Thursday, April 17, 2008
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.