Sunday, November 30, 2008

Vampirella 51

Enrich provides the cover for this issue of Vampirella, which is miscredited to Sanjulian.

First is "Rise of the Undead" by Howard Chaykin & Gonzalo Mayo (art) and Mike Butterworth (story, credited as Flaxman Loew). In this story Vampirella and Pendragon visit a town where each year corpses start plauging the town. It incidently ends up being the night that they are there. It ends up that the corpses have come out due to a curse a man placed on the town. Vampi tries to get the man's descendant to end the curse. While he refuses, eventually things work out okay. This was Chaykin's sole Vampirella story, but his artwork is barely noticable here.

Second is "The Edge of Tomorrow" by Zesar (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). This story takes place in a future where the communists have taken away and stripped humans of pretty much all their rights. Children are manufactured in a facility run by humanoid robots. A man and woman try to have a baby the natural way, which is now outlawed. They try to steal a drug that will cease them from being sterilized so they can have a kid, but the robots there simply activate a device implanted in their head that kills them instantly. Years later all humans revolt against the robot government until all of humanity is wiped out.

Third is "Uncle Wiggly's Magic Box" by Leopold Sanchez (art) and Bill Dubay (story). This story features a kid's book author nicknamed Uncle Wiggly who passes away. At his funeral he comes out of his coffin awake. While he has died, he refuses to be dead and through will alone keeps himself alive. Since he's really dead however he starts to decompose, and is eventually required to spend all his time in bed, dictating his book to his assistant.

Fourth is "Whitechapel" by Auraleon (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). In a town where a jack the ripper style killer is running amok, a man is hired by a woman to find her sister. The man investigates a local doctor, thinking he's a lead, and finds the sister, dead. When he goes to tell this to the woman who hired him however, the dead sister suddenly turns up alive again. Our protagonist eventually finds out that the doctor is bringing dead people back to life, but is forced to kill them since the experiment isn't perfected yet. Our protagonist is killed by the doctor, and brought back to life, hoping for him to be the first successful experiment.

Fifth is "The Castle, the Dungeon and All by Vicente Alcazar (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). This story features some knights and magicians battling each other in the woods. One ends up being victorious and continues on, finding a modern looking building. An odd ending, but some extremely good art by Alcazar, channeling Luis Garcia's style here.

Eerie 96

Jordi Penalva provides the cover for this issue, which features Mac Tavish. This issue is a rarity in that there is no Rook story, most likely due to the fact that the next Rook story was over 30 pages long and took a while to put together.

Up first is "Fallen Angels", three stories by Leo Duranona (art) and Guillermo Saccomano & Cary Bates (story). Given Saccomano's credit here (he was not a regular Warren writer), and the fact that the artwork is dated 1976, one would think that this story was originally printed elsewhere and reprinted here. These stories feature four humanoid characters, Hot Chocolate, Knuckle, Marlene and Toc Toc who were cast out of Heaven and forced to do penance on Earth. They each take the appearance of street dwellers. In the first story, "Revenge", they go after a pimp who has been mistreating his whores. The second story, "The Cutman" features an old assassin who is hired to perform a hit, but he screws up and kills the wrong person, forcing the person who hired him, his own son, to kill him. The final story, "Explosive Issue" is about a pair of crooks who arrange to blow up a building for the insurance money. The Fallen Angels get involved and turn to violence, resulting in criticism from their superior. They work to get the head of the whole scam to end up getting himself killed by running into an exploding building. All three stories are fairly good, with some very good art, as usual from Duranona. Unfortunate that no further stories would ever appear.

Next is "Hero of Zodiac V" by Pepe Moreno Casares (art) and Jim Stenstrum (story, as Alabaster Redzone). This story coninues immediately after the last story. Mac Tavish meets with Ida Lizer, a robot lover, then goes to see Spider Andromeda who reveals that Lazard works with Gorgo the Man, a leading candidate for governor on Rara Avis. It is also revealed that they are after Rara Avis due to a raw material there that permits people to live forever. Mac Tavish and Spider lead an attack on a planet breaker factory.

Next is "The Ark" by Carmine Infantino & Walt Simonson (art) and Roger McKenzie (story). In this story an old man builds an ark, causing the rest of the townfolk to ridicule him. He ends up being right though, as rain soon comes. He and his wife hide in the ark and the rest of the town get angry at him for not letting them in. He is killed by the townsfolk when he comes out and they storm in to the ark, where they are trapped, and the rain stops soon after.

Last is "The Shining Sea" by Alfredo Alcala (art) and Nicola Cuti (story). This odd story features a man living in a water filled world where the other people are humanoid except for their dolphin (or other sea creature) faces. He goes searching for his origin, which appears to be from a spaceship that crashed on this world. Another story in this series appeared a few issues later.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Creepy 98

The cover for this issue is by Atilla Heije. This is an all media horror issue.
First is "The Alien Factor" by Jose Ortiz (art) and Budd Lewis (story). This story is about some reporters investigating an alien presence. They face some people trying to cover things up, and government forces evenutally arrive and investigate, telling everyone that the presense was nothing more than fungus.

Second is "Helen Horror Hollywood" by Leo Duranona (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). This story tells the tale of a girl who was interested in nothing but movies growing up, who eventually went to Hollywood and became famous. The theatre she stayed in however housed a monster that killed a former lover of hers, and eventually her as well when she returns to it.

Third is "Graveyard Shift" by Leopold Sanchez (art) and Bruce Jones (story). This story features a radio DJ on the graveyard shift who receives threatening calls from a man who tried to kill him and his fiance. His fiance is attacked and the DJ finds that it is actually his enemy's brother, as his enemy died in prison. Luckily, the attacker is electocuted when he steps in a puddle, saving our protagonist.

Fourth is "Starlet, Starlet, Burning Bright" by Carmine Infantino & Dick Giordano (art, miscredited to Ramon Torrents) and Gerry Boudreau (story). The issue's best story, this is about a woman who meets a former soldier who starts stalking her. He is the son of a famous man in Hollywood, so she is unable to do anything about him. She recruits an old lover to help him, but when the stalker tries to blow him up, she ends up dying instead.

Last is "The Image Makers" by Jose Ortiz (art) and Nicola Cuti (story). This story is about a pair of men working on a device that projects a person's image. They try to get money for it by swindling an old woman, convincing her through a seance that her dead daughter has come back to life. They do this by getting a friend of there's who looks like the dead daughter to pretend to be her. One of the men wants her to kill the old woman because she'll inherit the money, but instead he is done in when someone projects a bridge to appear over a gap. It ends up being set up by the old woman, who knew of their scheme all along, having been the funder for their device.

1994 15

Alex Nino provides the cover for this issue, featuring the Starfire Saga. He is credited as "A2-120".

First is "Spearchucker Spade, Intergalactic Eye" by Alex Nino (art) and Bill Dubay (story, credited to Will Richardson). Spearchucker Spade is an out of work detective who is hired by a woman to help find an assassin going after her father, Goldenrod. Spade fails to rescue him and he is killed. The killer ends up being his harem, which is actually a tentacled monster. The monster is defeated, but Spade ends up actually being an engagement present to the woman's fiance, who wants to beat him up. A rather drawn out, slow moving story. Dubay yet again shows potential racist tendencies by calling the main character 'Spade'.

Second is "Coming Out Party" by Delando Nino (art) and Rich Margopoulos (story). A tentacled alien tries to get even with a girlfriend who dumped him by summoning a demon. The demon ends up going too far, killing her, then tells the alien that its going to have to become his servant as soon as he leaves the pentagram he's standing in.

Third is "The Missionary" by Carlos Giminez (story & art). This story was originally published in Europe and is reprinted here. Giminez was a terrific artist who unfortunately never actually worked for Warren, although he did have four stories reprinted in Warren magazines. The issue's best story, this is about a missionary who comes to a planet of very friendly, kind, cute aliens. He tells them about religion, eventually getting to the subject of martyrs and their horrible deaths. Thinking they are helping him get to heaven, the aliens brutally torture and murder him in the manner that all the martyrs he talked about died.

Fourth is the sixth story in "The Starfire Saga" by Rudy Nebres (art) and Bill Dubay (story, credited to Will Richardson). Continuing the very boring storyline, this story is about Chris's father going around killing people with the help of the creature on the cover. Boring, very boring.

Fifth is the third story in "Baby Makes Three!" by Abel Laxamana (art) and Kevin Duane (story). This serial continues to go pretty much nowhere, focusing on the astronauts investigating a case and finding someone dead.

Sixth is "1894" by Alex Nino (art) and Budd Lewis (story). A man finds himself in a bizarre white landscape with lots of little white balls around him. He tries to get out by lighting them on fire. It ends up that he was in a crash which caused him to think that he was in this mysterious landscape. A rather poor story but some very good art by Nino.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Eerie 95

Vampirella guest stars with the Rook on the cover of this issue, the first Eerie issue featuring the Rook on the cover in quite a while. The cover is painted by Jordi Penalva, one of S.I.'s artists who was pretty good, but not at the level of Sanjulian and Enrich, the two main spanish cover artists for Warren.

First is "Warriors from the Stars" by Luis Bermejo (art) and Bill Dubay (story). In this story Vampi, the Rook and the others arrive back in time, finding the aliens that originally brought the annihilator here. They are fighting other aliens, and our heroes help them. After the battle, the aliens give them a key enabling them to stop the annihilator and any other ones around the world when they return.

Second is "Willie's Super-Magic Basketball" by Carmine Infantino & Rudy Nebres (art) and Jim Stenstrum (story). Infantino's contributions appear barely at all here in the final product, one may think Nebres did this alone if it wasn't for the credits. The story is about a boy with a magic basketball that allows him to be good at basketball. The boy later goes to Vietnam, returning after his mother's death. Hooked on drugs, he runs from the cops and a drug dealer and his magic basketball turns him back into a kid, allowing him to escape them.

Third is "Faster Than a Speeding Whozit", the latest story in the Abelmar Jones series. Art is by Alex Nino and story is by Bill Dubay. Abelmar and his brother get into another adventure, looking for a superman in the city, but instead finding a powerful robot. Another very lame story, with some okay art from Nino. This series would conclude in Creepy 128, which came out a number of years after this issue.

Fourth is this issue's color feature, "Nuts!" by Pablo Marcos (art) and Nicola Cuti (story). Alfredo Alcala also appears on the credit line, but he doesn't appear to have had any input in the artwork for this story, and doesn't appear on the contents page (this was probably a misprint). This story features a pilot transporting a whole army, which has been dehydrated in order to hide themselves. Most of the story is quite lame, with various space action, and our protagonist eating a lot of nuts. The story does have a pretty good ending though, when it is revealed that the nuts he was eating are actually the brains of the soldiers he was transporting! Marcos's art is rather poor here, wasting a color story which would have worked better on many other artists.

Fifth is "Harrow House" by Jose Ortiz (art) and Bruce Jones (story). This is the first of a two part story, concluded in issue 99. This is a very good story, featuring an old woman seeking to sell a house of her's that is haunted with the ghost of her dead niece. Multiple people have tried to stay in it, but all went crazy. The man occupies the house where mysterious things start to occur. He does manage to make it out okay though. He returns to the house where he sees a spectral form of the niece on teh stairs, which is where this part ends.

Last is a new series, Mac Tavish, in "Caucus on Rara Avis" by Pepe Moreno Casares (art) and Jim Stenstrum (story, as Alabaster Redzone). This new series, which lasted in Eerie for quite a while, is very clearly heavily influenced by Star Wars. It stars Mac Tavish, a space hero, who is brought to Rara Avis to speak on behalf of the Governor, who is running for re-election. The governor is assassinated, and Mac Tavish pursues the assassin and kills him, who ends up being a robot. The murder is suspected to be done by a terrorist, Spider Andromeda, who is actually Mac Tavish's friend. Spider, who looks like a lion man shows up, and refutes that, suggesting Mac Tavish run for governor. While this has some good art, there's nothing here special storywise in this first part of a long series.

Creepy 126

Ken Kelly provides the cover for this issue of Creepy, featuring a boy in a bed airborne over a city. Rudy Nebres provides a one page introduction from Uncle Creepy.

First is "Parasite" by Martin Salvador (art) and Budd Lewis (story). This story is about a parasite from a man's brain that ends up killing anyone who has touched him or his corpse. It ends up that the parasite originated from an experiment he performed to create life where he subjected himself to the experiment. Some people investigate it by going to a pyramid hidden on his property.

Second is "Nevada Moon" by Bill Draut (art) and Steven Grant (story). This story is about a werewolf plauging a town. A man who beats his wife kills a wolf, which ends up turning back into a man once dead. The man is bedridden after being hit by a car, and his wife, who had been having an affair with their assistant becomes a werewolf along with him.

Third is "...And Gus Created Woman!" by Anton Caravana (art) and Bruce Jones (story). Gus is a lonely but smart man who buys a beautiful manniquin that he transforms into someone who acts like a real woman. He becomes more and more successful in his life, but starts ignoring her and everything falls apart. He puts her back together but ends up dying afterwards. A so-so story, but Caravana's art is very good.

Fourth is "Ragged Man" by Romeo Tanghal & Alfredo Alcala (art) and Budd Lewis (story). A man and woman return to a concentration camp they were at when they were young. While they were there an old man told them of a Ragged Man that would come save them some day. The evil head of the concentration camp has their sex organs removed and thrown in a well, which eventually comes to life as the Ragged Man and enacts revenge for them.

Fifth is "Dreamer!" by Fred Carillo (art) and Nicola Cuti (story). A boy lives by himself with his Teddy Bear, which can bring his dreams to life. Eventually some adults arrive, and destroy the teddy bear, which was a device meant to protect him while they were gone. The adults want to hold him hostage from his parents, who rule the galaxy, but he is able to get a wolf to kill them.

Last is "Hot Bob" by Herb Arnold (art) and Budd Lewis (story). Hot Bob is a man returning to Earth from exile, making those on Earth very nervous of what he's going to do. When he arrives it ends up he's there to bring animals and plants to an over industrialized Earth, but what he brings is poisonous to anyone over 30.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Vampirella 76

This issue of Vampirella features a cover with a photo of Barbara Leigh.

First is Vampirella in "Curse of the Pasha's Princess" by Jose Gonzalez (art) and Bill Dubay (story). In this story Vampirella and Pantha attend a seance with a sultan hoping to speak to his dead wife. The dead wife's spirit appears, but transfers into Vampirella's body, causing Vampirella to act very out of character. Eventually the spirit is expunged from out of Vampirella, returning her to normal.

Second is "Gravity Field" by Pepe Moreno Casares (art) and Bob Toomey (story). This story features a group of astronauts that come across a black hole. One of the astronauts kills one of the others, not under his own control, and they throw his corpse into the black hole. He returns alive soon after however. The black hole starts speaking to them, revealing that he caused the murder then brought the man back to life. Lonely, the black hole asks them to bring it with them, which they do.

Third is "The Games of Sharn" by Ramon Torrents (art, his final Warren story) and Bruce Jones (story). In this story an alien creature who has lived on Earth is found by his home world, who plan to destroy Earth as punishment. Our protagonist demands the ability to play 'The Games of Sharn' and save Earth if he wins. The 'game' involves him dying over and over again throughout time as varous men in search for a key, which ends up being inside his lover's heart. By winning he spares Earth and life returns as if it never happened.

Fourth is "Swift Sculpture" by Val Mayerik (art) and Bob Toomey (story). A hunter woman travels through the arctic with her wolves, fighting off some yetis along the way. She eventually reaches a cave where they encounter a dragon, which was the purpose of her trip. The dragon is able to heal her wounded wolf with her blood, and creatues ice sculptures with his breath. She bring him back to her society where they have a female dragon waiting for him.

Fifth is "Time For a Change" by Alex Nino (art) and Nicola Cuti (story). This story features a crew on a spaceship where it is suspected that there is an alien among them. The alien reveals to the last remaining human that everyone is an alien clone but her. It tells her she should keep it alive to provide company but she kills it anyway.

Last is "The Haunted" by Russ Heath (art) and Bruce Jones (story). This story features a man, Roland, who goes into a haunted house. Since childhood he's always tried to compete with his succesful and brave brother, even if it gets him in danger. The brother goes overseas during the war and continues to have a lot of success. Roland ends up going crazy from his experiences in the house and his brother returns, revealing that he was hiding in another country to avoid going to war and that he's actually a coward.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Eerie 94

Don Maitz paints another terrific cover featuring the series Honor & Blood.

First is "The Coming of the Annihilator" by Luis Bermejo (art) and Bill Dubay (story). Despite being part of the Rook series, this story actually more heavily features Vampirella and Pantha, in a guest starring role. This story takes place just after their return from Drakulon (which should have taken place between issues 66 and 67 of Vampirella). They encounter a monster known as the Annihilator which absorbs energy, so they hope to go back in time with the Rook's help to prevent it from ever being brought to Earth.

Second is the second story in the "Honor & Blood" series with art by Leo Duranona and story by Nicola Cuti. This story continues with the daughter from the prior story, Sybil, now all grown up. She takes part in a pagan ceremony attempting to give birth to the anti-christ by having sex with a man with an elk mask. She gives birth to a son, Ian, and the doctor, seeing that he will be a vampire himself, tries to stop it by putting dirt from a vampire's grave on him. Sybil interferes, but the sun ends up killing her. Ian grows up to become a well known lawyer, but he is murdered when he tries to help a man who is framed. He comes back to life as a vampire, and while he desires only revenge against the man who killed him, he can't help but take other victims as well. He is eventually killed for good by his step-father the doctor, who is revealed to be his real father. The story ends with his son appearing to display homicidal tendencies as well. This series continues to be extremely good, head and shoulders above anything else in this magazine.

Third is "Dead Man's Ship" by Isidro Mones (art) and Nicola Cuti (story). A ship heading to China comes across a ship filled with corpses, dead of the plague. The captain, thinking that he sees himself as one of the corpses, orders the ship destroyed. They arrive in China, where they are told that a ship with the same name was there mere months before. The ship departs, and soon the crew start coming down with an illness. Scared of their fate, the captain orders an approaching ship fired upon, thinking it is their ship. But is actually a completed different one, that fires back, killing them all.

Fourth is "Divine Wind" by Esteban Maroto (art) and Louise Jones & Budd Lewis (story). This is a rather poor story, featuring the Mongoloid invasion of Japan hundreds of years ago and the weather which helps the Japanese fight htem off.

Fifth is "Don't Drink the Water" by Martin Salvador (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). A group of boys come across a canteen containing an antidote for a sick alien. The antidote has horrific effect on humans however, and a boy who drinks it goes on a murderous rage, killing one of his friends. His brother later kills their mother when he drinks it. The whole town's water supply ends up getting contaminated with the stuff.

Last is "Bruce Bloodletter of the IRS" by Fernando Fernandez (art) and Fernando Fernandez & Bill Dubay (story). This story was originally created by Fernandez in Europe as an educational story and was rewritten by Dubay in its reprinting here. Bloodletter of the title is an IRS agent, coming to a planet of lunatics where he is coming after the tax cheat Silas Mendicant. Despite Fernandez's good art, this is a very lame story and ends right in the middle of things. Bloodletter would return for his final Warren appearance a few years later in Eerie 117.

Creepy 68

This issue is a Christmas themed issue of Creepy, featuring a cover of an evil Santa with various body parts around the fire place. Another rather horrific back cover by Sanjulian, featuring a man with a nail through his neck. Some very good stories here and some rather dull ones as well.

First is the issue's only non-Christmas themed story, "The Stars My Salvation" by John Severin (art) and Doug Moench (story). As explained in later issues, one of the stories, "Once Upon a Miracle" missed the deadline and got replaced with this story. That story would be reprinted in Creepy 77, the next year's Christmas special. This story takes place in the Civil War where some union soldiers come across a hospital which the leading officer wants to attack. One of his soldiers doesn't want to attack a hospital, so the officer kills him. A similar scenario takes place in space, where an alien hospital ship carrying a device which can heal people heads after a damaged ship, hoping to destroy it. The alien captain attacks the doctor on the ship who doesn't want to attack. In both cases it ends up being an ambush, and the aggressive attackers are totally wiped out. The alien doctor manages to escape and heads down to the Earth where he is going to heal the head officer, but the officer instead kills him, and dies seconds later.

Second is "Christmas Eve Can Kill You" by Vicente Alcazar (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). A number of different stories occuring around christmas time in this one, including a man trying to kill himself being saved by another person and a shootout among crooks and cops.

Third is "Reflections in a Golden Spike" by Martin Salvador (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). An old man who is a retired train engineer befriends a young orphan runaway who passes out near the abandoned train that he lives in. Eventually however a pair of thieves arrive. When the boy kills one of the thieves he is killed, so the engineer kills the other with a golden railroad spike he had given to the boy.

Fourth is "Anti-Christmas", this issue's color story, by Rich Corben (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). This story features a young couple where the husband is actually a satanist, and they give birth to the anti-christ. Meanwhile her father, a priest, goes on a rampage, doing all he can to stop the anti-christ, including innocent babies and people. They eventually converge, and the priest kills his own daughter, then is killed by her husband who proclaims that the priest did the work of Satan a lot better than he could.

Fifth is "A Gentle Takeover" by Adolfo Abellan (art) and Budd Lewis (story). This story takes place in a future where Christmas is outlawed. An older man, Oliver Cubbins, who looks like Santa Claus organizes a peaceful march of believers in Christmas.

Sixth is "Christmas Visit" by Isidro Mones (art) and Budd Lewis (story). An old diner owner, Archie, has a rather bad attitude about christmas. He is visited by a mysterious stranger who arrives at his diner right around closing time. While walking around talking to the stranger, who tries to get him to get a better attitude about Christmas, the man causes various miracles to happen, like curing a crippled boy and talking a suicidal man from not killing himself. While the stranger is able to convince Archie that Christmas is good after all. Unfortunately for him, the stranger is murdered by muggers minutes later.

Last is "The Christmas Gnome of Timothy Brayle!" by Leopold Sanchez (art, his Creepy debut) and Budd Lewis (story). The poorest story in this issue, it is about a man who dislikes his wife who encountersa gnome that gives him the christmas present of his wife's now dead remains.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

1994 14

A pretty good cover starts of a pretty good issue of 1994. The Sanjulian cover, featuring Ghita of Alizarr and the various characters from her serial wraps around to include the back cover as well, a rarity for Warren. Sorry, couldn't track down an image of the cover for this issue!

First is "Womb With a View!" by Alex Nino (art) and Nicola Cuti (story). A husband and wife who are about to have a baby consent to allow a doctor to use a machine on her that will enable the baby to learn from inside the womb. This soon has major effects on the baby (known as Cranfranz) however, who gains the ability to read their minds and force them to do things from within the womb. He forces the father to do things for him including killing people. The father manages to stop him by permanently becoming his twin brother in the womb, and strangling him.

Second is "The Benevolence" by Jose Ortiz (art) and Jim Stenstrum (story). The best story in this issue, and a pretty long one, at 22 pages long. 'The Benevolence' is a program where supplies are brought to colony planets around the universe. The last ship on their trip is filled with horrifically mutated scientists. When there is a malfunction with their ship, they have the ability to escape unharmed, but only if they drop off part of the ship down to the planet, killing everyone there. The captain doesn't want to do it but his crew mutinies and causes it to happen anyway. Wishing to keep the Benevolence program alive, the captain accepts all the blame himself for the events that occurred.

Third is "The Galaxy Grand Prix" by Vic Catan (art) and Jim Stenstrum (story, credited to Alabaster Redzone). The worst story of the issue, it features an intergalactic race taking place in spaceships. Nothing all that interesting here.

Fourth is the latest "Ghita of Alizarr" story by Frank Thorne (story & art). Ghita leads her forces towards Nergon's city and she surrenders to them unarmed. There Nergon shows her to everyone in order to humiliate her, but when Ghita's forces, including Drill arrive, the trolls become scared and Ghita uses the opportunity to seize a sword and kill Nergon's soldiers, and soon Nergon himself. Victorious over the enemy, Ghita decides to share her rulership with Thenef and Dahib. A pretty good conclusion to the first series of Ghita stories. This series would take a few issues off before starting up again with issue 17.

Last is the second part of "Baby Makes Three" by Abel Laxamana (art) and Kevin Duane (story). Turner and Kelly come across the space station seen at the end of the last part, and meet Chulmann, the head of the place. While there Turner listens to a report from his superior. Only 6 pages long and ending abruptly, I wonder if this was originally meant to be part of the next story and got split off for inclusion here.

Eerie 93

A very good Don Maitz cover starts off this issue of Eerie.

First is the Rook in "Strangers in the Strangest Places" by Abel Laxamana (art) and Bill Dubay (story). An uncredited Alfredo Alcala draws the first two pages. This story continues on from the previous issue, where the alien fan of the Rook, Organ Lo is in the old west, being forced to rob people to payback the evil Granny Filcher. The Rook & friends interfere, revealing her as the true evil one, and allowing Organ Lo to return to his original time.

Second is "Honor and Blood", a new series by Leo Duranona (art) and Nicola Cuti (story). This series was one of Eerie's best series around this time of its existence. This story tells of a pair of brothers who were born from their dying mother and discovered in her coffin, eating her. The boys grow up and mysterious murders start occuring. One of them is obviously a vampire, although he is able to cure his vampiric impulses and eventually go to college, marry and have a daughter. His brother acquires bodies for him, but eventually admits that the brother was blacking out and killing them, and that he's a ghoul. The brothers kill themselves, but the daugher appears to have vampiric tendencies herself...

Third is the finale for Moonshadow, titled "Kingdom of Ash" by Jose Ortiz (art) and Bob Toomey (story). Moonshadow, who quickly recovers from the previous story and is introduced by Suzanna and a tentacled creature to the Changer, which is actually a giant machine storing an epic body of knowledge and possessing magical powers. The Changer transfers its power into Moonshadow, giving him tremendous powers, enough to recreate the desert he is stranded in. A very interesting story to conclude this interesting series. About 10 issues or so later a new series would start starring this character.

Fourth is "The Einstein Factor" by Pepe Moreno Casares (art) and Casares & Nicola Cuti (story). In this story a jet pilot lands his jet in a body of water and gets out, traveling around a bizarre landscape in his raft. He eventually climbs aboard the rocky land around him, finding a weird cushiony ground and large worms chasing him. It ends up that he has shrunk and is wandering around the skull of a dead animal. The letter pages raged with letters about this story for months afterwards.

Last is the latest Abelmar Jones story, "The Slime Creature of Harlem Avenue" by Alex Nino (art) and Bill Dubay (story). Abelmar and his brother Stanley rob a home where they find an egg, which hatches, causing a blobish creature to come after them.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Creepy 10

A classic Frank Frazetta cover starts off this issue of Creepy, featuring a green Frankenstein's monster before a mob.

First is "Brain Trust" by Angelo Torres (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). A new doctor in town is perplexed by the town eccentric, a large man who doesn't show up in public often, and smells like shaving cream. Eventually the grocery store owner refuses his business and he dissappears. The doctor finds out that the man was one of a set of mutated twins. Having died in a car crash, his other brother used his brain to control his actions. When the doctor comes upon him, the living twin uses the dead one's body to kill himself.

Second is "Into the Tomb!" by Joe Orlando (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). A group of archaeologists discovers a mummy's tomb, complete with one mummy of a servant and one of a pharoah. One of the archeologists reveals himself to be the pharoah, reincarnated, and destroys the mummy of his original body. The mummy of the servant arrives and the pharoah orders him to kill the others, but it instead wraps him up in wrappings and puts him back in the sarcophagus where his original body had been.

Third is "Monster!" by Rocco Mastroserio (art, his Warren debut) and Archie Goodwin (story). A man awakens in the body of a Frankenstein like monster. He becomes enraged at the scientist who did this to him and grabs him and walks into quicksand, just as the scientist reveals that he needed to do this to save him from a car wreck. A printer mistake causes the 6th and final pages in this story to be switched with one another.

Fourth is "Midnight Sail" by Johnny Craig (story & art, credited as Jay Taycee). Four young men and women go onto a sailboat and are helped by a friendly old captain who tells them a tale of the ship, which was occupied by a vampire which killed most of the crew and was obsessed with piloting the boat himself. In the present day the old captain pilots the boat over a waterfall to his death when a stake goes through his heart. Two of the young people are able to escape unharmed. The narrative of this story is very confusing, making it hard to tell when we depart the past and come back to the present.

Next is "Backfire!" by Gray Morrow (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). A gunfight veteran arrives in a deserted town and meets an old man in the bar, who tells him of a jury thats forming. After the gunfighter tells the old man about his most previous gunfight it is revealed that the 'jury' is actually the ghosts of the men he's killed, who fire upon him. He wakes up, finding its a dream, but soon ends up in the exact same scenario all over again.

Sixth is "Thing of Darkness" by Eugene Colan (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). A man working in the subway encounters a monster in the darkness which is afraid of the light. He is able to escape from the creature when the light of a subway car arrives, but his hair goes white from the fright. The monster still pursues him, but as long as he remains in the light he is okay. Unfortunately for him, the city has a great blackout, and all he has is a single candle which doesn't stay lit for that long...

Last is one of Warren's all time most famous stories, "Collectors Edition" by Steve Ditko (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). The story features Danforth, a man obsessed with the occult who hears of a book, 'Dark Visions' that he becomes obsessed with obtaining. Seeking to spend all of his wife's money on the book, he eventually murders the bookstore owner who told him of it in the first place, who had also committed murder to obtain the book. Reading the book, Danforth finds that it goes long past the time of the author, all the way to the present, and even the future, showing his own death, which shortly comes when his wife buries an axe in his head. Terrific art, terrific story, this is certainly up there among Goodwin's best stories. Ditko's drawing of Danforth's eyes slowly closing across the bottom of each page is also a nice touch.

Vampirella 52

A pretty good issue of Vampirella, starting off with a cover by Enrich.

First is Vampirella in "Dr. Wrighter's Asylum of Horror" by Gonzalo Mayo (art) and Bill Dubay (story). The Dr. Wrighter of the title is a doctor that Vampirella and Pendragon meet that has created a freak show. In reality he too is a freak, wearing a mask to cover up his horrifically deformed face. He seeks to make Vampirella a freak as well by transplanting her head with his assistant, in order to make her a movie star. This makes the other freaks angry however as he never had any such plans for them and they kill him.

Second is another Vampirella story, "The Beauty and the Beast" by the same team as the first story. In this story Vampirella becomes the subject of a hollywood writer/producer who hopes to make her into a movie star and help his own career in the process. His planned storyline is so horrific though that Vampirella mistakenly believes that he and his comrades are working for Chaos and bites them all, blowing a legitimate chance for her to become a movie star. Of course within 15 issues or so of this issue Vampirella would become a movie star anyway. Mayo's art is terrific in both these stories, far better than the work he had done in many of the 1980's issues of Vampirella that I've been covering over the last few months.

Third is "The House at Blood Corner" by Ramon Torrents (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). A writer and his wife, whom he married only for her money move into a reported haunted house. It isn't long before they find a rat in their bedroom and see the spectral image of the home's former owner. It ends up that it was all a trick by the broker who leased them the house, who created holograms that made the house appear haunted. He wants the writer to write a book about him, but the wife, whose real father died in the house instead gets revenge by killing them both. Torrents does a good job in making the haunted house appear really scary in this story.

Next is "Stake-Out!" by Jose Ortiz (art) and Boudreau (story). A military leader seeks to destroy the world's vampires, despite the fact that in this age they get along peacefully with normal humans. He hopes to use a new weapon to destroy them, but tries to make it seem as if the vampires started it by killing off one of his own leaders. When the leader doesn't turn into a vampire himself however, the truth is revealed and the leader is handed over to the vampires to eat as punishment.

Last is "The Segerson Experiment" by Zesar (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). Another haunted house-themed story featuring a young woman going to the house of the well known horror author Segerson and finding various horrors there. Not much of a plot in this heavily mood based story, but Zesar's art is quite nice. Its a shame he didn't do more work for Warren than the measely five stories he did.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Eerie 92

This issue has a sports themed cover by Kim McQuaite, featuring the opening story.

First is "Cold Sweat" by Jose Ortiz (art) and Bill Dubay (story). A pair of hockey players traveling in space are brought to a iceberg shaped asteroid where they are forced to play hockey with a number of robots. It ends up that the robots are controlled by an alien whose planet they were to play in their next match. By shooting a puck at his hidden lair, they are able to destroy him and escape.

Second is the Rook in "Strangers in the Strangest Places!" by Abel Laxamana (art) and Bill Dubay (story). An alien, Organ Lo who is a big fan of the Rook desires to be in the old west with him, so he transfers himself back in time to that very location. There he is helped by an old woman, Granny Fincher who demand so much money from him that he has to resort to becoming a crook to pay her back. This is the first part of a two part story concluded in the next issue.

Third is "Lets Hear it For Homo Sapiens" by Auraleon (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). This story was originally intended for Creepy 95's apes special. This story tells of a revolution of evolved animals and a young girl that befriends one of the intelligent chimps during their battle.

Fourth is the second Moonshadow story, "Suzanna, Don't You Cry" by Jose Ortiz (art) and Bob Toomey (story). In this story Moonshadow wanders through the desert, finding 'The City of the Changer', which is actually a secret underground lair. There he finds Suzanna, a lover and mentor from his childhood when he became an assassin. Suzanna looks exactly as she did back then. Through flashbacks we find that Moonshadow ended up killing her when she was ordered to kill him. Suzanna takes off her clothes for him, then completely rots away, causing him to become comatose.

Fifth is a new series, Abelmar Jones with "Bad Day 'Cross 100th Street" by Alex Nino (art) and Bill Dubay (story). this story tells of two inner city youth who go to work for a wizard, resulting in the typical number of bizarre looking monsters showing up. Not very good, but this series would continue on for a while.

Gaffer's long awaited conclusion ends the issue in "Final Wish" by Leo Duranona (art) and Roger McKenzie (story). A rather unexpected, but still good conclusion for this series. Infact this might be the most depressing ending a series in Eerie ever had. Gaffer dies of old age and leaves his third and final wish to Jaime. Many years pass, Jaime is now an old man himself, living in a mostly abandoned New York in the midst of a devastating winter. Even worse, news of a war soon comes. Jaime rushes to the old slip of paper where Gaffer left him his wish only to be shot by looters. Jaime wishes for peace on earth just as a nuclear weapon strikes New York, causing a blinding white light that engulfs Jaime and everyone else. The true conclusion to this series appears left to the reader's interpretation. Did Jaime's wish for peace on Earth occur due to everyone being wiped out? Or was the light signalling the end of the devastating winter? Alas, this was it for this series so we'll never know. A minor blooper by the production department in this story, with the "End" logo appearing on the second to last page.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Creepy 56

Today we're gonna take a look at the first issue of Creepy I ever read. The cover is by Sanjulian.

First is "In My Father's House" by Auraleon (art) and Doug Moench (story). This story features a detective investigating the death of a man tied to a stone angel in a graveyard. While investigating multiple attempts are made on his life and he meets various crazy women that used to know him. Eventually he finds that the murdered man was the leader of a Satanic cult who became too greedy with power. Satan himself appears and recruits the detective to be the new leader, but he too becomes too greedy and is eventually killed because of it.

Second is "Innsmouth Festival" by Adolfo Abellan (art) and John Jacobson (story). This story is heavily influenced by H.P. Lovecraft's 'A Shadow Over Insmouth". An editor for a magazine about (usually fake) supernatural events is summoned to Innsmouth by a letter from two women, who incidently end up being the only normal looking people in the town, which is controlled by hideous looking creatures that worship Ctulhu. They capture the women, hoping to sacrifice them to their watery God, and the editor tries to help them. They are able to kill the 'God' and the various mutants using a laser gun given to the editor by an old woman. At the end of the story it is revealed that the women aren't really human themselves, as they have wings.

Third is "Consumed by Ambition" by Martin Salvador (art) and Jack Butterworth (story). A count from Europe heads to Venezuela where it is revealed that he is a vampire. A young man he meets is attacked by him, but he has ambition of being a vampire and lets him join him. Eventually the young man becomes too ambitious however, and puts a stake in his master's heart. He demands a daily sacrifice from a nearby tribe, but is soon done in by man eating ants. His skeleton remains alive for many year after however as a stake wasn't used on him.

Fourth is this issue's color story, "Lycanklutz" by Richard Corben (story & art). Warren's first good looking color story (the first 3 attempts, that appeared in Creepy 54, and Vampirella 25 & 26 looked absolutely horrific, usually due to the overly bright colors overwhelming the artwork), although Corben would turn out a much better color job merely a single issue later. The story takes place in a kingdom plagued by a werewolf. An old man offers to rid them of the werewolf with fleas, which cost $500. The king agrees to use them, but betrays the old man, tying him up as bait so he doesn't have to pay him. The werewolf arrives, but the old man bargains with him for a flea collar and the werewolf instead attacks the king. This story would win Corben the best story written by an artist for 1973.

Fifth is "The Way of All Flesh" by Jose Bea (art) and Doug Moench (story). This story features a blind old vicar who has no one attending his church any longer. A friend tells him to give up, then returns home where he finds his wife dead. Many other deaths have occured around this time as well. By investigating, our protagonist eventually finds the vicar, preaching to the corpses of all the murdered people. The vicar then passes away, and all their corpses crumble to dust.

The issue concludes with "The Bell of Kuang Sai" by Isidro Mones (art, miscredited as Munes) and George Henderson (story, an adaption, but not stated who of). This story features a bell maker, Kuang Sai, who is hired by his lord to make him a bell. When he makes the bell however it has a large crack in it. He tries again and again, but each time it has a crack. The lord offers him three more chances, after failing on the first two he sacrifices his daughter, pushing her into the bell's liquid material before it is poured into the mold. This results in it finally working. This causes the bell to emit a strange shriek from her whenever it is rung however.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vampirella 68

Enrich, as usual provides the cover for this issue of Vampirella, showing Vampi being held by a robot.

First is "Orphee, Poor Orphee" by Jose Gonzalez (art) and Bill Dubay (story). Vampi is in Hollywood making a movie where a number of robots are coming after her. At the same time a scientist who lives nearby has created a bizarre looking tentacled creature, Orphee, who is accused of being a cannibal due to recent murders. The creature watches Vampi fighting the robots for the movie and thinking they are real, interferes, fighting them off. It is soon revealed that the murders were committed by someone else, clearing Orphee.

Second is "October Man" by Leopold Sanchez (art) and Bruce Jones (story). Sanchez provides some very nice artwork on this story. Its about a man whose rather apathetic about the boy that his wife hopes to adopt. Meeting an old friend who lost his own kid, he realizes that his potential son is in danger due to a maniac who was the sister of a friend of his who died when he was young. While she kidnaps the boy, she is stopped when the man's friend runs her over. This gives him a new appreciation of the boy.

Third is the final Fleur story, "Night of the Alley Cats" by Ramon Torrents (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). For those who don't remember Fleur (I covered a story of hers way back in my very first Vampirella review, issue 35), she was a witch who was a backup feature for Vampirella in 1974. This was Fleur's first appearance in Vampirella since issue 50, and was also her last appearance overall. Its a good thing, as this was quite a poor story, not on the level at all of her other stories. Fleur gets involved with the investigation of a murder involved with a gang. It ends up that the man she is seeing is responsible for the murders and through her witchcraft he gets whats coming to him.

Fourth is "By Degrees" by Jose Ortiz (art) and Bruce Jones (story). This story features a man in a mall with his wife doing some Christmas shopping. She goes off on her own to buy something and he waits for her. When she doesn't arrive, he goes looking for her, to no avail. Everything seems strange as he tries to retrace his steps. The place he was waiting for her he can't find. He is unable to make it back to his car. Even his own home is no longer there. The man ends up dissappearing from society. A rather odd story with no explanation for what ends up happening to the main character.

Last is "The Munificent Ali Addan and Son!" by Esteban Maroto (art) and Bill Dubay & Maroto (story). The art on this story is printed sideways, which was the case for a number of Maroto/Dubay stories around this period in this magazine. This story features the son of Ali Addan, who encounters a beautiful woman who has set up a trap for him. He battles a warrior and defeats him, and the woman is revealed to be Ali Addan's daughter. Her mother, a monster appears and kills Ali's son.

Eerie 91

A terrific cover by Don Maitz starts this issue of Eerie.

First is the Rook in the absurdly titled "The Incredible Sagas of Sludge the Unconquorable, Helga the Damned, and Marmadrake, the Magnificent!". Its done by the usual team of Luis Bermejo (art) and Bill Dubay (story). After a number of good Rook stories, the series starts to lose some of its luster in this rather poor, overcomplicated story. Three stories are going on at once here. In one, the Rook is taken over by an evil alien brain and forced to work towards sending weapons to its homeworld. In the second, Bishop Dane goes back in time and encounters some vikings. In the third, Manners and the ladies encounter a robot monster controlled by a mad scientist. Eventually the stories converge and everything comes out okay.

Second is a much better story, "Elijah Arnold and the Angel's Egg" by Leo Duranona (art) and Jonathan Thomas (story). This story takes place a couple of centuries ago, when Elijiah Arnold discovers a UFO that crashed in the woods near his house. Inside the UFO he finds various alien livestock, which he brings to his farm. He breeds one of the alien cows with one of his own, but a horrific monster is born as a result. Eventually the alien owning the livestock returns, and kills Arnold. The alien helps his neighbors bury the creature in one of Arnold's barns using cement. In the present, construction workers attempt to build a highway where the farm is, resulting in releasing the monster.

Third is the second and final part of "Francesca" by Gonzalo Mayo (art) and Bruce Jones (story). Jean's vision of a dead man in Francesca's room appears to be nothing but a dream. She continues to be suspicious of her however, and through some investigating realizes that she is the reincarnation of a woman who died centuries before and has returned from hell. She seeks to get Jean's husband to kill himself, which she'll do as well, resulting in them being together in hell. Luckily a lighting bolt ends up causing a grave to fall on Francesca, killing her.

Last is a new series, Moonshadow, with "Against the Sun". Art is by Jose Ortiz and story is by Bob Toomey. Moonshadow, an old assassin is confronted by the Grim Reaper. Moonshadow tries whatever he can to get the Reaper to spare his life, and the Reaper decides to allow it by having him kill someone else for him. The victim ends up being a sick little boy. Rather than kill the boy however, Moonshadow outsmarts the Reaper and instead kills all the germs in him, making the boy better. Angered by being outsmarted, the Reaper sends Moonshadow to the middle of a desert.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Creepy 12

Dan Adkins provides the cover to this issue of Creepy, although it is miscredited to Frank Frazetta. The frontis, "Creepy's Loathsome Lore" is provided by Dan Adkins as well.

First is "Dark House of Dreams" by Angelo Torres and Archie Goodwin (story). An artist moves into the house of Matthew Gaunt, an evil man who was killed by a mob almost 200 years earlier. The artist has a number of dreams where he encounters Gaunt, and other evil beings, which become worse and worse with each one. Eventually he dies and turns into Gaunt, resurrected. Another very good story, as usual from Torres and Goodwin.

Second is "Turncoat!" by Bob Jenney (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). This story features a member of the Union army in the Civil War, who, hoping to escape from battle, puts on the uniform of a dead confederate soldier when he spots some confederate soldiers. The soldiers end up being dead however, and force him to die as well.

Third is "Maximum Effort!" by Rocco Mastroserio (art) and Ron Parker (story). A pair of men open a funeral business and find a lot of success with it. A skeptic thinks he realizes whats going on when he finds that they're grounding the bones of the dead to sell for fertilizer, but find that they also find other uses for the corpse, as they are a vampire and ghoul!

Fourth is "Voodoo Doll!" by Jerry Grandenetti (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). An older man gets a voodoo doll to keep his young wife from leaving him. However, it ends up that it is all a trick by her and her lover. She shows him a voodoo doll of himself, which causes him to die of a heart attack. However, when she disposes of both dolls, it ends up that they worked after all. By throwing the two of them in a fire, she is burned up herself.

Fifth is "Blood of the Werewolf!" by Steve Ditko (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). A man wandering the city in a drunken stupor is found by a psychologist who has a werewolf for a son. The psychologist manages to transfer the werewolf curse onto our protagonist, who soon becomes a werewolf himself. He ends up going to a psychologist to tell him whats going on, but it ends up that the man is actually the son who was originally a werewolf, and shoots him dead with a silver bullet.

Sixth is "Idol Hands!" by Manny Stallman (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). This story is about a large idol statue that is discovered and brought to a museum. It is soon discovered however that it isn't just a statue, and is alive. A so-so story, the weakest in this issue.

Last is "Adam Link, Robot Detective" by Joe Orlando (art) and Otto Binder (story). Adam dons a human disguise in order to investigate some murders that have been accused as having been committed by his robot mate, Eve. A rather interesting twist in this story, with Adam looking like a normal human being for most of it.

Vampirella 26

An odd cover of Vampirella; rather than a painted cover it features colored panel excerpts from four of the stories within. While two of the panels are from the actual story, two other ones are new entirely, uncredited, most likely drawn by Bill Dubay.

First is "Demons in the Fog!" by Escolano & Jose Gonzalez (art) and Len Wein (story). Escolano's sole Warren appearance was reportedly so awful that Dubay had Gonzalez redo the entire story. As a result things are pretty inconsistent here, some very well drawn panels from Gonzalez while there are some very awful ones from Escolano too. The story is a continuation of a storyline that had been running over the past few issues involving Pendragon's family. Here, Pendragon's grandson, having been attacked by Vampirella in the prior issue needs a blood transplant. Since the doctor's refuse to take Pendragon or Vampirella's blood, he receives help from a third party, which ends up working for Chaos. In the end everything works out okay and the boy is able to get a transplant from the Van Helsings. Except for Pendragon that is, who is told off for good by his ex-wife.

Second is "Moonspawn" by Esteban Maroto (art) and Doug Moench (story). A very quick paced story with not much dialogue, it features the origin of werewolves on Earth, which occurs when a meteor crash mutates a wolf, which attacks a gypsy, turning him into a werewolf. He battles a fellow gypsy who stole his girlfriend and they both end up dying.

Third is "Fringe Benefits" by Jose Bea (art) and Doug Moench (story). This is one of Warren's earliest color stories, but the coloring is horrific; so bright that in some panels the art is completely incomprehensible. A masked criminal murders a young woman in her home and starts stealing things from her. Her husband arrives while he's there and he pulls off the mask, but the crook stabs him in the face and runs off. The husband chases him, and the crook ends up getting hit by a car. He awakens in the hospital finding that no one suspects him of anything. He thinks he's going to be able to escape freely, but realizes the doctor operating on him is none other than the husband.

Fourth is "Demon Child" by Ramon Torrents (art) and James Crawford (story). An old man whose an expert on the paranormal suspects that his granddaughter is actually a demon known as a Changeling, who took her place shortly after her birth. His wife passed away soon after, which he suspects it is because of the demon. His daughter and son in law don't believe him, thinking that they will have him committed due to this, although he is right after all as the ending shows.

Last is "Blood Brothers" by Isidro Mones (art) and Lynn Marron (story). Revolutionaries in Guatemala find a religious cult which they believe possesses gold that they can use to fund the revolution. One of the revolutionaries tries to join the cult and does so by replacing a member which he had killed. Yet when he is officially brought into the cult he is eaten by the others, which is what their plans were for the man he had killed.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Top Warren Stories

I figured that I would take a break from the standard fare today and rather than review an issue, rank my personal favorite Warren stories. Before going in I will admit my personal biases; my favorite era by far is Bill Dubay's original run as editor, also up high with me is the Louise Jones era and original Archie Goodwin era. The vast majority, if not all these stories are from those time periods. In addition, I will admit going in that a few of these stories are here more due to the artwork than the story; hile the story is usually the driving force with me (Warren certainly had many well drawn stories over the years that from a story standpoint were absolutely horrific), there are a few cases where the art was just so overwhelmingly good to me that I felt it needed to be included here. You will also notice that Eerie and 1984/1994 has barely any entries at all; this is mostly due to the fact that these magazines were dominated by continuing series during the periods at which Warren was at its peak in my opinion (I have excluded all series from this ranking). I'm going to start with a number of honorable mentions in order of magazine and issue (not by how much I like them), followed by more in depth coverage of my top 10 stories. Stories marked with * signify stories that have already been covered on this blog.

Honorable Mentions:

Success Story* - Creepy 1
The Thing in the Pit - Creepy 6
The Mountain* - Creepy 8
Spellbound - Creepy 46
A Scream in the Forest - Creepy 53
Twisted Medicine* - Creepy 61
Mates* - Creepy 64
Excerpts from the Year Five! - Creepy 67
Last Light of the Universe - Creepy 73
Second Genesis* - Creepy 80
Process of Elimination - Creepy 83
Soul of Horror* - Eerie 3
Experiment in Fear* - Eerie 9
The Pepperlake Monster* - Eerie 58
Daddy and the Pie* - Eerie 64
The Muck Monster* - Eerie 68
Mordecai Moondog* - Eerie 71
Eye of the Beholder* - Vampirella 14
Stairway to Heaven - Vampirella 29
The Evil Eye - Vampirella 29
The Truth - Vampirella 31
Top to Bottom - Vampirella 33
The House on the Sea - Vampirella 41
Goodbye My Love, Goodbye - Vampirella 41
Around the Corner... Just Beyond Eternity - Vampirella 42
Love Strip - Vampirella 44
Janis! - Vampirella 45
The Winter of Their Discontent - Vampirella 45
Fallen Angel - Vampirella 60
The Night Willa Jane Gornley Went Home*- Vampirella 82
Scourge of the Spaceways* - 1984 #2

Top 10 stories:

10) Jenifer (Creepy 63, by Bruce Jones & Berni Wrightson) - One of Berni Wrightson's first stories for Warren and Bruce Jones's only story written for Warren during Dubay's original reign as editor. A very horrifying story that got Wrightson off on a great foot to start his Warren career. While hunting, a man rescues a girl from a man about to kill her. The girl has the ugliest face you could imagine, but the man becomes completely obsessed with her, adopting her. The girl is clearly deranged and eventually ends up driving his entire family away. He initially stays with her, then tries to get rid of her, all with disastrous results. Eventually he tries to kill her, only for someone to rescue her and kill him, starting the cycle again.

9) Zooner or Later* (Vampirella 78, by Bruce Jones & Russ Heath) - A terrific, terrific story, with a hilarious ending. A man finds out he is dying of cancer, so he tries desperately to find any way to save himself, from experimental drugs to faith healers to even devil worshippers. All attempts fail. He learns of a tribe called the Zooner from a cook who says hold the power to reincarnate someone with the mind that they had before they died. He heads to Africa where he initially finds it a meaningless lead, but a drunk at a bar tells him how to find them. He finally does find the Zooner, who worship the Hippopotomus and they sacrifice him. He awakens as an embryo, very excited to be soon born again, but when he is born, it is as a baby Hippo! A terrific Bruce Jones/Russ Heath team up, not the last one on this list.

8) In Deep* (Creepy 83, by Bruce Jones & Richard Corben) - This story tells of a couple in the middle of the ocean whose ship sinks, stranding them in the middle of the ocean with only an inner tube to keep them afloat. Over the night the wife drowns in her sleep. The husband, already distraught over her death faces even more terror as seagulls start flying towards them and start eating her corpse. It gets even worse as sharks arrive as well, forcing the man to fight for his life while trying to guard his wife's rapidly deteriorating corpse. By the end of the story he lays comatose in a hospital bed with all that remains of her, her heart. Memorable for many reasons, this story features a terrific color art job by Richard Corben, and is quite horrifying with the sharks arriving. The story also reminds me of a similar story from EC's the Vault of Horror featuring a zombie wife that horrifies her husband as her body starts to decompose and fall apart, so this story does have some nostalgic value to me as well. A sequel story was done in Creepy 101, but wasn't that great a story.

7) Gamal and the Cockatrice (Vampirella 47, by Bruce Bezaire and Auraleon) - Arguably the most clever story ever written for Warren, this features a nomadic tribe and Gamal, a member of the tribe, who claims to have killed a cockatrice. He tells his tribe the story of how he managed to hunt the creature, which will kill anyone who looks at it. He then reveals that he has captured one, and uses it to blackmail the tribe into giving him money and women. The thing is, because looking at the cockatrice will kill you, he is never able to reveal the cockatrice, and infact its never revealed whether he's telling the truth or lying about everything.

6) The Other Side of Heaven (Vampirella 28, by Jose Bea) - Jose Bea was probably the most surreal of any Warren artist with his stories and artwork, and this is one of the better examples. A man walking on the beach one day comes across a bizarre creature that looks like an octopus smuthered with peanut butter. The bizarre creature reveals to the man that he is actually God, and that now near his death, he will make the man a God himself. Quite a story by Bea with some great artwork too.

5) Rendezvous* (Vampirella 35, by Fernando Fernandez) - Fernando Fernandez was one of Warren's best artist and writers, and unfortunately did very little work for them, only about a dozen or so stories that appeared mostly between 1973 to 1975. This story is his best. It features a young woman longing for her husband Hans who has headed off to war and a jealous suitor that desires her. The suitor comes to her house and chases her, concluding with his death in her backyard due being impaled on the sword of a corpse contained within a tree. The corpse is actually Hans, who was murdered by his wife who would rather kill him than let him go to war. Just a terrific, terrific shock ending with great artwork throughout.

4) Magnificent Ephemeral* (Vampirella 57, by Bruce Jones & Ramon Torrents) - One of Warren's best ever stories from my first ever issue of Vampirella. A reporter investigates a Marilyn Monroe-esque actress who disappeared at the peak of her career. When he finally tracks her down the horrific truth is revealed. The big famous actress is actually a bald fat guy. Great art job by Ramon Torrents in his typical very realistic style. The final 2 pages are among the most haunting from any Warren magazine. Surprised that its not ranked at all in the most well known books covering Warren, The Warren Companion or Ghastly Terror (although Ghastly Terror pretty much ignores Vampirella entirely). Louise Jones did mention it as a story she really liked in her WC interview though.

3) The Wolves At War's End (Vampirella 43, by Victor Mora, Budd Lewis & Luis Garcia) During 1975 Warren published five stories from Victor Mora and Luis Garcia that were originally printed in Europe, albeit with some rewritten scripts and revised artwork. All five stories were amazing, with this being the best of them. It features a knight returning after the Crusades to find that the plague has completely ravished his hometown, and his entire family dead except for his sister, who is accused of being a witch. He manages to escape with his sister while under pursuit from the church. He heads to the home of his lover from before the war and miraculously enough finds her still alive. Alas, their pursuers arrive and kill his sister, who was a witch after all, and what was only a vision of his lover vanishes, causing him to realize the truth, that she is dead as well. Just a terrific, terrific story with some absolutely amazing artwork from Luis Garcia. Warren would publish an extremely similar story, "The Winter of Their Discontent" a mere two issues later which was also very good.

2) Thrillkill (Creepy 75, by Jim Stenstrum & Neal Adams) Described as the best story in the history of Warren Publishing in the Warren Companion, its hard to argue with the assessment of how amazing this story is. The panels show us a sniper hiding on a roof, shooting innocent people while the narrative revolves around a priest talking with a reporter about why the person snapped like he did. A terrific art job by Neal Adams in his final Warren story, along with an extremely good and relevant script by Jim Stenstrum, this story is only narrowly defeated by the top ranking story with me which has a better and more shocking ending.

1) Yellow Heat (Vampirella 58, by Bruce Jones & Russ Heath) This story tells of a young african tribesman, who hunts a lion with only a spear in attempt to win a beautiful girl who was captured from an enemy tribe. Doesn't sound like a plot worthy of the number one ranking on this listing, but trust me, the ending to this story is so shocking and horrifying that you will never forget it. In addition Russ Heath provides an extremely good art job, easily his best for Warren, and one of the company's best drawn stories ever published. Just be very careful of reading any interviews with Russ Heath or Bruce Jones discussing their Warren career, as you'll likely be spoiled regarding the ending. I sure as hell won't be spoiling it here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Eerie 90

This issue of Eerie is a special issue based on the cover painting by Richard Corben, featuring a beautiful woman sitting on top of a large blue lizard. All of the non-Rook stories in this issue are based on this cover. Another story originally intended for this issue appeared in Creepy 96, which came out a month after this issue. This is a very consistent, fun to read issue, continuing a pretty strong run from Eerie at this stage in its existence.

First is "Carrion" by Gonzalo Mayo (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). A beautiful girl travels across the wilderness with a large monster who was transformed into that form by a wizard. The wizard sends various monsters after them, all which fail to stop them. The two of them search for another wizard that can turn him back to human, but find that he has died already. Hungry, in a wintery setting, the monster sacrifices himself and lets the girl eat him to stay alive.

Second is "The Show Must Go On!" by Leo Duranona (art) and Roger McKenzie (story). This story is about a girl who departs the circus that she's in with Tolk, a large monster. She heads to a bar and agrees to sleep with a man to earn some money, but Tolk goes crazy and kills him. It ends up he had a price on his head, so they make some money out of it, and become sheriff of the town.

Third is this issue's color story, "A Woman Scorned" by Richard Corben (art) and Bruce Jones (story). Corben's color in this story isn't as good as usual. This story features a girl and the talking blue lizard she travels with in a desolate world, who keeps trying to get her to remember things, which appears as soon as she does. This includes a car, a house, trees, etc... We head to the past where we learn about the girl's childhood and her ability to cause anything she want to happen. She is soon able to get everything back to normal, including turning the lizard back into her boyfriend, but when she remembers him cheating on her, she resets everything to nothingness once again.

Fourth is "The Fianchetto Affair or: A Matter of Great Delicacy" by Jose Ortiz (art) and Bob Toomey (story). This story takes place sometime in the future, where dinosaur like aliens have come to Earth with humans viewed as food! This story focuses on one of those aliens, who takes a liking to one of the humans, a girl named Fianchetto. She escapes with Fianchetto after resigning from her job and they head to the ruins of New Jersey where she rescues Fianchetto from some human savages, but they are captured and she eats Fianchetto soon afterwards, having learned the errors of her ways.

Last is this issue's Rook story, "What is the Color of Nothingness?". For the first time, someone other than Bermejo draws the Rook, here Alex Nino. Story is by Bill Dubay, as usual. The Rook decides to head to the beginning of time. When he gets there however, he finds many aliens there as well, so many that some start fighting. The Rook meets some friendly aliens who try to stop the fighting and reveal that they harness a great amount of energy from the expanding universe. Another universe nearly expands into ours, but stops just before they come together, avoiding disaster. The Rook returns to the present, where Bishop Dane has been hard at work trying to create robot companions for Manners. Some very good art by Nino and a better than average story by the Rook, which has been very good for three straight issues now.

Creepy 106

Romas Kukalis provides the cover for this issue of Creepy, his Warren debut. This issue is called a swords and sorcery special, although as you'll see within, only half the stories have the swords/sorcery theme.

First is "Quimby the Barbarian" by Pablo Marcos (art) and Bob Toomey (story). This story tells of a man who uses a dream device to become a barbarian, battling other dreaming people. He battles a powerful sorceress who manages to defeat him, and upon returning to the waking world realizes that its his wife!

Second is "Fangs" by Leo Duranona (art) and Laurie Sutton (story). Duranona uses both real photos and his own drawn artwork in this story. A group of mermaids are brought to be entered into 'the shark cult', but upon arriving there realize that it is actually a den of vampires that kill all of them and feed their corpses to sharks. One of the mermaids survives, but is made a vampire herself. She convinces her fellow mermaids to kill all the remaining vampires. She then flees to above the water to escape, where she is soon found by a human.

Third is "Swords in the World Series" by Jim Starlin & Joe Rubenstein (art) and Ken Gale (story). Two sorcerors battle each other and one of them is victorious. The loser tries to escape by going back in time to the present. There he learns about baseball and becomes a player on the Yankees, making them very successful, within one win of the championship. At that time however the winning sorceror arrives on the scene, to have a one on one battle with him this time. Both are transported away, with one of the henchmen recruited for baseball as well.

Fourth is "Primal Equation" by Isidro Mones (art) and Budd Lewis & Jon Sinsky (story). Two soldiers from opposing sides of a large scale war, the only survivors, discover a space ship collecting bodies. Thinking this must be occupied by aliens, responsible for the fighting, they board the ship and inside find a giant embryo, being fed the corpses. One of the soldiers destroys it, but the scientists there, who are fellow humans, reveal that the creature was to be a new breed of human, one that would have kept the world peaceful.

Fifth is "Sudden Death Playoff" by Pepe Moreno Casares (art) and Bob Toomey (story). This story tells of a one on one golf game between a human and alien, with the survival of the Earth at stake. The human is able to beat him in golf and in a duel when the alien pulls out a sword.

Last is "The Art of Killing" by Val Mayerik (art) and Larry Hama (story). A samurai is trained by his elderly father and three uncles. One day a notice from their lord arrives, resulting in the samurai having to kill his uncles to keep his life. He then battles his father and kills him as well. This story would become a new series in Eerie titled "Samurai" shortly after this issue.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Vampirella 79

Jordi Penalva provides the cover for this issue of Vampirella, featuring Vampirella and a dragon.

First is "Shanghaied" by Gonzalo Mayo (art) and Bill Dubay (story). Vampirella and friends are in Hong Kong, where drug dealers have been dying mysteriously. This is part of a long storyline which has already been covered by me in other issues on this blog.

Second is "Edward & Griselda" by Val Mayerik & Joe Rubenstein (art) and Cary Bates (story). This story tells of a woman in medieval times pursued by dinosaur like creatures. Her husband chases after her and threatens to cut off her foot so she can't get away, but thanks to the creatures it is he who loses a foot instead.

Third is "I Think I'll Keep Her" by Auraleon (art) and Cary Bates (story). A man's beautiful wife dies, so he brings her to Haiti where they are able to bring her back as a zombie. The voodoo expert tells the man that she can't have any salt, making him extra paranoid. When he falls into the ocean on their way back to the States however, she jumps in after him, into the salt water.

Fourth is "Night of the Squid" by Jose Ortiz (art) and Michael Fleisher (story). This story tells of a pair of scientists who are able to switch the body of one of them with a squid. The other scientist has a heart attack however, trapping the other man in the squid's body. When detectives arrive they take his body to the morgue, thinking he is dead. A fellow scientist figures out whats going on, but when she switches bodies back it ends up that the man's body is already filled with formaldehyde.

Last is "Fungus" by Leo Duranona (art/photos) and Archie Goodwin (story). This story is a fumetti story, where instead of drawn artwork there are photographs, with word balloons pasted on. Duranona does do some drawings over the photos on some of the panels. The story surrounds a boarding house where a mysterious fungus starts contaminating one of the guests. The fungus was originally discovered by the creator of the house, who opened a door to another dimension, allowing the fungus to arrive. The fungus soon takes over everyone in the house and starts working on taking over the town as well.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Eerie 89

This will probably be my last post until friday or saturday, am going away on business for the rest of the week after today. Anyway, lets get on with the latest issue of Eerie.

This is quite a good issue of Eerie with a cover by Malcolm McNeil, his only work for Warren. For at least a little while Eerie climbs back up in terms of quality after an extended lull period with some more interesting stories, many of them horror themed.

First is the Rook in "Trouble in the Time Factory" by Luis Bermejo (art) and Bill Dubay (story). In this story Bishop Dane and Manners head to a time factory where the Rook had been working with the government. There an android man who was part of a series they were developing runs amock, seemingly destroying Manners. The Rook, back from the future arrives and manages to defeat it. He fixes Manners and tells them what happened to Gat Hawkins, who is now in the future, all alone.

Second is "Crystabelle!" by Leo Duranona (art) and Bill Dubay (story). This story is about a girl who grows up in an attack occupied by spiders when her mother steals her from her adopted parents and hides out with her there. An electrician, finding a malfunctioning power line, discovers her when fixing it. He goes inside and has sex with her, but she kills him and eats him aftewards, as that's all she knows, having seen the spiders do it.

Third is the first of a two part story, "Francesca" by Gonzalo Mayo (art) and Bruce Jones (story). A doctor and his wife adopt a 16 year old girl, Francesca, who was frozen in the past due to cancer and was just recently thawed and cured. While she gets along great with the doctor, Francesca acts very cold towards the wife. One night the wife finds that Francesca has murdered a man, which is were this part of the story ends.

Fourth is the finale to Scallywag/The Black Demon's Sword, "The Magician's Tower" by Jose Ortiz (art) and Budd Lewis (story). With the sword and statue, the magician summons the demon, who is crazed and out of control. A smaller demon with Sullivan is able to stop the demon and the magician is defeated by the ninja agent who had been working for him. Glad to see this rather poor series finally coming to an end.

Last is the finale to "Boiling Point" by Leopold Sanchez (art) and Bruce Jones (story). Our hero is unable to capture the killer, who gets away from him when a conductor interferes. He later meets with his friend, a priest, who says the killer has been coming to confessional. The priest is actually the killer himself, and is struck by a subway car himself, killing him.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Creepy 17

The last Creepy issue of the original Goodwin error before things completely fell apart. Even so things start to fall apart here as this is an average issue, but clearly not as good as the ones that had been coming before this. Frank Frazetta provides the cover for this issue as well as the frontis art for "Creepy's Loathsome Lore", which was originally published in Creepy 2.

First is "Zombie!" by Rocco Mastroserio (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). A pair of men watch a voodoo ritual, but one of the men takes a picture, which causes them to realize their present. His companion is killed, but he manages to escape. When zombies start coming after him, he jumps into what he thinks is salt water, thinking the salt will stop them. Alas, he actually jumped into a river, which is fresh water, and the zombies are able to get him.

Second is "Thundering Terror!" by John Severin (art) and Clark Dimond & Terry Bisson (story). This story was clearly originally intended for Eerie, with Cousin Eerie hosting it. This story is about an old man who tells of his brother, who was obsessed with killing buffalos. One such encounter resulted in the death of a man who was trying to stop him. Over the years our narrator becomes successful and grows a family while his brother vanishes and returns from time to time, always doing nothing but hunting buffalos. An old man, our narrator finds his brother dead after he tries to hunt one last buffalo, and sees the ghost of the dead man on a ledge above him. Like any story told in a western setting, Severin was perfectly suited for this story.

Third is "Mummy's Hand" by Joe Orlando (art) and Russ Jones (story, miscredited to Orlando). This story was originally published in Monster World 2 in 1965. It features the mummy coming back to life, going on a rampage, and eventually being defeated. A rather boring mummy story which had a companion story run around this same time in Eerie.

Fourth is "Heritage of Horror" by Donald Norman (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). A young woman has horrific visions of her husband as an axe murderer. She finds out the truth, that he isn't one, but it ends up he's a hangman instead, and makes her his next victim.

Fifth is "Image in Wax!" by Tom Sutton (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). This was Sutton's Warren debut. A man is jealous of a competitor's ability to create realistic, but horrific wax creatures. He decides to murder the man by setting the place on fire, and kills him, but the man melts, revealing him to be a skeleton covered in wax. The competitor was actually brought back from the dead to watch over the wax figures, who are actually real monsters, and with him dying the monsters force the killer to take over taking care of them, making him a wax man too.

Sixth is "A Night's Lodging!" by Maurice Whitman (art) and Rhea Dunne (story). This story is about a man who is confronted by vampires after getting into an accident with his carriage. He tells them if they let him live he'll build them a hotel and bring many victims to him. He does so, but is eventually turned into a vampire himself. A very lame rehash of "The Invitation" from Creepy 8, which had Whitman as one of the writers.

Last is "The Haunted Sky!" by Roger Brand (art, his Warren debut) and Archie Goodwin (story). A pilot encounters his dead colleagues while aflight in an experimental airplane. Although the doctors don't initially believe him, there is proof left behind of the ghost's existence.

1994 13

This issue of 1994 features Jose Bea's only real cover for Warren (his other cover, Eerie 75 was actually just a colored panel from a story of his). Its a really good cover, but unfortunately was Bea's only work at Warren between 1977 through 1983.

First is "Imaginary Lover!" by Alex Nino (art) and John Ellis Sech (story). A spaceship carrying 500 embryos, which are to be used as laborers is hit by a meteor and crashes into a foresty planet. As a result all of the embryos are killed but one, who is taken care of by Servo, a robot. Marx, the embryo, quickly grows up but longs for a woman. When one suddenly appears they have sex but Servo reveals that it is actually a figment of his imagination that Marx has turned into reality. Marx's thoughts also create a monster, that ends up killing Servo. Marx defeats the monster and kills the woman too, blaming her for Servo's destruction. While some investigating it afterwards don't believe he really created the woman or monster, the discovery that he has V.D. lends some credence to them being real.

Second is "Cyberman" by Delando Nino (art) and Rich Margopoulos (story). In the future people are able to live longer by transporting their bodies into androids. One such android man finds his wife harrassed and murdered one day, so he goes on a quest to destroy those that killed her.

Third is "The Crop!" by Jose Ortiz (art) and Bill Dubay (story). Another over the top, disgusting story by Dubay. this story takes place in the future after a famine and rough winter causes many to starve. A new food source arises that saves humanity, cloning. This story takes place from the perspective of one of the factory workers. While claimed to be cloned beef, the clones instead look exactly like human babies. Eventually after multiple pages showing these 'babies' being carved up, disaster happens as tapeworms ruin the supply of clones and all are destroyed. The main character, overhearing some scientists, hears them say that the clones were human all along and were used to get humans to get used to eating human meat. Discovering him listening, the scientists put him on the assembly line to use for food. While an interesting story, the fact that so much of it features carving up human babies to eat and the sheer ignorance of the main character to realize that they are humans is a severe flaw.

Fourth is the fifth story in the "Starfire Saga" series. Art is by Rudy Nebres and story is by Bill Dubay. Chris is dropped off by the pirates on a new planet where she is rescued from an octopus by a man named Sledge. They find a spider nearby that has killed Chris's friends, Snuffy and Drago. A short story this time at only 6 pages.

Fifth is "Ghita of Alizarr", the sixth story in this series. Art and story are both by Frank Thorne. Continuing from the previous story, the evil priest Sef brings Ghita before his God, Drill, who appears to be a giant worm. When Thenef and Dahib arrive and Ghita is knocked into the chasm that Drill came from, it is revealed that what we saw was actually just a tentacle of Drill, who looks like the inside of an oyster. Dahib beheads Sef and Thenef manages to control Drill using the gem he has. Planning to use Drill to help them in their battle later, Ghita and their troll underlings head off the battle.

The issue concludes with "Voyage to the Bottom of the Barrel" by Abel Laxamana (art) and Budd Lewis (story). A very over the top, racist story, it features a professor who states that black people are descended from neanderthals and whites are so much better than them that they must be aliens. This results in a war where white people try to exterminate all the black people on Earth, led by President Jimmy Carter. When aliens do arrive, it ends up that it is actually black people who are aliens, not white people. This story combined with 'The Crop' makes this arguably the most offensive issue Warren ever published.