Monday, April 8, 2019

The Warren Report Issue 5: March/April 1966

The Critical Guide to 
the Warren Illustrated Magazines
by Uncle Jack
& Cousin Peter

Eerie #2 (March 1966)

"Footsteps of Frankenstein!"★★★
Story by Archie Goodwin
Art by Reed Crandall

"One for De-Money"★★1/2
Story by E. Nelson Bridwell
Art by Angelo Torres

"Eye of the Beholder!"★★
Story by Archie Goodwin
Art by Johnny Craig (as Jay Taycee)

"Flame Fiend!"★★
Story by Otto Binder
Art by Gray Morrow

"To Pay the Piper!"★1/2
Story by Larry Ivie
Art by Gene Colan

"Vision of Evil"★★★
Story by Archie Goodwin
Art by Alex Toth

"Ahead of the Game!"
Story by Archie Goodwin
Art by Jerry Grandenetti and Bill Draut

"Footsteps of Frankenstein!"
Dr. Byron King has second thoughts about his trip to the town of Low Kilburn in the north of England after the locals react poorly to his questions about where to find Dr. Amos Sebastian. After he is beaten unconscious in the street, he awakens in the doctor's lab and finds that Sebastian has created a huge, lumbering monster that lacks a high quality brain. Amos begs Byron to transplant Amos's brain from his aging body into that of his creation and, after some studying, Byron succeeds in doing just that. Nosy villagers see lights at the doctor's castle and head up there, with intent to destroy the new creation, but Dr. Sebastian, now in a large and powerful body, pushes Dr. King and the angry villagers aside and strides out into a thunderstorm, where a lighting bolt finds his electrodes and vaporizes him.

I have to admit I enjoyed this story right up to the disappointing ending, mainly because of Reed Crandall's art, which illustrates the parade of cliches perfectly. The creature (don't call it a monster!) looks just like Karloff in Frankenstein, but the idea of transplanting the doctor's brain into the creature's head made me think more of Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle in Young Frankenstein. It may not be a classic story, but it's fun!

"One for De-Money"
Vernon is a young dandy who never has any dough. When he visits his Uncle Cornelius and asks for a handout, the old man tells him he can stay for free but he's not getting one red cent. Vernon witnesses his uncle summon a demon in the basement; the demon must give Cornelius money and can't step outside the pentagram where he stands. Vernon murders his uncle and summons up the demon but neglects to notice that he accidentally rubbed off some of the pentagram's chalk outline, allowing the demon to step outside it and kill the greedy young man.

"One for De-Money" has (here we go again) gorgeous art by Angelo Torres and a weak, poorly-executed script by DC stalwart E. Nelson Bridwell. Speaking of DC, the demon looks like one of the Demons Three trio drawn by Mike Sekowsky for early Justice League of America stories.

The horror of dark socks, dark shorts, and dark shoes
is revealed in "Eye of the Beholder!"
Gerald's beautiful wife is dead, and he can't stand it! Seeking magical help, he finds an old man and gives him a lot of money to bring Eve back, "beautiful and alive as I remember her." Gerald goes home and finds Eve there, but soon bad things start to happen: the family dog dies of fright and the flower delivery man runs screaming out the door. Only when Gerald embraces Eve before a mirror does he discover the horrible truth: everyone but he can see that she is a rotting corpse!

I was so excited for the return of Johnny Craig to our reading list, and "Eye of the Beholder!" certainly looks like his work, both as we recall it from the EC Comics and as we saw it change in the EC Picto-Fiction series. There are some weak sections, sure, but overall it's good to have the old boy back. The end prefigures the horrific scene in The Shining where the beautiful woman in the bathtub turns out to be a rotting old hag. Not a great story, but good to see Craig back at the drawing board.

"Flame Fiend!"
After John Murdock kills his business partner, Henry Todd, by planting an explosive device in his car, Henry's image appears as a "Flame Fiend!" rising out of John's fireplace and warning John that he will die in flames. Murdock vows to avoid fire of any type, and this leads to one awkward moment after another, as he keeps away from cigars, birthday cakes, and the like. Out hunting on a cold winter's day, Murdock encounters an out of control campfire and jumps in a freezing brook to avoid the flames. He comes down with pneumonia and thinks he's beaten the curse, until Henry's flaming, spectral image tells John that he's "burning up" with fever!

Otto Binder runs a bad idea into the ground with this story, and it gets laughable as John freaks out every time he sees a little flame. Gray Morrow's art, as always, is impressive, especially in his use of blacks and shadows, but he deserves better material.

"To Pay the Piper!"
In 17th-century Germany, the village of Meingott has a vampire problem. A stranger named Sandor offers to get rid of the foul fiends for 1000 gold marks and does so by playing his flute that night, luring the vampires out into the open where they all (I think) die when the sun comes up. The town burgermeister stiffs the piper of the 1000 marks, so the piper, like his namesake in Hamelin, pipes another tune and all the town's children follow him outside the village. The burgermeister set a trap and the piper is killed by three arrows to the chest. The children return, but that night they all turn into werewolves, since the field outside of town was full of wolfbane and they got scratched by it and ... you get the picture.

Our first exposure to the great Gene (or Eugene, as the credit reads) Colan at Warren is, sadly, on a rather idiotic story called "To Pay the Piper!" by Larry Ivie. Acknowledging that you're copying the classic tale of the Pied Piper in your story doesn't excuse it, and how many times in the few issues of Warren horror comics we've read so far have we seen the old switcheroo of one monster menace to another? Too many for my liking. At this point, Colan was also drawing romance comics for DC and superhero comics for Marvel--a true pro.

"Vision of Evil"
Art collector Simon Norton is so entranced by a ghoulish painting by obscure artist Conrad Archer that he tracks the painter down at his residence, which happens to be the Kingsford Asylum for the Insane! Norton finds Archer sitting in a trance in front of his latest painting, which depicts the artist in the clutches of a demon. Dr. Young then shows Norton Archer's other painting, a mural on the rec room wall depicting a "Vision of Evil" in which ghouls and ghosts attack poor souls. They hear Archer scream and rush to his cellar studio, only to find Archer gone, a burning smell, a finished painting, and red "paint" dripping on the floor. Norton goes back to the rec room to study the mural, but now he notices figures of himself and Dr. Young painted in the claws of a demon! There is a loud booming on the door ...

Okay, I'll admit it doesn't make a lot of sense, and we've seen similar stories before, but I am in such an Alex Toth phase that just about anything he does appeals to me. It's funny how one can get hooked on an artist, especially one with such an individual style. I used to think his work was juvenile but now I really like it.

Big game hunter Harry Black kills an albino gorilla and cuts off its head as a trophy, ignoring warnings from a native about the animal's sacred status. On the ship heading back to the states, mayhem ensures in the luggage room where Harry's trophy is kept, and his wife insists on flying home. Harry gets home and displays the gorilla's head on his trophy wall, but soon trouble follows as the groundskeeper is killed. Harry's wife flees the scene and Harry sits alone, rifle on lap, until he sees the gorilla's headless corpse coming toward him. His wife returns with the cops; they hear shots from inside and enter to find Harry decapitated and his head now in place of the gorilla's on the trophy wall.

The guy in the middle is pure Grandenetti
("Ahead of the Game!")
"Ahead of the Game!" is the pits! I won't bother commenting on the terrible, incomprehensible story. Rather, I have to ask why Jerry Grandenetti and Bill Draut are ghosting for Joe Orlando. Does this mean some of the bad Orlando art we've been complaining about was not his work at all? And how about the good Orlando art in the late '60s (Cain, I'm looking at you!)--was it not Orlando's work either? My world is rocked! Grandenetti's worst instincts are tamped down by Draut's inks, but I can still see signs of the artist we loved to make fun of on our DC War Comics blog shining through here and there.-Jack

Peter- The first official issue of Eerie is jam-packed with mediocre material. From the big-game hunter who ends up with his head mounted on a wall to the village that gets rid of its vampire plague only to be infested with werewolves (notice how the two monsters seem to mingle in stories so frequently?) to the Universal Monsters reboot with little or no feeling. On and on and on. Again, the major asset to the Warren books, so far, is the insanely good artwork. Well, yes, I know we also get Grandenetti and Draut but I'm trying to be a bit positive. I love Craig's shift from one medium to another halfway through "Eye of the Beholder!" (a rare non-Johnny written story) and Crandall's detailed penciling elevates "Footsteps of Frankenstein!" to at least "readable" status.

Blazing Combat #3 (April 1966)

"Special Forces!" 
Story by Archie Goodwin
Art by Jerry Grandenetti and Joe Orlando

Story by Archie Goodwin
Art by Reed Crandall

"U-Boat" ★1/2
Story by Archie Goodwin
Art by Gene Colan

"Survival!" ★1/2
Story by Alex Toth and Archie Goodwin
Art by Alex Toth

"The Battle of Britain!" 
Story by Wally Wood
Art by Dan Adkins and Wally Wood

"Water Hole!" ★1/2
Story by Archie Goodwin
Art by Gray Morrow

"Souvenirs!" ★1/2
Story by Archie Goodwin
Art by John Severin

Captain Curtis Bradford leads his "Special Forces!" team through the jungles of Viet Nam on a suicide mission. Their job is to provide themselves as bait for ambush, pulling the Viet Cong out of hiding. Bradford does his job well and the men plow through a multitude of enemy soldiers, "all in a day's work." "Special Forces!" is another disappointing Blazing Combat story; I almost feel guilty saying that, given this title's place upon a mantle of greatness. But there it is, just another story about grunts doing grunt work, sacrificing themselves and their bodies for the men who sit in offices a world away.  War s Hell. I get it. Joe Orlando continues to be the weakest link in the Warren bullpen, laying down sub-par doodles and panels almost too muddy to wade through. But Joe will be around for a while so I better get used to him.

During the Civil War, one of General Sherman's tactics was to send out "Foragers" to harass civilians, burn their homes, and loot their belongings. This would, he believed, lead to disenchantment and, eventually, utter surrender. Our protagonists, a band of "Foragers," are picking Georgian households clean of food and then leaving the families homeless and having a real good time doing it. When the soldiers come across an old man who won't give up his shack, they fire on him and the gunfire is returned, killing all but two of the Union soldiers. When the old man runs out of ammo, a corporal is about to execute him when he's shot by one of his own soldiers. "Foragers" has a powerful climax and some gorgeous Reed Crandall work. Jack often says the best stories send him off to do more research and that's exactly what this one did for me. In fact, you can read a very good summary of role the foragers (or "bummers") played in the Civil War here.

A transport ship is torpedoed and sunk with only two sailors, Dawes and Ramsey, left alive. The "U-Boat" that sunk her takes the two mariners aboard as POWs and then has to dive quickly as a destroyer looms on the horizon. Dawes becomes enamored of the efficiency the German captain displays, but Ramsey's only thought is that he must warn the destroyer above them before the U-Boat has a chance to add another notch to its periscope. When Ramsey explains his plan to make noise, Dawes warns the U-Boat commander and a struggle ensues. The racket warns the destroyer above, which launches its depth charges and destroys the German killer. Thought its plot twist owes quite a debt to The Bridge Over the River Kwai, "U-Boat" is masterful in both script and art departments. Colan is at the top of his game here (and about a half year away from his classic stint on Marvel's Daredevil), and the black and white only enhances his talents. Archie's script reads like a one-hour noir film that happens to be set aboard a submarine.

"Survival!" is a change of pace for this title, a post-apocalyptic tale about a scavenger who fights off mad packs of dogs and hunts for tinned food in the wastelands of a burned-out city. As far as he's concerned, he's the last man on Earth, until he comes across a raft on the beach and several sets of footprints. His excitement turns to rage when he comes across one of the new immigrants digging up one of his caches of food and he beats the man's skull in. Now driven to find the rest of the newbies and kill them before they can steal more of his hard-earned grub, the man inherits an assault weapon from his victim and heads out into the night. It's not long before he finds them and, yep, they're eating his vittles, so he mows them down. A single survivor crawls from the wreckage and the scavenger strangles him to death. Only upon inspection does he discover his latest victim was a woman. He screams in the night. That final panel is a bit of a head-scratcher. Is our violent lead character upset because he just saw a more exciting Friday night go down the tubes or was he thinking "there goes repopulating the Earth?" Like Colan, Alex Toth's work is much more powerful when delivered sans color, possibly because so many of Toth's scenes are built around the blackness. Archie stretches the parameters of blazing combat, but that's okay as long as he can pump out strong stories such as this. Life after the apocalypse will be a favorite subject of future Warren writers (DC and Marvel will try their hands as well and, for the most part, fail miserably).

"The Battle of Britain!"
The Jerrys are fast eliminating the R.A.F. It's up to a handful of brave men to stanch the bleeding and save England from the clutches of Der Führer. "The Battle of Britain!" is gorgeously rendered by Wally Wood's ward, Dan Adkins (despite the Wally Wood sole credit on the splash page, Adkins claimed it was 90% his work), who had just as sharp an eye for aerial battles as Wood himself. The script is one part Encyclopedia Britannica and a heaping helping of late night Hollywood reruns (something with Van Johnson or Rod Taylor, I would think), nothing particularly original. "Water Hole!" concerns a cavalry troop attacked by Apaches in the desert. The water hole becomes a last stand for both sides. A clever twist and some decent Morrow art. Finally, in "Souvenirs!," American G.I. Holloway finds a fortune in the mouths of the dead Japanese soldiers lying stacked like cords of wood all around him. His CO orders him to halt his ghoulish practice but Holloway's greed finds him slithering back to the carnage after his comrades have bedded down that night. Bad idea. About as close to EC as BC is gonna get, "Souvenirs" is a bit slow, but Severin's art keeps us interested until we get to the startling reveal. -Peter

Jack-I know I've said this before, but when you  have such a great lineup of artists, why lead off with a story drawn by Joe Orlando--or in this case, Jerry Grandenetti? I recognized Joe's work right away from the way he draws the shading over soldiers' eyes from the bill of their caps as if they're wearing domino masks. "Special Forces!" is unusually dull for a Vietnam War story. Things perk right up with "Foragers," in which the unexpected ending elevates the whole story and Reed Crandall's work sparkles. Gene Colan conveys a real sense of excitement and danger in "U-Boat" and I love his use of unusual panel shapes and layouts. In contrast to the story before it, empathy with the enemy's professionalism leads to disaster.

"Survival" seems like a sped-up version of A Canticle for Leibowitz, but the end is disappointing. There's too much "I say" and "old chap" in "The Battle of Britain!" and the story ends up being more historically interesting than engaging. "Water Hole!" starts well and features gorgeous art but fizzles at the finale and seems anticlimactic. Finally, in "Souvenirs!," John Severin again shows how he can say so much with just the look on a character's face. I wonder if his scripts were less verbose than others in order to leave room for his silent panels.

Creepy #8 (April 1966)

"The Coffin of Dracula!" 
Part I  
Story by Archie Goodwin
Art by Reed Crandall

"Death Plane" 1/2
Story by Larry Ivie
Art by George Evans
(see Eerie #1 for review)

"The Mountain" 1/2
Story and Art by Johnny Craig (as Jay Taycee)

"The Invitation" 
Story by Larry Engleheart, Russ Jones, & Maurice Whitman
Art by Manny Stallman
(see Eerie #1 for review)

"Adam Link's Mate!" 
Story by Otto Binder
Art by Joe Orlando

"A Vested Interest" 
Story by Ron Parker
Art by George Tuska, Don Heck, Frank Giacoia, & Mike Esposito

"Fitting Punishment" ★1/2
Story by Archie Goodwin
Art by Gene Colan

"The Coffin of Dracula!"
Lord Adrian Varney has inherited a warehouse full of junk from his recently-deceased uncle, but one piece catches the young Lord's eye: a casket with the Dracula crest. He and one of his workers crack "The Coffin of Dracula!" open and Varney can't help himself as he tries the box on for size. An immediate change comes over Varney, one that proves fatal for his assistant. Meanwhile, across London at Varney's mansion, several guests are partying and awaiting Varney's arrival. These guests include Jonathan Harker and his bride, Mina, recently returned from a vampire-staking exercise in Transylvania. At last, Varney arrives and is immediately taken with Mina's beauty, asking her to dance. She becomes nervous and asks to cut their dance short but the lights go out and the pair disappear from sight. Jonathan catches a glimpse of Varney, carrying Mina, as he escapes down the back steps. Varney assaults Parker and flees in a coach with the unconscious Mina. Knowing he has nowhere else to turn, Harker hoofs it to the asylum where Dr. John Seward works. Not coincidentally, Dr. Van Helsing is also at the asylum and informs Seward and Harker that a vampire has been spotted in "the seacoast village of Whitby" and that the three of them must destroy the bloodsucker if Mina is to live. Van Helsing believes that Dracula's spirit has possessed Lord Varney and is luring him to Whitby for a bite from the vampire.

"The Mountain"
For some strange reason, "The Coffin of Dracula!" was chopped into two pieces (the second part will be unveiled in #9), despite the fact that "a bonus-length chiller" is advertised right on the cover. Even weirder is the fact that the story's length is listed as sixteen pages on the contents page (omitting "Death Plane" in the process), rather than the presented ten. Enough of my trivia, you say, does the story work as a sequel to Stoker's original novel? Yes and no. It's a fast-moving and exciting little vampire story (actually lacking a true vampire until the final page) but it feels way too compressed, as if we're missing out on a few pages (in addition to the six we won't get until next issue) and some necessary expository. We get a flashback of Dracula's demise, a page we probably didn't need, and some annoying head-scratchers (if Varney is not really a vampire until he's bitten, why does he have fangs when he attacks his assistant?) but, overall, "The Coffin of Dracula!" is enjoyable.

"The Mountain"
"Death Plane" and "The Invitation" were reviewed in our last issue as part of the contents of the Eerie #1 ashcan edition. I'll just repeat that the versions printed here are immeasurably cleaner and less murky than those that ran in the ashcan issue. In fact, I've rated "The Invitation" slightly higher here because of the nicer art reproduction). One of our favorite EC writer/artists returns to horror in the same capacity with "The Mountain." A gorgeous woman trudges up a snow-covered mountain, chased by a torch-bearing mob for sins undisclosed to us. She's a "brazen hussy" and they're "narrow-minded" and "sanctimonious," and that's all we know. At the top of the mountain, she collapses on the porch of a secluded cabin and awakens hours later in front of a blazing fire. A man introduces himself to her as Luke (hmmmm ...), and explains that he stays in the desolate cabin to research the black arts. The babe says the dark arts may come in handy against her enemies in the town below; Luke tells her to bring him the mayor and everything will work out exactly as she wants. At gunpoint, the mayor is forced to slog through the snow and enter the cabin, where Luke touches the man's forehead. A blank look comes over the mayor's forehead and our lass, pleased with what she sees, cries out her intention to take over the politician's mansion. A change comes over Luke, telling the woman she's a fool for setting her sights so low. He grows horns and a tail, revealing his true identity, and explains that he needed a body to possess to walk the Earth. Our gal with a 'tude is lifted and hurled into the fireplace, a gateway to ... (surprise, surprise, surprise) Hell!

Well, "The Mountain" certainly began on an intriguing note. Just who is this woman and why are the townspeople intent on killing her? We never find out, but that's not my major complaint with the story. In fact, I think the secrecy adds to the intrigue. No, the fault is in the pat climax, a supreme cop-out. Why is the devil wasting his time with a no-place town and why does he need this woman to draw the mayor up the hill? Did it have to be the mayor? Again, this is Satan, who can open fireplaces and raise Hell. Why such small stakes? Any problems I have with Johnny Craig's writing do not extend to his penciling, which is just as exquisite as it was when we last encountered Craig in the final issues of the EC Illustrated zines. So what was Craig up to between the years of EC's collapse and his startling resurrection at Warren? Craig did a couple of stories for Atlas in the late 1950s (Battle and Wyatt Earp), then hoofed it to an ad agency, before returning to the comics field, working briefly for ACG (Unknown Worlds and Adventures Into the Unknown) before Archie recruited him for Creepy and Eerie. I've seen all six stories he did for Atlas and ACG and none of them come across as stylish or innovative, two adjectives that adhere to Craig's work for EC and Warren. Flotsam like "Treasure of Bad Luck Point" (under Craig's pseudonym of Jay Taycee and found in Unknown Worlds #47) is barely recognizable as Craig's work; rushed and lacking any imagination.

"Adam Link's Mate!"
Fully intent on committing robotic suicide (by letting his battery run down), Adam Link wants nothing to do with mankind after his romance with human Kay Temple went chest plates up. His solace is interrupted by the entrance of Professor Hillory (who happens to own a cabin nearby), a scientist who convinces Adam that all he needs is a companion to fulfill his robotic existence. The two get to work on crafting a female robot and Kay Temple arrives to invest the automaton with female traits (you know, like enjoying flowers, charging clothes on a Macy's card, cleaning the kitchen, etc.). The transformation from a bucket of bolts to gorgeous, gleaming, stainless steel chick is complete, and Adam and his new bride, Eve, enjoy a life of wedded bliss, until Hillory returns and unveils his true motive: he wants to compel Adam and Eve to do his evil bidding by placing mind-controlling skull caps atop their heads, leaving them helpless to defy his orders. Under Hillory's spell, Eve begins a dastardly campaign of evil, robbing the local banks and completely ignoring the household chores. Only a chance visit by Kay Temple can break the spell Hillory has over the metallic pair; Kay knocks the antennaed hat off Hillory's head and Adam can think on his own again. Unfortunately, Hillory regains control over Eve and forces her to shove Adam over a cliff to the rocks below. Is this the end of Adam Link? We can only hope so!

"A Vested Interest"
Alas, being the Monday Morning Quarterback I am, I know this wretched series is far from over. "Adam Link's Mate!" could very well be the dumbest chapter yet, filled with dopey cliches and some really awful art. I love that the first female trait Kay imparts upon Eve is"flowers freshen up a home" (and you thought I was being sarcastic!) and that Professor Hillory might just as well have shown up with a Snidely Whiplash mustache; there's absolutely no doubt that from the first we know this guy will be up to no good. The final page deals with the "exciting" hand-to-hand battle between Eve and Adam and all I could think was "just knock the damn hat off her head, you tin dimwit!" Whenever these big brain deviates get it in their minds to use their smarts to rob banks, I wonder why it is they never set their sights higher. Binder doesn't bother explaining what the nutty professor intends to do with all the wealth. I almost want to say I'm looking forward to reading the next chapter to see if it's even worse.

("Fitting Punishment")
A drunk sees a werewolf attacking a man in a dark alley but the cops won't take the word of a booze-hound, but a chance meeting with a stranger convinces the bum to return to the scene of the crime with a camera for proof. This guy's no dummy, so he tricks out his camera with a gun that shoots silver bullets (no, really!) and heads for the alley. Turns out (surprise, surprise, surprise!), once they're alone, his new buddy reveals himself to be the lycanthrope. Our hero shoots the monster, but nothing happens. The werewolf strips down, revealing a bullet-proof vest (no, really!). Oh boy. Marvel mainstay George Tuska (mercifully, his only Warren appearance) contributed some decent work to the Atlas horror titles I'm currently dissecting, but his art here clearly shows he was already past his prime and pumping out the dreary stuff he'd become "famous" for at Marvel in the early 1970s. Ron Parker's debut for Warren is, hopefully, the worst of the seven stories he wrote for the company; it's silly and predictable. We'll see a variation on the werewolf vest twist in a mid-70s issue of Creepy but you'll have to wait a while before we get to it. Just as dumb is the finale, "Fitting Punishment," about Max Troy, a grave robber who gets caught red-handed and, to make his escape, exchanges suits with the corpse he's just robbed. For some reason (don't ask me why and I'm not sure Archie would have been able to tell you), the suit shrinks on Max and cuts him "to ribbons," leaving only a huge bloodstain oozing over the well-cared for cemetery lawn." The WTF? climax really ruins whatever suspense was built up, but at least we have some very nice art from "Gentleman" Gene to waste our time with.

The inaugural "Creepy Fan Club" page offers up a detailed bio of artist Gray Morrow and our first look at fan art. Send that money in, boys and girls, and you too can contribute! -Peter

Jack-Despite a stunning cover by Gray Morrow, this is a poor issue of Creepy. "The Coffin of Dracula!" is oddly dull for a Reed Crandall story about the reincarnation of the vampire; ten pages is too long and there's more to come! The two reprints from Eerie #1 don't improve much in my eyes and the Evans entry seems unfinished. Of course, I'm happy to see a story by Johnny Craig but, as you note, the ending is a stinker. Then we have the last three stories, each of which rated one or one and a half stars in my notebook. Enough of Adam Link already! As if Orlando isn't bad enough, we then get saddled with George Tuska--it seems like the stable of top artists is getting less selective. The Colan story is wonderful to look at but I agree that the last page is incomprehensible.

Next Week...
Big Bob gets deep again,
but does it work?

In Two Weeks...
Oh, yeah, you
this one!


Quiddity99 said...

Eerie's first real issue is a really strong one, one of the best of the early Creepy/Eerie issues. This is in particular due to the extremely strong art, with 6 of 7 stories being really good and just that last one being mediocre. Really excited to see Johnny Craig and Eugene Colan show up, up there with Angelo Torres' for the best art we'll get in the Archie Goodwin era. While the writing isn't as strong as the artwork is, I am a bit higher on them than you are. The Craig story in particular reminds me of his excellent "Til Death" story from The Vault of Horror where a man has his dead wife resurrected and she proceeds to rot away. Our protagonist in this story has somewhat better luck in that he can't see what she really looks like until the end.

This is the only issue of Blazing Combat I own an original copy of (but I have a reprint book to cover me for the other three). Survival may be my favorite story from this title. Amazing art by Toth, and I just love that final line/panel. Foragers and Souvenirs are also high quality stories I like a lot. Very good artwork as well, sans Orlando.

Creepy #8 is one of the weaker issues; for the first time we don't have a Frazetta cover (although Morrow is still fairly good). I've never cared for the 2 part Dracula story. For Adam link, we finally move past the part that EC covered, only to find the storyline getting more and more mediocre. A Vested Interest has one of the silliest endings I've ever seen. A Fitting Punishment also has that incomprehensible ending, reminding me of a story in Tales from the Crypt when a guy hides in a chest and then it shrunk with no explanation, killing him.

The Craig story on the other hand I love; his pencils only artwork is just amazing (I think this is the sole pencil only story he does for Warren). I liked the ending a lot more than you guys did, if only because Craig pulls it off so well with the art.

andydecker said...

Creepy 8 is another mediocre issue as far as the stories are concerned. "The Coffin" is too long, but has some nice art. The rest is ho-hum. Still the splash page of "the Invitation" is as wonderful as Adam Link is awful.

The George Tuska art is interesting insofar, as it is quite removed from his work on, say, Iron Man. As if he was inked heavily. Not that it makes the lame story any better. Boy, Warren loved his vampires and werewolves.

"Fitting Punishment" with its groaner title must have lost a few captions explaining that clothing manufactorer Grover was a sorcerer or something so his revenge of the suit would make any sense. So it just comes from the left field.

No love for the frontispiece by Torres? These are amusing. I guess the history books have forgotten about the french vampire epidiemic of 1732, but the one with trapping a vampire in a bottle with blood was a nice idea.

Jack Seabrook said...

Thanks for reading and for leaving comments! I am right there with you in loving Johnny Craig's work. I think it's generous to call the Tuska art "interesting." We don't usually mention the frontispieces but I agree the art is nice.