Monday, March 30, 2009

Creepy 55

An all reprint issue of Creepy, the cover being a montage of many previous covers. This issue is dated August 1973.

First is "Brain Trust" by Angelo Torres (art) and Archie Goodwin (story), from Creepy 10. 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 doctorcomes upon him, the living twin uses the dead one's body to kill himself.

Second is "Welcome Stranger" by Al Williamson (art) and Archie Goodwin (story), from Creepy 2. Two men from Hollywood that work in the movie industry come across a town where they find some strange events occuring. They soon encounter some ghosts. It ends up all being fake, an act by the townfolk who want a movie filmed there, but their work had resulted in frightening the two men to death

Third is "Act Three", which is written and drawn by Johnny Craig. This story, from Creepy 18 is about an actress whose husband has turned into a werewolf. The two of them are able to get a doctor to create a cure, but when he injects both of them with the serum, the actress turns into a werewolf herself.

Fourth is "Thundering Terror!" by John Severin (art) and Clark Dimond & Terry Bisson (story), from Creepy 17. This issue 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.

Fifth is "Incident in the Beyond!" by Gray Morrow (art) and Archie Goodwin (story), from Creepy 3. A ship heads through space, testing a new warp drive to ensure it works. There was one prior try at the warp, which failed before. Along the way they find an apparent alien ship, which they destroy. The warp drive works, but they find that it has not saved them any time, and they find another ship trying the drive thinking they're aliens, so they are destroyed as well, like they had destroyed the original ship.

Sixth is "Prelude to Armageddon" by Wally Wood (art) and Wally Wood & Nicola Cuti (story) from Creepy 41. Some very sexy art by Wood in this story about a medieval war between various creatures such as centaurs, minotaurs and other creatures. The moon explodes during the battle, dealing heavy damage to the Earth and wiping out the battlers, leading to our society many milleniums later.

Last is "The Law and Disorder" by Luis Garcia (art) and Dennis P. Junot (story), from Creepy 47. This story features a man who is angry at the board of trustees of a college, thinking they are responsible for his father's death. He creates a disintegration ray which he lets into their hands, and they die of radiation once using it. The protagonist then dies suddenly at the end of the story, with little explanation.

1994 #28

Steve Fastner & Rich Larson provide the cover for this issue, published in December 1982.

First is the final "Young Sigmund Pavlov!" story by Alex Nino (art) and Bill Dubay (story). Pavlov crashes on a planet filled with various robot creatures. He and the robots end up recreating the Wizard of Oz, albeit with various robot creatures in place of the notable characters from that story. This story ends with a to be continued sign, but this would be the last story in the series. This story is very unlike the other stories in this series, as it doesn't contain the usual extremely bizarre Nino art and over the top sex filled story by Dubay.

Second is "Too Many Termarrows" by Vic Catan (art) and Tim Moriarty (story). This story features two men who land on a planet carrying a secret weapon. One of the men has a key robbed by a woman he sleeps with, so they pursue her through the desert and eventually find that she is part of a group of wives of a sultan. Our two protagonists release their weapon, human eating termites that kill everyone but them.

Third is "Ghita of Alizarr" by Frank Thorne (story & art). This story features Ghita taking part in a ceremony with Rahmuz where she is brought underground, where oddly enough, stars start appearing. A mummy which is Khan Dagon appears, then soon varous other corpses and monsters as well.

Next is "Angel" by Rudy Nebres (art) and Bill Dubay (story). This dull series finally comes to an end with this story. Angel and Ape find a group of savages that have captured a communist scientist who plans to destroy them. They end up being saved by a Tin Man superhero.

Last is the finale of "Diana Jacklighter, Manhuntress!" by Esteban Maroto (art) and Dan Hallassey & Bruce Jones (story). Lots of revelations in this story, where it is revealed that pretty much the entire quest of Diana to this point has been a lie. Her ally Jason has been the true villain all along, and the convict Frank Branner was actually an engineer named T. L. Hoyt who is a good guy on her side. With his help she returns to Earth and defeats Jason once and for all. A very good end to the strongest series of the latter part of 1994's life.

One Year Anniversary

Today is the one year anniversary of this blog! In the past year I've covered:

113 issues of Creepy...

106 issues of Eerie...

83 issues of Vampirella...

24 issues of 1984/1994...

and 1 issue of Blazing Combat...

...totaling 327 issues. Wow, quite a lot of work in the past year!

Next issue review will follow shortly.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Eerie 127

Nestor Redondo gives us the cover for this issue of Eerie, dated December 1981. This cover features Haggarth taking on King Thall and his tiger.

First is "Justin, King of the Jungle" by Rudy Nebres (art) and Bill Dubay & Rich Margopoulos (story, Dubay as Will Richardson). Justin King , who spends much of his time in the jungle gets upset when poachers kill an elephant. They shoot him and leave him for dead, but he survives, then comes after them, killing them one by one until all are dead.

Second is "Reuben Youngblood" by Howard Chaykin (art) and Budd Lewis (story). An uncredited Lee Elias draws the first page. Reuben Youngblood originally appeared back in Eerie 72 in 1976, and makes his second appearance here. One wonders whether this second appearance was meant to appear around back then. In this story Youngblood acts as an undercover bodyguard for a bootlegger during prohibition. Only the bootlegger is actually a vampire! Luckily Youngblood kills him with a grenade.

Third is "Merlin and the Sorcerer from E.R. Cruz (art) and Budd Lewis (story). Merlin, from the Cagim series tells this story of his encounter with Harry Houdini during the 1920s. Merlin poses as an archeologist who is an expert on druids, and when he finds a collegue dead, with an object down his throat, he heads to the archaeological site. There he meets Houdini and they head down a long tunnel where they encounter bizarre tentacled monsters.

The issue concludes with the latest "Haggarth" story by Victor de la Fuente (story & art). Haggarth and Borin confront the priest and Haggarth reveals that he has the manuscript that so many are after. Sensing how power hungry Borin is, Haggarth kills him. He then goes to confront Thall, who has the priest killed when he turns up empty handed without the manuscript. Thall takes it when Haggarth throws it to the ground, but when he flees Haggarth causes the place to collapse, killing Thall. A pretty good conclusion for the story that has been going on here for a number of issues, although the series will continue for a while.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Creepy 53

Sanjulian provides the cover for this issue of Creepy, dated May 1973.

First is "A Scream in the Forest" by Esteban Maroto (art) and Greg Potter (story). An extremely good story with some very beautiful artwork. A society of dwarves is plauged by Fearies, large one eyed beastly creatures that kidnap their women for food. Screams echo throughout the forest, most likely from their victims. One of the dwarves, Ussel, is nearly captured by one, but is saved by Arn, a powerful swordsman. Arn agrees to help Ussel wipe out the Fearies and they head through the woods, fighting off another one along the way. Eventually they come across a large cave, and inside Arn knocks out Ussel, handing him over to the Fearies. Arn is actually working with the Fearies, capturing them prey in exchange for diamonds. Ussel awakens just as they are about to eat him, and there is another scream in the forest.

Second is "The Stone of Power" by Ramon Torrents (art) and Steve Skeates (story). This story features a boy who finds a mysterious stone with power. He brings it to his home, but a witch takes the stone from him and kills his mother. The boy grows up, and plans to take back the stone, managing to do so. But his memory isn't what he thinks it is. The witch is actually his mother, whom he ends up killing. He takes the stone for himself, with an evil look in his eye as the story ends.

Third is "Freedom's Just Another Word" by Adolfo Abellan (art) and Bill Dubay (story). A black family, the Turners, moves into a town of nothing but white people. One of the young women in the town, Rosie befriends Charles, one of the Turners, and this greatly upsets her father. Her father starts getting the townfolk riled up, claiming that the family are a bunch of witches, and are responsible for ruining their crops and killing their farm animals. A group of the men go to the Turner's house and beat then kill the entire family, except for their paralyzed grandmother, who actually is a witch and summons lightning which kills them all. Winner of the Warren award for best story of 1973, this is in fact a horrible story, particularly with its excessive usage of the N-word. Dubay tries to write a message story here, but ultimately the story teaches no lesson, as the Turners end up being exactly what the racist mob claims they are. Dubay usually is a pretty good writer, but he really missed the mark here.

Fourth is "The Creature at Loch Ness" by Jose Bea (art) and Doug Moench (story). A pair of men, one a believer, one a skeptic go to Loch Ness to search for the Loch Ness monster. Initially they have no success, finding mostly driftwood, but eventually they find one and take some pictures of it. The pictures reveal it to be a fake, as it is actually just an inflatable monster owned by a hotel owner nearby who uses it to bring in tourists. The hotel tourist soon finds himself the prey of the actual Loch Ness monster however.

Fifth is "The Night the Creatures Attacked" by Auraleon (art) and Fred Ott (story). This story, based on actual eyewitness accounts, tells of a home in Kentucky attacked by alien creatures. The people in the home are able to frighten them off by shooting at them. At only two pages long, one wonders if this was originally meant to be printed on the inside front and back covers.

Last is the cover story, "It" by Tom Sutton (story & art). This story features the corpse of Timothy Foley coming back from the grave and traveling around searching for someone, scaring to death everyone who comes across him. By the end it is revealed that he was simply looking for his lost teddy bear. Some interesting panel design by Tom Sutton here, some pages have as many as 16 panels! It would eventually be used for a recurring series in both Creepy and Eerie, although Timothy Foley (who is actually the corpse of a nine year old boy here) would be made into a much older character in the later installments.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Vampirella 74

A photo of Barbara Leigh is used for the cover of this issue of Vampirella, dated December 1978. Yet another all reprint issue, outside of the cover.

Up first is "Hell From On High" by Jose Gonzalez (art) and Steve Englehart (story), from Vampirella 22. Englehart was a pretty good writer who took on Vampirella for a very short period of time in 1973, doing only three stories, two of which are reprinted in this issue. The story features Vampi & co seeking out the true killer of Conrad Van Helsing's brother since by this point its been proven that Vampi wasn't responsible. They head to the snowy mountains where they meet a priest and the suspected killer, but it ends up that the killer was actually under the priest's control, and Vampi is able to defeat him. Pretty good story, a rarity for Vampirella!

Next is another Vampirella story, "The Blood Queen of Bayou Parish!" by Jose Gonzalez (art) and Steve Englehart (story), from Vampirella 23. Vampirella and company head to New Orleans where it is rumored that a cult led by Father Jonas (from the prior story) is. When they head there, Pendragon meets Sally, a woman who looks just like his ex wife Rosie. In actuality, Sally is a woman brought back from the dead after she killed herself and is able to look like any woman. She also happens to be working under Father Jonas, who wasn't defeated after all. Vampirella and company are able to defeat them once and for all.

Third is "Wolf Hunt", from Vampirella 14, with art by Esteban Maroto, which was his Warren debut in its original appearance, and story by Joe Wehrle. An old man finds a woman who transforms into a wolf in the moonlight and captures her in his castle. She is eventually able to escape and take revenge. As always, Maroto's art is quite good here. Alas, with merely three stories in this issue, this is the end of this issue.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Eerie 112

An all Esteban Maroto issue, quite an issue for a big Maroto fan like me. The cover, featuring the Spook, is by Ken Kelly, the sole non-Maroto artistic contribution of the issue.

First is "Stridespider Sponge-Rot!" by Esteban Maroto (art) and Doug Moench (story), from Eerie 58. This is the first of a seven part series entitled 'The Spook' about a black zombie. The term, which is a racist way to refer to black people, had been created by Bill Dubay, who told Doug MOench to write a series featuring. Anyway, this is a fairly good story, featuring the title character encountering a sorceress woman who brings numerous zombies to life. The Spook is able to stop them by throwing her into a fire. Really nice art by Maroto, who'd be replaced with Leopold Sanchez for the remainder of the series after this story. Which is probably why no more Spook issues were included in this issue.

Last is "Luana" by Esteban Maroto (art) and Doug Moench (story), an adaption of the film of the same name. This story is from Vampirella 31. A group of archeologists in Africa are attacked by a group of African tribesmen. Only one of the men, named George, survives, when Luana, a beautiful woman living in the jungle comes and saves him, healing him from the poison arrows that struck him. Returning to civilization, he meets a woman, Isabelle Saxon who is searching for her father, who crashed in the jungle years before with his wife and Isabelle's half-sister (who is actually Luana). An old friend of her fathers, who is involved in drugs with the tribesmen becomes involved, and seeks to kill them, but is outsmarted by Luana, who leads George and Isabelle to the plane crash, where they find a diary that tells the truth about her father's friend, who ends up dying when he struggles with the tribe leader he was allied with.

Third is "Enter: The Exterminator - They Eat Babies... Don't They?" by Esteban Maroto (art) and Bill Dubay (story). Like the Spook, another series where Maroto drew the first story, then didn't draw any more. Taking place in a medieval setting, monsters in the woods have been capturing children. A mysterious man who can heal people appears and asks the king to let him help keep the kids safe by putting them in his care. The kingdom instead hires a mysterious knight known as the Exterminator. The Exterminator realizes that the healer is working with the monsters and attacks them, defeating both of them. He finds a spaceship they are from and kills the healer, who tries to tell him that they are actually there to save the children from the cruelties of the world. The Exterminator afterwards finds the children unharmed. He later speaks to someone from the future, revealing him to be a robot. This story would kick off a series of exterminator robot stories by Dubay, although this was the only appearance of this particular Exterminator robot.

Fourth is "Rusty Bucklers" by Esteban Maroto (art) and Bruce Jones (story), from Vampirella 57. The story is about an old man, Dete, who joins a young knight on his trip to defeat a nearby sorceror and rescue the lady trapped there. It is revealed that many years have passed, the sorceror's dragon has died of old age, the sorceror himself is gone, and the lady is old too. Dete sleeps with her and is killed by the young knight, who overreacts.

Next is an adaption of Nathanial Hawthorne's "Hollow of the Three Hills!", with art by Esteban Maroto and adaption by Rich Margopoulos. This story is from Eerie 63. Absolutely amazing artwork from Maroto in this story. A young woman visits a witch, who shows her two depressed looking old people, a crazy man in an institution and a funeral. It ends up that they were all connected to her, the old people were her parents, upset over her leaving them, the crazy guy was her husband, who went crazy after she had an affair,and the funeral was for her child, who died of the pox after she ran off. The trauma from the visions causes the young woman to become comatose.

The issue concludes with "Fallen Angels" by Esteban Maroto (art) and Bill Dubay (story), from Vampirella 60. The art for this story is sideways. Some very good, exotic art from Maroto on this story, which comes off as a Warren version of the Little Mermaid. A mermaid princess lives in an ocean paradise. She rescues a human man from a shipwreck and falls in love with him. She begs her father, who always taught her that humans were evil, to turn her into a human so she can be with him and he reluctantly permits it. She reunites with the man who treats her kindly at first, but she soon finds him with another woman. Realizing that men are evil, as her father taught her, she tries to return to the sea, but now a human, she drowns.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Creepy 28

Our cover for this issue is by Vic Prezio, featuring the interior reprint story "The Doorway". This issue is from August 1969.

First is "Madness in the Method" by Rocco Mastroserio (art) and Archie Goodwin (story). Our protagonist, Henry, murders his wife and convinces everyone, including the court that he is insane. He finds the insane asylum he's put in unbearable though, and admits to the murder, wanting to be sent to prison instead. The doctors there refuse though, only permitting him to take part in a test to see if he's normal. Unfortunately for him, that results in them taking his brain out of his body.

Our first original story this issue is "In the Subway" by Tony Williamsune (art) and Reuben Reid (story). Reid was the winner of an amateur writer contest Warren held. The story is about a shapeshifter who eats people in the subway. He confronts a man who confounds him, who ends up being another shapeshifter that eats him! Williamsune's monsters are pretty cool looking here.

Next is "The Worm is Turning" by Ernie Colon (art) and Kim Ball (story). A sorceror summons a worm like creature and promises him 5 servents in exchange for eternal life, but dies when his house collapses. The five men scheme over obtaining him money, but all end up dying due to tapeworms.

"Grub" with art by Tom Sutton and story by Nicola Cuti (his Warren debut) is next. The story is about a derelict ship found in space that contains an odd monster and a number of beautiful women. The women are actually there as bait for the monster, who kills everyone but two, and tells them they have to have children in order to feed him!

"Valley of the Vampires" by Bhob Stewart & Steve Stiles (art) and Arnold Hayes (story) features a vampire society discovered in the jungle. The vampire expert there is convinced that they need holy water and says they don't need guns to protect themselves, but when the vampires capture them, its the opposite that is true and they are all killed.

The cover story, "The Doorway" is by Dan Adkins (art) and Archie Goodwin (story), originally from Creepy #11. A security guard comes across a destroyed lab with an odd doorway. He goes through and finds himself in another world, where a large bat like creature with a skull face takes over a man's body. Another creature arrives and takes over our protagonist, who destroys the doorway and kills himself in order to stop it from taking over Earth. Only the creature takes over a nearby person upon his death, enabling him to restore the doorway.

The issue wraps up with "The Adventure of the German Student" by Jerry Grandenetti (art) and Archie Goodwin (story), originally published in Creepy #15. This is an adaption of a Washington Irving story. A german student staying in Paris meets a beautiful woman by the guillotine and sleeps with her. The next day he wakes up to find her dead! When he summons the authorities, they reveal that she was executed the previous day and her head falls off! The student goes crazy and ends up in an asylum, where he dies.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Vampirella 39

Ken Kelly provides the cover for this issue of Vampirella, featuring a freak woman sitting on a skull. This issue is cover dated January 1975. Jose Gonzalez provides both a one page Vampi intro on the inside front cover and a one page Vampi farewell on the inside back cover, an image that was soon reworked into the cover of Vampirella 42 by Enrich.

First is Vampirella in "The Head-Hunter of London" by Leopold Sanchez (art) and Mike Butterworth (story, as Flaxman Loew). This is the first of three straight Vampi stories from Sanchez, whose style is a stark contrast from Gonzalez's art. Still a pretty good job from Sanchez though. Vampi and Pendragon meet Jack D'Arcy, who offers to tour them around London. D'Arcy is a hunter, who secretly collects human heads as well and becomes obsessed with obtaining Vampirella's head. They struggle, and by the end it is D'Arcy who ends up being decapitated.

Second is "The Sultan of 42nd Street" by Felix Mas (art) and Carl Wessler & Gerry Boudreau (story). A poor artist buys a canvas from a pawnshop. It ends up that whatever he paints on the canvas comes to life, and a beautiful woman appears when he paints her on it. He gets the idea to paint multiple women and turn them into whores to make him money. Alas, when another painter buys one of the canvases and paints his face, his entire face vanishes from his home, and appears in hers!

Third is "Snow White and the Deadly Dwarfs" by Esteban Maroto (art) and Steve Skeates & Gerry Boudreau (story). A young woman lives in a large mansion all by herself, well except for dwarves that live with her and call her snow white. Her boyfriend doesn't believe her about them, and when he comes over they stab him to death to 'protect her'. Only it ends up that there dwarves weren't after all and she did it all the stabbing herself. Some extremely good art by Maroto on this story, one of his best.

Fourth is the start of a new three part series featuring Dracula. This first story is titled "The Circus of King Carnival". Art is by Esteban Maroto and story is by Gerry Boudreau. This story is in color. Despite being the title of the series, Dracula barely appears at all here. Instead the story focuses on a couple who come by a freak show that Dracula is a part of. The husband visits a shaman as he wants to save his dying wife, but the shaman tells him he'll have to bring him a human heart. The husband attacks a thief who is captivated by the butterfly lady in the freak show, and kills him to take the heart. Only the butterfly lady kills him. Meanwhile, Dracula bites the neck of the wife, preventing her from dying by turning her into a vampire.

Fifth is "The Curse of Castle Vlad!" by Auraleon (art) and Doug Moench (story). This story takes place in Translyania where a movie shoot takes place in a cursed castle. Soon members of the cast start appearing dead, but the director declares that they have to continue. Eventually all are gone except for the director and his wife, the star of the film, who ends up being revealed as a vampire. Naturally, she ends up biting him.

Last is "The French Coagulation" by Luis Bermejo (art) and Carl Wessler & Gerry Boudreau (story). Bermejo's first Warren story, his art here is simply amazing, arguably the best job he ever did for Warren. Its quite unfortunate that he couldn't stay this good his entire Warren career. In Paris law enforcement investigate the death of a woman at the hand of the "Loup Garou" which is essentially a werewolf. Due to a key in the victim's hands, they are able to pintpoint the creature down to one of six people. They lock them up in jail cells and the night of the full moon one of them, a woman, turns into the werewolf and kills her husband, who is in the cell with her. It ends up the husband was sleeping with the wife of one of the cops which is why he locked him in the cell with her.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Eerie 126

Richard Corben provides the cover for this issue of Eerie, featuring a robot themed battle. This issue is dated November 1981.

First is "Crabs" the latest Zud Kamish story by E.R. Cruz (art) and John Ellis Sech (story). Zud is commissioned to go to a planet filled with crabs that are one of the favorite foods in the galaxy, but the crabs are now going crazy. Zud heads down and finds some villains that are controlling the crabs. When Zud arrives however, one of the men ends up destorying the computer they use to control them when firing at Zud. Not that good a story, but at least somewhat better than past Zud stories.

Second is "Pyramid of the Black Sun: Blekos", a continuation of the story from issue 124. Art is by Luis Bermejo and story is by Jim Stenstrum (story, as Alabaster Redzone). Orka meets with the priest Alugar who confirms that Ulzan R on Arkaran is the Blekos he has been searching for. Alugar introduces Orka to his daughter Janul, who can read minds and due to that found out about Blekos. Orka plots with her to take out Blekos, and later reveals that he has the same abilities as her. Janul says that Lord Gasul, leader of the planet is the real one in charge. Orka kills him, and with Blekos, now released from his control, they bring rain to the planet. Continues to remain earily similar to Dune, and the ending actually is exactly the same as the ending in the movie (although this story predates the movie). Is quite a good story though, even if it isn't that original.

Next is "Korsar" by Esteban Maroto (art) and Jim Stenstrum (story, as Alabaster Redzone). An appearance from Maroto is a pleasant surprise in an Eerie issue from this period. Korsar is a warrior captured and locked up by villanous Queen Naja, and forced to compete in an arena. He meets and befriends Sayda, a slave whose role is to sleep with the prisoners. Korsa defeats Naja's warrior and then stabs her. They depart, battling a dragon then encountering a tribe of cannibals. Pretty good story and great Maroto art (I'm fairly certain this was originally printed in Europe, so it was likely drawn long before the date of this issue). An open ended ending, but this was its sole appearance in a Warren magazine.

Next is the latest segment in "Haggarth" by Victor de la Fuente (story & art). A priest meets with Borin, telling him he needs a manuscript which was stolen by Haggarth's beggar friend Ethan (who is finally named in this story). Ethan is on the run after his thief colleague is caught and killed. Ethan flees, but the manuscript is stolen by a thief, who is actually the priest, by the time he reaches Haggarth and Borin. Borin finds out that Haggarth was hired to kill him and departs. Haggarth catches up with him in a bar later, but a fight ensues, due to men hired by King Thall. Haggarth and Borin escape alive, and head towards the palace to confront Thall.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Creepy 69

This issue of Creepy is the first of two Edgar Allen Poe specials. Ken Kelly provides the cover for this issue, dated February 1975. Berni Wrightson provides a one page intro from Uncle Creepy on the inside front cover. Rich Margopoulos did the adaptions for all the stories in this issue.

First is "The Pit and the Pendulum" with art by Jose Ortiz. The Warren Companion reveals that Berni Wrightson was originally intended to do the art for this story. A man is sentenced to death and put in prison. Inside, he nearly falls into a giant pit. When he drinks some water, it is poisoned and knocks him out. He awakens tied up on a wooden slab, with a giant pendulum swinging over him. By rubbing meat over the ropes binding him, some rats come and eat the rope, freeing him. He is able to escape to freedom afterwards.

Next is "Premature Burial" with art by Vicente Alcazar. A man is deathly afraid of being buried alive, particularly because he has an illness where he can appear dead when he's still alive. His wife comes up with a plan to install a rope within his coffin so if he is prematurely buried, he can notify her he's still alive. He later wakes up though to find himself in another coffin, with no way to notify her. Luckily for him he is actually on a ship, not in a coffin, and this helps him get over his fear for good.

Third is "The Fall of the House of Usher" featuring art by Martin Salvador. A man goes to see his friend, who is part of the Usher family. The man is worried for his sister, who is quite ill. Eventually the sister passes away and is buried in the basement. Usher is still quite nervous however and one night his sister, who wasn't actually dead appears and attacks him. The two of them die from the ordeal and the house collapses just after our protagonist departs.

Richard Corben provides the art for the next story, "The Oval Portrait". "The Raven", a color story published in issue 67 was originally intended to appear here instead, but got mistakenly published two issues early. A man is wounded in a duel so he is brought into a lare house nearby. Inside he finds a very realistic oval portrait of a beautiful woman. He reads a diary within the house which reveals the history of the portrait. The woman was the wife of the artist. He showed her little love, and made her be the model for the portrait. As he worked on the portrait, and it became more and more lifelike, she became exhausted and eventually collapsed dead when he finished the portrait.

Fifth is "Ms. Found in a Bottle" with art by Leo Summers. This story is told by a man on a ship that faces a huge storm. Eventually there is just him and one other man left. Soon the ship sinks when it comes across another, our protagonist flees onto it. There he sees a number of spectral crew members. He writes down his encounters, putting it in a bottle, and the ship comes across a whirlpool, sinking in it.

Last is "Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" with art by Isidro Mones. This story is about an old man dying who is visited by a hypnotist who hypnotizes him to stay alive. It works, and he lives through the night, then for days and eventually months. The hypnotist, not feeling good about the matter releases the trance, and the man immediately decomposes.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Vampirella 83

Jose Gonzalez and Kim McQuaite provide the cover for this all reprint issue of Vampirella, cover dated December 1979. Alas, by this point even the Vampirella reprint issues didn't have the usual new Vampi story they used to have.

First is "The God of Blood" by Jose Gonzalez (art) and Mike Butterworth (story, as Flaxman Loew), from Vampirella 30. In this story Vampirella meets a fellow illusionist who wears a mask and was actually given power from Chaos, which he chooses to abuse. The illusionist captures Vampirella and dresses as the sun god, but the actual sun god shows up and kills him, then kisses Vampirella as the story ends. This story is continued with the next story.

Second is "The Betrothed of the Sun-God!" by Jose Gonzalez (art) and Mike Butterworth (story, as Flaxman Loew), from Vampirella 31. In this story Vampi is the lover of a Sun God that can only appear once a month, but kills anyone who even appears to be attracted to Vampirella. At the same time Pendragon receives a message from a long lost relative and the two of them travel to Paris. The 'relative' is actually a con artist who cons people into putting her in their will, killing them soon afterwards. When handsome poet writes a poem for Vampi the Sun God desires to burn the entire city of Paris to the ground, but Vampi convinces him instead to simply strike the con artist's house with lightning, which kills her and her entire group of henchmen. Vampi then decides to break things off with the Sun God. Gonzalez's art here is very impressive.

Third is "Second Childhood" by Ramon Torrents (art) and Bruce Jones (story), from Creepy 88. This story is about a man, nicknamed Knobby and his rich friend, Chadwick. Chadwick, who with his wealth can have any woman he wants becomes enamored with a priestess in a small African village. Forbidden to be with her, he burns down the village and brings her back to the US. She refuses to sleep with him until drunk one night he rapes her. After their baby is born, Chadwick ends up going into an institution, being unable to write or talk anymore. Knobby goes to his home where he finds Chadwick's baby, which is revealed to actually have Chadwick's mind.

My number one warren story of all time is fourth, "Yellow Heat" by Russ Heath (art) and Bruce Jones (story), from Vampirella 58. Heath's art is some of the best to ever appear in a Warren story. This story takes place in Africa before World War I and surrounds Uthu, a young warrior in an African tribe. When a beautiful woman from an opposing tribe is captured, Uthu desires her for himself and challenges the chief when he claims her. In order to obtain her, the chief orders Uthu to accomplish a warrior's quest where he singlehandedly must kill a full grown lion with only a spear within 3 days. A near impossible task, things get even tougher for Uthu when a lion ambushes him unprepared. He gets very lucky however when a large snake attacks the lion, killing it. Uthu kills the snake and drags the lion back to his tribe, victorious. He enters the hut where the captured woman is waiting for him... and thats as far as I'm going to go. This story is memorable largely for having one of the biggest shock endings in Warren history and I'm not going to spoil it for my readers. Let me just say that the final panel is extremely horrific and startling, but ultimately makes sense within the confines of the story once you read it again. Just a fantastic, fantastic story.

Last is "Harry" by Jeff Jones (story & art), from Vampirella 32. This story was originally printed in color, but is black and white here. A very fast paced story at only 6 pages, it features a little girl walking around with her stuffed bunny rabbit Harry. Talking to herself, it becomes clear that her parents were killed in a fire because they didn't like him. Her head starts hurting and she collapses; someone else later finding Harry.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Eerie 97

Val Mayerik provides the dinosaur themed cover for this issue of Eerie, featuring four dinosaur themed stories, three of them from a single series. The issue is dated November 1978.

First is "Within You... Without You" the first part of the series from Richard Corben (art) and Bruce Jones (story). This issue was originally from Eerie 77. A group of scientists manipulate the mind of a telepathic young woman, who happens to be the wife of one of them, such that she thinks she is in prehistoric times, finding dinosaurs. When an Earthquake hits her link to reality gets screwed up, so they recruit Lydecker, a man who has similar telepathic abilities, but he also had a prior relationship with her. When a dinosaur attacks however, Lydecker is eaten, and while its not technically reality, whatever happens in their mind effects his real body, killing him. An interesting story that becomes even more complicated over the next few stories.

Next is "Time and Time Again" by Richard Corben (art) and Bruce Jones (story), from Eerie 79, a continuation of the "Within You Without You" story. Karen is requested to go back in time through her mind to retrieve a gun that had been left behind. While there she seeks revenge on the Tyranosaurus that killed Lydecker. She gets her timing mixed up however, and ends up killing the dinosaur before it killed him, so she encounters the past version of him and herself. The scientists bring her out of it, but Lydecker ends up occupying her mind when they do that.

Third is "Years & Mind Forever", the conclusion to the Within You Without You trilogy. This story is from Eerie 87. Art is by Richard Corben and story is by Bruce Jones. In this story it is revealed that Lydecker has been setting up everyone, and that many of the trips into the past have actually been staged by him and an actress pretending to be Karen. Meanwhile he himself has actually made it to the past where he has found the ancestor of humanity. The scientists send another telepath after him and he finds Lydecker in a lab with the ancient man. During a struggle with 'Karen' however the ancestor is shot by him, wiping out humanity. A terrific end to a terrific trilogy, which would be ranked as one of the top 10 Warren series in the Warren companion.

Last is "The Terror Beyond Time!" by Neal Adams (art) and Archie Goodwin (story), from Creepy 15. Searching for a professor, a man heads deep into a cavern where he had dissappeared. Inside he finds a prehistoric world with dinosaurs and prehistoric men. In addition various other people throughout time have been summoned here including a beatiful woman from England. The professor is found, but it ends up that he's working for an evil being who is responsible for summoning everyone there as well as controlling people's thoughts. Our hero refuses to work under his control and instead kills the professor and the evil being. Afterwards he awakens in the modern age, with the woman there with him. A fairly good story although as discussed by Neal Adams in the Warren companion, the evil being ends up looking like an ice cream sundae rather than something supremely evil.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

RIP Jose Gonzalez

It has come to my attention that Jose Gonzalez, one of Warren's most well known artists has passed away within the last few days.

Gonzalez joined Warren in 1971, one of the first of the spanish artists from Selecciones Illustrada to work for the company. Jim Warren was amazed with his art the second he first saw it, and knew that Gonzalez was perfect for Vampirella. Starting with Vampirella 12, Gonzalez became the primary artist for Vampirella. Over the next few years Gonzalez drew the Vampirella story for every issue of Vampirella, winning awards for best art in a story for his work in both 1971 and 1974. Gonzalez also painted a poster of Vampi that became on of Vampirella's best known images, and it was used for the cover of issue 19.

By 1974 Gonzalez's work on Vampirella slowed, and multiple artists started filling in on the role of Vampirella. Around this time Gonzalez started contributing one page intros from Vampirella, which first appeared in issue 36. Gonzalez shared Vampirella duties with Gonzalo Mayo throughout most of the rest of the 1970s, and also contributed the occassional cover in collaboration with production artist Kim McQuaite. Gonzalez also had multiple stories for 1984, including the three part series Herma which was originally drawn in 1974 in Europe.

By 1979 Gonzalez ceased his regular work on Vampirella stories, providing only Vampirella drawings that would be used on the table of contents pages. He would return in 1982 however, and did stories for the final 6 non-reprint issues of the magazine.

In total, Gonzalez contributed 58 stories for Warren, putting him in the top 10 of their most prolific artists. He contributed 53 stories to Vampirella, all featuring that character, making him the most prolific interior artist for the magazine.

Gonzalez's art has always been quite memorable to me. While he isn't on the level of my faves, like Luis Garcia and Esteban Maroto, he was extremely talented and had a unique style that fit Vampirella perfectly. He will be missed.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Creepy 113

Berni Wrightson provides a dinosaur themed cover for this issue of Creepy, a reprint issue dedicated to the artist. Wrightson also provides the art for the table of contents page. This issue is dated November 1979. With multiple stories written by him, Wrightson proves here that he's quite the good writer too.

First is, "The Muck Monster" by Berni Wrightson (story & art), from Eerie 68. This story was originally printed in color, but is black and white here. Wrightson's version of the Frankentein monster, this is about a scientist who tries to bring a corpse to lie, but the corpse has no desire to live. The scientist in an angry fit destroys the monster in a vat of acid and dumps the remains in the drain. The remains drip down the hill and once reaching a body comes to life. The monster returns to the scientist's lab, driving him crazy, then sits down on the hill, for good. Really good art in this story.

Second is "The Laughing Man" by Berni Wrightson (art) and Bruce Jones (story), from Creepy 95. This story features a man found by a doctor in the African jungles laughing maniacally. With some drugs the man calms down and tells how he and his business partner headed to the African jungles in an attempt to find intelligent chimps. They catch one dead, and our protagonist's business partner skins the creature and uses it as a costume to attract another one. He vanishes after a while and turns up later, but it ends up he is actually an ape, wearing the dead partner's skin as a costume! A terrific story, unfortunately it would be Wrightson's last Warren story in its original printing.

Third is "The Pepper Lake Monster" by Berni Wrightson (story & art), from Eerie 58. A terrific story, perhaps Wrightson's best. A man whose job it is to seek out sea monsters finally finds a real one in the small town of Pepper Lake. When the town folk refuse to help him, he comes up with an elaborate contraption to capture it and succeeds. When he tells the town folk how famous he'll be for capturing it however, they kill him since removing the monster will remove any reason for someone to come to the town.

Fourth is "Clarice" by Berni Wrightson (art) and Bruce Jones (story), from Creepy 77. This story is a poem about a man longing for his dead wife, who died by accident when she was locked outside in the cold one night while he slept and froze to death. His wife comes back to life as a corpse and returns to the cabin, where they are reunited. One significant screw up occurs however (not sure whether it was Jones or Wrightson's fault) when the artwork shows an uncovered window that the wife could have broken and got inside through.

Fifth is "Cool Air" by Berni Wrightson, adapted from the HP Lovecraft story, originally from Eerie 62. This classic tale tells of a man who moves into a new boarding house where he befriends his neighbor who lives upstairs, Dr. Munoz. Munoz suffers from a disease which forces him to keep his apartment at a very cold temperature continuously. One day his machine that keeps the temperature cold breaks, and while the main character brings as much ice as he can Munoz rots away as it ends up he was dead the entire time and looked like a normal person because of the cold.

Sixth is "Country Pie" by Berni Wrightson & Carmine Infantino (art) and Bruce Jones (story), from Creepy 83. This story features a psychic who assists the police in catching a killer. At the same time a middle aged man picks up a teenage girl and her younger brother, who ends up being the killer. They are able to save the man before the two of them kill him.

Last is "A Martian Saga" by Berni Wrightson (art) and Nicola Cuti (story), from Creepy 87. Rather than an actual story, this is a 6 page poem, told with three panels per page. It features a man coming to Mars who meets a tribe there, confronts a monster, and meetes a beautiful woman. Alas, its not a happy ending for him as he suffocated when he takes off his oxygen mask while with the woman.

Vampirella 50

Sanjulian provides the cover for this issue of Vampirella, dated April 1976. This special issue, Bill Dubay's last in his original run as editor includes the first feature length Vampirella story, told here across five Vampi stories. Jose Gonzalez provides a one page intro from Vampirella.

First is "Call Me Panther!" by Jose Gonzalez (art) and Bill Dubay (story). Vampirella, traveling through the graveyard, finds a dead body hanging from the tree, as well as a woman who transforms into a panther when she puts a stone necklace on. Vampirella manages to take the necklace off the woman, whom ends up getting kiled when she is struck by a train while running from Vampi.

Next is "The High-Gloss Egyptian Junk Peddler" by Esteban Maroto (art) and Bill Dubay (story). Conrad has visions of a demon like creature killing another woman in the graveyard. For now though our heroes ignore that and try to find the origin of the necklace, which is called the Khafra Stone. They visit an Egyptian expert, Nubia El Amarna, who tells them of the stone's origin. It belonged to Khafra, who appeared in Egypt during the reign of Khufu when a ship he was on crashed nearby. Khafra worked for the pharoah, then became pharoah himself after his death. Khafra had the ability to turn into a panther himself. That night Nubia transforms into a panther herself when she steals the necklace, but is stopped by Adam when he pulls the necklace off of her.

Third is "Granny Goose and the Baby Dealers" by Ramon Torrents (art) and Bill Dubay (story). Conrad and Pendragon investigate the events in the graveyard while Adam and Vampi head to New York to find Fleur, who they think can help them solve the mystery of the Khafra stone. Fleur also gets involved with Granny Goose, who is in charge of a group that deals with black market sales of kidnapped babies. Fleur reveals that Khafra was an alien and that there have been many panther people throughout time. She then shows them Khafra's last living descendent, who just happens to be Pantha!

Fourth is "The Final Star of Morning" by Bill Dubay & Jeff Jones (art) and Bill Dubay (story). Adam and Vampirella head to Egypt where Pantha has been kept in a cell by Russians who captured her after Pantha's previous appearance in issue 44. The Russians hope to copy the Khafra Stone and have a whole army of panthers to take over the world. However, Vampi wears the Khafra stone and Pantha turns into her Panther self, killing the Russians who have captured them. Pantha decides to head to her home planet and agrees to bring Vampirella to Drakulon along the way (this was before Panther realized that she too was from Drakulon), but Vampirella decides to stay on Earth with Adam.

Fifth is "The Thing in Denny Colt's Grave" by Jose Ortiz (art) and Bill Dubay (story). Pendragon and Conrad head to the graveyard, where they find a woman captured whom they save. While Conrad tends to her, Pendragon heads after the killer, who is nothing supernatural, but just a crazy guy named Elmiro Dungfoot. By causing an illusion of the Spirit, Pendragon captures him. The Spirit makes a cameo appearance in one of the last few panels.

Last is "Ground Round" by Auraleon (art) and Roger McKenzie (story), the sole non-Vampirella story of this issue. A butcher kills his wife and puts her body in the freezer, groundind up her body and selling it at the store. As a cover he says she's sick and that they'll be moving to Florida. When her nosy friend arrives, he has to kill her too and heads to the freezer, but gets locked in, with the remains of his wife, who takes revenge on him.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Eerie 42

Luis Dominguez provides the cover for this issue of Eerie, based on the reprinted story inside, 'Ogre's Castle'. This issue is dated October 1972.

First is "The Mummy Stalks!" by Reed Crandall (art) and Archie Goodwin & Roy Krenkel (story), featuring a mummy that turns into a werewolf while being stored in a museum. This story, originally published in Eerie #5, is a rather poor effort, despite being a Goodwin story.

Next is "The Blood Fruit" by Johnny Craig (art & story), from Eerie #11. A group of four students and a professor arrive on an island where the professor discovers 'The Blood Fruit', which when eaten causes whatever he wants to occur. He uses this to kill two of the students and summon a lizard like monster. But when one of his colleagues eats the fruit and wishes him dead, he finds the tables turned.

Third is "Dark Rider" by John Severin (art) and Archie Goodwin (story), from Eerie #8. A trio of horsemen in the snowy mountains are followed by a mysterious rider in the distance. They die one by one until only one remains. He shoots at the rider, which causes an avalanche that kills him. The rider reveals himself to be Death.

Fourth is "Life Species" by Bill Dubay (story & art), from Eerie #30. This is a very short story about astronauts arriving at a destroyed planet and piecing together a habitant of the planet. It ends up the planet is Earth, but the interesting twist is that put together a car and think it was the dominant species of the planet! Very short, but good story by Dubay.

Fifth is "Ogre's Castle" by Angelo Torres (art) and Archie Goodwin (story), from Creepy #2. An extremely good art job from Torres here, arguably his best job for Warren. A knight heads to a castle that is rumored to be where his younger brother dissappeared. Inside he finds an ogre who has captured a beautiful young woman. He fights off the ogre's various minions, then saves the woman. On his way out the ogre confronts him, and the knight kills the ogre. The ogre's corpse transforms into his younger brother as soon as he is killed however. The woman, now revealed to be a sorceress, transforms the knight into an ogre, to be used to guard the castle like his brother had before.

Sixth is "Room With A View!", with art by Steve Ditko, and story by Archie Goodwin. This story was originally published in Eerie #3. A man arrives at an inn with no rooms available, except for a single one which the innkeeper warns him against staying in. The guest uses it anyway and sees a weird creature in the mirror. Each time he looks in the mirror he sees more creatures appearing until he is completely overtaken by them. Hearing his scream, the innkeeper comes up and finds the room empty, but sees the guest's corpse when he looks in the mirror.

Seventh is "Voodoo Drum!" by Neal Adams (art) and Archie Goodwin (story), from Eerie #10. The story, which is done in pencils only, is about a plantation owner who finds workers difficult to obtain, so a native brings him zombies in exchange for payment. The man kills him, seeking to use the zombies for free, but they come after him and turn his skin into a drum.

Eighth is "I Am Dead, Egypt, Dead" by Victor De La Fuente (art) and Doug Moench (story), from Eerie #35. The story is about three archaeologists, Jim, Diana and Ray who find a tomb filled with treasure. Jim and Diana conspire to kill Ray and take all the treasure for themself. They do it by inducing a heart attack when Jim dresses up as a mummy. Only when the two of them head into the tomb Ray ends up not being dead after all and dressing up himself as a mummy, kills Jim. Ray and Diana having been together laugh about their plot, but end up dying when they drink water that Jim had poisoned in their canteens.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Creepy 79

Enrich provides the cover for this issue of Creepy, which is miscredited to Sanjulian. This issue is cover dated May 1976, and was the first issue during Louise Jones's era as editor. Jose Ortiz provides a one page intro from Uncle Creepy on the inside front cover.

First is "As Ye Sow..." by Luis Bermejo (art) and Bruce Jones (story). This story takes place in a post apocalyptic society featuring a family of cannibals. The daughter of the family finds a man hiding in the woods. They fall in love with each other and she hides him from the others. When her family finds him and tries to eat him, she tries to scare them off with a cross but they shoot her in the face. They force her to have babies with the man, which they then proceed to eat.

Second is "Kui" by Alex Toth (story & art). This story features a man traveling to a South American temple during his vacation with his reluctant wife. They search for an entrance and eventually find it, going inside. They end up trigger a trap however, and are buried alive with sand because of it.

Third is "The Super-Abnormal Phenomena Survival Kit!" by John Severin (art) and Jim Stenstrum (story). This hilarious story is a parody of the Captain Company ads that appeared in the back of each Warren magazine. Eight pages of parodies and horror movie staples/homages results in a fairly good effort, one of Warren's best humorous stories.

Fourth is "The Shadow of the Axe!" by Russ Heath (art) and Dave Sim (story). This story was Sim's sole Warren appearance. It features a boy living in a small town who suspects his father is an axe murderer. To stop him, he turns on his father and kills him with an axe. The next day, his mother winks at him, making one wonder if she was responsible for it all.

Fifth is "Visitation at Pliny Marsh" by Martin Salvador (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). This story features mysterious events occuring near a swamp including the corpse of a man killed years before by his wife and lover appearing, and a mysterious fish like alien. The corpse attacks the lover of his wife, killing him, then confronts her, but is stopped by the alien, who apologizes for bringing the corpse back to life by his presence there. The alien is shot however by one of the men in the town, and the wife hangs herself soon afterwards.

Last is "The Pit in the Living Room Floor!" by Joaquin Blazquez (art) and Budd Lewis (story). A very good, odd story. A man hears mysterious noises from under the floor in his living room. Eventually a bizarre looking man bursts out of the floor, and our protagonist kills him. Looking at where the man came from, he finds a seemingly never ending pit coming below the floorboards. He decides to head down into it and after a very long time, reaches the bottom. He bangs on the floor of the pit, eventually breaking through, only to be shot by himself, much like what happened at the start of the story.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

1994 #26

Richard Corben provides the cover of this issue of 1994, which bears an artwork date of 1977. The actual cover date of this issue is August 1982. One wonders why Warren waited 5 years to use this cover! Sorry, once again, I couldn't track down an image of this cover on the web to show you all (its days like this I wish I had my scanner! :()

First is "Young Sigmund, Sr." by Alex Nino (art) and Bill Dubay (story). Not much to say regarding this story, its the latest in a long line of stories by Dubay and Nino where the art from each page can be combined with one another to form a seemingly infinite image. Quite impressive artwork as a result, with a rather poor story which is forced to work around the artwork.

Next is the latest story in "Diana Jacklighter, Manhuntress!" by Esteban Maroto (art) and Bruce Jones & Dan Hallassey (story). Diana and Branner go after the latest criminal, Marella Chryseis, who is currently hiding within a Sargaso. While there Marella seemingly kills Branner, but it is actually just a robot, which goes berserk and kills her. They then head to another planet where Branner takes off, marooning her. The planet contains shape shifters, and she ends up being confronted by Conley, another one of the escaped criminals. He ties her up and tries to escape on a ship, that ends up being a monster which kills him.

Third is "Ghita of Alizarr" by Frank Thorne (story & art). Dakini realizes Ghita's plot to deatroy Rahmuz when she attacks her while dreaming. Ghita later meets him for the first time. She also soon finds out that Dahib is alive. Thats it for this issue, a shorter Ghita segment than usual.

Fourth is "Little Beaver" by Vic Catan (art) and Dan Hallassey (story). Similar to the previous story in this series, it features Little Beaver, her grandmother Running Box and Worm, their tentacled monster pet. In this story they meet some revolutionaries who plan to use Little Beaver as a bomb to blow up their Russian enemies by planting it within a certain, ahem, part of her anatomy which will blow up when they try to have sex with her. Luckily Little Beaver makes it out okay.

Fifth is "The Trials and Tribulations of Ariel Hart!" by Peter Hsu (art) and Bill Dubay (story). This story is somewhat better than the previous Ariel Hart story. The President seeks to kill Ariel, and she ends up falling into a large chasm. The President sends one of his governors to ensure that she is dead. She hasn't actually died however, and has fallen into a pool where a tentacled creature attacks her. She is luckily able to escape.

Last is "Retard" by Alex Nino (art) and John Ellis Sech (story). Aliens take over Earth, and many deformed children are born soon after. The alien overlords require all people to do labor for them, and any child who cannot work by a certain age is disposed of. All the 'retards' are set to be disposed of, but instead they end up destroying the aliens entirely, although they die as a result.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Eerie 124

This issue of Eerie, cover dated September 1981 features a reprint of Frank Frazetta's cover from Creepy 7. Great cover, but alas, its a reprint, one that has nothing whatsoever to do with the sci-fi content of this issue.

First is Cagim in "The Sea of Red" by E.R. Cruz (art) and Budd Lewis (story). Cagim finds a chain within Merlin's clothes which directs him to the British Treasury. There he meets Cecily, a woman who is unaffected by the spells of Vivien, but also oddly enough cannot be seen by anyone in society! Despite this, she is convinced that she should report on Cagim to
the news (which makes no sense since how would they know she exists?). Eventually Vivien's minions end up capturing her. Yet again, a rather lame story, and the worst material in this issue.

Next is "Pyramid of the Black Sun: Orka", a new series from Luis Bermejo (art) and Jim
Stenstrum (story, as Alabaster Redzone). This story was originally printed in Europe, and is
reprinted here. Orka, an ambassador of the United Stellar Republic travels through a desert
on the planet Arkaran in search of a man named Ulzan who is member of a Alliance of Light
that was rebelling. Ulzan ends up being Blekos, the person in charge there, whom Orka is
still searching for at the end of the story. A somewhat interesting story, heavily influenced
by the book Dune, with the desert setting, sand worms that appear in the story, and the name
of the planet, Arkaran (based on the planet Arakis in Dune).

Third is "God of Light", the finale of the Born of Ancient Vision series. Art is still by Bob
Morello, with story by Budd Lewis. The demons summon a large demon, Baligorn, then challenge Mah' Sess to fight him, saying only he will die if he agrees to fight the demon one on one. Mah' Sess does so, after his people prepare their weapons for battle. Mah' Sess defeats
Baligorn, then there is a large battle in which his people destroy the demons for good. Mah'
Sess then ascends into space, to seek his place in the universe. A fairly interesting series,
particularly on the art side of things. Alas, this is it for it, as well as it for Morello,
who'd do no more Warren work.

The issue concludes with Haggarth in "The Sacred Scroll" by Victor de la Fuente (story &
art). Haggarth meets with Borin, the very man whom he was asked to kill. Haggarth doesn't
want to kill him, but a remark causes Borin to attack him. They stop fighting and Haggarth
tells Borin to take responsibility as leader and stand up to King Thall. Haggarth's friend
meanwhile searches for his treasure and finds a jade statue and blade, but is offered very
little for it when they return to town. Not that good a segment this time, luckily this series isn't asked to prop up the entire issue so thats okay, for now.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Creepy 92

Frank Frazetta's cover from Eerie 23 is used for this issue of Creepy. One of his best, if not his best cover for Warren, although its annoying to see it reprinted here instead of having a new one. This issue is cover dated October 1977. Aside from the fact that the cover's a reprint, this is an extremely good issue.

First is "A Toast to No Man's Memory" by John Severin (art) and Len Wein (story). A group of pilots, including a young newbie, Babbit agree to save a bottle of wine for the last one of them that lives. The pilots slowly start dying in battle, much due in part to Babbit's cowardice. Eventually the last one of them is shot by Babbit himself when he threatens getting him court martialed. Babbit drinks the wine, but it ends up that the last of the pilots poisoned it, so it kills him.

Second is "Mrs. Sludge and the Pickled Octopus Raid" by Luis Bermejo (art) and Bill Dubay (story). A young man comes across a cabin in the dead of winter, away from civilization. The people inside tell him of Octopus-like aliens whom they found and killed, which they found to taste quite good. The young man runs off to tell someone about the discovery of alien life. It ends up that the people in the cabin are actually the aliens though, and are anxious to find more humans to eat.

Third is "Instinct" by Richard Corben (art) and Nicola Cuti (story). A king marries a beautiful young woman from an odd country of people. He desires to have a son greatly, but she bears him only daughters. Years go by and she is pregnant yet again, but starts acting strangely, biting their kids. Her attendant tells the King that in their country, mothers kills their children. When the King tries to stop her, he dies of a heart attack. She is banished from the kingdom as soon as the son is born, who ends up being born as a rat! This story was eventually done back in 1970 and for some unknown reason was held back for seven years.

Fourth is "Towards High Places" by Ramon Torrents (art) and Bruce Jones (story). This story tells of twin princesses during the Egyptian empire, Euthesus and Tanakus. As the older of the two, Euthesus is set to become queen upon their father's death. Tanakus falls in love with a slave, which Euthesus kills. Euthesus wants her body to be undisturbed forever, and Tanakus helps her set up a chamber in her pyramid to do so using the knowledge taught to her by her former lover. When Euthesus tries to trap her within the pyramid however, Tanakus tricks her and rules Egypt in her place while her sister is buried alive. Some very nice art and a good story that ties in to the reprint cover.

Fifth is "The Executioner" by Russ Heath (art) and Heath & Cary Bates (story). This story features a hitman, Tony Desoto who kills a big time mobster, and quickly rises through the ranks because of it. Eventually he decides to retire and is hired by his boss to do one last hit. It was a set up, but he is still able to get out alive. He goes to a prosecutor to try to get immunity, but that prosecutor is also working for the mob, and kills him.

Sixth is "Goddess in a Kingdom of Trolls" by Esteban Maroto (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). This story tells of a human woman who was brought up by trolls. Seeking a human lover, she wanders away from their kingdom one day and meets a hunter in the woods. Hymie, a troll wizard puts on a magic hat that makes him look like a handsome prince. He casts a spell on the hunter then finds the woman, trying to get her to fall in love with him. Hymie later meets a mysterious beautiful woman in the woods wearing a hat. When the truth is revealed, he helps our heroine find the hunter and discovers that the other woman he met is a fellow troll who was using the same type of spell as he. A very good story and some extremely good art from Maroto.

Seventh is "Everybody and His Sister" by Leopold Sanchez (art) and Jim Stenstrum (story). This issue's weakest story, it features a man who finds many people suddenly showing up where ever he goes. This includes at work, in a restaurant and even at his apartment. When they all run in an elevator with him it crashes, but when he awakens in the hospital he is told he was the only one there. When he is about to be operated on though, all the pople suddenly show up again.
Last is "The Generations of Noah" by Leo Duranona (art) and Roger McKenzie (story). An ark-like spaceship starts traveling from planet to planet, saving a male and female from each planet. Its leader is a frog like alien similar to Noah who makes himself appears like an old man. When the ark comes to Earth though and picks up a young couple, everything goes wrong. First 'Noah' is killed by the father of the female human, then the ark is blown up by missiles just as it is about to leave Earth.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Vampirella 49

Enrich provides the cover for this issue of Vampirella, cover dated March 1976. While the cover states that six Christmas chillers are included inside, there's actually only one Christmas story within. A one page color intro of Vampi is drawn by both Jose Gonzalez and Ramon Torrents, appearing as if Torrents did the vast majority of work.

First is "The Blood Red Queen of Hearts" by Esteban Maroto (art) and Bill Dubay (story). Probably my favorite single Vampirella story in this magazine's history, although the Blood Red Queen would make many return appearances down the in later issues, each declining in quality. This story introduces the queen, who has slain six people, taking their hearts. With the acquisition of a seventh she believes she'll become the queen of Chaos. She summons a demon which she sends to take the final heart, from Vampirella. Vampi meanwhile returns to the hospital where Pendragon is kept and saves him by giving him a blood transfusion. The demon has hidden himself within Pendragon's body however, and attacks Vampi when the transfusion takes place. Adam meanwhile returns to the hospital, having been cleared due to Sara confessing to the attempted murder. Adam saves Vampirella and shoots out the demon's eyes, forcing it away. Vampirella is cleared of all charges, and Conrad is revealed to be alive, having been in hiding. Alas, the Queen does not have such a happy ending, with the demon tearing her eyes out to replace his. Some extremely good art by Maroto here in his first story featuring Vampirella herself (he'd do his second and last Vampi story in the next issue). The final page, showing the Queen's fate is particularly good.

Second is "The Thing in Jane's Closet" by Ramon Torrents (art) and Budd Lewis (story). A young woman, Jane, is deathly afraid of what is in her closet. Her mother doesn't see anything there, and sends her to a psychologist, then a sanitarium. She comes home, only to once again be horrified by whats in her closet. The psychologist thinks another personality of hers is whats responsible, but when her mother goes into the closet, whatever is in there kills her. The psychologist also ends up a victim to whatever's in the closet. Jane meanwhile leaves, and is has a normal life afterwards. Thankfully whatever is in the closet is never actually shown, keeping the story a scary one.

Third is "Then One Foggy Christmas Eve" by Joaquin Blazquez (art) and Gerry Boudreau (story). A man buys his kid a mysterious looking doll for Christmas that looks like a bizarre creature. Soon murders start occuring, and the man is attacked by the doll. It ends up that the doll is just one of many, all of whom are alive and plan to take over the Earth (referencing Nymatoids, from a similarly themed story, 'A Touch of Terror' from Creepy 63). They get our protagonist to pack them up and send them to New York, where they can claim more victims.

Fourth is "Jewel in the Mouth of a Snake" by Jose Bea (story & art). The issue's weakest story, it features a man who seeks a large jewel being carried around in the mouth of a giant snake. The man gets lucky when the snake goes into a lake, and he steals the jewel. The jewel has strange effects on him however, and soon he finds himself trapped within the jewel, for good. A rare, late appearance for Bea, who by this point had pretty much stopped working for Warren.

Fifth is the color story "The Succubus Stone" by Ramon Torrents (art) and Gerry Boudreau & Steve Clement (story). This issue was originally advertised to appear in issue 44 but ended up getting held back until this issue. It features a number of young men that suddenly turn old and die after going to a whore house. A detective studying the case eventually tracks down the whore house, finding it occupied by succubuses possessing a mysterious stone. When he shoots the stone, destroying it, they all age and die.

Last is "The Oblong Box" by Isidro Mones (art) and Rich Margopoulos (story). This story appears to have originally be intended for one of the Edgar Allen Poe specials (Creepy 69 & 70). This story features a man on a ship who finds his friend, an artist also boarding, with his wife, two sisters and a large oblong box. Our protagonist appears quite puzzled, as his friend is very quiet and withdrawn, and his friend's wife is ugly and a slob, quite below him. Eventually the ship crashes and sinks, and the artist friend flees away from the escape ship and jumps onto the sinking ship to be with the box, which sinks. The Captain tells our protagonist the truth, that his real wife was within the oblong box, her coffin, which the ship was transporting.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Eerie 69

I prefer to cover reprint issues on this blog as little as possible, but for the moment I've run out of my back log of Eerie reviews, so I'll be using one for today. Hopefully by the next time Eerie comes up in the cycle I'll have a new one to cover. Anyway, this issue, from October 1975 is a Hunter special, featuring all six of the original Hunter stories. The cover, a new one, is provided by Sanjulian. Berni Wrightson and Paul Neary provide a one page intro from Cousin Eerie and Hunter on the inside front cover.

Paul Neary provides the art for all six stories here. Rich Margopoulos provides the writing for the first three stories, Budd Lewis for the fourth, and Bill Dubay for the last two. The original Hunter stories were simply called "Hunter", here new names have been provided for five of the six stories. In addition, the last story is in color (the original printing was black and white). Hunter was one of Eerie's most popular recurring characters, although in this blogger's opinion a great many of Eerie's other series surpassed it in quality. Nonetheless, the series had very good art throughout, and had a very good conclusion. Unfortunately the series would be cheapened considerably in later years towards the end of Eerie's life (as we've seen in some recent reviews) when they brought him back and tampered with the original storyline. Anyway, lets get on to the content of this issue.

The first story is "Hunter", featuring the character's first appearance. Hunter is a half man half demon in the future who battles demons. This premiere story takes place in a snowy wilderness where Hunter comes across a church and battles three demons within it, which he defeats.

Second is "Demon Spawn". This story tells the origin of Hunter. In the year 2001 (ha! years back for us now, but over 25 years in the future at the time this issue was published) nuclear war resulted in mutating much of humanity into demons. One such demon, General Ophal raped a human woman, producing the offspring Demien, aka our hero Hunter. After her death from Pox he joins a group of human soldiers and is trained on fighting demons.

Third is "Demon Killer" Hunter comes across a village of people being attacked by demons. At first he is quite arrogant, demanding food, and is nearly lynched by them. When the demons arrive he fights them, including a duel on winged creatures. One of the men manages to gun down all the demons, but unfortunately ends up killing his daughter along with them.

Fourth is "Phalmark Phal" Hunter comes across the town of Pharmark Phal, where demons have killed and raped many after finding that Hunter had been there. At the request of a dying friend Hunter fights the demons and saves his daughter.

Fifth is "The Blood Princess". Hunter comes across a castle filled with demons. There he is captured and thrown in a cell with an old man, who reveals himself to be Schreck (see Schreck's storyline in issues 53-55, reviewed previously). The demons had taken over the castle but apparantely now there's only 3 or 4 left because of a ghost, the "Princess of Bathory Castle" who has been killing them off. When a demon guard is killed they escape and find her, a little girl, along with a huge nuclear missile.

Last is "The Unholy Trinity". Hunter, along with Schreck and the Blood Princess arm the nuclear warhead to go off in one hour. Hunter heads off to meet with Ophal and have one last confrontation. Scheck and the Blood Princess meanwhile take out the remaining demons and find some mutants. Hunter tries to kill Ophal but finds he is unable to. The bomb fails to go off however, and Ophal kills Hunter, dying seconds later when Schreck kills him. A depressing end, but at the very least Hunter's quest of eliminating the last remaining mutants comes to fruition.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Creepy 44

Vicente Segrelles provides the cover for this issue of Creepy, from March 1972, one of only two Warren covers.

First story is "With Silver Bells, Cockle Shells And..." by Irv Docktor (art) and F. Paul Wilson (story). A former convict encounters a scientist at a bar that he thinks has money, but he only has seeds. The convict kills the man, then buries his seeds in the ground. He finds out the seeds will make him rich, but they also reveal him as the killer when they look like the very man he killed. Some very interesting art from Docktor in his sole Warren appearance.

Second is the cover story, "Something to Remember Me By!" by Tom Sutton (story & art). A man's wife and her lover get him to die by scaring him to death with a fake grave. They bury him without a locket of his, and believing in a curse that he'll come back to take it, they dig up his grave to put in in his coffin, but his grave ends up falling on them, crushing them.

Third is "A Certain Innocence" by Nebot (art) and Steve Skeates (story). Normally a very dependable writer, Skeates turns out quite an odd one here, this story I'd expect more from a T. Casey Brennan or Don McGregor than him. Its about some hippie girls who enjoy some records, but find some weird words on them, which when they speak turn men into giant monsters.

Fourth is "The Last Days of Hans Bruder" by Frank Bolle (art) and T. Casey Brennan (story). This story features a nazi concentration camp doctor's sad history as he tries to end people's misery as soon as possible, including killing his former lover knowing what the other nazis are going to do to her. In the present time he takes an experimental drug rather than testing it on other people, and it kills him.

Fifth is "Like A Phone Booth, Long and Narrow" by Jose Bea (art) and Jan Strnad (story). This was Strnad's Warren debut. A man's phone obsessed wife convinces him to bury her with a phone in the event she dies, as her family has a history of being buried alive due to an illness. It happens to her, but when she calls him, he's too drunk to pick up the phone.

Sixth is "The Ultimate High!" by Martin Salvador (art) and Steve Skeates (story). This was Salvador's Warren debut. A man is about to settle down with his girlfriend, but before decides to go on one last big adventure to experience the ultimate high from a drug used by Tibetan monks. He uses the drug but the high is so intense that his entire life passes him by and he's an old man by the time he feels normal again.

Seventh is "Dorian Gray: 2001" by William Barry (art) and Al Hewetson (story). In this story Gray retains his looks not because of a deal with the devil, but because he's a vampire! Eventually he's found out however, and ends up falling into a vat of chemicals, which completely destroys his body. Another Dorian Gray themed story appeared in Vampirella around the same time as this story.

Last is "Sleep" by Mike Ploog (art) and Kevin Pagan (story). A pair of thieves are able to steal from people by cutting the hands off a corpse and lighting a finger on fire when they enter someone's house, which causes everyone to fall asleep. Eventually one of the thieves kills the other and heads into his final house, but lighting the fingers don't work as the house is filled with vampires!

This issue would mark the last Creepy appearance by Ploog and the last Warren appearances overall by Bolle and Barry, as the spanish artists quickly became the dominant artists of Warren.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

1994 #25

This issue, dated June 1982 features a Ghita of Alizarr themed cover by Lloyd Garrison. Actually not that bad an issue. Everything here is at least somewhat memorable in its own way, rather impressive considering this was an era where Warren's work was very substandard. Sorry, was unable to find an image of the cover for this issue to show you all.

First is "The God of the Month Club" by Alex Nino (art) and Kevin Duane (story). Similar to issue 22's Young Sigmond Pavlov segment, this story is pretty much all nonscensical garbage, but Nino pulls off an amazing art job where the art from each page can be combined with the other pages to form a giant image, in this case, the phrase "God of the Month Club". In fact if you own multiple issues, you can expand the art to form a seemingly infinite image. Very bizarre, but very well done.

Second is "Diana Jacklighter, Manhuntress!" by Esteban Maroto (art) and Bruce Jones (story). In this story Diana heads after Frank Branner, the escaped convict who is reported to have a plague. Diana crashes her ship on the planet he's on, with her only hope to steal the ship he had. Unfortunately for her, she is captured by him, who seems to be completely unaffected by the plague. At gunpoint he forces her to fix the ship for him and she ends up falling for him, even though she may be infected as a result. Looks like the series will start going in a different direction after the events of this story.

Third is "Ghita of Alizarr" by Frank Thorne (story & art). In this story Ghita is brought by her captives to Urd, managing to kill two of them along the way, but stopped by the third. She arrives at Urd where she is paraded in front of the people, who aren't all that impressed with her. She meets Runthar while there, the boy she had met in Urd during her youth.

Fourth is "Angel" by Rudy Nebres (art) and Bill Dubay (story). In this story Angel and Ape are in South Africa, where a conflict has been going on between white and black people. They meet a white hunter, who got caught in a bear trap. After freeing him and healing his wounds, he discusses the conflict, which involved chemical warfare, which resulted in mutations occuring. They meet one such mutation, a baby who was responsible for leaving the bear traps. Although Angel tries to heal him, the mutant instead tries to kill her, and she is saved by the white hunter. The best story thus far in this rather poor series.

Last is "Small World, Isn't It?" by Delando Nino (art) and Timothy Moriarty (story). In this story a man creates a device which permits him to shrink anyone to an extremely small size, albeit it temporarily. Unfortunately for him the government seizes him, with the intent of using his device to defeat their enemies. Eventually enemy forces get their hands on it too and the entire Earth blows up, with only the man and his wife surviving, with him in a shrunken size inside of her space suit.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Eerie 123

Sanjulian provides the cover for this issue of Eerie, cover dated August 1981. This cover was originally meant for Creepy 47, but after not being finished in time for that issue, it was held onto for 9 years before being used here. Thankfully no Zud Kamish this issue, so things are a tad better than usual.

First is the latest story in the Mist series, "Token Resistance" by Val Mayerik (art) and Don McGregor (story). Victoria continues to hide on the subway from Lucifer's henchmen, along with her ally, who is revealed to be a CIA agent. Eventually they are found and fight Lucifer's men. Some of the men are killed, but by the end Victoria is still in Lucifer's hands and is dragged off by him. Only a so-so story at best with some lapses in logic; it does feature a funny scene with a panhandler declaring himself an alien though.

Next is the second story in the Born of Ancient Vision trilogy, "In Sight of Heaven In Reach of Hell" by Bob Morello (art) and Budd Lewis (story). The creatures that came due to Mah 'Sess's third eye start creating a large hive in the sky. They are revealed to not be from hell, but from another dimension. They plot to defeat Mah 'Sess and succeed by convincing some of his men to betray him. One of the creatures attacks Mah 'Sess but is killed. As the story ends, an odd reaction occurs with Mah 'Sess's third pair of eyes.

Third is "Remember All the People" by Leo Duranona (art) and Don McGregor (story). This story surrounds a couple on the day of John Lennon's death. Lots of this is the typical psychotic hippie nonsense from McGregor here unfortunately. Duranona provides a good art job at least, in his last Warren story.

The issue concludes with "Path of the Tempered Soul", the latest Haggarth story, but Victor de la Fuente (story & art). King Thall continues his search for a parchment left behind by his former head priest. Some barons meet with him and he tells them off. Haggarth meanwhile meets with the mysterious priest in the obselisk then departs with his friend. His friend plays cards in an inn while Haggarth meets a mysterious man who is working for the King and asks Haggarth to assassinate one of the Barons, Borin for him. Haggarth's friend wants him to come with him to find a treasure, but Haggarth has other plans.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Creepy 67

Ken Kelly provides the cover for this issue of Creepy, dated December 1974. This cover's quite the oddity, as the story it features, "Bowser", doesn't even appear in this issue due to a printing error. That story was planned to be printed here, but due to an error at the printer, the story "The Raven" appeared instead. "Bowser" would later appear in Vampirella 54 approximately two years later. Berni Wrightson provides the one page intro from Uncle Creepy on the inside front cover.

First is "Excerpts from the Year Five" by Jose Ortiz (art) and Budd Lewis (story). This story takes place in a future where all the power in the world has vanished. The story focuses on a man, who meets a woman when receiving first aid. They help fellow people and find a young boy eating the remains of his mother. Eventually Satan worshippers kill the boy however, and the woman dies soon afterwards as well.

Second is "The Haunted Abbey" by Vicente Alcazar (art) and Lewis (story). This story tells of a couple in Spain who comes across an abbey occupied by monks. Due to the weather they head inside. The monks tell them to stay in a cell, but they sneak out and catch them executing a woman by covering her up in an alcove with bricks. All of a sudden they find themselves years later, and all thats left of the woman is a skeleton. They head up through the Abbey to know find it completely in ruins.

Third is "The Happy Undertaker" by Martin Salvador (art) and Carl Wessler (story). This story tells of an Undertaker who loves his work and takes a lot of steps to make money for himself. He eventually replaces his employees with homeless kids who work for room and board. They end up turning on him however when it is revealed that they are vampires!

Fourth is "The Raven" by Richard Corben (story & art), an adaption of the classic Poe story. Anyone familiar with horror surely must know this story, featuring a pesty Raven that keeps saying "Nevermore". Some very nice art from Richard Corben. The story was most likely originally intended for two issues later, an all Edgar Allen Poe issue.

Fifth is "Holy War" by Adolfo Abellan (art) and Lewis (story). Taking place in the age of the Crusades, the Church learns of a group of pagans that apparentely possess the greatest treasure in the world. When they refuse to hand it over to be used for war, the church sends soldiers which kill them all. They then find the treasure... which ends up being the cross of Jesus Christ.

Last is "Oil of Dog", an adaption of the Ambrose Bierce story. Isidro Mones provides the art while Jack Butterworth provides the adaption. This story tells of a boy whose father creates oil from dead dogs and whose mother performs abortions and has him dispose of the body. One day when the boy is hiding from the cops he disposes of a baby in the oil vat and creates an even more lucrative product. Eventually however his parents get in trouble for all the people they end up killing to create the oil, and end up killing each other when there is no other person they can use for ingredients.