingly here Alcala's inks are so strong that the Infantino influence is hard to notice. The story is about a newspaper reporter investigating the death of a prostitute who was killed in a porn movie. Not a bad story, although there's no horror element whatsoever to it.

The cover story, "The Slave" is fourth, with art by Jesus Blasco (miscredited to Jaime Brocal) and story by Jim Stenstrum (credited to his pseudonym, Alabaster Redzone). Blasco, a well known spanish artist, did three stories for Creepy around this period but all were miscredited to Jaime Brocal or Joaquin Blazquez, artists whose style looked nothing like his. In medieval England a War Lord's slave/lover convinces him to refrain from imposing taxes for a full year if she can ride through town on a horse with no one looking at her. One man tries to look but ends up being struck by lightning, horrifically scarring his face. The slave befriends the man, admitting to him that she used her magic to strike him with lightning so the town wouldn't be punished for his deed. She then transforms his deformity to the War Lord. Short, but good story, the best one in the issue.

"Harriman's Monsters!" is next, with art by Dan Adkins and story by Greg Potter. Potter was another writer who left Warren years ago. It's been said that in the last few years of Warren's existence, they used up a lot of inventory & rejected stories as well as reprints of stories done in other countries (like the prior story, The Slave), and this issue is ample proof of that with so many stories by writers that were long gone from Warren at this point. A special effects expert is jealous of another special effects guy who does even better than he by making his models look extremely realistic when moving. He confronts the man only to find out that the models look so realistic because his adversery can use telekinesis, which he uses to kill him.

The issue's worst story is "Always Leave Them Laughing" by Rudy Nebres & Val Mayerik (art) and Michael Fleischer (story). This story surrounds a depressed old clown whose about to die. Yawn. Did not like this one at all.

Last up is "Jelly" by Herb Arnold (art) and Nicola Cuti (story). Arnold's art looks kind of like Richard Corben's, but his skill isn't anywhere as good as Corben's is. The story is about blob-like creatures called jelly which are accidently mixed with the food of that name. A very short story at only 4 pages, but it is at least somewhat better than the previous one.

Overall, a fairly good issue considering when it came out. Although that likely has to do with having multiple stories that were probably drawn 3-4 years earlier.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Vampirella 85

A rather unique issue of Vampirella with this issue, as Vampi gets drawn by a trio of artists for unfortunately the only time ever.

The cover is by Paul Gulacy, in his only Warren cover. He does a pretty good job although isn't at the same level as Vampi's usual cover artist, Enrich, at least in my opinion. The table of contents page features a Jose Gonzalez drawing of Vampi, something that he would do on nearly every issue of Vampirella over the last three years of the magazine's existence. Unfortunately Gonzalez would vanish almost entirely from Warren except for these one page drawings for about 20 or so issues during this period of time and lesser artists like Rudy Nebres (already discussed in my review for issue 88) would draw many stories in his place.

The Vampi story for this issue is "Flame Spirit" by team of Val & John Lakey (artists) and Bob Toomey (writer). The Lakeys (who were frequently credited under the name "Artifact") were a great artist team who unfortunately only did about half a dozen stories for Warren, mostly in the last few years of Vampirella's existence. This would be their sole story featuring Vampirella herself. Their artwork was arguably as life-like as anything ever published in Warren, although they did have a notable flaw in that the people in their stories always seemed completely detached from the background. Anyway, this story features Vampi on her own in the desert, where she meets a pair of Native Americans and encounters the Flame Spirit, an alien being who has slept on Earth for millions of years but ends up returning to its home planet after its encounter with Vampi. The story's hardly that great although I do like the art a lot.

The next story, "The Conscience of the King" is by Auraleon (art) and Budd Lewis (story). This story of a miniature elf going on a quest to rescue a prince along with the animals he befriends is nothing special and is just one of countless instances during Warren's last few years where fantasy based stories crept their way into these 'horror' magazines.

"Curly's Gold" is up next, with art by Leo Duranona and story by Michael Fleisher. Another story with no horror elements whatsoever in it, its about a husband and wife who are after their uncle's treasure. The uncle refuses to tell them anything but instead tells his neighborhood friend, who is followed by the two of them. When the wife shoots her husband, seeking the treasure all to herself, the cavern caves in on them, killing them. Duranona uses a lot of real life photos in this story, something he'd do a number of times during his run at Warren.

Fourth is "A Green Phoenix" by Noly Zamora (art), in his sole Warren appearance, and Laurie Sutton (story). Billions of years in Earth's future, a lizard like man seeks three magic stones which will give him the power to cast a magical spell. He eventually is able to obtain all three after his encounter with a blind man and a female warrior, but becomes a demon like creature under her control once the spell is cast. Nothing all that special here.

Last is Lilywhite and Lavender by Alex Nino (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). Nino's artwork is probably about as complex as anything you'd see from Warren, and this story is a prime example of that. His style is not without its flaws though, as its sometimes so complex that its hard to figure out what's going on. This story is about an ugly hunchback named Lavender who kills a beautiful girl, Lilywhite. Lilywhite's Guardian Angel, Wendell, is sent to Earth and shows Lavender heaven and hell. Not a great story, but certainly better than the other non-Vampi stories in this issue.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Eerie 3

For my first original Goodwin era issue, I'm going to take a look at Eerie #3. This was during the first golden era of Warren, where Goodwin edited both Creepy and Eerie (and for its short run, Blazing Combat) and also wrote the majority of the stories. The original roster of artists, many of which had worked for EC were just terrific. Unfortuantely things would completely collapse by the end of 1967 with Goodwin and pretty much all of the artists, with rare exception, leaving.

Behind the Frank Frazetta cover of a watery beast coming out of a treasure chest is an introduction by Cousin Eerie on the inside front cover, drawn by Jack Davis. Davis did very little work for Warren outside of the cover of Creepy #1 and some drawings of the horror hosts due to his unhappiness with working with horror comics after what happened with EC.

Up first is "Soul of Horror", by Angelo Torres (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). This story's a great one, one of the best of this issue of Warren. Its about a devil worshipper killed by the town folk who is able to reincarnate himself in a newborn baby. By drawing the life out of the baby's father he is able to quickly grow into an adult and take revenge on those who killed him. The town doctor is able to kill him, only for him to be reincarnated once again in the doctor's newborn baby.

"The Lighthouse" by Al Williamson (art) and Goodwin (story) is second. It's about a publisher who goes to see a writer of his who has been staying in a Lighthouse. Along the way he meets a woman who ends up falling off a cliff. He finally meets the writer to find out that he's the one the woman was looking for. Apparantly the writer's grandfather got drunk, resulting in the death of a woman. A ghost of the woman, who was the person the publisher met earlier shows up and kills the writer. Her skeleton is found on top of his corpse the next morning. Another good story. Williamson's art looks quite a lot like Torres, which should not be a surprise as they had worked together in the past.

"Room With A View!" is up third, with art by Steve Ditko, in his first Warren appearance, and story by who else, Goodwin. A man arrives at an inn with no rooms available, except for a single one which the innkeeper warns him against staying in. The guest uses it anyway and sees a weird creature in the mirror. Each time he looks in the mirror he sees more creatures appearing until he is completely overtaken by them. Hearing his scream, the innkeeper comes up and finds the room empty, but sees the guest's corpse when he looks in the mirror. Yet another extremely good story. Jose Bea would write and illustrate a very similar story years later in Creepy #45.

"Monsterwork" is the next story, with art by Rocco Mastroserio and story by Goodwin yet again. A hunchback helps a mad scientist create a Frankenstein-like monster by stealing corpses. When the creature comes to life the scientist tells it to kill the hunchback, but the monster kills him instead, as the brain implanted in him was the hunchback's brother's.

"Under the Skin" is next, with art by Joe Orlando and Jerry Grandenetti (who is uncredited) and story by Goodwin. An unsuccesful actor envies another actor whose able to get great roles due to his horrific makeup. By murdering the actor and stealing his technique, he is able to get a great role, but is unable to take off the makeup when he's done. It ends up that he hallucinated the whole thing, and ends up tearing all the skin off his face. Another really good story; its a shame Grandenetti got no credit as he appears to have a lot more influence in the art that Orlando did.

The one page "Eerie's Monster Gallery: No 2 - The Vampire!" appears next, with art by Jay Taycee (actually Johnny Craig, using a pseudonym to hide his identity). This feature usually appeared in the inside front cover of Eerie, and would appear there permanently starting in the next issue.

The sixth story is "The Monument" by Alex Toth (art) and Goodwin (story). This story, which appears to be an unauthorized adaption of Ray Bradbury's "The Coffin" is about a design firm owner who convinces an aged architect build a house for him, by telling him that it will be his house. He kills him when it nears completion. Upon laying in his bed for the first time, he is killed by machinery in the house, which the architect had intended to be his tomb upon completion.

Last story is the cover story, "Full Fathom Fright" by Eugene Colan (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). A pair of brothers are hired by an old man to find a treasure chest in the ocean depths and kill the old man once discovering it. Upon opening the chest however, a demon comes out and kills one of them, causing him to transform into a demon himself. One of the brothers survives and is put in an institution, but transforms into one of the demons upon being given a hot and cold bath shock treatment.

Great, great, issue, even for this period in Warren's history. The art is terrific on all these stories and the writing is quite good as well. Goodwin is able to put out 7 unique stories despite writing all 7 stories here. One of Eerie's best issues in my opinion.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Creepy 111

Here's an issue of Creepy from near the end of Louise Jones's run as editor, in 1979. The cover by Duane Allen is of a vampire. This would be Allen's sole cover for Warren.

Up first is "Dreams of Grandeur" by Val Mayerik & Kllaus Janson (art) and Budd Lewis (story). It features a boiler room worker who has psychic abilities to occupy the mind of another person while he's asleep. This gets him in trouble with both his boss and eventually the pilot whose mind he keeps trying to occupy, and eventually results in all of them being killed.

"A Stiff Named Sczynsky" by Auraleon (art) and Bob Toomey (story) is up next, about a ghoul on a hospital ship who gets haunted by the corpses he's eaten.

"Heart of the Warrior" is third, with art by Alajandro Sanchez and story by Bill Dubay. This is a rather dull medieval story about a warrior going after a sorceror in order to save his lover. The hero ends up losing in the end and his heart is used for a spell. Sanchez's art is hardly all that to my liking either. He'd do another half a dozen or so stories for Warren over the next few years.

The cover story, "Blood Lust" is next, with art by Leo Duranona and story by Cary Bates. The story is about Wilma, a woman who was breeded with blood poisonous to vampires. After being used to kill many vampires, she desires to quit but decides to do one more mission in order to kill the original Count Dracula. Falling in love with him, she tells him the truth, but he reveals that he has taken a serum such that her blood won't be poisonous to him. Her superiors find out and are still successful in killing Dracula by killing her and filling her veins and arteries with garclic embalming fluid. Very good story, best one of the issue.

"Night Wind" by Masanabu Sato (art) and Masanabu Sato & Gary Null (story) is the issue's worst story. 'Gary Null' was actually a pseudonym of writer Bob Toomey, used when he rewrote scripts of other's stories. Jim Stenstrum did the same type of thing using the name 'Alabaster Redzone'. This is a rather dull story of a female knight rescuing another woman and killing a demon. Yawn.

Last up is "A Switch in Dime" by Leo Duranona (art) and Nicola Cuti (story), about a scientist who creates a device which is able to connect to another dimension (which he calls a 'dime'). After activiting the device, he switches places with another man and problems ensue. When both try to return to their home dime and end up getting stuck together, they are put into a freak show as siamese twins.

Overall, an average issue. Duranona's stories are pretty good, but the rest of the stuff isn't that special.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Vampirella 10

After two days away, I'm back with a new issue of Vampirella.

This early issue of Vampirella is a rarity in that there is no Vampirella story. While she hosts the majority of the stories in the issue, her usual own story is strangely absent.
Behind the Bill Hughes cover is the frontis, "Vampi's Feary Tales" The Face of Medusa", by Billy Graham.
First up is "Fiends in the Night!" by Tom Sutton (art) and Buddy Saunders (story). This story was clearly meant for Creepy, as it is hosted by Uncle Creepy instead of Vampirella. The story is about a crook who steals a small chest from an old man, who curses him. Finding only a book in the chest, he tosses it aside. Fleeing from the city in the midst of winter, he is confronted by ghouls, werewolves and a vampire. He goes back to get the book, thinking that it holds spells that he'll be able to use to defend himself, only to find it frozen shut as a bunch of rotting corpses start after him.
Up next is "The Marriage" by Ralph Reese (art) and Steve Skeates (story). Its about a man so obsessed with building a machine that his girlfriend leaves him. He punches the machine and is electrocuted to death, but is brought back to life by the machine which keeps him alive solely to do chores for it. Reese's art kind of looks like Richard Corben's in this story.
"Eye of Newt, Toe of Frog" is third, with art by Frank Brunner and story by Gerald Conway. It's about a woman whose annoyed by her husband so she looks into the black arts. She soon finds things too much for her to handle, and it ends up that her husband was into the stuff the whole time too.

"The Soft, Sweet Lips of Hell!", with art by Steve Englehart & Neal Adams and written by Denny O'Neil is next, about a succubus who falls in love with a boxer being pressured by the mob. The boxer is killed, but she uses her power to bring him back to life, with the price being her life.
"War of the Wizards" is the fifth story, and is both written and drawn by Wally Wood. It's about a pair of rival wizards who use a soldier in their fight between each other. The soldier is able to defeat both wizards, and is revealed to be a wizard himself. As usual, Wood's art is quite good, and the story, while not having a horror theme, is pretty good too.
"A Thing of Beauty" is this issue's cover story, with art by Billy Graham and written by Len Wein. Its about a very beautiful actress who fakes a relationship with a very ugly special effects producer to get publicity. Upon finding out how she really feels about him, he switches her with a dummy of hers that gets set on fire, killing her.
Last up is "Regeneration Gap", once again with art by Tom Sutton and written by Chuck McNaughton. With over-population, food shortages and pollution destroying the Earth, a spaceship departs to space. Returning to Earth 100 years later, a man returns as all that's let of humanity and finds Earth a wasteland except for a single beautiful woman who keeps talking about 'purifying him'. The woman ends up being a blob-like creature and turns him into one too. I'll probably lean towards this one as my favorite story from the issue.
A so-so issue. Sutton and Wood's stories are quite good, while the others are average at best.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Eerie 139

Eerie's very final issue was number 139, carrying a cover date of February 1983. Warren's bankruptcy was quite sudden, and as a result there are no signs from this issue that it would be the final one. Unfortunate that things had to go out this way. Although by this point, Warren's glory days were far, far behind them.

The majority of this issue (including the cover, by Kelly Freas) is dedicated to an adaption of A.E. Vogt's "Voaye of the Space Beagle". The artwork for this story was done by Luis Bermejo and the adaption was done by Rich Margopoulos (who did a large number of adaptions for Warren over the years). Having never read the original story, I am unable to say how good of an adaption this is. Based on some research, it appears that this adaption was only one segment of the book. It is quite a good story, if you can get around the fact that its a sci-fi story in a horror comic (although for the last 3-4 years of its existence, Eerie barely had any horror at all and was almost all sci-fi/adventure stories). The story is about an alien creature, the last of its race, that comes across a giant spaceship manned by Earthlings. The creature, which looks just like the alien from the Alien movies attempts to take over the ship and repopulate his species by inserting eggs in live human captives. Although many die, the humans aboard the ship are eventually able to outsmart the creature into leaving the ship and trap it from returning. They also are able to rescue all of the captives and ensure that the birthed aliens are quickly destroyed. Very good story for Eerie to go out with. It should be noted that this was originally meant to be a series across multiple issues, but ended up being printed in its entirety in this single issue (split into three parts).

The only other story in this issue is "The Infinity Force", by Rudy Nebres (art) and Bill Dubay (writer). Although the story is uncredited, Nebres's art is easy to identify him with and Dubay is credited as a writer on the contents page, making him the author by process of elimination. This story is in color, but not the kind of color that Warren originally did back when it first started having color stories in 1973. In the late days of Eerie, Warren returned to having color stories, but unfortunately did that as standard comic size inserts rather than the magazine size that Warren had done during its glory years of the 1970's. As a result, the art and color quality of these stories was generally quite poor compared those those it had done in the past. Anyway, this story surrounds a trio of heroes who go back in time and find out the true origin of humanity, that we were brought here by an alien civilization. A short and lousy story, as most of these types of stories were in Warren's waning days. Warren was a horror comic expert, but when it came to doing superhero stories like this, their flaws were quite apparant.

Not that bad an issue for Eerie to go out on. Eerie's quality was in the dump significantly for the last 4 years or so of its existence, and this was a nice, higher quality issue that it went out on. The fact that it has no series connections with any other issues also made it an easy one to pick as one of my early Eeries to review.

Creepy 50

Today I'm going to tackle Creepy #50, a landmark issue for Warren that unfortunately failed to meet expectations. A very dissappointing issue in my opinion, an opinion that is shared by fellow internet Warren commentator Richard Arndt as well as Stephen Sennit's book Ghastly Terror. The cover of the issue, by Sanjulian, features various Warren characters such as Uncle Creepy, Cousin Eerie, Vampirella and Dracula. Sanjulian was one of Warren's most prolific cover artists and was with them for over a decade. The frontis for this issue is "Odd Worm" by Auraleon (art) and Al Hewetson (story).

First up is the issue's best story, "Forgive Us Our Debts" by Esteban Maroto (art) and Jim Stenstrum (story). The story is about a pair of drug smugglers whose plane crashes in the jungle. One of the smugglers, Manning, escapes while the other, Hunter, loses one of his arms to a crocodile. He gets his revenge by later taking Manning captive and forcing him along with his collegue Sharon in the jungle to recover their lost drugs. Along the way they encounter a bizarre group of humanoid creatures who are guarding the drugs along with a large amount of treasure. When Hunter goes to get the drugs, Manning shoots him in the back. He goes to claim the treasure himself, but when Sharon is unable to cover him due to going insane from fright, the creatures kill him. Pretty good story with very good Maroto art, although its a tad long and drags a bit in the middle.

Up next is "Frog God" by Adolfo Abellan (art) and E.A. Fedory (story). The story is about an archaeologist who discovers an ancient temple of a civilization that worshipped a 'Frog God'. He finds a monument which he thinks will give him magical power, but it ends up turning him into a frog instead. Fedory's narrative quality is quite poor and Abellan's artwork is extemely ugly, like his artwork in pretty much all of his Warren stories.
"Side-Show", drawn by Jose Bea and written by Fred Ott is about a jealous husband who thinks his wife is cheating on him when he catches buying a ring in a store with another man. He meets a sideshow magician who shrinks both of them for him, but when he realizes that the gift was for him, he tries to renege on the deal with the magician and suffers the same fate himself. While Bea's artwork is good, the main character is a complete and utter idiot, completely forgetting that his wife may be buying him a birthday present. That lapse of logic is enough to ruin the story for me.
"The Sum of Its Parts" by Reed Crandall (art) and Doug Moench (story) is fourth. The story is about a bunch of dismembered body parts that suddenly start appearing in various places. Each person who finds them ends up losing various limbs themselves. Eventually all the dismembered parts, sans a head, come together and run amock with an axe until they can find one. Moench's story is pretty good, but Crandall's art is quite poor, which was unfortunate considering how good of an artist he was with EC and just a few years earlier at Warren.

Last up is "The Climbers of the Tower" by Felix Mas (art) and T.Casey Brennan (story). The story surrounds two friends, Druin and Tarran, who have spent their entire lives climbing a tower. When they approach the top, Druin gets greedy, wanting the glory of being the first to reach the top and loses his life in a confrontation with Tarran. Tarran reaches the top only to realize that he never knew why he wanted to reach the top of the tower, and goes crazy. As I mentioned in my review for Eerie #38, Brennan's stories were usually quite nonscensical and this is definately one of them. A compeltely pointless and piss poor story that wastes Mas's talented artwork.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Vampirella 88

This issue of Vampirella is from the summer of 1980, shortly after Louise Jones quit and Bill Dubay took over as editor once again, under the alias "Will Richardson". For a short period of time during 1980, Vampirella was reduced to three stories per issue, but the two backup stories after Vampirella were usually of longer length and much higher quality than usual. This is the first of those issues. All the stories were uncredited, but the contents page does list the writers which is where that information is from. Hopefully I didn't make any mistakes.

After another cover by Enrich, comes this issue's Vampirella story, "Night of the Hell Dream", written by Dubay, and drawn by Rudy Nebres, in his first Vampirella story. The story surrounds Vampirella fighting her evil self in her dreams. With the help of Conrad Van Helsing, who gets in a fight of his own, she is able to defeat her evil self. The story's not bad, but Nebres's art just doesn't do it for me. He was quite dreadful at drawing human faces in my eyes. Despite that, he was quite a prolific artist for Warren, doing over 50 stories for them.

Up next is "Nightwalk" by Auraleon (art) and Bruce Jones (story). The story is about a man named Bob whose lover Lucenda is killed in a car crash, yet he can't help but think that she's still alive. He finds multiple personal ads from her in the newspaper but is unsuccesful in his attempts to meet her at the cemetary until he kills the caretaker. The whole thing ends up being a setup from his best friend Rick who was trying to get Bob to kill the husband of Lucenda (his lover), the caretaker. Only Lucenda ends up falling for Bob after all and kills Rick, but she is locked in a crypt by Bob. Very good story with quite spooky art from Auraleon.
Last up is "The Talent of Michael Crawley" by Jose Ortiz (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). The story is about Michael, a young boy whose rather shy and withdrawn but has the ability to fly. A powerful political advisor and his lover try to take his power to their advantage to sell to foreign powers, but he overhears their plans. At a demonstration of his flying ability, Michael gets revenge by using his power to send the entire demonstration site into outer space. While not as good as "Nightwalk", its still a pretty good story.
I'll be away for a few days next week and probably won't make any posts, so I'll try to make that up by doing an extra review or two this weekend.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Eerie 38

Eerie #38 will be today's issue. The cover is a good one by Ken Kelly, featuring a bald fanged creature fighting off a snake. The frontis is "Eerie's Monster Gallery: The Mothman of West Virginia", based on real life reports of the creature. It is drawn by Jaime Brocal and written by Doug Moench.

Moench also handles the first story of the issue, "Stake in the Game" about a vampire that works in a blood bank who is discovered by a photographer. The story is drawn by Jose Gual. At 20 pages, this is one of the longest non-serial stories to appear in Eerie, and is actually split in two parts with the second part wrapping up the issue. Unfortunately the story completely collapses on itself when it is revealed that another doctor in the blood bank is also a vampire. The fact that vampires can't appear in photographs is how the photographer discovered of the other vampire's existence in the first place, yet this second vampire was there the whole time. Quite a big screwup there.

Next up is the issue's best story, "The Carrier of the Serpent", which is drawn by Jerry Granenetti and written by T.Casey Brennan. Its about a young man who teams up with a serpent to get across a dangerous desert. As the serpent gets him to do more and more cruel and evil things, the man slowly turns into a serpent creature and is unable to return to his normal life after returning home.

Up third is "A Stranger in Hell" by Esteban Maroto (art) and T.Casey Brennan (story). While Brennan had a couple of good stories at Warren (like the one I just talked about), the majority of his stories were nonscensical garbage and this is one of them. A man in hell is unable to die. I think thats what it means. While Maroto's art is great, as usual, this story just makes no sense whatsoever. It would eventually get a sequel in Creepy #61.

Last up is "The Night the Snow Spilled Blood" by Tom Sutton (art) and Don McGregor (story). The story is about an old man who kills his wife's lover only to see the man's blood everywhere, leading to his eventual capture. Like "A Stake in the Game" this story too has a significant flaw in that the central character's alibi is that he's staying with his grandmother yet he's so old looking that I can't see anyway that his grandmother could still be alive. Either Sutton screwed up by drawing the central character too old, or McGregor screwed up big time as Moench had done earlier on.

Nice artwork, but multiple screw ups in the stories make this somewhat of a 'miss' issue unfortunately.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Creepy 18

For my second Creepy review, I'm going to tackle issue 18, the first issue of Creepy to come out in the what is generally called the dark age of Warren. After 17 issues of Creepy (and 11 of Eerie), Warren hit some financial difficulty, and as a result editor Archie Goodwin resigned and all the artists except for Tom Sutton and Rocco Mastroserio departed as well. Not only were the issues reduced to far lower quality artists and writers, but reprints started populating the magazines like mad. At the very least, Creepy was lucky in that no issues were all reprint, although some Eerie ones during this time were.

The cover is by Vic Prezio and is of a sea monster attacking a couple on a raft. The frontis for this issue is "Creepy's Loathsome Lore!" which was a continuing feature included on all of the early Creepy issues. This particular one was written by Goodwin, and had art by Roy Krenkel. It was a reprint from issue 9.

Our first story is "Mountain of the Monster Gods" by Roger Brand (artist) and Ron White (writer). The story is about a pair of brothers who climb the mountain named in the title. One of the brother kills the other, only for him to come back from the dead and seek his revenge. Not a bad story although Brand's art is very simple and compared to the excellent artists who were mainstays at Creepy just an issue before, it just isn't on the same level. Brand's ex-wife Michelle would later join Warren herself as a colorer in the mid 1970's.

Next up is "The Rescue of the Morning Maid", the story's best issue. The art is by Rocco Mastroserio and Pat Boyette (who was uncredited) and the story was by Raymond Marais. The story surrounds a monster who finds a sorceress and a young girl who is kept captive by her. The monster is able to kill the sorceress only for the young girl to crumble to dust, having actually been much older and just trapped in the form of a young girl. Very good story, its unfortunate that Marais didn't do more work for Warren.

"Act Three" is written and drawn by Johnny Craig and is about an actress whose husband has turned into a werewolf. The two of them are able to get a doctor to create a cure, but when he injects both of them with the serum, the actress turns into a werewolf herself. Craig was my personal favorite of the EC artists and his Warren work was quite good as well. Unfortunately he would depart Warren for good after only a couple of more stories after this one.

The next story, "Footsteps of Frankenstein" is a reprint from Eerie #2. It is drawn by Reed Crandall and written by Archie Goodwin. The story is about a mad scientist who has created a Frankenstein monster and gets an old collegue to transplant his brain into the creature's body. Just as he's about to wreak havok on the villagers however, he is struck by lightning and is killed. Very good story by Goodwin and great Crandall art, although it is a reprint.

Last is "Out of Her Head!" by Jack Sparling (artist), in his first Warren story, and Clark Dimond & Terry Bisson (writers). The rather poor story surrounds a haunted mansion where a headless ghost seeks a head from someone else's body. Not that much special here.

Considering the era its from, this actually isn't that bad an issue. Unfortunately things would go quite downhill even further from here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Vampirella 35

For my first issue of Vampirella, I'm going to take a look at issue #35, from August 1974. The sexy cover is by Enrich, who was the most prolific cover artist for this title. This issue, similar to Creepy #64 a few days ago was edited by Archie Goodwin during his short return as editor to Warren in 1974.

The Vampirella story this issue is titled "The Blood Gulper", with art by Jose Ortiz and story by Flaxman Loew. 'Flaxman Loew' was a pseudonym for Mike Butterworth. I never thought his stories were that bad, but they seemed to get criticized frequently in the letters column. Admittingly he would use certain themes repeatedly and pretty much ignored the Van Helsings in all his stories, so I can see where some of the criticism is coming from. This story is about an artificial singer that needs an entire human body's worth of blood a day to continue operating. Naturally when people start appearing with their blood drained, it's all blamed on Vampi. An okay story, with very good art by Ortiz, who made his first Warren appearance with this story.

Next up is Relatives by Esteban Maroto (art) and Bruce Bezaire (story) about a pair of astronauts who encounter a civilization of bizarre looking aliens. One of the astronauts, a deeply religious man, refuses to believe that the aliens are intelligent and kills one of them, only to later find out that they were praying when they met him. A fairly good, although quite short, sci-fi story with some extremely odd looking aliens.
Third is "Our Tarts Were Young and Gay" by Ramon Torrents (art) and John Jacobson (story). This story stars the witch Fleur, who was, for a short time, a backup heroine in Vampirella. This story features her encounter in a brothel with a very odd customer. After this issue Fleur wouldn't have her own story in Vampirella again for years, although she did have a short cameo in a Vampirella story in issue #50. Terrific art by Torrents and the best of the Fleur stories in my opinion.

Fourth is "Pure As Snow" by Felix Mas (art) and Jack Butterworth (story), this issue's color story. This story takes place mostly in a log cabin in the midst of winter, where a man's fiance dies during the night yet her corpse behaves like it is still is alive. While the story ain't bad, the coloring on this story is absolutely dreadful.

"The Night Ran Red With Gore" by Auraleon (art) and Carl Wessler (story) is fifth. It's about a woman and her daughter who flee from a vampire... or do they? As it turns out in the end, the man they were fleeing was a vampire hunter, and the girl was the vampire all along. Auraleon's art perfectly fits this story, although the ending was rather predictable.

The issue wraps up with "Rendezvous", which was both drawn and written by Fernando Fernandez. By far the issue's best story, and one of the top 10 Warren stories ever in my opinion. It was ranked the 18th best Warren story of all time in the Warren companion. The story surrounds a young woman whose husband has gone to war and is being pursued by a jealous suitor in her empty house. On of the best Warren shock endings of all time, so I'll leave it as a surprise. Fernandez was both a terrific artist and writer, and this was the best of his stories.

Quite a good issue of Vampi from Warren's top period of output.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Eerie 26

I figured for my first issue of Eerie to cover on this blog, I'd do the first issue of the magazine I ever read, Eerie #26. This issue, cover dated March 1970, came out just as Warren was getting back into the groove of things, and is actually the first issue of Eerie to feature all new stories since Warren's first golden age came to an end in 1967.

The cover of the issue, featuring a rather ugly looking alien is by Vaughn Bode (again!) and Basil Gogos, who was a common cover artist for Warren's Famous Monsters magazine. The cover is based on the first story in the issue, "I Wouldn't Want to Live There!" by Jack Sparling (art) and Bill Parente (story), who was also the editor at this time. The story features a trio of very ugly looking aliens who arrive on a strange planet only to get killed off due to the harsh weather there. In a plot twist that would be used many times throughout Warren's history in their sci-fi stories, the planet ends up being Earth. Ancient man sees the alien's ship, which looks like a wheel, and that is how that useful device first got introduced to our civilization.

Before I move on to the rest of the stories I want to step back a second to mention the frontis (the feature included in the front inside cover of Warren's mags) for this issue, "Eerie's Monster Gallery: The Body Snatchers" which was drawn and written by Tom Sutton. A frontis generally appeared in each of Warren's mags until around 1977 or so. Their content varied from extremely short one page stories, to horror themed true stories (which included this issue's feature) and portraits of Warren's three horror hosts.

The second story of the issue is "Southern Exposure Part II", from Tom Sutton (art) and Bill Parente (story) which is the continuation of a vampire story started in the previous issue. It's rather hard to cover without the first part of the story here, so I'll take a stab at the overall thing once I cover Eerie #25.

Next is "In the Neck of Time" by Tony Williamsune (art) and Al Hewetson (story). Tony Williamsune was actually the alias for a two artist team, Tony Tallarico and Bill Fraccio. Heweston would later become editor at Warren's biggest rival during the early 1970's, Skywald. The story's about a scientist who goes back in time and quickly becomes rich by stealing with his advanced technology. He eventually gets caught and hung. Nothing all that great here.

The story's best issue is "Spiders Are Revolting" which is drawn and written by Tom Sutton. The story features a couple buying a house at auction only to find it completely infested with spiders. They try to get away from the spiders, who are trying to take over the world by possessing human bodies, but have little luck. The story ends with the protagonist in a mental institution where the spiders are finally able to get to him by infesting the doctors tending to him.

"The Scarecrow" by Frank Bolle (art) and Nicola Cuti (story) is about a crazy girl who returns from a sanitarium years after her step mother's death and meets a boy at a carnival after being brought there by her father. When the boy is killed, the father, thinking the scarecrow is the killer, destroys it. But it ends up that ghost infested crows where the true killer after all, and with the scarecrow no longer around to scare them off...

"Tuned In" by Dick Piscopo (art) and Ken Dixon (story) is up next. The story features an actor playing a serial killer in a movie who goes crazy and starts killing people every time he hears a certain song from the movie. Rather poor story and even more poor artwork.

The issue wraps up with "Cyked-Out" by Jack Sparling (art) and Ken Dixon (story), which features a motorcycle gang of vampires going against a motorcycle gang of werewolves. A rather poor story to wrap up the issue in my opinion.

Not that great of an issue, but then few from this era of Warren's history were. At least there were no reprinted stories!