Tuesday, December 7, 2010
A CREEPY WEEK (PART 1)
It occurred to me that I haven't properly promoted one of the more momentous occasions in the field of horror from last year -- the return of CREEPY. As I'm sure you all know by now, I will occasionally stray from the strict "monster magazine" diet here at MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD, especially when my appetite wanders to tastes that are maybe not from the same fare, but definitely from the same restaurant. As a result, I am devoting the rest of this week to "Creepy Week" and will every day cover each one of the first four issues of CREEPY's latest incarnation.
Now formally known as CREEPY COMICS, it is remarkably ironic that it is now being printed in "comic book size" as opposed to its original magazine size. Ironic, because this is exactly the same format of publication that was so targeted and maligned by a small group of people in the mid-1950's that had sorta the right idea about providing guidance for the youth of the day, but were WAY off the grid about trying to yank out the perceived taproot of kids' so-called rampant juvenile delinquency -- comic books -- and especially horror (and crime) comic books.
About 10 years later, publisher James Warren skirted around the still slightly lingering issue by putting out his EC-clone, CREEPY in said full-size magazine format, thus escaping -- possibly even then in the 60's -- the same kind of witch hunt mentality of misanthropic social engineers. Overlooked by these zealous watchdogs and their ilk, whether by ignorance or design, was a helluva lot more to be wary about than comic books at the time. My hunch is that there was a conspiracy, and a back door deal was struck by certain parties. Why? Because -- voila! -- right after the so-called "decency hearings", suddenly sprang, like a mushroom out of cow poop, the Comics Code Authority, chaired by none other than the publisher of Archie Comics. How's that for an attempted power grab of an industry? I won't go further than that because that's were we would end up diverging into the unsavory world of politics . . . and that's even creepier than CREEPY!
DARK HORSE COMICS currently has the rights to CREEPY (and EERIE) and launched CREEPY's new career in comics this past July. When the body was dumped into the water it sent a fairly good-sized ripple through the horror community news-wise, as it promised the best in chills and frightening horror comic entertainment.
So, has the promise payed off? Is the new CREEPY worth a toot? Yes, and no. The first thing that disappointed me was the quarterly publishing schedule. Like FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, I believe quarterly is too long to wait between issues for a pro 'zine in any format. Society is increasingly becoming infobite dependant with its news and other printed word resources. This has resulted in what could be considered, believe it or not, an off-shoot of Attention Deficit Disorder. Don't laugh, folks, some studies have compellingly shown that this is in fact, quite possibly true. The other thing is that some of the writing just doesn't float my boat. The artwork is for the most part quite competent, but I hafta tell 'ya, I'm not worshipping at Uncle Creepy's stinky buckled shoes quite yet.
Nevertheless, I can recommend CREEPY for its overall entertainment value and for DARK HORSE keeping the traditional look and feel of the original (much more than FM is doing, IMHO). Following is the rundown on the first issue. Included are a few sample pages from the lead story, as well as the variant cover double-spread.
Vol. 1 No. 1
48 ppg (color covers/B&W interior)
Cover Price: $4.95
Cover art: Eric Powell
Variant cover art: Eric Powell
Frontis: Bernie Wrightson
"The Curse: Part One" (S) Joe Harris (A) Jason Shawn Alexander
"Hell Hound Blues" (S) Dan Braun (A) Angelo Torres
"Chemical 13!" (S) Michael Woods (A) Saskia Gutekunsk
"All the Help You Need" (S) Neil Kleid (A) Brian Churilla
Loathsome Lore "Faustian Deals" (S) Haffner, Braun and Gore (A) Hilary Barta
"Daddy and the Pie" (S) Bill DuBay (A) Alex Toth (reprint from EERIE #64, March 1975 -- not referenced in this issue)