Monday, April 20, 2009

Eerie 106

This issue of Eerie is a reprint issue covering Hard John Apple. The cover is based on art by Jose Ortiz from one of the Hard John stories, along with additional artwork by Walt Simonson. This issue is cover dated November 1979.

First is "An Angel Shy of Hell", by Richard Corben (art) and Jim Stenstrum (story), reprinted from Creepy 64. This story was originally printed in color. It stars Hard John Apple, a bounty hunter hired by "Protstns' in the far future, who goes about the state of Kansas, killing as many 'Catlicks' as he can, including an injured helicopter pilot with a burned face that looks just like the cover painting of Creepy 64. A terrific story, although probably somewhat offensive with the parodies of various relgious groups. Originally published in 1974, it would be approximately 3 years before the next story featuring Hard John Apple appeared, making it clear that this was likely intended to originally be a stand alone story.

Second is the start of the series Hard John's Nuclear Hit Parade, with the story "Kansas City Bomber", from Eerie 83. Art is by Jose Ortiz and story is by Jim Stenstrum. This story takes place in the post-apocalyptic future where 'Catlicks' and 'Protstnts' fight each other. Hard John Apple has fooled the Prot leaders into giving him the state of Kansas, which is filled with nuclear weapons which he plans to use with the help of an orangutan. This story introduces Tarara, a woman who captures John and discovers his plans.

Third is "Brass Monkey", by Jose Ortiz (art) and Jim Stenstrum (story), from Eerie 84. Ortiz uses a new art style in this story, which results in his art looking a lot like Alfredo Alcala's. John and Tarara go to a Catlick base in order to get plans to assist in John's attack on the world. There it is discovered that Zinger, the man who originally told John about the nukes in Kansas is a member of the Catlicks, Protstnts and Tarara's group. He plans to finish off our heroes, but the General (the orangutan introduced in the prior story) arrives and helps our heroes escape.

Fourth is the finale for Hard John's Nuclear Hit Parade, "Gonna Nuke Mankind right Outa My Hair" by Jose Ortiz (art) and Jim Stenstrum (story), from Eerie 85. The Catlicks, Protsnts and Red Threats are all heading towards John's nuclear weapons site to get their hands on the nukes. John and Tarara visit a church then prepare for Zinger's arrival. John outsmarts everyone by launching all his nuclear weapons into the ocean except for one, which he aims right at his base just as everyone is arriving, a blast powerful enough to destroy all the armies left in the world. A pretty good finale to this serial, even though John and Tarara are clearly going to perish when the bomb hits.

Last is "The Super-Abnormal Phenomena Survival Kit!" by John Severin (art) and Jim Stenstrum (story), from Creepy 79. 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.


Frederick Widdowson said...

I loved the Hard John Apple stories back then. Especially the one you described where he fools both armies into converging on their doom. You have really brought back memories! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Great Mag. I read it as a 15-year old survivalist growing up next to a nuclear power /waste dump area. Let's just say that it was highly influential. I decided I wanted to be like Hard John Apple when I grew up. Hard John did as he pleased and took no shit off anyone. Harlan Ellison's "A Boy and His Dog" and "Blood's aa Rover" were also extremely influential stories. I thought civilization would have collapsed by now. I hope it happens soon so I can start wasting pig asshole motherfuckers. They're getting way out of hand, if you know what I'm saying.

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