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.