Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The EC and Warren Connection

EC comics were an obvious influence on Warren's comic magazines and with this article I shall point out the connections between the two. It is well known that during Warren's original golden age of 1964 to 1967 that the comics came off as EC resurrected, with many of the stories drawn by the same artists that had originally appeared in EC comics. In fact Warren's horror comics came about in the first place due to original Creepy editor Russ Jones wanting to recreate EC-style horror comics in the early to mid 1960s. By 1967 all of the original EC artists had departed Warren due to the money problems that plagued Warren that resulted in a reduction in the stories commissioned, and the rates paid. Some of these artists, like Joe Orlando, Johnny Craig and Angelo Torres would never return, but a fair number, like Reed Crandall and Al Williamson eventually did. Others, like John Severin, Alex Toth and Russ Heath actually outpaced themselves in later years, during eras that are principally known at Warren as being dominated by Spanish and Phillipino artists.

An early force in Warren comics was a group of artists who were known as the Fleagles gang at EC in the 1950s, Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta, Roy Krenkel and Angelo Torres (Nick Meglin and George Woodridge were also part of this group but never actually worked for Warren). This group of artists frequently collaborated at EC on stories that were often credited just to Williamson. Only occasionally would a credit appear for Frazetta, Krenkel or Torres, although they had a big part in a great many more. Each non-Williamson artist including Frazetta only did one solo story, and Torres' wasn't even published during EC's original run due to being rejected by the Comics Code. Frazetta also contributed a solo cover for Weird Science-Fantasy #29, which was a rejected cover for Famous Funnies. This cover is frequently credited as the best cover from an EC comic.

Aside from Krenkel, each of these artists had a high level of contribution to Warren, particularly Frazetta and Torres. Frazetta did only one actual comics story for Warren ("Werewolf", appearing in Creepy #1) and a couple of frontis one page features, but did numerous covers, principally on the early issues. Some of these covers are quite famous, in particular Eerie #23 and Vampirella #1, but for the most part each one is a classic. Like much of the original Warren artists, Frazetta stopped contributing in late 1967 as Warren went into a dark age, but later returned and contributed work in 1969 and 1970. His last Warren cover was used for Eerie #81, but had actually been painted several years earlier, intended for a magazine called "POW!" that was never actually published. Frazetta was extremely popular with readers, and Warren reprinted his covers numerous times starting in the mid to late 1970s. Krenkel never did an actual full Warren story on his own, although he contributed to a story with Al Williamson in the first issue of Creepy, had a few frontis one-page features and had a couple of writing credits. He has also been credited as assisting with drafts for Frazetta's covers to Creepy 6 and 7 (which can be seen in EC fanzine Squa Tront #7).

Williamson contributed early stories to Creepy, Eerie and Blazing Combat before departing Warren for almost 10 years, returning for 2 stories in Creepy #86 and Creepy #112 respectively. An additional story that he originally drew for Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction appeared in Creepy #83. Torres was prolific in the early issues of Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella, contributing 19 solo stories, a collaboration with Al Williamson for one story, a single page ending to a Gray Morrow (to whom he had stylistic similarities) story from Creepy #2 and 6 single page frontispieces. Torres' art was typically a high point for me in the early issues of Creepy and Eerie. He departed Warren for good in early 1967.

Williamson's work for EC was primarily their sci-fi work, which was also the case for Joe Orlando and Wally Wood who also made many contributions to Warren. At EC, Orlando's work appeared heavily influenced by Wood at first but slowly grew into his own unique style, one that was more so apparent by the time he worked at Warren. Orlando provided art for approximately 30 stories in Creepy, Eerie and Blazing Combat, including the infamous "Landscape" story from Blazing Combat #2 that is oftentimes cited as a primary reason for that comic's demise. Eight of his stories were part of the Adam Link series, Warren's first recurring series. The first 3 stories had also been adapted by EC in Weird Science-Fantasy in 1954/1955, drawn that time by Orlando as well. Although it should be noted that stylistically Orlando handled things differently, particularly the Adam Link character in both series. Orlando's work for Warren ceased in 1967, when he moved on to join DC Comics.

Wally Wood was EC's most well known sci-fi artist and also was a heavy contributor to Harvey Kurtzman's war comics. Wood, unlike many of the other EC artists discussed here did very little work during Warren's original golden age when Archie Goodwin was editor, his output limited to a single horror story he did with Dan Adkins in Creepy #9 and a pair of stories for Blazing Combat. He had earlier done a story for Famous Monsters which was also reprinted in Eerie in 1967. Wood did a variety of stories for Warren in the early to mid 70s, most of which were sci-fi or fantasy based. Wood departed Warren for good after a controversial incident when Bill Dubay took a 12 page stories of his, split it in two, and heavily rewrote it to focus on sexual aspects of the story as published in the first 2 issues of 1984. Dubay had reportedly ordered rewritten a story of Wood's from Eerie #60, which was published a few years earlier, as well. A joint story of Wood’s with Ernie Colon appeared a few issues later in 1984, but this story was originally done several years earlier, intended for the previously mentioned POW! magazine which never saw the light of day.

Jack Davis was one of the most prolific artists at EC, appearing in practically every horror and war comic that EC issued. He never did any actual stories for Warren, but contributed one frontispiece from Creepy #3 and did the original drawings for Uncle Creepy and Cousin Eerie that appeared throughout Warren's comics for years to come. He also did the covers for the first issues of both Creepy and Eerie, although the Eerie cover was actually a reprint of a subscription advertisement that had appeared in an earlier issue of Creepy.

Reed Crandall and George Evans joined EC midway through its run and contributed a variety of stories for EC's horror and crime comics. Crandall was a prolific contributor to Warren in its early days and as with the other EC artists departed for a few years towards the end of 1967. Crandall returned to Warren in 1969 for another approximate half dozen stories then departed again, only to return once more for a final batch of stories that appeared 1972 and 1973. By this point however the quality of his work had deteriorated quite a bit and I believe this was his last actual comics work. Evans did a variety of types of stories for EC, but planes was his true love and his Warren work reflected this as all 3 of these stories featured this theme, which appeared in Creepy and Blazing Combat.

Johnny Craig was my personal favorite EC artist, where he was principally responsible for the Vault of Horror and Crime Suspenstories comics. He had a very clean style which was a stark contrast to EC's other notable horror artists like Jack David and Graham Ingels. Craig was a strong writer as well and wrote the majority of his EC and Warren stories. Much of his work was under the alias "Jay Taycee" which he used due such that the advertising clients he worked for didn't know he was doing comics work as well. Craig was yet another artist that departed Warren for good in 1967 although a couple of stories of his didn't see print until 1968.

John Severin appeared principally in EC's war comics, and actually edited Two-Fisted Tales for a period of time before its cancellation. His early work during Warren golden age was a mixture of this type of work for Blazing Combat, as well as several stories for Creepy and Eerie. Severin departed along with the other EC artists in 1967 but returned in 1974 and contributed Warren work for many years after, through 1979. Severin was never a favorite of mine during his EC days but he always was a strong contributor for Warren with the approximate 30 or so stories he did for them.

Russ Heath, Alex Toth and Eugene Colan aren't artists one usually thinks of when they think of EC, but all 3 had done stories for EC's war comics. Heath only did a single story during Warren's original golden age, "Give and Take" from Blazing Combat #4, but did approximately a dozen stories for Warren in the late 1970s, including some extremely memorable stories like "Yellow Heat" (my personal favorite Warren story), "Process of Elimination" and "Zooner or Later". Heath's Warren work was always exceptionally strong, particularly the aforementioned Yellow Heat. Toth did a number of stories during Warren's original golden age, best among them "Survival" from Blazing Combat #3. Toth departed Warren over a year before the other artists did, but returned to Warren multiple times and his artwork appeared in Warren magazines far longer than any other former EC artist. In the mid 70s he did a number of solo stories, most of which he wrote himself, along with the well known "Daddy and the Pie" story from Eerie #64 and the final two stories in the "Hacker" series. His latest batch of original Warren stories were done in the early 1980s and featured him inking stories for a variety of artists such as Leo Summers, Leo Duranona and Carmine Infantino, producing an interesting result each time. The Rook printed his "Bravo For Adventure" two part series, which was rated as the #1 Warren series of all time in the book The Warren Companion. Toth's last Warren work was a couple of stories from the Torpedo series that he had originally done for the Spanish version of Creepy that were reprinted in some of the last issues of Vampirella. Colan's work appeared exclusively during Warren's original golden age, totaling approximately 15 stories that mostly appeared in Eerie. His work was principally done in wash-style and was always of exceptionally high quality.

The two big omissions from this article to this point from EC's side have been Harvey Kurtzman and Bill Elder. Kurtzman acted as editor for EC's two war comics and was the founding editor of Mad in its comics form and the first few issues of its magazine form. Elder appeared within EC's war comics, primarily teamed with John Severin. Once Mad came out, Elder's true calling as a humor artist became apparent and he was among EC's strongest comedic artists in Mad and its sanctioned imitation comic, Panic. Neither artist ever did work for Warren's horror comics, but both worked on the magazine Help!, which Warren published from 1960 through 1965. Kurtzman acted as editor and a primary writer for the magazine while Elder did art for various stories throughout the magazine's run.

Most of the focus of this article has been on EC's artists, but what about their writers? With the vast, vast majority of EC's stories being written by Al Feldstein, there was only a few other EC writers, although two of them, Otto Binder and Carl Wessler did work for Warren. Both of these writers came on board with EC around 1954 towards the end of its original run of horror comics. Binder did approximately a dozen stories for Warren, all during its original golden age. Most of these stories were from the Adam Link series which he originally developed with his brother Earl Binder. As mentioned earlier, the first 3 of these stories had also appeared in EC comics as well. Wessler contributed only 2 stories to Warren's original golden age, but rejoined Warren during Bill Dubay's run as editor, contributing approximately 20 stories. Four of his stories later appeared in the early 1980s although I suspect all four of them were originally done during the Dubay era and just held off for printing until this point. One story, "Lucky Stiff", was a redo of a story he had done called "Out Cold" from the Haunt of Fear #25.

So who from EC never actually contributed to Warren? The most notable is "Ghastly" Graham Ingels, the lead artist of the Haunt of Fear and probably the most liked of the EC horror artists. Ingels' style would have fit Warren perfectly, but the criticism of the subject matter that he contributed to EC greatly bothered him and he left the comics field entirely. That said, Warren eventually did a tribute story to him, "Encore Ghastly" in Creepy #61 which featured a horror comics artist who had been driven from comics, but returned, this time drawing the stories with blood. Bernard Krigstein, who did groundbreaking work for EC, particularly with his art on the famous story "Master Race" had also departed comics entirely by the time Warren started doing comics. Al Feldstein was the principal editor from EC throughout its run, but working as editor for Mad during the entire period that Warren was publishing comics was obviously never even available. Jack Kamen was a very prolific EC artist and was EC's best artist at drawing women, but was generally weak from a horror standpoint and never did any Warren work.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Vampirella 1

Today I cover the first issue of Vampirella, which after years of failing to obtain a copy I've finally been able to check out due to Dynamite's Vampirella Archives series. Frank Frazetta provides the cover, one of my personal favorites. He also supplies a one page intro from Vampi on the inside front cover.

First is Vampirella's first ever appearance in "Vampirella of Draculon", with art by Tom Sutton and story by Forrest Ackerman, who was editor for Famous Monsters of Filmland for the majority of its run. This story's much more light hearted than the usual Vampirella story and features her on her home planet of Draculon, where blood is the equivalent of water. A spaceship of humans crashes on their planet and Vampirella sucks their blood, then finds a "smorgasblood" as she puts it inside the ship when she finds a room full of men in hibernation.

Second is "Death Boat!" by Billy Graham (art) and Don Glut (story). Six people are stranded on a life boat in the middle of the ocean after the ship they are on sinks. One night they awaken to find one of the people dead, with two holes in his throat. One of the men is convinced that it is a vampire on board the boat and attacks the man he think is the vampire, killing him. He is then killed by another man shortly afterwards. Another death occurs soon afterwards, and convinced that her companion is the vampire, being the only one left, the last person standing kills him. But then the boat itself is revealed by the the vampire and transforms in order to kill her.

Next is "Two Silver Bullets!" by Reed Crandall (art) and Don Glut (story). A man and his daughter are hunting in the woods and the daughter is attacked by a wolf that runs off unharmed after the man shoots it. Because the full moon was out, the man is convinced that it was a werewolf and procures himself two silver bullets. The daughter meanwhile has dreams about the wolf and calls it her love. The man returns to his cottage to find his daughter gone and wolf tracks in the snow. He follows them and finds two wolves this time. He shoots both of them, only realizing at the last minute that the second one was his daughter, transformed.

Fourth is "Goddess from the Sea" by Neal Adams (art) and Don Glut (story). Adams' art is pencils only, which unfortunately makes things hard to make out in some of the panels. A woman, Lanora, appears outs of the sea and tells a man who lives nearby that she's from Atlantis and is fleeing from those of her kind. Her fellow sea dwellers soon come out after her and grab ahold of her. He heads into the sea after her and ends up drowning.

Fifth is "Last Act: October!" by Mike Royer (art) and Don Glut (story). A woman is burned at the stake and curses her accuser, such that him and his descendents will die in October. The accuser dies shortly afterwards. Throughout history many of his descendents die in October. The last descendent left is an elderly woman who is babysitting on the night of Halloween. She avoids numerous accidental ways to die, but meets her end mere minutes before midnight when the child she is babysitting is revealed to be a vampire and bites her on the neck.

Next is "Spaced-Out Girls!" by Tony Williamsune (art) and Don Glut (story). Kenne Barcroft is a skilled womanizer, who one night finds a flying saucer appear from the sky and land in front of him. Out from the flying saucer walks a series of beautiful women who claim to be from another planet that has no men. Kenne anxiously agrees to head with them to ensure they don't go extinct. His advances on the women on the way there fail, as they claim he is reserved for their Queen only. Upon arriving at the planet, Kenne finds out that all the women are robots, and he is locked in a room with the Queen, who is about as beastly as you can imagine.

The issue concludes with "A Room Full of Changes" with art by Ernie Colon and story by Nicola Cuti. This story's a rather weak effort, featuring a man who buys a home featuring a room where an old man was murdered. He meets the two daughters of the man who sold him the house and starts a romantic relationship with one of them. The room where the old man was murdered seems to have a different appearance based on who enters it. The father attempts to destroy the room but a number of monsters appear and kill him.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Luis Garcia Mozos

As part of a new feature on this recently revived blog, I will be writing articles on some of my various favorite Warren artists. While my principal discussion of such articles will typically be their work for Warren, I shall also where I can discuss their pre- and post-Warren work as well. I figured no person better to start with than my personal favorite Warren artist, Luis Garcia Mozos.

Much of Garcia's pre- and post- Warren history within this blog entry could not have been written without the writings of David A. Roach, from whom I've been able to learn a lot about Garcia from his book The Warren Companion as well as a wonderful multi-part article I've found on the web at the following site: For those interested in more about the artist I strongly recommend checking out both.

While Luis Garcia Mozos (credited in the Warren magazines as just Luis Garcia) had a relatively small profile compared to many other Warren artists, his work is unquestionably that which I enjoy the most and I consider him my personal favorite Warren artist, if not one of my favorite comic book artists ever. Garcia was one of many Spanish artists who worked for Warren in the early 1970s due to the company's affiliation with Selecciones Illustrada. Garcia worked for Warren only for a year, 1972, producing 9 stories and 3 frontispieces. Then, just like that, he was gone, never to work for them again, although 5 additional stories of his were reprinted in 1975.

Garcia was born in Puertollano, Spain in 1946 and was interested in drawing from an early age. At the mere age of 14, Garcia joined the publishing house Bruguera. Like many of the S.I. artists who appeared in Warren magazines during the 1970s and 1980s, he did a lot of romance comics that were published in Britain, including Love Story, Romeo and Mirabelle. By the age of 17, Garcia had left Bruguera and joined S.I., where he remained until after his work for Warren. While at S.I., Garcia befriended many artists that also ended up working for Warren at some point, including Esteban Maroto, Jose Gonzales, Adolfo Usero (Abellan), Ramon Torrents and Carlos Giminez. Garcia's early influences appeared to be Gonzales and Jordi Longaron, an artist that never did any work for Warren. By the late 1960's Garcia's work started showing the style that he would do for Warren, albeit it without the fine, realistic detail that made him so distinctive.

In addition to his art, Garcia acted as a model for romance novels published throughout Europe along with Carol de Haro, his girlfriend. de Haro is notable as being the model for characters in the Garcia-drawn stories "The Men Who Called Him Monster", "Song of a Sad-Eyed Sorceress" and "Love Strip", but more significantly, Vampirella in paintings done by Jose Gonzalez and Enrich Torres. In 1967 he temporarily was part of a commune with some of the various artists mentioned earlier and they worked on the comic "5 x Infinity". He then returned to his work on British romance strips.

In 1971 Jose Toutain, head of S.I., was able to arrange for his artists to appear in Warren magazines and Garcia was one of many S.I. artists who soon started appearing in the pages of Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella. Garcia's first work for Warren was "The Men Who Called Him Monster", published in Creepy #43, a so-so story from a script standpoint (written by Don McGregor), but displaying beautiful Garcia artwork. The influences on Garcia for this strip were quite apparant, the main character was based on actor Sidney Poitier while the werewolf villain was based on the Lon Chaney Jr. portrayal of the werewolf in 1941's The Wolf Man. Carol de Haro appeared as a witness that appeared on a couple of pages. A kiss between her and the Sidney Poitier character became the first inter-racial kiss in main stream comics. Incidently enough, the kiss made no sense storywise, and was all due to a misunderstanding of a descriptive line "this is the clincher" which was misunderstood either by Garcia, or the S.I. translator for the story. Right around this time Garcia also drew the story "Welcome to the Witches Coven", which was also written by McGregor, and published in Vampirella #15, the same month as Creepy #43. While there were no firsts with this story, it was appreciated enough to win Garcia the Warren award for best art in a story for 1972. The 1972 Warren awards were, oddly enough, not given the special feature that the annual Warren awards usually received, but this was referenced in a later year article on past winners.

Garcia's work continued throughout 1972. Some stories like "Song of a Sad-Eyed Sorceress" (Vampirella #18) and "Love is No Game" (Vampirella #20) brought back memories of his romance comics past. Others like "Spellbound" (Creepy #46) and "The Caterpillars" (Eerie #41) permitted him to do some more bizarre subject matter. Garcia's final Warren story, "Paranoia" (Vampirella #21) was somewhat of a dissappointment, with a rather nonscensical story and short running length.

In 1973 Garcia started work for the French magazine Pilote and teamed up with writer Victor Mora. They stared a series called "Les Chronicles Des Sin Nombres" which told a variety of stories from different time periods. The first five stories from this series were reprinted in Vampirella in 1975, although they were rewritten by Bill Dubay, Budd Lewis or Gerry Boudreau and the credits were often screwed up in some fashion (with Luis being called Jose multiple times and Mora frequently being left out entirely from the credits). "The Last Legacy of Gaslight Lil" in particular has a succubus storyline overlayed over the western outlaw story that the drawings show that I would not be surprised one bit if it had nothing to do with the original story. All five of these stories are amazing to look at, and with maybe the exception of some stories done by Val Lakey in the late 1970s/early 1980s are the most realistic artwork to appear in a Warren magazine. One of the stories, "Janis" (printed in Vampirella 45) was colored by Warren and features in my opinion the most beautiful artwork to ever appear in a Warren magazine. Its the only color comics artwork of Garcia's that I have been able to see, and may be all that is out there by him in color from a comic standpoint.

Warren clearly had a lot of respect for these stories, maybe a little too much as some obvious swipes would appear soon after. In particular, Paul Neary's "Exterminator One" story from Eerie 63 blatantly copies several panels featuring the main character of "Love Strip" (printed in Vampirella 44), while "The Winter of Their Discontent" from Vampirella 45, written by Gerry Boudreau, is for arguably a ripoff of "The Wolves at War's End" (printed in Vampirella 43). All five of these stories were excellent from all aspects; "The Wolves at War's End" was declared the second best story in the history of Warren in the Warren Companion book, and "Love Strip" appeared further below in tenth place. The Wolves at War's End would later be reprinted in Heavy Metal as well, although I've never been able to acquire myself a copy.

Following "The Last Legacy of Gaslight Lil" in Vampirella 47, Garcia was to never appear in a Warren magazine again. His next work following Pilote was "Chicharras", which appeared in the French magazine Scop, and portrayed his return to his childhood village. Following Chicharras Garcia did a variety of politically influenced stories which appeared in various magazines. He also founded the magazine Trocha around this time.

Aside from his Warren work, Garcia's most well known work that appeared in America was probably "Nova 2" which he began around 1980. The story began in the Sahara desert by changed focus to feature a comic book artist who buys a gun and tries to kill himself. Aspects of the story are similar to "Love Strip", which incidently is the name of a comic that the main character works on during the story. Nova 2 was eventually printed in America in Heavy Metal. To this point I've only been able to track down one of the multiple issues that features it, but hope to find them all at some point.

After Nova 2 Garcia founded the magazine Rambla with friend and fellow former Warren artist Jose Bea. Rambla went bankrupt in the mid 1980's due to economic problems in Spain at the time. Following this, Garcia moved more into commercial art and fine art.

Garcia's Warren work was the following:

Regular Stories:

The Men Who Called Him Monster (Creepy 43)

Spellbound! (Creepy 46)

The Law and Disorder (Creepy 47)

The Caterpillars (Eerie 41)

Welcome to the Witches' Coven! (Vampirella 15)

Death in the Shadows (Vampirella 17)

Song of a Sad-Eyed Sorceress (Vampirella 18)

Love is No Game (Vampirella 20)

Paranoia (Vampirella 21)


Creepy's Loathsome Lore: The Undertaker's Model (Creepy 46)

Eerie's Monster Gallery - Quetzalcoatal, Monster God! (Eerie 43)

Vampi's Feary Tales: Nymphs! (Vampirella 18)

The 5 stories Garcia did for Pilote that were reprinted in Warren magazines were:

Around the Corner… …Just Beyond Eternity! (Vampirella 42)

The Wolves At War's End (Vampirella 43)

Love Strip (Vampirella 44)

Janis! (Vampirella 45)

The Secret Legacy of Gaslight Lil! (Vampirella 47)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vampirella 27

Enrich provides the cover for this issue of Vampirella. Enrich later painted Vampirella in a very similar pose for the cover of issue 42. This is mostly a reprint issue, but does feature an all new color story featuring Vampirella.

First is "Wolf Hunt" with art by Esteban Maroto and story by Joe Wehrle. This story is originally from Vampirella #16. 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, the best of the issue.

Next is "Welcome to the Witches Coven", from Vampirella #15. Art is by Luis Garcia story is by Don McGregor. Some extremely good art kicked off Garcia's short lived Warren career in this story's original appearance, appearing to have been done in pencil only here. The story ain't that great though, featuring a woman in the modern era joining a witch's cult with disastrous results as they sacrifice a business friend of her husband's, then kill her when she tries to escape and alert the authorities.

Third is "Quavering Shadows" by Jose Bea (art) and Doug Moench (story). This story is also originally from Vampirella #15. While a serial killer plauges a town, a man, Andrew, visits his friend Jason, who has purchased a castle deep in the woods. Andrew eventually makes it there and finds his friend barely sane, telling him of ghosts in the castle and showing him mysterious shadows on the wall. Things get even stranger as Jason appears in different parts of the castle at the same time, then attacking Andrew with a club. Andrew returns home where he finds that his wife had been attacked by the serial killer, who was Jason! A very odd story.

Next is "The Frog Prince" by Bill Dubay (story & art). This story is from Vampirella #13. A woman meets a talking frog who tells her he's a prince. She kisses him and he turns into a human and agrees to marry her. However it is soon revealed that as a human he can't speak, only croak!

Next is this issue's only original story, "Return Trip", featuring art by Jose Gonzalez and story by Jose Toutain (the head of Selecciones Illustrada, providing a rare story). This is the first ever color comic of Vampirella. The coloring is a lot better than that which had been used in issues 25 and 26 of Vampirella but is still hardly close to the greatness that Warren eventually attained. This story continues that which had been taking place in the last several issues of Vampirella. Rose, Pendragon's former wife seeks revenge on him so she recruits help from a man named the Dreamer who can manipulate people's dreams. He tries to trick Vampirella into killing Pendragon by sucking his blood but she won't do it. He tries to stab her instead, but Patrick, Pendragon's grandson, shoots him, saving Vampi.

Sixth is "Cilia" by Felix Mas (art) and Nicola Cuti (story). This story is from Vampirella #16. A pair of men are in a shipwreck, but a beautiful mermaid rescues them. She marries one of the men and is able to turn into a human form, but must remain near the water. A mob finds her however and captures her. The men eventually find her, but being away from the water so long, she has become an old woman. Her lover kills her then carries her off into the sea.

Next is "Quest" by Jeff Jones (story & art), from Vampirella #12. This story features a mere 2 panels per page, with some nice artwork by Jones. The story features a hunter pursuing a woman, who is attacked by another man, then flees using some elephants. She is attacked by a saber tooth tiger, but the hunter arrives, seemingly to save her, but in reality to kill her. Reminds me of "Yellow Heat", my favorite Warren story.

Last is "War of the Wizards" which is from Vampirella #10. The story is both written and drawn by Wally Wood. It's about a pair of rival wizards who use a soldier in their fight between each other. The soldier is able to defeat both wizards, and is revealed to be a wizard himself. As usual, Wood's art is quite good, and the story, while not having a horror theme, is pretty good too.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blazing Combat 2

With my first issue summary/review in about 2 years, I'll be covering the second issue of Blazing Combat. This issue's cover, by Frank Frazetta, is among the goriest published by Warren, featuring a soldier impaling another soldier with his bayonet while a corpse with a smoking bullet hole in his head lies in front of them. As typical for Blazing Combat, all stories in this issue are written by Archie Goodwin.

First up is "Landscape", drawn by Joe Orlando. This story is the most controversial story in the history of Warren Publishing and is typically brought up as the main reason why Blazing Combat ended up being cancelled. It takes place in Vietnam and features an old farmer dedicated to his rice fields. The Viet-Cong take charge of the village and his son joins them, but is killed during a battle with the American/South Vietnam forces that fight with the Viet-Cong near his farm, Another battle soon takes place and his wife is killed. More fighting takes place and spreads into his rice fields. As the Viet-Cong run into it, the Americans/South Vietnamese start setting the field ablaze. The farmer tries to stop them from from destroying his fields and is shot, killing him. Believing the story to show American troops killing innocent civilians, rumor has it that the American Legion and military pushed hard to prevent the magazine from reaching retailer's shelves and poor sales forced the cancellation of the magazine a few issues later. This is a very strong story and was enjoyable to read after hearing about it for years. While I would put "Survival" from the following issue ahead of it as the best story from Blazing Combat, this is as close to as good a story as you can get from this magazine.

Next is "Saratoga", with art by Reed Crandall. This story takes place during the revolutionary war, showing a battle between the Americans and the British. A heroic general leads the troops in battle and is revealed to be Benedict Arnold at the end of the story. A so-so story with an interesting twist at the end; overall my least favorite of the issue from a story standpoint (the art is very strong).

Third story is "Mig Alley", with art by Al McWilliams. This story takes place in 1953, during the Korean War. A fighter pilot's wingman, "Pappy" has a very successful career over nearly 100 missions. On their latest mission however Pappy's plane is damaged and he has to eject. This shakes him up enough that he screws up landing on his next mission and crashes his plane in the runway, killing him.

Fourth is "Face to Face", another story with art by Joe Orlando. This story takes place during the Spanish American war in the late 1800's. An American soldier is shot in the shoulder during the battle and then sent to deliver a message to the nearby colonel. He is pleased about the bragging rights he will have for his duty and war wounds. Along the way he captures a Spanish soldier, but is attacked by the soldier and the two fight hand to hand, ending with the American soldier bashing the Spanish soldier's head in with a rock. Following the ordeal, he no longer thinks the fighting to be enjoyable and worthy of glory.

Fifth is "Kasserine Pass", with art by Al Williamson and Angelo Torres. This story takes place in the African Desert during World War II. American soldiers within a Sherman tank are confident of their superiority to the Germans due to their advanced weaponry, but are surrounded by German panzers and are all killed.

Next is "Lone Hawk", with art by Alex Toth. This story acts as a historical account of the World War I Canadian fighter pilot William Bishop. The story discusses his first flight, then shows some of his various successful missions. In addition to his kills, the story points out the rarity of him making it out of the war alive unlike many other well known pilots during this era.

Next is the one page "Combat Quiz", with art by Angelo Torres.

The issue concludes with "Holding Action" by John Severin. This story takes place during the Korean War. A young soldier names Stewart is brought to the front lines and is extremely nervous about firing at the enemy soldiers. He does it after heavy pushing by his commanding officer. Stewart becomes obsessed with firing at the enemy, firing even after the battle is over, and later at Korean medics tagging the dead. When the battle ends he has to be dragged away kicking and screaming about how he needs to remain at his position.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Revival?

3 weeks from today it'll have been a whopping 2 years since I've last made a post to this blog, but it is my goal to start being more active on it again. Having gone through about 95% of Warren's non-reprint offerings in a year and a half span, posting at times as much as 2 issues per day burned me out quite a bit and a well-needed break ended up spanning nearly 2 years. My interest in Warren has reignited recently however, and I felt it was a good time to start updating this blog again. The style and frequency of postings will be different; there's simply no way I can duplicate the daily postings, and its not like there's much material I have yet to review that is available to go over anyway. It is my goal to transition this blog from summaries/reviews of every Warren magazine to more of an article/analytical based blog. There will be the occasional issue review when I'm able to pick up an issue I've yet to review here (By my count about 20 issues of Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella, 1984 and Blazing Combat, plus the Rook, which I've yet to review at all on this blog). For the most part though it is my goal to do that new style of posting going forward here. I've got the last couple of remaining Blazing Combat issues to cover, as well as Creepy #32, which are the only new Warren mags I've been able to track down over the past 2 years, and hope to have at least one of them covered here in the near future.