Monday, March 16, 2020

The Warren Report Issue 29: March-May 1971

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

Ken Kelly
Creepy #38 (March 1971)

"Wooden Cross!" 
Story by Steve Skeates
Art by Rich Buckler

"The Vengeance of the Hanged!" 
Story by Chris Fellner
Art by Syd Shores

"Sticks and Stones to Break Their Bones" 
Story by Stu Schwartzberg
Art by Bill Fraccio and Tony Tallarico

"The Way Home!" 
Story by T. Casey Brennan
Art by Mike Royer

Story by Gerry Conway
Art by Mike Royer

"Secret of the Haunted Room" 
Story by Bill Warren
Art by Ernie Colon

"The Cosmic All" ★1/2
Story and Art by Wally Wood

"Wooden Cross!"
A young man visits the Old West town where his uncle, the town's sheriff, was killed. The local doctor swears it was a plague that killed Sheriff White, but the nephew isn't buying it. Very soon, the man runs across one of the plague victims and notices two puncture holes in the corpse's neck. Vampires! So that's the disease plaguing this town! Turns out the doc's son came back from medical school "transformed" into a bloodsucker and the doc has been hiding the vampire in his cellar ever since. The sheriff's nephew is attacked and killed, but the vampire is stalked by the dead sheriff and staked with a "Wooden Cross!" The very definition of ho-hum; not particularly rotten but nothing to get excited about. Very uncharacteristic for a Steve Skeates script; if there was any other writer I'd compare Skeates to, it would have to be Michael Fleisher... and that's a big compliment if you didn't know. Skeates, like Fleisher, writes with the safety off, no seatbelt, and no parachute. So, "Wooden Cross!" comes as a bit of a surprise; I'd have pegged it as a Cuti or a Fox script. Rich Buckler's art is crossing over from amateurish to Reed Crandall-ish.

"The Vengeance of the Hanged!"
Judge Jason Morgan has a black soul indeed. He punishes the accused that stand before him in his court, even when he hears evidence that they are innocent. It's Morgan's way of spreading terror through power. Well, the dead finally have had enough and they visit Jason in his dreams, finding him guilty of murder for hanging so many innocent men. The next morning, his butler finds him dead in bed, apparently from a heart attack. But the police are unable to explain the rope burns around his neck. I can just imagine Chris Fellner's pitch here: "So, there's this judge who loves to hang guys and, at the end, the skeletons... they're skeletons cuz the skin rotted off them in their grave... anyway, they hang him! Isn't that ironic?" Yeah, but not very original, is it? In fact, there's nothing new to be seen in "Vengeance of the Hanged!" and nothing more to say, so let's move along.

"Sticks and Stones ..."
I wish I had Stu Schwartzberg here to explain to me what the hell his story, "Sticks and Stones to Break Their Bones," is trying to tell us. Professor Jenkins collects old carvings that depict contemporary weapons being used by ancient civilizations. He (like the reader) just can't get with the program until it suddenly dawns on him that some "power" comes and takes away our advanced weapons when that "power" deems we're about to blow the heck out of each other. All these tools we're using now existed before! He breaks into the Pentagon to gain an audience with high-ranking officials in the War Department. They listen and then declare Jenkins a loony-tune. As the Prof's being dragged out the door, they unveil the latest "secret weapon," a catapult. I get the message behind the ugly pictures but the message is delivered in a very confusing manner. Clearly, the Prof knows what an M-1 and fighter jets are (he points them out on his carvings), but the catapult indicates we're in a primitive stage of weaponry. Man, my head hurts. My eyes hurt too, thanks to the Frallarico Brothers' doodles (somehow they couldn't work in their big-tusked beastie this time out).

"The Way Home!"
A man goes through life searching for a home but can't seem to find one until a mysterious woman appears to him and claims she knows where he belongs. A truck runs him over and he dies. The girl leads him in through the gates of Forest Glade Cemetery and the man knows that this was to be his home all along. Why do I feel like an 8th Grade English teacher reading creative writing assignments when I come to a T. Casey Brennan script? Was T. using Warren as a way to hone his skills before he could write for a "better market?" And, more to the point, why were the editors (and some of the readers) proclaiming this guy a major voice in funny books? Like "Vengeance of the Hanged!," the outcome is 75% predictable (the other 25% belongs to the "he's the last man on Earth and he's hallucinating the whole thing" category) and 100% unsatisfying.

The inordinate expansiveness of
"Secret of the Haunted Room."
"Sleepwalker!" is embarrassing psychedelic nonsense from a young Gerry Conway. Diane is convinced she's a vampire (might have to do with those bloody corpses that keep turning up in the garden) but, never fear, she's not a vampire. Her husband Charles is... a ghoul! Yep, Gerry dumped that one on us. Mike Royer (in a rare back-to-back appearance) fills Warren's quota of nekkid and half-nekkid chicks (with flowers and hippie stuff) this issue; it all looks posed and fake. And it has one of the dopiest anti-climaxes of all time. This one jumps to the top of the "Worst of the Year" pile.

Ulp! I spoke too soon! That trophy may have to be shared with "Secret of the Haunted Room," the truly awful tale of Sandy, selfish nephew of "Uncle Stephen," who dies and leaves his mansion to his least favorite nephew. Never mind questioning why this old guy left him the house, Sandy moves right in and stumbles across the gorgeous Miss Twirgas, who claims to be from the year 1910 and rightful owner of the house. Let me cut to the chase and reveal (SPOILERS!) that Twirgas is a vampiress and Sandy gets vampirized by the end of this mess. There's little to no sense in either the script or the art (the lovely miss is both naked and fully clothed in the same borderless panel--no, I don't know why), making it the perfect companion piece to "Sleepwalker," and its similar reveal. Though we've officially exited "The Dark Age of Warren," there seem to be a few threads holding us back from entering the official "Second Golden Age" just yet.

"The Cosmic All"
Wally Wood's "The Cosmic All," though not a classic, is certainly the only material here that saves this issue from being rolled up and used as a fire starter. The crew of the spaceship Aldren cruise the galaxy, collecting data for scientific research. Suddenly, the worlds they're landing on have had their lifeforms destroyed by a giant blob-like substance and the crew has no explanation for the phenomenon. Eventually, they learn that the organism is a being called "The All" that is systematically wiping out all life in the Universe and replacing it with a peaceful goop. Too late, the last survivors of the Alden realize that their final stop is Earth and they've been infected. "The Cosmic All" sure feels very familiar, but the story is secondary to Wally's GGA and alien art.-Peter

More Wood!
Jack-Thank goodness for Wally Wood! "The Cosmic All" isn't a very good story, but that art could be in an EC science fiction comic. It's gorgeous, and so is the lone gal on the spaceship in her sprayed-on spacesuit. The rest of the issue is terrible. Buckler provides pretty good art for "Wooden Cross!," a story that creates no excitement. "The Vengeance of the Hanged!" is about half taken up with what seems like a rerun of a bad dream from A Christmas Carol, but with a hokey ending tacked on. The Fraccio and Tallarico story features lousy art, a trite story, and a moronic twist ending. Not much better is "The Way Home!," with Royer's wooden art and an overused finale. Royer is credited with the art for "Sleepwalker!" but it sure looks more like Ernie Colon's work to me; maybe Colon pencils and Royer inks? Compare it to the stories before and after it to see what I mean. Colon's line drawings in "Secret of the Haunted Room" are weak even for him and the story has an ending out of left field. This issue of Creepy makes me wonder just how much editorial input Archie Goodwin had--we credit the improvement in the other mags to his influence, but he has to take some of the blame for this mess.

Larry Todd
Eerie #33 (May 1971)

"A Trip in Time!"★1/2
Story by Steve Skeates
Art by Jack Sparling

"243 Blank Pages!"
Story by Steve Skeates
Art by George Roussos

"Whom the Gods Would Destroy"★1/2
Story by Marv Wolfman
Art by Ken Barr

"Escape Into Chaos"★1/2
Story by Steve Skeates
Art by Ernie Colon

Story and Art by Larry Todd

"The Pest!"
Story by Steve Skeates
Art by Richard Corben

"The Painting in the Tower!"
Story by Gardner Fox
Art by Pat Boyette

"A Trip in Time!"
Determined to take "A Trip in Time!" back to the Prehistoric era, a scientist invents a time machine despite the objections of his fellow scientists and sets off. He questions whether one could alter the future by actions taken in the past or whether time will prevent this from happening. He reaches the Prehistoric era and sees a T-Rex and a group of caveman out the window of his flying time machine, but instead of landing smack dab on top of one of the humans, the capsule seems to pass right through him. The scientist exits the time machine and it vanishes before his eyes. He, too, vanishes, realizing too late that time takes care of itself and won't let him exist in the Prehistoric era.

Eerie #33 is not off to a good start with this tepid tale that threatens to venture into Ray Bradbury territory but ends up with any plot or meaning vanishing just like its protagonist. Once again, a Warren writer sets up a situation and doesn't know how to resolve it. Jack Sparling's art is particularly scratchy, even for him.

"243 Blank Pages!"
Why did Arthur Simpson write the name of Alfred Leland on a page in a book with "243 Blank Pages!" then rip it out and throw it in the fire? It seems the book is an occult one, and writing someone's name on a page and letting it come in contact with fire erases that person from existence. So much for Arthur's business rival! Arthur gets a promotion but soon becomes paranoid, thinking the police are onto him. He throws the book in the fire but forgets that he signed his name in the front, so he disappears just like Alfred, never knowing that the man approaching his apartment was just there to install new storm windows.

With a better art job, this could have been a dandy story. As it stands, it's fairly inventive, and I got two chuckles at the end; first, from Arthur's disappearance due to the habit of signing his book, and second, due to the revelation that the scary person coming to his apartment was just the maintenance man. A decent read marred only by really average illustration by Atlas stalwart Roussos. I think he was one of those artists whose work was good enough in the Golden Age but who didn't look so great in the era of Frazetta and Adams.

Calm down, Jackson!
("Whom the Gods Would Destroy")
The entire United States has been destroyed in a future war that began when the "blacks," the "students," and the "freaks" started to demand equal rights. All that's left are a few spots in New York City, where soldiers hole up in buildings and launch missiles at each other. What's it all for? Jackson has had enough and tells off the General, who sends Jackson outside just as bombs blow up their building. In the end, Jackson and the General are the only ones left alive, until the General shoots Jackson before ending his own life.

Angry young Marv Wolfman is responsible for this heavy-handed bit of 1971 malarkey, which is eleven endless pages of the writer hitting the reader over the head with his anti-war message. At least when DC did an anti-war story around this time, we had Batman to enjoy. Here, it's just talking heads yelling at each other. Ken Barr's art is adequate but, as I think I've said before, I like his work better when he does a cover than when he draws an entire strip. "Whom the Gods Would Destroy" just made me mad.

One of Ernie Colon's "freakout" pages
from "Escape into Chaos"
A man awakens from a blackout with a vague memory of a nightmare. Passing a sign that reads, "Do Not Enter if You Value Your Sanity," he makes an "Escape into Chaos" and sees a glimpse of what he thinks is another universe, populated by a half-woman, half-serpent whose hands are snake heads that spew crabs. The crabs crawl all over the man and he thinks it's a recurring dream. Once more, he wakes up from the blackout and it starts all over again.

Steve Skeates has taken over this issue and it's not pretty. This is yet another of those recurring dream stories that we seem to be seeing an awful lot of lately. Ernie Colons "art" consists of a series of full pages that look like he dashed them off in pencil and forgot to ink them. As with "A Trip in Time!," the story just stops without any real climax.

A big cylindrical rock that thinks of itself by the name Arkhorn floats alone through outer space, its only companions the "Starvisions" it conjures up in its imagination. Two spacemen named Janning and Ross come floating along, marooned after their ship was struck by a meteorite. Arkhorn communicates with them telepathically but is unsure if they are real or only figments of its imagination. Soon enough, the men are rescued by a ship and Arkhorn is alone again, with only the spacemen's beacon bumping forlornly against its rocky side.

I cringe whenever I see a science fiction story in a Warren mag, but I must admit that "Starvisions" is not bad. Larry Todd's writing is more lyrical (and spelled right) than much of what we read here, and his art is pleasant although, like other Warren artists, human faces seem to be something of a challenge for him. I had to wonder how one of the spacemen managed to take a "stress pill" in outer space when he was wearing a space helmet.

A new gizmo to kill bugs with nerve gas hits the market and people are buying them and putting them in their homes. A woman named Martha is overcome by the fumes and killed. The greedy businessman who put it into the stream of commerce ignored safety warnings in order to make money, and when Martha's husband marches into his office and accuses him of murder, the businessman decides to exterminate "The Pest!" He runs the man down with his car one night but, overcome by guilt, the businessman finds himself transformed into a bug and soon stomped on by a giant foot. But wait! It was all in his mind. He only thought he was a bug, but he's dead nonetheless.

"The Pest!"
Don't try to follow the plot of "The Pest!" too closely, just enjoy its silly mash-up of Kafka and Stephen King, well drawn by Richard Corben. This is not Corben at his most outlandish, but the story is still entertaining, especially when it seems like the bad guy has turned into an insect.

This issue's Fan Fare pages are notable for introducing Dave Cockrum as a new staff artist and for including a nice (but tiny) drawing by 16-year-old Pat Broderick of Tampa, Florida.

Bravo Boyette!
("The Painting in the Tower!")
Baron Gottfried von Elrodd rules his little 19th-century town with an iron hand. Seeing pretty, young Greta, he selects her for his amusement that night at Castle Grimoire. Her father, an artist, strikes von Elrodd and gets his hands chopped off as punishment. Greta is taken to the castle and hangs herself that night rather than submit to the baron's desires. Troubled by Greta's spirit in his dreams, the baron has her buried in a deep grave but, after time passes, her rotting corpse claws its way to the surface and shambles back to the castle. The baron sees her/it enter a little-used tower room, where he is shocked to witness the disembodied hands of her father painting a scene of medieval torture with von Elrodd's face and body on the rack. As the painting is completed, von Elrodd disappears, until he is gone and his body is in the painting, forever undergoing torture.

If I were editing one of these mags, I would put the best stories up front. For some reason, however, Jim Warren and Archie Goodwin often seem to save the best for the back of the book. "The Painting in the Tower!" is very good, with above-average art by Pat Boyette and a surprisingly engaging story by Gardner Fox, whose Warren work is usually sub-par. Disembodied hands, medieval torture chambers, a shambling corpse clawing its way out of the grave--it's all here, folks, and it seems like something Ghastly Graham Ingels could have had a field day with. A good thing, too, since the first 2/3 of this issue is a disappointment.-Jack

Peter-The star of "243 Blank Pages!" could very well have been the stupidest man on Earth (he knew the power of the book when he bought it but signed his name inside "just like all the rest" of his books?!) and we won't miss him. "A Trip in Time!" is made null and void (like its protagonist) by better time-travel tales. Ooooh, boy, Marv Wolfman certainly wanted to change the world the day that he brought his script for "Whom the Gods Would Destroy" to 145 East 32nd Street, proving that the old adage, "the sledgehammer always delivers the message," is true. My adage, "Warren did not do good Science Fiction," is certainly still true as well. I could see "Whom the Gods" being dramatized (with  Bill Shatner and Adam West as the two leads) on some demented offshoot of CBS Playhouse or the like with its hyperbolic dialogue ("You're crazy! You think you're some tin-plated God who decides who will live and who will die... I've got news for you, General. You're no God. You're a man... a stinking lousy dog of a man..."). Yecccch! [The mere suggestion of Shatner and Adam West makes me quiver with anticipation!--Jack]

What's the point of "Escape Into Chaos"? The guy's nightmare goes on and on? That's a new angle. The art by Todd for "Starvisions" is different than anything that's run in a Warren (the closest would be that of Corben) and certainly better than the soggy oatmeal found in the first four stories this issue. "The Pest!" is sub-par Skeates with not much for Corben to flaunt his skills. Thomas M. Disch's "The Roaches" was so much better (and nicely adapted by Gerry Conway for Marvel's Monsters Unleashed #2). That leaves Pat Boyette to save the day, and save it he does. No one did horror in 18th-Century Europe or decaying women better than Boyette. Pulp hack Gardner Fox must have jumped for joy when he heard who was assigned his script.

Vampirella #11 (May 1971) 

"Carnival of the Damned!" 
Story by Archie Goodwin
Art by Tom Sutton

"The Escape!"  
Story by Larry Herndon
Art by L. M. Roca

"Prisoner in the Pool!"  
Story by Buddy Saunders
Art by Dave Cockrum

"She'll Never Learn!"  
Story by Steve Skeates
Art by Ken Barr

"The Green Plague" 
Story by Nick Cuti
Art by Jerry Grandenetti

"Dragon Woman" 
Story and Art by Sanho Kim

"Carnival of the Damned!"
After a near-fatal encounter with Adam and Conrad Van Helsing, Vampirella flees to a nearby rundown carnival. There she meets an alcoholic magician named Pendragon, who flies into a rage when he sees Vampi is carrying the Crimson Chronicles. He explains that the carnival owner, Ashton, is a member of the Cult of Chaos and would dearly love to grab hold of the rare tome. Meanwhile, the Van Helsings have tracked Vampi to the carnival but get waylaid in a crazy hall of mirrors; one glass shows Adam the murder of his mother at the fangs of a vampire. Ashton discovers Vampirella on the grounds and uses his psychic powers on her in order to get the Crimson Chronicles. Vampi fights back by reading an incantation from the book that reduces Ashton to flames, but the heat sets off a roaring inferno that engulfs the "Carnival of the Damned." The Van Helsings and Pendragon escape with help from a certain semi-clad vampiress.

As with the previous installments, I really wanted to like this latest Vampi adventure, but it's meandering and confusing. Half the time, I couldn't figure out what was going on or who was who. My problem with this series is that there's still no focus; yes, we've got a great villain in the Cult of Chaos, but nothing of substance is being done with them. As with Len Wein's Swamp Thing (which I loved, so please don't leave nasty comments), there's a Fugitive-esque vibe to the series in that the character is wandering from place to place, encountering evil guest stars. It all becomes very coincidental (though, to be fair, Vampi does comment that she's drawn to the carnival rather than stumbles across it) and far-fetched. Well, as far-fetched as you can get when the star is a vampire from a world where blood ran in rivers. I'm reading these stories about two weeks apart and finding it hard to remember what's going on; I can't imagine how readers in 1971, who had to wait four months between installments, felt about this unfocused journey. That will change... effective with this issue, the Vampi stories will appear in every issue rather than every other. Pendragon will join the Van Helsings' traveling show in some capacity.

"Carnival of the Damned!"

"The Escape!"
In the distant future of "The Escape!," the world is run by robots (yaddayaddayadda) and a gorgeous semi-clad jewel thief named Chiline pulls her last big caper and gets set to retire, only to discover the "police-robs" are on her tail. Luckily, Chiline hops into a local time travel machine and sets the course for 19th Century London. Oh, no, please don't tell me... yep... writer Larry Herndon decided no one had used the Jack the Ripper punchline in at least two months so... what the hell. Never mind why this chick would pick Victorian Era England, I want to know what's keeping those boobs in that outfit?

Thibron the Dorian, great warrior that he is, comes across a stunning "Prisoner in the Pool!" The said prisoner is Quarra, daughter of Theagenes, cursed to live out her days in a swamp for spurning the advances of a warlock named Chranos. The only way Thibron can claim his prize is if he locates and seizes the two magical keys that will break the spell. After killing a giant named Sinis (or Pine Bender--I'm not sure which [in one panel, it's Sinus--Jack]) and a huge griffin, Thibron takes the acquired magic keys to the pool and frees Quarra. Laughing, she emerges from the water and challenges Thibron to catch her. Even though the girl is a centaur and can run pretty fast, Thibron reveals the wings on his feet and wins the race. What a confusing, dumb fantasy. It's almost as if Buddy Saunders had to cut a few lines out of his script at the last second and decided exposition wasn't necessary. When the girl explains she's a prisoner, the reader naturally concludes the barbarian has to go after Chranos, the guy who put her there in the first place. Nope. Then, we're introduced to Pine Bender, but Thibron addresses him as Sinis. So which is it? Who cares. Dave Cockrum knows his way around a healthy set of breasts and that's all that matters in a magazine devoted to blood 'n' boobies.

"Prisoner in the Pool!"

Even the hippies loved Karloff!
("She'll Never Learn!")
A hippie becomes obsessed with a cute girl who seems to be in every nightclub he haunts. He can't get her attention until he uses the old "I'm an author and I'd like to use you as a model for some of my descriptions" line (believe me, I use that one every time!) and he ends up back at her pad. Come bedtime, the girl spurns the beatnik's advances, so he forces the issue. The next night, he's choosing another victim. Well, there's more to it than that but, every once in a while, I don't like to spoil a decent story. I will say that Skeates marvelously uses that final panel to force the reader to reflect on just what happened in the buildup. The art is raw and stark and, for the most part, free of annoying word balloons.

Did you know that Black Plague and Red Death in Europe were brought on by a pack of Gnomes? Me neither. "The Green Plague" details the circumstances of that heretofore unknown nugget. It's a weird but amiable fairy tale with some good Grandenetti graphics and a twist climax that, at first read, seems anticlimactic. Only after that second read does it become clear what's going on.  "The Green Plague" doesn't make much sense, in the end, but what in this issue does? Certainly not the closer, "Dragon Woman," a Korean War-era horror story about a G.I. who falls in love with a woman who can transform into a giant snake. The art, by newcomer Sanho Kim, ranges from really good to really bad, but Kim's script is nonsense.-Peter

"The Green Plague"
Jack-Boy, I liked this issue much more than you did, Peter! Vampirella has become my favorite Warren mag. I thought the Vampi story, "Carnival of the Damned!," was terrific, though I can't help but wonder why Vampi wears that ridiculous outfit and how does it stay on? I'm always glad to see a carnival setting and I like how the Van Helsing relationship is developing. I enjoyed the mythological twists and turns of "Prisoner in the Pool!" but I can't understand how these naked girls can always manage to get their long hair to cover their breasts.

I also like the hippie's pad in "She'll Never Learn!" A Karloff poster on the wall and a copy of Eerie on the bed. Looks like the Enfantino household. I remember Sanho Kim from Charlton's House of Yang and, while I agree that the art is shaky in spots, the Korean subject matter and style are unusual, original, and like nothing else we've seen. It must be Stockholm Syndrome taking effect because I find myself looking forward to the stories by Jerry Grandenetti, whose style seems to fit much better at Warren than it did in the DC War Comics. "The Green Plague" boasts a subtle ending, which may be a first at Warren. Finally, Chiline in "The Escape!" must shop at the same clothing store as Vampirella. I liked the art in this story--like Ernie Colon but not as disjointed.

Next Week...
Danger on the High Seas For
The Losers!


andydecker said...

"Coincidental" is a good description of Vampirella. Even if there will be some continuity, it is mostly like our heroine stumbles upon this or that monster. I think this is more difficult to like today than in 1971. For instance how many popular tv series worked after that pattern in the tradition of The Fugitive? Today this feels rather a rather bland and boring approach.

The cover of Vampi 11 is in my top-twenty of the Warren covers.

I love the Wood tales, but I always wondered if they really were done for Warren or old material from the EC days.

Jack Seabrook said...

Thanks, Andy! I love "The Fugitive" so I'm looking forward to Vampi bumping into a special guest monster every issue. I never thought of the idea that Wood's stories might be left over from EC. Is it possible that anything was left over? Wouldn't the obsessive fans have dug out the evidence by now?

Quiddity said...

What a dog of a Creepy issue! Good to have a Wally Wood story although it is so similar in nature to the "Degeneration Gap" story we just got in your last Warren post. Ken Kelly's cover is quite good, and my recollection is the Ernie Colon story was decent art-wise but I'd have to pull out that issue to say for sure.

"243 Blank Pages" seems quite similar to a very famous anime called Death Note, where a teenage boy comes across a notebook dropped by a demon. Any person whose name is written in the book will die within a set period of time. They get a lot out of that concept and it is a fairly strong show, available on Netflix I believe. A so-so Eerie issue, but I like the art jobs by Larry Todd, Richard Corben and Pat Boyette.

Tom Sutton's final Vampirella story! Very excited for the debut of the great Jose Gonzalez next issue. You speak of the lack of focus with the Vampirella stories, and unfortunately what I recall is that if anything, this period of time when Archie Goodwin is writing the stories is when it is at its most focused. We've got several recurring characters being introduced in the Van Helsings and Pendragon and a recurring villainous entity in the Cult of Chaos. We'll eventually hit a point where Vampirella stories are seemingly stand alone and can be read in virtually any order, at least for a good long period of time (although those stories will at least contain amazing artwork). My recollection is Bill Dubay will eventually take over writing and provide more continuity, but not until we're in the 40's issue wise, which seems forever off at this point.

Anyway, the big news about this issue of Vampirella is our first story by a Selecciones Illustrada artist, "The Escape" by L.M. Roca. Roca won't last at Warren very long, only a few stories if I remember right, but his story is the first of the very fruitful arrangement between Warren and Josep Toutain that will bring Warren the best artists to ever appear in its pages. Its been a long wait through Warren's dark ages and recovery especially suffering through all those Tallarico/Fraccio stories, but we'll soon see a huge jump in the art quality as the Spanish artists arrive and eventually dominate the magazines.

andy: The Wood material isn't old EC stuff; they wouldn't have held onto it unused for all this time (EC generally didn't do inventory stories) and his Warren stories often don't fit into the EC formula, with the massive amount of text or the very uniform page lengths (always exactly 8, 7 or 6 pages at EC!)

Grant said...

Even though I "wouldn't change it even if I could," I can understand the comment about Vampirella always wearing the costume.
In # 42 (which is nearly the only one I've had forever), she's on a plane wearing only it and a coat, and a prudish passenger has a real problem with it. (Think Mae West and Margaret Hamilton in MY LITTLE CHICKADEE, I guess.)
I wonder how often the skimpiness of the costume DID become a plot point?

Jack Seabrook said...

Quiddity, I hope future stories by the new artists are better than "The Escape," which I thought was a stinker.

Grant, I promise to pay close attention to Vampirella's costume and report back on what I find.

Grant said...

Even though my knowledge of the writers and artists themselves in incredibly small, even I can appreciate it when I hear people refer to the "Spanish" phase of Warren, due to artists and Sanjulian and Maroto and Bea, so I'm glad that that's starting in these reviews.

Unlike probably a lot of people, I never seem to get tired of stereotyped early '70's stuff in comics, so those very few panels of "Sleepwalker" (including the heroine, of course) really made me want to find the whole issue.