Saturday, December 31, 2011

Vampirella 4

Today I'm covering issue 4 of Vampirella, published in April 1970 (the same month as yesterday's Creepy 32). The cover is a collaberative effort from Vaughn Bode and Jeff Jones. Tom Sutton provides the story and art for the frontispiece "Vampi's Feary Tales: Burned at the Stake!". As with many early issues of Vampirella, this issue doesn't feature a Vampirella
story, although she hosts each of the individual stories within.

First is "Forgotten Kingdom" by Ernie Colon (art, credited as David St. Clair) and Bill Parente (story). A woman finds an astronaut from a spaceship that lands on her planet. She brings him to their leader, who tells him that all men on their planet have died and that they need him to help restore their civilization. He refuses, and with the help of the woman that found him they escape. He brings her to his spaceship and they leave the planet. He soon reveals however that it is the exact opposite on his world, that there are no women, and he has similar plans for her as they had for him.

Second is "Closer than Sisters" by Mike Royer (art) and Nicola Cuti (story). A young girl, Olivegard, is staying with her aunt and uncle after her parents were killed in a car crash. The aunt and uncle hire a new governess, June, to take care of her, and wonder if she is Olivegard's long lost older sister. The two want to kill Olivegard so they can get her inheritance. The aunt tries to do so but is killed at the beach. The uncle plans to kill both Olivegard and June and digs a pair of graves at the beach for them. They get the better of him however and bury him up to his head in the sand, which results in him drowning. June reveals that she is not Olivegard's sister, but rather the future version of Olivegard, come back in the past to get revenge. As the story ends however it is revealed that these are actually the delusions of the present day Olivegard who has gone insane after murdering her aunt and uncle. The death of the uncle in this story is very reminiscent of a sequence from the movie Creepshow, making me wonder if this was inspiration for that part of the movie.

Third is "Moonshine!" by William Barry (art) and Don Glut (story). A salesman from the city has a flat tire in the Ozarks where he is told off by a pair of locals. The salesman is enamored with their attractive sister. While driving he comes across a black cat who hypnotizes him and he follows it, finding the sister. She convinces him to stay with her and become one of them, feeding him some moonshine. The moonshine transforms him into a monster, making him like her and her brothers who are a witch and warlocks.

Next is "For the Love of Frankenstein!" by Jack Sparling (art) and Bill Warren (story). Dr. Hedvig Krolleck, a descendent of Dr. Frankenstein continues his experiments with the help of her hunchbacked assistant, Eric. Eric is in love with her which is the only reason he continues to assist her. Eventually they succeed in their experiments, but a new brain is needed for the body. Eric has a change of heart and destroys it, so Hedvig kills him and uses his brain. In his new body, Eric kills her in revenge then blows up the entire laboratory.

Fifth is "Come into my Parlor!" by Dick Piscopo (art) and R. Michael Rosen (Story). A man is impressed by a daredevil at a circus, Miss Arachna. He convinces her to see him and wants to start a relationship, but she tries to avoid it. Eventually she submits to him and reveals that she has spider hands from an experiment on spiders she performed in the past and used herself as a test subject for. He wants to marry her and she tries to say no but gives in. When they move into their new home she reveals that she has taken on the mating habits of spiders as well and devours him.

The issue concludes with "Run for your Wife!" by Jack Sparling (art), Richard Carnell and Jack Erman (story). A mysterious Count Tsarov invites seven couples who his castle in Slovania. There, Tsavarov is revealed to be a woman in disguise and has the husbands killed by vicious dogs, snakes, aligators, ants and other creatures. One of the wives is revealed to be a man who is part of 'Investigators International' however and kills the count.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Creepy 32

Frank Frazetta provides the cover to this issue of Creepy, which is dated April 1970. This issue is the first since issue 17 to feature entirely new stories. Tom Sutton provides the art and story for this issue's "Creepy's Loathsome Lore", titled "Androids".

The issue begins with "Rock God". This story was inspired by the Frank Frazetta cover. Per the introductory page to the story, Harlan Ellison was loking to write a story for Warren based on a Frank Frazetta cover and this story was the result. Neal Adams provides the artwork. This was Ellison's first and only story for Warren, and he would later be involved in a lawsuit against Warren when one of his stories was plagirized in 1984. At 13 pages this story is far longer than most Warren stories of this era and at the time only another Neal Adams drawn story from Creepy 15 had been longer. The beginning of the story features the summoning of the Rock God "Dis" who has left various stones each time he was summoned. This time the stone he left was stolen and passed down through the years, ultimately ending up in a skyscraper in present times that was built using substandard materials to enrich several corrupt men. One of the men attacks his lover when she says she is going to leave him and she falls out of the skyscraper to her death, resulting in the summoning of Dis. A so-so story, although Adams' art is quite good.

Next is "Death is a Lonely Place" by Bill Black (art) and Bill Warren (story). This story stars a vampire named Miklos Sokolos. The first half of the story shows his life as a vampire, living in a tomb and showing both how he became a vampire and how he finds his victims. Miklos meets a woman named Gwen at the movie theater to whom he becomes romantically involved. He refuses to drink her blood and refuses to marry her because of being a vampire. He eventually decides he will turn her into a vampire so they can marry, but has second thoughts when he considers how she will have to attack others for their blood. He instead leaves her note that lies about him being married and decides to commit suicide by dragging his coffin into the sunlight of the graveyard where he sleeps.

Third is "I... Executioner" by Mike Royer (art) and Don Glut (story). A newspaper reporter watches an execution take place and is interested by the calm manner in which the Executioner does his job. He requests an interview with the Executioner and is granted it. The Executioner tells him the role of executioners throughout time and claims he was present for them. This confuses the reporter until the Executioner removes his hood, revealing him to be Death himself. As the story ends it is revealed that the reporter has passed away of a cough he had and that his story will never be read.

Next is "A Wall of Privacy" by Ernie Colon (art, credited as David St. Clair) and Nicola Cuti (story). This story is hosted by Cousin Eerie so it was likely originally meant for an issue of Eerie. The story stars a man named Dannon with telepathic powers who lives in a 1984-esque future where everything he does is watched by cameras operated by the government. He desires to escape to a place known as the free zone where the cameras don't operate. He meets a woman who has telepathic powers as well and they plot to destroy a power plant which will enable them to escape to the free zone. The night comes when they destroy the power plant and all of Dannon's colleagues, including the women are killed. He is able to escape to the free zone, only to find that it is only 5 feet wide! I really enjoyed the ending to this one.

Next is "V.A.M.P.I.R.E." by Tony Williamsune (art) and Bill Warren (story). A giant computer called S.A.L.O. is being created which will require a fluid to run. One of the doctors on the project, Dr. Vindemuk determines that blood would be the best fluid to use but is fired by the head of the project when he suggests it. Vindemuk kills him and uses his blood to feed to the computer, which renames itself V.A.M.P.I.R.E. The computer demands more and more blood, which Vindemuk kills people to provide. He is put into a hypnotic trance when he refuses to do it anymore. Eventually the computer, which has now developed hands and legs releases Vandemuk from the hypnosis and kills him when he tries to shut off the computer's power. The computer tries to get up and walk away but this results in pulling its plug out of the wall and it dies from a lack of energy. A rather goofy ending for this story.

"Movie Dissector" is the sixth story and is notable for having the first appearance of Bill Dubay in a Warren magazine, where he provides the artwork. R. Michael Rosen provides the story. Two friends are dissappointed in a horror movie so they decide to make their own. The boys fight over parts of it and break off on their own, each creating their own movie. When the movies are finished, they show the movies in one of the boy's garages. A number of boys come by to be the audience. The audience enjoys the first movie because it shows respect to the monsters, but dislike the second movie because it doesn't. The audience reveals themselves to be monsters and attack the director of the second movie.

The issue concludes with "The 3:14 is Right on Time" by Billy Graham (art) and Ken Dixon (story). This story features an old man who bought a train car when he was younger and finds passengers by killing people and putting their corpses in the seat. In the story he kills his final victim and drives the train car, which stops at the cemetary. Nearby he finds a trolley station where death is waiting for him.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Creepy 22

Tom Sutton provides the cover for this issue of Creepy, from August 1968. As with all issues from this era of Warren, this issue has a few reprinted stories. Its a so-so issue at best, with multiple themes repeated in the stories, giving us not a lot of variety.

The issue starts with "Home is Where" by Pat Boyette (art) and Ron Parker (story). This story features a pair of thieves who break into a curio shop. They find a set of stairs that leads to the basement and head down there where they are pursued by various monsters and beasts including snakes, crocodiles, vampires, ghouls, zombies and others. They are eventually found by the police, having been driven insane by their experience. It is revealed at the end of the story that they had broken into Uncle Creepy's home. This story is practically an exact copy of the story "When the Cat's Away" from the EC comic Vault of Horror #34 which features a pair of thieves breaking into the Crypt Keeper's home.

Next is "Monster Rally" by Angelo Torres (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). This story was originally published in Creepy #4. A mad scientist assembles a large group of monsters, all in order to find a formula that will give him eternal life. Eventually a town mob attacks him when one of his monsters, a vampire, escapes and attacks the town. The scientist frees his monsters, who kill him rather than attack the mob. The entire castle burns to the ground. There is only one survivor, a small baby... Uncle Creepy!

Third is the cover story "No Fair!" by Tom Sutton (art) and Bill Parente (story). A group of young boys follow the night watchman in a cemetary and it is revealed that he is bringing bodies to a vampire that lives in a mausoleum. The boys ask around about how to kill a vampire, then head to the cemetary where they kill the night watchman and drive a stake into the vampire's heart, killing him as well. As the story ends it is revealed that all the boys are ghouls and they killed the vampire to prevent him from taking further bodies that they could instead have for themselves.

Fourth is "Strange Expedition" by Ernie Colon (art) and Bill Parente (story). A group of 5 astronauts head to the moon and upon landing due to necessary repairs on their craft find plant life growing, despite the lack of oxygen. A few of the men go exploring but one is found torn to bits after the men split up. Two more of the men face similar fates after heading outside on their own. The repairs to the ship are completed and one of the last 2 remaining men reveals to the other that the plant they found is wolfsbane and transforms into a werewolf, killing the other man.

Next is "The Judge's House" by Reed Crandall (art) and Archie Goodwin (story), originally published in Creepy 5. This is an adaption of a Bram Stoker story. 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.

The issue concludes with "Perfect Match" by Sal Trapani (art) and Ron Parker (story). This story features a woman who runs a computer dating scam where she finds people their 'perfect match'. She finds that her latest customer is a wealthy man and plans to scam him through several women before taking him for herself. When he immediately returns to her claiming the woman she set him up with was a perfect match and is going to marry her, she tries to blackmail him with a contract he signed but he reveals that both him and his fiance are vampires and they kill her.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Eerie 15

My first issue coverage in a while, featuring an issue I've recently been able to acquire. This issue came out shortly after Warren's first collapse at the end of 1967 and features approximately a third reprinted material and two thirds new material. The cover by Vic Prezio is an okay one, but quite unscary.

First is "The Graves of Oconoco" by Pat Boyette & Rocco Mastroserio (art) and John Benson (story). A pair of friends, Frank and Mitchell work in Brazil near a gravesite. Mitchell is a scientist working on making edible material from soil while Frank is an archeologist, who discovers a crypt of dead warriors and a wolf. Mitchell's work on the soil finally is successful but ends up bringing the wolf back to life, which Mitchell klls. Yet it wasn't Mitchell's work that actually brought it back to life, as all the corpses from the crypt soon spring to life themselves.

Second is "Wardrobe of Monsters" by Gray Morrow (art) and Otto Binder (story). For some unknown reason Angelo Torres, who is uncredited on the story (but included in the table of contents page) handles the final page. This story is a reprint from Creepy #2. Five men find a number of sacrophoguses in a pharoah's Egyptian tomb that house various monsters including a vampire, wolf man, devil and Frankenstein monster. One of the men, a translator finds the ability to transfer himself into these monsters. He does so, killing his various partners in monster form so he can get all the credit. He also destroys the mummy of the pharoah, fearing that he also has the ability to transfer into the bodies. However when he occupies a monster to kill his last partner, the pharoah's spirit, released by the destruction of his physical body, seizes the man's own body, trapping him in monster form for good.

Third is "The Demon Wakes" by Tony Williamsune (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). The story by Goodwin was likely left over from when Goodwin departed Warren, as this issue was printed over 6 months after he departed Warren. In the prologue we meet Harry Willet, an accountant entering a bar. The majority of the story features a bizarre monster, Moloch, who awakens chained up in a pit. Moloch breaks free of his chains and climbs out of the pit, killing the guards and breaking free. In real life Harry goes crazy and kills three people before being killed himself. Moloch apparantaly was a representation of the evil within Harry getting out.

"Under the Skin" is next, with art by Joe Orlando and Jerry Grandenetti (who is uncredited) and story by Goodwin. This story was originally printed in Eerie #3. 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.

Fifth is the cover story, "The Doll Collector" by Gutenberg Montiero (art) and Dave Kahler (story). A gold digging woman has a vast collection of dolls. She heads to a theater with her latest lover who uses a number of "living" dolls in his act. She demands that the owner sell her one but he refuses. That night she tries to steal one but is attacked by the dolls. She is then shrunk and forced to become a doll-like participant in the show herself.

Last is "A Change in the Moon!" by Jeff Jones (art) and Clark Dimond (story). This story takes place in the late 1800's. A man tries to drown his wife by knocking her off a boat, only for her to be saved by a bizarre bald man. The two return to land, where it is explained that the wife was attacked by a wolf. The husband visits an occultist to see if something can be done for a werewolf, and all she can provide him with is silver bullets. He tries to kill his wife again by pushing her into a train but the bald man appears again to save her. The two confrotnt the husband on the roof and the bald man is revealed to be a werewolf himself. The husband kills him, but finds he can't shoot his wife, now in wolf form, so he lets her attack him such that they'll both be wolves on the next full moon.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Warren Swipes

I've got more articles in the works for this blog, but having recently bought a scanner I can finally start up a feature I've been meaning to start on this blog for a while, highlighting some of the numerous artist swipes that can be found in Warren's magazines throughout the years.

This feature will contain a variety of different types of swipes, including swipes from Warren and non-Warren sources. I figured I'd start off with a few from some notable non-Warren sources. Note that the original appears on the left, and the swipe appears on the right.

2001/Stairway to Heaven

Fernando Fernandez is one of my personal favorite Warren artists, and I very rarely see any swipes in his Warren work. That said, he has arguably the most notable and easiest to find one of all, at least for me. "Stairway to Heaven" (Vampirella 29) features arguably his best art job for Warren, but also includes this very obvious swipe of Dave Bowman from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The Cave of the Storm Nymphs/The Wolves at Wars End/

This next one was brought to my attention by a commentor in a previous post from July. Luis Garcia is my personal favorite of the Warren artists and would be at times swiped himself (in particular Vicente Alcazar, as will be referenced in a future post) but here's an instance of him using Edward John Poyner's The Cave of the Storm Nymphs from what is probably his single best story, "The Wolves at Wars End" (Vampirella 43, originally published in the French magazine Pilote under the title "The Winter of the Last Combat").

Les Naufrages du Temps/Scourge of the Spaceways

Esteban Maroto's "Scourge of the Spaceways" (1984 #2) is one of my most favorite Warren art jobs, particularly due to the extremely surrealistic nature of the artwork. That said, the story contains at least 2 swipes (if not more, as Maroto probably used swipes more than any other Warren artist and it showed particularly in his 1984 stories). This first is taken from the french comic "Les Naufrages du Temps", drawn by Paul Gillon. This comic was later reprinted in Eerie #129 under the title "Spacewrecked", although it was originally drawn in the 1960s.

My World/Scourge of the Spaceways

This second swipe from "Scourge of the Spaceways" comes from "My World", a Wally Wood story from Weird Science #22, which was published by EC comics in the 1950s. This is arguably Wood's most famous story for EC, and it was very obvious where it came from the first time I read this story.

This is it for now, but I already have plenty of others ready for future posts. Please feel free to point out any you've found in the comments!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Various Sources for Warren Publishing

After another extended absence I'm happy to return with another article on Warren, this time on the various instances in the Company's history where they drew upon outside sources for stories. This article focuses on already produced material, and does not discuss stories that were simply adaptations, such as the various Edgar Allen Poe stories that appeared along the years. Three primary references utilized for this article are the Warren Companion by Jon Cooke and David Roach, Gathering Horror by David Horne and Richard Arndt's Warren bibliography from Enjorals World.

Warren's magazines drew source material from many different external outlets over the years, and this article highlights many of such instances. The reasons for drawing on outside material to fill the contents of Warren's magazines varies at times, but it typically occurred in those periods of time where finances were running low and it became necessary to draw on some other outlets to ensure that magazines had sufficient material to be published.

The first such instance where Warren drew on outside material occurred during the first down period of Warren, in 1968. At the time, Warren faced the crippling blow of the loss of editor/main writer Archie Goodwin, as well as the vast majority of all freelance artists who worked for the company due to a reduction in funds to pay such contributors. In order to bide time until the company could get back on its feet, Warren started using a number of reprinted stories from the first 17 issues of Creepy and first 12 issues of Eerie. Warren also reprinted the entire contents of Christopher Lee's Treasury of Terror, a book published in 1966. Each of the stories in this book, which were done in comic form, was based on stories by well known writers such as H.P Lovecraft, Bram Stoker and Ambrose Bierce. The five stories, including the Warren issue that they appeared in, are as follows: Creepy #19 - The Mark of the Beast!; Eerie #12 - The Past Master; Eerie #13 - Wentworth's Day; Eerie #16 - Dracula's Guest; and Eerie #17 - The Death of Halpin Frayser. Surprisingly enough, the editor of the book was Russ Jones, the original editor for Creepy, who had a falling out with Warren and had left the company several years earlier, and any involvement he had with these stories was left out entirely when they appeared in the Warren magazines. A sixth story, which was intended for a second, never published volume of the book, "Carmilla", also appeared in Creepy #19.

Following the usage of these stories, the usage of outside source material for Warren ceased for the next few years. Starting in 1971, when Warren began a relationship with Josep Toutain's Spanish artist agency, Selecciones Illustrada, it resulted in not only the addition of a great many Spanish artists to the Warren line for new stories, but also started the beginning of the usage of many stories by these artists that appeared originally elsewhere. The most notable example of this in these first few years of their involvement with Warren was the inclusion of two series by Esteban Maroto, “Dax the Warrior” and “Tomb of the Gods”. Dax the Warrior originally appeared in Spain under the name "Manly el Guerrero". Dax first appeared in his self named story "Dax the Warrior" in Eerie #39, and had an appearance in every non-reprint issue of Eerie through issue 52, marking 12 total appearances. Each of the original Dax stories had been written by Esteban Maroto but were translated and rewritten by various Warren writers who were never credited. The majority of the Dax stories were later compiled and rewritten as "Dax the Damned" in Eerie #59, the 1975 Eerie Yearbook. "Tomb of the Gods" had originally been published in Spain and was featured in five straight non-reprint issues of Vampirella starting with issue 17. Similar to Dax, these stories had also been rewritten and rearranged at times; for example the stories "Gender Bender" from issue 20 and "Orpheus" from issue 22 feature a page of identical artwork although the written content is different. "Tomb of the Gods" was rather unpopular compared to Dax and there may have been other segments that never appeared in the Warren magazines.

“Dracula”, a magazine originally published in Spain by Buru Lan, and in England by New English Library, was probably most notable for the "Dracula Book 1" that was featured heavily in advertisements for Warren for many years following the joining of the Spanish artists at Warren. Esteban Maroto and Jose Bea were two of the principal artists of this publication and each had a story from it published in the main Warren magazines. "The Viyi", written and drawn by Esteban Maroto is notable for being the first full color story published in Warren's horror magazines and was featured simultaneously in Creepy #51 and Vampirella #22. Surprisingly enough it took Warren quite a bit of time to be able to match the color quality appearing in this story after they started using color on their own original stories a few issues later. "Invasion", drawn by Bea and written by Maroto appeared in 1976 in Eerie #75, this time with the color removed. Surprisingly enough Warren also used the final panel of the story as the central part of the pink colored cover to the issue, resulting in one of the most bizarre looking Warren covers of all time.

The next notable outside material that Warren utilized was five stories from the French Magazine "Pilote" that were written by Victor Mora and drawn by Luis Garcia (with collaboration in one instance by Carlos Giminez). The first such story appeared in Vampirella #42, with one additional story appearing in each non-reprint issue through #47. As with the earlier Dax and Tomb of the Gods stories, each of these stories were rewritten or rearranged in some form, including at times, the moving of pages from one story to another, removing of panels or the addition of color. Unfortunately this resulted in the dropping of writing credits from the story entirely for Victor Mora for some of the stories. I've written about these stories in my earlier article on Luis Garcia and found each to be very strong and a highlight of Warren publishing, it’s just unfortunate that they didn't include more of them, as Mora and Garcia later had additional collaborations that never saw print in a Warren magazine. These five stories included the following: Vampirella #42 - Around the Corner… …Just Beyond Eternity!; Vampirella #43 - The Wolves At War's End; Vampirella #44 - Love Strip; Vampirella #45 - Janis!; and Vampirella #47 - The Secret Legacy of Gaslight Lil!

"Tales of Peter Hypnos", a short lived series that appeared in Eerie #72, 73 and 76 also had outside origins and was originally produced by Jose Bea as part of a larger series of at least 7 stories. The first story in the series had originally appeared in Spain in the Spirit, and the entire series had been printed in a single compilation in Australia in 1976 as well. As with the previously discussed stories, this appears to be another set of stories that was largely rewritten, although Jose Bea was the only one credited.

There were various one-shot usages of source materials through the mid to late 1970s in the Warren magazines. "Now You See It" in Creepy #83 featured the return of Al Williamson to Warren after an absence of nearly 10 years, but it wasn't due to a commissioned story, as the story was originally intended for the magazine Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction that had been cancelled by Marvel before it could see publication. "Warmonger of Mars" by Ralph Reese (art) and Wally Wood (story) appeared a few issues later in the all Mars issue of Creepy #87, but was apparently originally intended for an underground comic. "Scheherazade" by Esteban Maroto, the color story in Vampirella #72 was supposed to be the first part of a series, "Thousand and One Nights" as published in Cuando el Comic es Arte: Esteban Maroto in Spain, but this was the only story of the series to see print, at least in the Warren magazines.

Jose Gonzalez was most notably Warren's Vampirella artist and was featured almost exclusively on her stories. He did have a 3 part non-Vampirella story, "Herma", although the story was originally published in Spain in 1974 in Cuando El Comic es Arte: Pepe Gonzalez". All 3 of the stories were rewritten by Bill Dubay and resized to fit the magazine format. Leo Duranona had a trio of stories under the title "Fallen Angels" appear in Eerie #96 as well as an additional story titled "A Nightmare for Mrs. Agatha" in Vampirella #72 that appear to have been originally published in South America, with a 1976 date and Guillermo Saccomanno storyline. Saccomanno never wrote any other stories that appeared in a Warren magazine which lends credence to the theory that these stories were not originally commissioned by Warren.

Towards the end of Warren's run in the early 1980's, the usage of source material from previously published works in Europe picked up steam in a big way. By this point in time that Warren's finances were quite strained was very apparent, with reprint issues appearing with increasing intensity. Victor de la Fuente drew only a single story directly for Warren, appearing in Eerie #35, but the 1980's saw him appear in over 20 issues of 1984/1994 and Eerie. Seven stories from the "Haxtur" series appeared in 1984/1994 #10 and 11 and Eerie #111, 113, 114, 116 and 117. Haxtur originally appeared in the Spanish magazine Trinca and was approximately 10 years old by the time it appeared in Warren. As with most stories there was some rewriting and the original color had been removed. Haggarth was a bit more recent than Haxtur and had a longer run of 14 appearances in Eerie starting with issue #118. Warren also went back even further than Haxtur, to the 1960s, where the strip "Spacewrecked" by Paul Gillon (art) and Jean Claude Forest (writing) appeared. Four stories from this series appeared in Eerie issues #129, 132, 134 and 136. More work from Paul Gillon, "Jeremie: Les Dieux Barbares" which was originally published in France in 1971 appeared in Vampirella issues #104, 106, 108 and 110. Unfortunately both series never saw their conclusion appear due to the bankruptcy of Warren publishing in 1983. The series "Torpedo 1936" saw print in the last 3 non-reprint issues of Vampirella, with writing by Sanchez Abuli and art by Abuli or Alex Toth. These stories originally appeared in the Spanish version of Creepy and as with some of the other series discussed here never saw a conclusion due to Warren's bankruptcy.

Various other stories or series that were shorter in scope also appeared during the waning days of Warren. "Pyramid of the Black Sun", which appeared in two parts in Eerie #124 and 126 originally appeared in Europe in the late 1970s, with story by Antonio Segura and art by Luis Bermejo. The story originally appeared in one part in its original publication, but was split in two for its Warren appearance and was rewritten by Jim Stenstrum, under the pseudonym "Alabaster Redzone". "Korsar", another series spearheaded by Esteban Maroto originally appeared in the magazine Cimoc in Spain in 1979 and was featured in Eerie #126, rewritten again by Stenstrum. Although there were other parts to the series, this was the only one that saw print in a Warren magazine. Two stories from Fernando Fernandez's Bruce Bloodletter educational series appeared rather far apart in Eerie #94 and #117, both originally appearing in the Spanish publication Space and Adventure. The following issue saw another Fernando Fernandez story, "Space Kids" which first saw print in 1978 in Italy in the magazine Alter Ego. That said, I've also heard that this story was originally created around the time of Fernandez's other stories for Warren which appeared in the early to mid-1970s and that it sat around for many years. It may have originally been intended for a Warren magazine but due to its more science fiction related nature (and poor quality compared to other Fernandez stories) was held off on until the time it saw print, which was a time when many old inventory stories saw use by Warren.

Many additional Warren stories that saw print through the years, particularly the late 1970s and early 1980s likely appeared elsewhere, although the true source is unknown (or at the very least I haven't found an English-language source mentioning it!). Warren was notorious for rewriting stories that had been drawn previously. While oftentimes there was no way to tell this for sure simply by reading the Warren magazines, two writers, Bob Toomey and Jim Stenstrum made this known by using aliases for stories that they had rewritten based on already created artwork. Bob Toomey used the name "Gary Null" while Jim Stenstrum used the name "Alabaster Redzone". Both rewrote some Jesus Blasco-drawn stories that appeared in Creepy #110, 120 and 123. The first of these stories, "The Clockmaker" was about as obvious a rewrite as possible as the art makes it very clear that it’s an adaption of the Telltale Heart, while the writing goes in a completely different direction. That Jesus Blasco was miscredited in all 3 stories lends credence to the theory that none of these stories were originally created for Warren. A pair of Leo Duranona stories in Creepy #117 and 118 was also rewritten by Toomey, although they don't feature his Gary Null alias. Whether these were originally commissioned for Warren, or like previously mentioned Duranona stories saw print in Europe or South America earlier, I am not sure. The "Alabaster Redzone" stories by Stenstrum are typically a lot harder to pin point about whether they were originally commissioned for Warren or came from elsewhere. "Lullaby" by Jose Gonzalez in 1984 #4 is one such story, and given that Gonzalez drew only one other non-Vampirella story for Warren that was commissioned by them makes me think this could have been a story originally done in Europe. Much of the "Mac Tavish" series by Pepe Moreno Casares features Alabaster Redzone as the writer, although I cannot say whether these were Warren commissions or not. Most of his other "Alabaster Redzone" stories appeared in 1984, which frequently saw rewrites, so most may have been originally commissioned stories. 1984/1994 features so many stories where the story and artwork differ greatly (the entire Idi Amin series comes to mind) that many of these stories may have been originally done for Warren. Three stories by Carlos Giminez, who has been mentioned previously regarding his collaboration with Luis Garcia in Pilote, appeared late in Warren, in Eerie #114 and 1994 #15 and 16. All three were both strongly drawn and written, and it’s unfortunate that Warren did not utilize more stories by him in the waning years of the company.

Warren's hero-themed magazine "The Rook" hasn't been featured much on this blog due to my lack of interest in the subject matter, but is notable for featuring a large amount of outsourced material. Issues 2 through 9 featured "Voltar", as drawn by Alfredo Alcala. The barbarian themed series originally appeared in the Philippines and had actually been printed in America previously in Magic Carpet. Bill Dubay rewrote the story for the entire series. "Viking Prince" as drawn and written by Jose Ortiz originally appeared as "Sigur the Viking" in Spain, and first appeared in the late 1950s. Two of these stories appeared in issues 5 and 6 of the Rook. "Kronos" by Lee Elias originally appeared in the Joe Kubert publication "Sojourn" and first appeared in The Rook #8. This series was unique in that its appearance in Warren resulted in the creation of new stories which appeared for several more issues. "Eagle" by John Severin (art) and Colin Dawkins (story), who had worked together back at EC comics, also originated from "Sojourn" and appeared in the final 3 issues of the Rook.

This article has focused primarily on the interior stories, but Warren also had a number of covers that originated from outside sources. Patrick Woodroffe had a series of covers that appeared in Warren's magazines, particularly for the early issues of 1984, each of which had been originally painted for paperback books. Vampirella #31 heralded the return of famous cover artist Frank Frazetta, but the cover had actually been originally commissioned for the book adaption of the movie Luana. Interestingly enough, each of Richard Corben's late Warren covers had originally appeared elsewhere, including from the book "A Feast Unknown" (used for Creepy #141), the cover to the 1975 Annual World's Best Science Fiction (used for Creepy #140), and an painting that had been originally commissioned by Selecciones Illustrada (used for 1984 #26). Many other paintings originally commissioned by S.I. as painted by Richard Courtney (Creepy #136, 142) and Sanjulian (Eerie #129, 132, 133 and 135) also were used in the late days of Warren. Creepy #120 featured a cover painting from Jeff Jones, his sole that appeared for Warren, although it was originally intended for the magazine Weird Tales of Macabre but never saw print. In what must have been humiliating for Warren, towards the very end they even used covers that had been used by their competition back in the mid-1970's, including the covers for Vampirella #111 by Pujolar (originally used as the cover for Devilina #1) and Creepy #145 by Jose Miralles (originally used as the cover for Nightmare #9).

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The EC and Warren Connection

EC comics were an obvious influence on Warren's comic magazines and with this article I shall point out the connections between the two. It is well known that during Warren's original golden age of 1964 to 1967 that the comics came off as EC resurrected, with many of the stories drawn by the same artists that had originally appeared in EC comics. In fact Warren's horror comics came about in the first place due to original Creepy editor Russ Jones wanting to recreate EC-style horror comics in the early to mid 1960s. By 1967 all of the original EC artists had departed Warren due to the money problems that plagued Warren that resulted in a reduction in the stories commissioned, and the rates paid. Some of these artists, like Joe Orlando, Johnny Craig and Angelo Torres would never return, but a fair number, like Reed Crandall and Al Williamson eventually did. Others, like John Severin, Alex Toth and Russ Heath actually outpaced themselves in later years, during eras that are principally known at Warren as being dominated by Spanish and Phillipino artists.

An early force in Warren comics was a group of artists who were known as the Fleagles gang at EC in the 1950s, Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta, Roy Krenkel and Angelo Torres (Nick Meglin and George Woodridge were also part of this group but never actually worked for Warren). This group of artists frequently collaborated at EC on stories that were often credited just to Williamson. Only occasionally would a credit appear for Frazetta, Krenkel or Torres, although they had a big part in a great many more. Each non-Williamson artist including Frazetta only did one solo story, and Torres' wasn't even published during EC's original run due to being rejected by the Comics Code. Frazetta also contributed a solo cover for Weird Science-Fantasy #29, which was a rejected cover for Famous Funnies. This cover is frequently credited as the best cover from an EC comic.

Aside from Krenkel, each of these artists had a high level of contribution to Warren, particularly Frazetta and Torres. Frazetta did only one actual comics story for Warren ("Werewolf", appearing in Creepy #1) and a couple of frontis one page features, but did numerous covers, principally on the early issues. Some of these covers are quite famous, in particular Eerie #23 and Vampirella #1, but for the most part each one is a classic. Like much of the original Warren artists, Frazetta stopped contributing in late 1967 as Warren went into a dark age, but later returned and contributed work in 1969 and 1970. His last Warren cover was used for Eerie #81, but had actually been painted several years earlier, intended for a magazine called "POW!" that was never actually published. Frazetta was extremely popular with readers, and Warren reprinted his covers numerous times starting in the mid to late 1970s. Krenkel never did an actual full Warren story on his own, although he contributed to a story with Al Williamson in the first issue of Creepy, had a few frontis one-page features and had a couple of writing credits. He has also been credited as assisting with drafts for Frazetta's covers to Creepy 6 and 7 (which can be seen in EC fanzine Squa Tront #7).

Williamson contributed early stories to Creepy, Eerie and Blazing Combat before departing Warren for almost 10 years, returning for 2 stories in Creepy #86 and Creepy #112 respectively. An additional story that he originally drew for Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction appeared in Creepy #83. Torres was prolific in the early issues of Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella, contributing 19 solo stories, a collaboration with Al Williamson for one story, a single page ending to a Gray Morrow (to whom he had stylistic similarities) story from Creepy #2 and 6 single page frontispieces. Torres' art was typically a high point for me in the early issues of Creepy and Eerie. He departed Warren for good in early 1967.

Williamson's work for EC was primarily their sci-fi work, which was also the case for Joe Orlando and Wally Wood who also made many contributions to Warren. At EC, Orlando's work appeared heavily influenced by Wood at first but slowly grew into his own unique style, one that was more so apparent by the time he worked at Warren. Orlando provided art for approximately 30 stories in Creepy, Eerie and Blazing Combat, including the infamous "Landscape" story from Blazing Combat #2 that is oftentimes cited as a primary reason for that comic's demise. Eight of his stories were part of the Adam Link series, Warren's first recurring series. The first 3 stories had also been adapted by EC in Weird Science-Fantasy in 1954/1955, drawn that time by Orlando as well. Although it should be noted that stylistically Orlando handled things differently, particularly the Adam Link character in both series. Orlando's work for Warren ceased in 1967, when he moved on to join DC Comics.

Wally Wood was EC's most well known sci-fi artist and also was a heavy contributor to Harvey Kurtzman's war comics. Wood, unlike many of the other EC artists discussed here did very little work during Warren's original golden age when Archie Goodwin was editor, his output limited to a single horror story he did with Dan Adkins in Creepy #9 and a pair of stories for Blazing Combat. He had earlier done a story for Famous Monsters which was also reprinted in Eerie in 1967. Wood did a variety of stories for Warren in the early to mid 70s, most of which were sci-fi or fantasy based. Wood departed Warren for good after a controversial incident when Bill Dubay took a 12 page stories of his, split it in two, and heavily rewrote it to focus on sexual aspects of the story as published in the first 2 issues of 1984. Dubay had reportedly ordered rewritten a story of Wood's from Eerie #60, which was published a few years earlier, as well. A joint story of Wood’s with Ernie Colon appeared a few issues later in 1984, but this story was originally done several years earlier, intended for the previously mentioned POW! magazine which never saw the light of day.

Jack Davis was one of the most prolific artists at EC, appearing in practically every horror and war comic that EC issued. He never did any actual stories for Warren, but contributed one frontispiece from Creepy #3 and did the original drawings for Uncle Creepy and Cousin Eerie that appeared throughout Warren's comics for years to come. He also did the covers for the first issues of both Creepy and Eerie, although the Eerie cover was actually a reprint of a subscription advertisement that had appeared in an earlier issue of Creepy.

Reed Crandall and George Evans joined EC midway through its run and contributed a variety of stories for EC's horror and crime comics. Crandall was a prolific contributor to Warren in its early days and as with the other EC artists departed for a few years towards the end of 1967. Crandall returned to Warren in 1969 for another approximate half dozen stories then departed again, only to return once more for a final batch of stories that appeared 1972 and 1973. By this point however the quality of his work had deteriorated quite a bit and I believe this was his last actual comics work. Evans did a variety of types of stories for EC, but planes was his true love and his Warren work reflected this as all 3 of these stories featured this theme, which appeared in Creepy and Blazing Combat.

Johnny Craig was my personal favorite EC artist, where he was principally responsible for the Vault of Horror and Crime Suspenstories comics. He had a very clean style which was a stark contrast to EC's other notable horror artists like Jack David and Graham Ingels. Craig was a strong writer as well and wrote the majority of his EC and Warren stories. Much of his work was under the alias "Jay Taycee" which he used due such that the advertising clients he worked for didn't know he was doing comics work as well. Craig was yet another artist that departed Warren for good in 1967 although a couple of stories of his didn't see print until 1968.

John Severin appeared principally in EC's war comics, and actually edited Two-Fisted Tales for a period of time before its cancellation. His early work during Warren golden age was a mixture of this type of work for Blazing Combat, as well as several stories for Creepy and Eerie. Severin departed along with the other EC artists in 1967 but returned in 1974 and contributed Warren work for many years after, through 1979. Severin was never a favorite of mine during his EC days but he always was a strong contributor for Warren with the approximate 30 or so stories he did for them.

Russ Heath, Alex Toth and Eugene Colan aren't artists one usually thinks of when they think of EC, but all 3 had done stories for EC's war comics. Heath only did a single story during Warren's original golden age, "Give and Take" from Blazing Combat #4, but did approximately a dozen stories for Warren in the late 1970s, including some extremely memorable stories like "Yellow Heat" (my personal favorite Warren story), "Process of Elimination" and "Zooner or Later". Heath's Warren work was always exceptionally strong, particularly the aforementioned Yellow Heat. Toth did a number of stories during Warren's original golden age, best among them "Survival" from Blazing Combat #3. Toth departed Warren over a year before the other artists did, but returned to Warren multiple times and his artwork appeared in Warren magazines far longer than any other former EC artist. In the mid 70s he did a number of solo stories, most of which he wrote himself, along with the well known "Daddy and the Pie" story from Eerie #64 and the final two stories in the "Hacker" series. His latest batch of original Warren stories were done in the early 1980s and featured him inking stories for a variety of artists such as Leo Summers, Leo Duranona and Carmine Infantino, producing an interesting result each time. The Rook printed his "Bravo For Adventure" two part series, which was rated as the #1 Warren series of all time in the book The Warren Companion. Toth's last Warren work was a couple of stories from the Torpedo series that he had originally done for the Spanish version of Creepy that were reprinted in some of the last issues of Vampirella. Colan's work appeared exclusively during Warren's original golden age, totaling approximately 15 stories that mostly appeared in Eerie. His work was principally done in wash-style and was always of exceptionally high quality.

The two big omissions from this article to this point from EC's side have been Harvey Kurtzman and Bill Elder. Kurtzman acted as editor for EC's two war comics and was the founding editor of Mad in its comics form and the first few issues of its magazine form. Elder appeared within EC's war comics, primarily teamed with John Severin. Once Mad came out, Elder's true calling as a humor artist became apparent and he was among EC's strongest comedic artists in Mad and its sanctioned imitation comic, Panic. Neither artist ever did work for Warren's horror comics, but both worked on the magazine Help!, which Warren published from 1960 through 1965. Kurtzman acted as editor and a primary writer for the magazine while Elder did art for various stories throughout the magazine's run.

Most of the focus of this article has been on EC's artists, but what about their writers? With the vast, vast majority of EC's stories being written by Al Feldstein, there was only a few other EC writers, although two of them, Otto Binder and Carl Wessler did work for Warren. Both of these writers came on board with EC around 1954 towards the end of its original run of horror comics. Binder did approximately a dozen stories for Warren, all during its original golden age. Most of these stories were from the Adam Link series which he originally developed with his brother Earl Binder. As mentioned earlier, the first 3 of these stories had also appeared in EC comics as well. Wessler contributed only 2 stories to Warren's original golden age, but rejoined Warren during Bill Dubay's run as editor, contributing approximately 20 stories. Four of his stories later appeared in the early 1980s although I suspect all four of them were originally done during the Dubay era and just held off for printing until this point. One story, "Lucky Stiff", was a redo of a story he had done called "Out Cold" from the Haunt of Fear #25.

So who from EC never actually contributed to Warren? The most notable is "Ghastly" Graham Ingels, the lead artist of the Haunt of Fear and probably the most liked of the EC horror artists. Ingels' style would have fit Warren perfectly, but the criticism of the subject matter that he contributed to EC greatly bothered him and he left the comics field entirely. That said, Warren eventually did a tribute story to him, "Encore Ghastly" in Creepy #61 which featured a horror comics artist who had been driven from comics, but returned, this time drawing the stories with blood. Bernard Krigstein, who did groundbreaking work for EC, particularly with his art on the famous story "Master Race" had also departed comics entirely by the time Warren started doing comics. Al Feldstein was the principal editor from EC throughout its run, but working as editor for Mad during the entire period that Warren was publishing comics was obviously never even available. Jack Kamen was a very prolific EC artist and was EC's best artist at drawing women, but was generally weak from a horror standpoint and never did any Warren work.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Vampirella 1

Today I cover the first issue of Vampirella, which after years of failing to obtain a copy I've finally been able to check out due to Dynamite's Vampirella Archives series. Frank Frazetta provides the cover, one of my personal favorites. He also supplies a one page intro from Vampi on the inside front cover.

First is Vampirella's first ever appearance in "Vampirella of Draculon", with art by Tom Sutton and story by Forrest Ackerman, who was editor for Famous Monsters of Filmland for the majority of its run. This story's much more light hearted than the usual Vampirella story and features her on her home planet of Draculon, where blood is the equivalent of water. A spaceship of humans crashes on their planet and Vampirella sucks their blood, then finds a "smorgasblood" as she puts it inside the ship when she finds a room full of men in hibernation.

Second is "Death Boat!" by Billy Graham (art) and Don Glut (story). Six people are stranded on a life boat in the middle of the ocean after the ship they are on sinks. One night they awaken to find one of the people dead, with two holes in his throat. One of the men is convinced that it is a vampire on board the boat and attacks the man he think is the vampire, killing him. He is then killed by another man shortly afterwards. Another death occurs soon afterwards, and convinced that her companion is the vampire, being the only one left, the last person standing kills him. But then the boat itself is revealed by the the vampire and transforms in order to kill her.

Next is "Two Silver Bullets!" by Reed Crandall (art) and Don Glut (story). A man and his daughter are hunting in the woods and the daughter is attacked by a wolf that runs off unharmed after the man shoots it. Because the full moon was out, the man is convinced that it was a werewolf and procures himself two silver bullets. The daughter meanwhile has dreams about the wolf and calls it her love. The man returns to his cottage to find his daughter gone and wolf tracks in the snow. He follows them and finds two wolves this time. He shoots both of them, only realizing at the last minute that the second one was his daughter, transformed.

Fourth is "Goddess from the Sea" by Neal Adams (art) and Don Glut (story). Adams' art is pencils only, which unfortunately makes things hard to make out in some of the panels. A woman, Lanora, appears outs of the sea and tells a man who lives nearby that she's from Atlantis and is fleeing from those of her kind. Her fellow sea dwellers soon come out after her and grab ahold of her. He heads into the sea after her and ends up drowning.

Fifth is "Last Act: October!" by Mike Royer (art) and Don Glut (story). A woman is burned at the stake and curses her accuser, such that him and his descendents will die in October. The accuser dies shortly afterwards. Throughout history many of his descendents die in October. The last descendent left is an elderly woman who is babysitting on the night of Halloween. She avoids numerous accidental ways to die, but meets her end mere minutes before midnight when the child she is babysitting is revealed to be a vampire and bites her on the neck.

Next is "Spaced-Out Girls!" by Tony Williamsune (art) and Don Glut (story). Kenne Barcroft is a skilled womanizer, who one night finds a flying saucer appear from the sky and land in front of him. Out from the flying saucer walks a series of beautiful women who claim to be from another planet that has no men. Kenne anxiously agrees to head with them to ensure they don't go extinct. His advances on the women on the way there fail, as they claim he is reserved for their Queen only. Upon arriving at the planet, Kenne finds out that all the women are robots, and he is locked in a room with the Queen, who is about as beastly as you can imagine.

The issue concludes with "A Room Full of Changes" with art by Ernie Colon and story by Nicola Cuti. This story's a rather weak effort, featuring a man who buys a home featuring a room where an old man was murdered. He meets the two daughters of the man who sold him the house and starts a romantic relationship with one of them. The room where the old man was murdered seems to have a different appearance based on who enters it. The father attempts to destroy the room but a number of monsters appear and kill him.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Luis Garcia Mozos

As part of a new feature on this recently revived blog, I will be writing articles on some of my various favorite Warren artists. While my principal discussion of such articles will typically be their work for Warren, I shall also where I can discuss their pre- and post-Warren work as well. I figured no person better to start with than my personal favorite Warren artist, Luis Garcia Mozos.

Much of Garcia's pre- and post- Warren history within this blog entry could not have been written without the writings of David A. Roach, from whom I've been able to learn a lot about Garcia from his book The Warren Companion as well as a wonderful multi-part article I've found on the web at the following site: For those interested in more about the artist I strongly recommend checking out both.

While Luis Garcia Mozos (credited in the Warren magazines as just Luis Garcia) had a relatively small profile compared to many other Warren artists, his work is unquestionably that which I enjoy the most and I consider him my personal favorite Warren artist, if not one of my favorite comic book artists ever. Garcia was one of many Spanish artists who worked for Warren in the early 1970s due to the company's affiliation with Selecciones Illustrada. Garcia worked for Warren only for a year, 1972, producing 9 stories and 3 frontispieces. Then, just like that, he was gone, never to work for them again, although 5 additional stories of his were reprinted in 1975.

Garcia was born in Puertollano, Spain in 1946 and was interested in drawing from an early age. At the mere age of 14, Garcia joined the publishing house Bruguera. Like many of the S.I. artists who appeared in Warren magazines during the 1970s and 1980s, he did a lot of romance comics that were published in Britain, including Love Story, Romeo and Mirabelle. By the age of 17, Garcia had left Bruguera and joined S.I., where he remained until after his work for Warren. While at S.I., Garcia befriended many artists that also ended up working for Warren at some point, including Esteban Maroto, Jose Gonzales, Adolfo Usero (Abellan), Ramon Torrents and Carlos Giminez. Garcia's early influences appeared to be Gonzales and Jordi Longaron, an artist that never did any work for Warren. By the late 1960's Garcia's work started showing the style that he would do for Warren, albeit it without the fine, realistic detail that made him so distinctive.

In addition to his art, Garcia acted as a model for romance novels published throughout Europe along with Carol de Haro, his girlfriend. de Haro is notable as being the model for characters in the Garcia-drawn stories "The Men Who Called Him Monster", "Song of a Sad-Eyed Sorceress" and "Love Strip", but more significantly, Vampirella in paintings done by Jose Gonzalez and Enrich Torres. In 1967 he temporarily was part of a commune with some of the various artists mentioned earlier and they worked on the comic "5 x Infinity". He then returned to his work on British romance strips.

In 1971 Jose Toutain, head of S.I., was able to arrange for his artists to appear in Warren magazines and Garcia was one of many S.I. artists who soon started appearing in the pages of Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella. Garcia's first work for Warren was "The Men Who Called Him Monster", published in Creepy #43, a so-so story from a script standpoint (written by Don McGregor), but displaying beautiful Garcia artwork. The influences on Garcia for this strip were quite apparant, the main character was based on actor Sidney Poitier while the werewolf villain was based on the Lon Chaney Jr. portrayal of the werewolf in 1941's The Wolf Man. Carol de Haro appeared as a witness that appeared on a couple of pages. A kiss between her and the Sidney Poitier character became the first inter-racial kiss in main stream comics. Incidently enough, the kiss made no sense storywise, and was all due to a misunderstanding of a descriptive line "this is the clincher" which was misunderstood either by Garcia, or the S.I. translator for the story. Right around this time Garcia also drew the story "Welcome to the Witches Coven", which was also written by McGregor, and published in Vampirella #15, the same month as Creepy #43. While there were no firsts with this story, it was appreciated enough to win Garcia the Warren award for best art in a story for 1972. The 1972 Warren awards were, oddly enough, not given the special feature that the annual Warren awards usually received, but this was referenced in a later year article on past winners.

Garcia's work continued throughout 1972. Some stories like "Song of a Sad-Eyed Sorceress" (Vampirella #18) and "Love is No Game" (Vampirella #20) brought back memories of his romance comics past. Others like "Spellbound" (Creepy #46) and "The Caterpillars" (Eerie #41) permitted him to do some more bizarre subject matter. Garcia's final Warren story, "Paranoia" (Vampirella #21) was somewhat of a dissappointment, with a rather nonscensical story and short running length.

In 1973 Garcia started work for the French magazine Pilote and teamed up with writer Victor Mora. They stared a series called "Les Chronicles Des Sin Nombres" which told a variety of stories from different time periods. The first five stories from this series were reprinted in Vampirella in 1975, although they were rewritten by Bill Dubay, Budd Lewis or Gerry Boudreau and the credits were often screwed up in some fashion (with Luis being called Jose multiple times and Mora frequently being left out entirely from the credits). "The Last Legacy of Gaslight Lil" in particular has a succubus storyline overlayed over the western outlaw story that the drawings show that I would not be surprised one bit if it had nothing to do with the original story. All five of these stories are amazing to look at, and with maybe the exception of some stories done by Val Lakey in the late 1970s/early 1980s are the most realistic artwork to appear in a Warren magazine. One of the stories, "Janis" (printed in Vampirella 45) was colored by Warren and features in my opinion the most beautiful artwork to ever appear in a Warren magazine. Its the only color comics artwork of Garcia's that I have been able to see, and may be all that is out there by him in color from a comic standpoint.

Warren clearly had a lot of respect for these stories, maybe a little too much as some obvious swipes would appear soon after. In particular, Paul Neary's "Exterminator One" story from Eerie 63 blatantly copies several panels featuring the main character of "Love Strip" (printed in Vampirella 44), while "The Winter of Their Discontent" from Vampirella 45, written by Gerry Boudreau, is for arguably a ripoff of "The Wolves at War's End" (printed in Vampirella 43). All five of these stories were excellent from all aspects; "The Wolves at War's End" was declared the second best story in the history of Warren in the Warren Companion book, and "Love Strip" appeared further below in tenth place. The Wolves at War's End would later be reprinted in Heavy Metal as well, although I've never been able to acquire myself a copy.

Following "The Last Legacy of Gaslight Lil" in Vampirella 47, Garcia was to never appear in a Warren magazine again. His next work following Pilote was "Chicharras", which appeared in the French magazine Scop, and portrayed his return to his childhood village. Following Chicharras Garcia did a variety of politically influenced stories which appeared in various magazines. He also founded the magazine Trocha around this time.

Aside from his Warren work, Garcia's most well known work that appeared in America was probably "Nova 2" which he began around 1980. The story began in the Sahara desert by changed focus to feature a comic book artist who buys a gun and tries to kill himself. Aspects of the story are similar to "Love Strip", which incidently is the name of a comic that the main character works on during the story. Nova 2 was eventually printed in America in Heavy Metal. To this point I've only been able to track down one of the multiple issues that features it, but hope to find them all at some point.

After Nova 2 Garcia founded the magazine Rambla with friend and fellow former Warren artist Jose Bea. Rambla went bankrupt in the mid 1980's due to economic problems in Spain at the time. Following this, Garcia moved more into commercial art and fine art.

Garcia's Warren work was the following:

Regular Stories:

The Men Who Called Him Monster (Creepy 43)

Spellbound! (Creepy 46)

The Law and Disorder (Creepy 47)

The Caterpillars (Eerie 41)

Welcome to the Witches' Coven! (Vampirella 15)

Death in the Shadows (Vampirella 17)

Song of a Sad-Eyed Sorceress (Vampirella 18)

Love is No Game (Vampirella 20)

Paranoia (Vampirella 21)


Creepy's Loathsome Lore: The Undertaker's Model (Creepy 46)

Eerie's Monster Gallery - Quetzalcoatal, Monster God! (Eerie 43)

Vampi's Feary Tales: Nymphs! (Vampirella 18)

The 5 stories Garcia did for Pilote that were reprinted in Warren magazines were:

Around the Corner… …Just Beyond Eternity! (Vampirella 42)

The Wolves At War's End (Vampirella 43)

Love Strip (Vampirella 44)

Janis! (Vampirella 45)

The Secret Legacy of Gaslight Lil! (Vampirella 47)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vampirella 27

Enrich provides the cover for this issue of Vampirella. Enrich later painted Vampirella in a very similar pose for the cover of issue 42. This is mostly a reprint issue, but does feature an all new color story featuring Vampirella.

First is "Wolf Hunt" with art by Esteban Maroto and story by Joe Wehrle. This story is originally from Vampirella #16. 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.

Next is "Welcome to the Witches Coven", from Vampirella #15. Art is by Luis Garcia story is by Don McGregor. Some extremely good art kicked off Garcia's short lived Warren career in this story's original appearance, appearing to have been done in pencil only here. The story ain't that great though, featuring a woman in the modern era joining a witch's cult with disastrous results as they sacrifice a business friend of her husband's, then kill her when she tries to escape and alert the authorities.

Third is "Quavering Shadows" by Jose Bea (art) and Doug Moench (story). This story is also originally from Vampirella #15. While a serial killer plauges a town, a man, Andrew, visits his friend Jason, who has purchased a castle deep in the woods. Andrew eventually makes it there and finds his friend barely sane, telling him of ghosts in the castle and showing him mysterious shadows on the wall. Things get even stranger as Jason appears in different parts of the castle at the same time, then attacking Andrew with a club. Andrew returns home where he finds that his wife had been attacked by the serial killer, who was Jason! A very odd story.

Next is "The Frog Prince" by Bill Dubay (story & art). This story is from Vampirella #13. A woman meets a talking frog who tells her he's a prince. She kisses him and he turns into a human and agrees to marry her. However it is soon revealed that as a human he can't speak, only croak!

Next is this issue's only original story, "Return Trip", featuring art by Jose Gonzalez and story by Jose Toutain (the head of Selecciones Illustrada, providing a rare story). This is the first ever color comic of Vampirella. The coloring is a lot better than that which had been used in issues 25 and 26 of Vampirella but is still hardly close to the greatness that Warren eventually attained. This story continues that which had been taking place in the last several issues of Vampirella. Rose, Pendragon's former wife seeks revenge on him so she recruits help from a man named the Dreamer who can manipulate people's dreams. He tries to trick Vampirella into killing Pendragon by sucking his blood but she won't do it. He tries to stab her instead, but Patrick, Pendragon's grandson, shoots him, saving Vampi.

Sixth is "Cilia" by Felix Mas (art) and Nicola Cuti (story). This story is from Vampirella #16. A pair of men are in a shipwreck, but a beautiful mermaid rescues them. She marries one of the men and is able to turn into a human form, but must remain near the water. A mob finds her however and captures her. The men eventually find her, but being away from the water so long, she has become an old woman. Her lover kills her then carries her off into the sea.

Next is "Quest" by Jeff Jones (story & art), from Vampirella #12. This story features a mere 2 panels per page, with some nice artwork by Jones. The story features a hunter pursuing a woman, who is attacked by another man, then flees using some elephants. She is attacked by a saber tooth tiger, but the hunter arrives, seemingly to save her, but in reality to kill her. Reminds me of "Yellow Heat", my favorite Warren story.

Last is "War of the Wizards" which is from Vampirella #10. The story 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.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blazing Combat 2

With my first issue summary/review in about 2 years, I'll be covering the second issue of Blazing Combat. This issue's cover, by Frank Frazetta, is among the goriest published by Warren, featuring a soldier impaling another soldier with his bayonet while a corpse with a smoking bullet hole in his head lies in front of them. As typical for Blazing Combat, all stories in this issue are written by Archie Goodwin.

First up is "Landscape", drawn by Joe Orlando. This story is the most controversial story in the history of Warren Publishing and is typically brought up as the main reason why Blazing Combat ended up being cancelled. It takes place in Vietnam and features an old farmer dedicated to his rice fields. The Viet-Cong take charge of the village and his son joins them, but is killed during a battle with the American/South Vietnam forces that fight with the Viet-Cong near his farm, Another battle soon takes place and his wife is killed. More fighting takes place and spreads into his rice fields. As the Viet-Cong run into it, the Americans/South Vietnamese start setting the field ablaze. The farmer tries to stop them from from destroying his fields and is shot, killing him. Believing the story to show American troops killing innocent civilians, rumor has it that the American Legion and military pushed hard to prevent the magazine from reaching retailer's shelves and poor sales forced the cancellation of the magazine a few issues later. This is a very strong story and was enjoyable to read after hearing about it for years. While I would put "Survival" from the following issue ahead of it as the best story from Blazing Combat, this is as close to as good a story as you can get from this magazine.

Next is "Saratoga", with art by Reed Crandall. This story takes place during the revolutionary war, showing a battle between the Americans and the British. A heroic general leads the troops in battle and is revealed to be Benedict Arnold at the end of the story. A so-so story with an interesting twist at the end; overall my least favorite of the issue from a story standpoint (the art is very strong).

Third story is "Mig Alley", with art by Al McWilliams. This story takes place in 1953, during the Korean War. A fighter pilot's wingman, "Pappy" has a very successful career over nearly 100 missions. On their latest mission however Pappy's plane is damaged and he has to eject. This shakes him up enough that he screws up landing on his next mission and crashes his plane in the runway, killing him.

Fourth is "Face to Face", another story with art by Joe Orlando. This story takes place during the Spanish American war in the late 1800's. An American soldier is shot in the shoulder during the battle and then sent to deliver a message to the nearby colonel. He is pleased about the bragging rights he will have for his duty and war wounds. Along the way he captures a Spanish soldier, but is attacked by the soldier and the two fight hand to hand, ending with the American soldier bashing the Spanish soldier's head in with a rock. Following the ordeal, he no longer thinks the fighting to be enjoyable and worthy of glory.

Fifth is "Kasserine Pass", with art by Al Williamson and Angelo Torres. This story takes place in the African Desert during World War II. American soldiers within a Sherman tank are confident of their superiority to the Germans due to their advanced weaponry, but are surrounded by German panzers and are all killed.

Next is "Lone Hawk", with art by Alex Toth. This story acts as a historical account of the World War I Canadian fighter pilot William Bishop. The story discusses his first flight, then shows some of his various successful missions. In addition to his kills, the story points out the rarity of him making it out of the war alive unlike many other well known pilots during this era.

Next is the one page "Combat Quiz", with art by Angelo Torres.

The issue concludes with "Holding Action" by John Severin. This story takes place during the Korean War. A young soldier names Stewart is brought to the front lines and is extremely nervous about firing at the enemy soldiers. He does it after heavy pushing by his commanding officer. Stewart becomes obsessed with firing at the enemy, firing even after the battle is over, and later at Korean medics tagging the dead. When the battle ends he has to be dragged away kicking and screaming about how he needs to remain at his position.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Revival?

3 weeks from today it'll have been a whopping 2 years since I've last made a post to this blog, but it is my goal to start being more active on it again. Having gone through about 95% of Warren's non-reprint offerings in a year and a half span, posting at times as much as 2 issues per day burned me out quite a bit and a well-needed break ended up spanning nearly 2 years. My interest in Warren has reignited recently however, and I felt it was a good time to start updating this blog again. The style and frequency of postings will be different; there's simply no way I can duplicate the daily postings, and its not like there's much material I have yet to review that is available to go over anyway. It is my goal to transition this blog from summaries/reviews of every Warren magazine to more of an article/analytical based blog. There will be the occasional issue review when I'm able to pick up an issue I've yet to review here (By my count about 20 issues of Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella, 1984 and Blazing Combat, plus the Rook, which I've yet to review at all on this blog). For the most part though it is my goal to do that new style of posting going forward here. I've got the last couple of remaining Blazing Combat issues to cover, as well as Creepy #32, which are the only new Warren mags I've been able to track down over the past 2 years, and hope to have at least one of them covered here in the near future.