Monday, September 28, 2020

The Warren Report Issue 43: June/July 1973

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

Eerie #48 (June 1973)

"The Son of Dracula"
Story by Bill DuBay
Art by Rich Buckler

"...And an End!"★1/2
Story by Steve Skeates
Art by Jaime Brocal

"Think of Me and I'll Be There!"★1/2
Story by Jack Butterworth
Art by Martin Salvador

"On a Stalking Moonlit Night!"
Story by Al Milgrom
Art by Rich Buckler & Bill DuBay

"The Resurrection Man"
Story by Jack Butterworth
Art by Paul Neary

"The Sacrifice"
Story by Esteban Maroto & Len Wein
Art by Esteban Maroto

Why did the old man put a hole through Dracula's chest with a shotgun? It all began years before, when another man had hunted Dracula and wounded him, causing the vampire to end up at the home of a gorgeous, blonde, often-naked, deaf-mute woman who ignored all the warning signs and took him in. She helped him heal and they fell in love; he was so smitten with her that he resisted the urge to bite her and found sustenance elsewhere. Things got so hot and heavy that they even made whoopee one night! The Count lived up to his rep as a love 'em and leave 'em kind of guy and spared her the terrible fate of his unholy thirst, instead returning to his castle. But she tracked him down and walked in on him munching on the neck of another young babe. Shocked, she fell from a parapet and, just before she died, local OB/GYN Dr. Acula delivered her baby: "The Son of Dracula." Guess who is responsible for that seemingly-fatal shotgun blast to Dracula's middle in the present?

This gal spends more time in the buff
than one of Esteban Maroto's models.
Hoo-boy, that was a lot to take in. First of all, is this going to be one of those cheats, where it wasn't wood or silver in the shotgun, so Drac's not really dead? Then, why is the beautiful deaf-mute widow always lounging around naked by an open window? Doesn't she know that's bound to attract the wrong sort of man like, well, Dracula? It's ridiculous that he falls in love with her, even more ridiculous that they have sex, and beyond ridiculous that a vampire can inseminate a live woman. Dracula's mental struggle with leaving her to protect her is at soap-opera level, but his sudden ability to deliver a healthy baby from a dying woman is simply beyond belief. Throw in ten pages of very shaky Buckler art and you have the makings of a mediocre story. If anything, it reminded me of a Marvel comic, which is not what we read Warren comics to see.

Perhaps the best sequences in a Steve Skeates
story are those with no words.

On an expedition to Ancient Egypt, Michael Harding discovers an amulet that will allow him to transfer his consciousness into the body of a mummy. He uses this power to have the mummy murder his wife and her lover but, when he goes to transfer his mind back into his own body, he discovers too late that a young local girl has stolen the amulet. Michael's mind remains trapped in the mummy's body, which is incinerated by angry onlookers with torches.

God save us if "...And an End!" is representative of what this new series will be like. The last few panels promise a continuing story, as a Dick Dastardly lookalike discovers the amulet, but I can only hope that Steve Skeates either drops off the series or else tries to learn something about how to plot an interesting story. This is now two ten-page stories in a row to start off this issue where the first couple of pages start in the middle of the action and then there is a flashback to explain how we got there. It's a tired technique. At least Jaime Brocal draws a good mummy.

"Think of Me and
I'll Be There!"

Pretty Lena demonstrates her telekinetic powers to two scientists by making her first love--her teddy bear--come to her. One of the scientists, a hunk named Harry, drives her home, but she tells him not to drive by the cemetery where her old boyfriend is buried. At home, she tells Harry about how George died and, as she thinks about him, he rises from his grave and returns to her. George's corpse kills Harry but, before you know it, Lena's telekinetic powers have the corpse of George, the corpse of Harry, and even the teddy bear all advancing on her. What's a lonely girl to do?

"Think of Me and I'll Be There" was off to a decent start and really got going in the middle, only to fizzle out on the last page. Salvador's clean panels are a relief after the mess Buckler made of Dracula, but Jack Butterworth (I think I know his mother) can't figure out a good way to end the story. Too bad!

"On a Stalking Moonlit Night!" there's a werewolf on the loose! It looks to be Victorian times, and the hairy guy attacks and kills a woman on the street. The next morning, Arthur Lemming's wife Angela thinks the blood on his clothes is from a fight and his little daughter, Miriam, wants to visit her friend Debbie and asks Daddy to make sure the monster doesn't get her. Arthur and Angela argue, and that night he follows her, only to discover that she's visiting the home of her lover. Arthur turns into a werewolf and throws a cop right through the window of Angela's lover's home before he runs off. He goes on a killing spree that night and returns home to find his daughter waiting for him. Despite his attempts to resist his animal nature, Arthur kills his own daughter and changes back to his human form in the morning, distraught at what he's done.

Now that's just wrong!
("On a Stalking Moonlit Night!")
Al Milgrom writes a pretty good story here, though he makes the unforgivable mistake of having a child killed. I must admit I'm intrigued by this first entry in the new werewolf series. It doesn't hurt that Rich Buckler's art, inked by Bill DuBay (does that really help?), is a few notches better than his work on the Dracula strip. This ten-pager really looks like a Marvel comic, with those sequential, small, rectangular panels that take me right back to Buckler's time on the Fantastic Four. I guess he's copying an Eisner trick, but it still looks cool. The art in this story is pretty nice to look at and it complements the story.

A reporter named Bascombe visits a widow named Mrs. Samson at her old castle, where she leads him to her late husband's laboratory. Her husband Gregor was a frustrated doctor who tried to bring the dead to life but had trouble finding willing subjects until he was called to the bedside of a dying teenage girl. She passes on but he takes her corpse to his lab and revives her. Unfortunately, because she died of brain fever, she goes on a rampage and, after the villagers set her on fire, they hang Gregor. Mrs. Samson tells the reporter to keep this all a secret but, when he refuses, she reveals that she was also revived by "The Resurrection Man" and kills the reporter to prevent anyone else from messing with science.

Gregor looks suspiciously like Peter Cushing here.
("The Resurrection Man")
Butterworth's second, non-series tale this issue isn't quite as good as his first one, mainly due to the slightly wacky art of Paul Neary. Neary seems to be swiping from stills here and there, since in one panel the late Gregor resembles Peter Cushing, and in others, his lab looks straight out of Bride of Frankenstein. As in "Think of Me...," Butterworth doesn't really know how to end the story and so resorts to a "surprise" twist that doesn't work very well.

Dax is out riding around, being Dax, when he stumbles across a cave in which there are a lot of bones and one very sexy corpse. An old crone tells him that he is at the Temple of the Winged One, a being that the locals worship as a god and offer "The Sacrifice" to when the moon is full. Along comes the flying beastie and Dax slays him, but the crone tells him that the locals still have to carry out their sacrifice, which they do. And off rides Dax, to seek another depressing adventure.

One wonders if Maroto's original story
had this gal as "recently deceased"...

An uncredited Len Wein manages to make sense of Maroto's confusing mess, and the end result is a darn good story that features the usual sumptuous visuals. Dax is, presumably, back on Planet Earth, where mindless folk must kill someone to sacrifice to a "god" that they don't even know is dead. It's all rather downbeat, as Dax often is, but Maroto sure can draw.-Jack

Yet another annoying typo!
That should be "chauffeur!"
Peter-Strap yourselves in. We're about to start this roller-coaster ride. Keep all hands and feet inside your vehicle and watch for low-hanging metaphors. Though Eerie won't go strictly series for another few issues, this could be the proverbial fork in the road. You're either gonna love the variety and clever nuances of the characters or you're going to hate the loopy and loony scripts they're forced to star in. Looking back at a summer in 2007 when I somehow managed to read every single Eerie series in a thirty-day span, I do not have fond memories of most of the fare. There are two series that stand out, to me, above all else in sheer dopiness, and they are "The Mummy" and "The Werewolf," the latter created and initially written by Al Milgrom, but later taken to heights (depths?) of depravity and insanity by Steve Skeates. Never before had I read anything so devoid of logic and free from mundanities such as plot and progression as these two monuments to funny book lunacy. It's a brief moment to be savored.

Having said all that blather, the first episode of "The Mummy Walks!" (the proper title of this 9-part mini-series... well, nine+ but it's kinda complicated... more on that later) is actually a very clever spin on the same-ol'-same ol' Karloff rip-off, despite a very vague climax. Is Harding still alive in his coffin? Is the Mummy truly a handful of ashes? And Marie has to be the sexiest and nastiest female protagonist we've encountered in quite a while!

While the first chapter of "The Werewolf" is obviously a blood-soaked variation of Gone With the Wind, there are several highlights, including Lemming's murder of his own daughter. It's a savage, memorable moment and gets this train chugging down the track. The Buckler/DuBay art is great, with a nod to Oliver Reed's classic lycanthrope and some dynamite, caption-free panels. As with "The Mummy Walks," I envy those who have never read "The Werewolf." You have no idea how batshit this is going to get.

"The Son of Dracula" is the finale in the three-chapter series, even though a 4th is teased at the climax ("Blood Princess of Bathory Castle"), and it leaves us at a very intriguing spot. As I recall, Tomb of Dracula explored the same path at some point (and, of course, Marvel's Dracula had a daughter as well); this installment is so-so. There are some bits to like (Dracula's stab at midwifing), but some head-scratchers as well (the nugget dropped, that Drac's squeeze got his address from a "kindly fortune teller," sounds like something got cut). How can you not like a strip that features a deaf nudist? The shift-change, from DuBay/Sutton to Dubay/Buckler, is jolting but not unattractive. I'm not sure why I still bother reading the words that go with the pretty Maroto pictures in "Dax," but I do. I couldn't tell you the difference between Maroto's prose and Len Wein's. Either way, nothing makes sense.

Jack Butterworth handles the only non-series tales this time out. I hope Butterworth was going for laughs with "Think of Me...," cuz that's what he got. I spit my Jack and Coke on that final panel, with Lena's "first love," her teddy bear, stalking menacingly towards her! I wasn't impressed at all with "The Resurrection Man," with its meandering script and Forry Ackerman stills-inspired art ("For the first time ever, Vincent Price Meets Peter Cushing in Barbara Steele's laboratory!"). Perhaps the series format was just the ticket for this title? Well...

Enrich Torres
Vampirella #25 (June 1973)

"What Price Love"★1/2
Story by Bill DuBay
Art by Jose Gonzalez

"The Haunted Child"
Story by Nicola Cuti
Art by Auraleon

Story by Jack L. Bannow & Bill DuBay
Art by Esteban Maroto

"Cold Calculation"★1/2
Story by Doug Moench
Art by Ramon Torrents

"The Dead Howl at Midnight!"★1/2
Story by W. Eaton
Art by Jose Bea

"What Price Love"

A heavy dose of cocaine is injected into Vampirella, who takes a nap and then awakens in full vampire mode. She attacks Pendragon and begins to drink his blood, but her snack is interrupted when the armed guard at the door to their room bursts in and she switches to drinking his vital fluid instead. Pendragon's son-in-law (and the homeowner) is mobster Richard Granville, and he orders that the house and grounds be searched for the murderer. Pendragon's desperate search for the woman from Drakulon fails to prevent her from killing Granville, nor is he able to stop her before she kills Patrick, the grandson he never knew he had.

Another child killed in a Warren mag this month? I guess someone decided that taboo was no longer in effect. "What Price Love" is a simple and straightforward tale in which we learn one thing: cocaine takes away Vampirella's inhibitions. As a result, she runs around killing just about everyone in sight except for regular and/or sympathetic characters, with the exception of the child. It should be interesting to see where DuBay takes this plotline and how Vampi handles the guilt she will likely feel when the drug wears off. As always, Gonzalez's art is impeccable.

Bill Bryan is a professor of psychic research whose attempt to test the nature of ectoplasm goes awry when he enlists the aid of his telekinetic wife, Carol. She cannot control her powers and hydrochloric acid splashes in Bill's face, partially blinding him. At some later date, Carol takes Bill to a decrepit house, supposedly for a vacation. The house is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a little girl, so Bill and Carol hold a seance and "The Haunted Child" appears. Bill follows her and is knocked out; he awakens to find himself and his wife in strait-jackets. The head of the nearby loony bin apologizes and lets Bill take the all too real child home to try to cure her of autism.

"The Haunted Child"
Back to the haunted house they go, and Bill talks Carol into using her powers to reunite the child's ghost with her body. The kid acts a little weird and, before you know it, an unseen killer uses a butcher knife on an unfortunate passing motorist who picked the wrong time to get a flat tire. Carol wonders where her butcher knife got to and the little girl causes her to fall down the basement stairs and break her ankle. The girl murders Carol by stabbing her in the forehead. Bill comes home and finds his wife dead. The little girl explains that she is possessed by the spirit of the cleaver killer and she advances on Bill with the knife.

Before we started reading these Warren comics, I only know Nicola Cuti from his work on E-Man, one of my all-time favorite comics. I thought he was great! But after reading umpteen Cuti stories in Eerie, Creepy, and Vampirella, I have to revise my assessment somewhat to say that Cuti was great on E-Man and terrible at Warren. This story is such a hodgepodge of ideas that don't fit well together that it's tough to stomach. Why do the people at the institute take Bill and Carol and put them in strait-jackets, only to apologize and let them take the child back to the haunted house to cure her? And what's with this Warren thing of stabbing people in the head? My skull is pretty hard and I'm not sure a knife would do much beyond cutting the skin, but what do I know? Broken record time--at least Auraleon's art is solid.

Running from the law on the African veldt, a couple of poachers are sheltered by a giant named "Nimrod," who takes them to a cavern where he presides over various deformed creatures. After Nimrod tells the men his own history, they start to head back to the real world, but they greedily try to steal some skins from the creatures in the cave and end up trapped there forever.

I've reached the point with Esteban Maroto's stories that I wonder about their genesis, since each and every one of them is so doggone confusing. Were they originally written in Spanish and do they make sense in that language? They certainly fail to make much sense in English. This one is fairly straightforward, as Maroto's works go, but the new experiment in color is not a success and doesn't do anything good to Maroto's work.

A man journeys to a remote Alaskan research station to work as chief cook and bottle washer. He is surprised to hear strange howling sounds out in the snowy wasteland. Janet, one of the scientists and the only woman there, thinks it's a Yeti, but her colleagues scoff at the suggestion. Poor Janet went off the deep end when her husband Jack disappeared six months before. The creature tries to enter the base but is chased off, so a trap is set and Janet shoots and kills the monster, unaware that it is her husband, who somehow managed to survive all that time in the snow.

"Cold Calculation"
I like the snowy setting of "Cold Calculation" as well as the atmospheric art by Ramon Torrents. This is one of the better stories in a weak issue.

It's Paris in 1910, and Professor Domergue of the Sorbonne is creating new people from bits and pieces of corpses. He builds a handsome young man named Nicholas and sends him to an orphanage, where he is adopted by Yvonne and Pierre Marot. They take him back to their farm and proceed to treat him with cruelty. Eventually, Nicholas escapes and makes his way back to the orphanage. The Marots come after him, only to discover that all of the orphans are made from parts of bodies sewn together, and they don't appreciate the treatment Nicholas has had to endure.

Jose Bea tones down his usual weirdness and draws "The Dead Howl at Midnight!" a bit less creepily than some of his other stories. W. Eaton's narrative is reasonably interesting, though I don't know why Prof. Domergue would go to such lengths to create his "pet creation" and refer to Nicholas as the "start of a super race," then dump him off at the orphanage with all of his other creations and allow him to be assigned to cruel parents. In fact, after Nicholas is created, the Prof. seems to lose interest and does not reappear until the last panel, when he seems to be planning to use some portions of the Marots' bodies in his experiments.-Jack

"The Dead Howl at Midnight!"
Peter-"What Price Love" got to be so doggone confusing that I gave up caring after a while. "What Price Sanity" is more like it. It's perplexing why Vampi flew out of a room containing Pen and the old lady in a chair (whatshername) to find more prey. I know we had to have a big, dramatic finale and introduce even more drama into the lives of Vampi's supporting cast (speaking of which, did the van Helsings just give up looking for their friends?), but it did seem silly. Maybe not as silly as DuBay's hyperbolic and head-scratching captions ("Drugs, as women, are unpredictable.." "Two more guards dead at her feet... not cardboard cutouts... not celluloid heroes... but men!!"). Dubay further makes a claim that I find hard to believe; was this really the first time Vampirella has killed someone since landing on Earth? Can't be! Perhaps DuBay should jettison the supporting cast and send V on some solo adventures. Gotta be better than this drek.

"The Haunted Child" is confusing nonsense, like an Italian horror flick bought by K. Gordon Murray and given to a ten-year-old to write dialogue. Tons of red herrings (so why does Carol have telekinesis?) and odd detours (how about the two professors who cold-cock Bryan and then disappear?) sink this faster than a Harvey Weinstein dating app. "Nimrod" is certainly better than the first two stories but, like "Descent Into Hell" (in Creepy #54), this doesn't look like it was designed to be published in color; there's a slapdash, colored marker look to it as if the extra sheen was an afterthought.

I didn't hate "Cold Calculations," but I'm not sure why Doug Moench thought The Thing From Another World would be even better with a Scooby-Doo reveal. Much better was the sheer WTF-ness that bookended the cliched "monstrous adoptive parents" middle act of "The Dead Howl at Midnight!" For a couple of pages here and there, W. Eaton has concocted the goofiest and most original horror fiction found in any of the three zines discussed this week.

various artists
Creepy #54 (July 1973)

"The Slipped Mickey Click Flip" ★
Story by Doug Moench
Art by Richard Corben

"This Graveyard is Not Deserted" ★1/2
Story by Don McGregor
Art by Reed Crandall

"Descent Into Hell" ★1/2
Story by Kevin Pagan
Art by Esteban Maroto

"Dead Man's Race" ★1/2
Story by Jack Butterworth
Art by Martin Salvador

"Little Nippers!" ★1/2
Story by R. Michael Rosen
Art by Tom Sutton

What the hell does this pretentious
cat-box goodie even mean?
I can't come up with much of a synopsis for the septic tank innards known as "The Slipped Mickey Click Flip," since I'm sure anything I say will run counter to what the "artist" intended. There's a TV that eats a woman, a train with a face that runs over a guy's head, and a dog that buries a human forearm bone, only to be dragged into the grave when the bone sprouts a full-size corpse, all of which I'm sure is Doug Moench's metaphor for the human condition and the effects of television on its slaves. What "Mickey" indicates to me is a writer who was too self-important and who was obviously reading the fan mail from the bozos who were telling Uncle Creepy that anything he ran (especially the stories by that Munch guy) were the bee's knees and "thank you sir, may I have another?" Some of these funny book writers envisioned themselves as the next Harlan Ellison, alerting the world to the dangers of government and Hollywood brass but, whereas Harlan could educate and entertain, Doug achieves neither here. "Mickey" is like one of those free-flowing Robin Williams improvs, but at least Williams was funny one out of ten times. Rich Corben is wasted here in black and white, by the way. Warren figured that out really fast. I would rather listen to Two Virgins than read this crap ever again.

In the Old West, a bounty hunter named Sidewinder tracks the sadistic gunfighter known as Crill; the killer's trail leads Sidewinder into an ancient Indian burial ground, where both men are attacked by long-dead corpses that have risen from their grave. Unlike "Mickey," the script for "This Graveyard Is Deserted," by our other whipping boy, Don McGregor, is fairly easy to sum up. It only gets preachy and ponderous toward the climax (where Sidewinder comforts a wounded Indian woman: Sidewinder turns to question the girl and to seek her aid... but the scene that greets his eyes kills the questions on his lips... and she has already given him an insight that will take him a long time to completely comprehend.); problem is, the rest is a deadly bore, populated by western tropes and villainously bad dialogue. One other problem we have here is the obvious decline in Reed Crandall's work, a subject we've discussed several times over the last several months, so I won't beat that dead Palomino. Sidewinder's outfit is pure black and I get the feeling the reason for that is so Reed didn't have to fill the lines in with detail.

When a Titan falls in love with a mortal named Rosanna, Zeus sends him on an agonizing tour to hell, via the River Styx, in order to earn the woman. When the Titan gets there, he must battle Cerberus and a giant spider, only to discover after winning his battles that he's been on his mission for one hundred years and Rosanna is now dead. Miserable, the Titan begs Zeus to return him to his former labor and we discover the Titan is Atlas, holding the world up on his shoulders. "Descent into Hell" is mostly free of the sword-and-sorcery nonsense we've become accustomed to (but then, the story is not rooted in S&S, it just looks that way) and has a very clever twist. What it does not have is the vibrant Warren color we'll be soaking up within a few months. I think, after having a look at this and "Nimrod," that Esteban was best served in black-and-white and certainly not in this headache-inducing patina of yellow and red. Pagan does a good job of getting us from Point A to Point B but can't help throwing in lines that would be better fit for a Ronnie James Dio ballad: Weaker howl the death-cold winds as I advance! By the Styx, the jagged stone cuts my skin like butter! I am immune to nothing here. Those strange beings hovering about... ghostly remains of mortals, whom I wonder were good or evil?

Jasper MacFarlane believes in the ghostly spirit known as the Ankon, a specter that looks out over the dead in each cemetery. Legend has it that each corpse buried becomes the guardian of the dead and now the graveyard has only two spaces left. When Jasper's brother, Jeremy, dies the same day as Effie, the "village tramp," it becomes a "Dead Man's Race" to the graveyard to see who will be buried last and cursed to be the Ankon forever! When Jasper and his carriage driver lose the race to Effie's family, Jasper murders his driver and dumps the body in his brother grave, thus insuring his worker will become the ultimate Ankon. But dopey Jasper encounters the brand-new Ankon on his way out of the graveyard, freaks out, and dies atop a snow-covered grave. Thinking it would be what Jasper would want, the diggers dump him into his brother's grave (effectively setting off a ghoulish menage a trois), cursing him to be the Ankon Forever!

"Dead Man's Race" presents an interesting (if way too complicated) creature, the Ankon, who is portrayed as Death driving a horse and buggy. Jasper comes across as one of those insanely-sadistic elites who run over helpless little girls (and their dogs) on their way to a function; you can't help but hate a cliched character like that. Salvador's art is getting better with each new outing, his shades come across very evocatively (like Maroto, I think Salvador is an artist whose work would not be as effective in color).

Two shipwrecked sailors, Vernon and Bennett, wash up on an island they soon discover is the legendary Lilliput, the teensy-tiny world of Gulliver's Travels. One of the men runs across a tiny diary that details a terrible plague that struck the people of Lilliput, a plague that transformed the entire population of the island into vampires. That night, Vernon and Bennett are attacked by the tiny vampires and forced to flee into the water. The next day, they find the creatures' hiding spot and burn every one of them, then take to the sea to find another island, hoping the plague hasn't reached other shores. Unfortunately, the island they land on happens to be Brobdingnag, home to giant... vampires.

"Little Nippers!" is good fun, if a bit head-scratching, with lots of great Sutton art. That last panel, of the huge bloodsucker reaching for our hapless heroes on the beach, is a hoot. It's hilarious that the men discover little castles and little cows (are the vampires stopping their nightly raids to bale hay at night?) and then proclaim "Hey, this is Lilliput!" as if they'd been reading the book on board their boat. Also, what are these little vampires feeding on, since they've drained all the Lilliputians? Crabs? Tunafish?-Peter

Jack-It's too bad that editor DuBay is reaching back into the dark times of the Warren mags for some of the writers whose stories populate this below-average issue of Creepy. Of course, we can blame Doug Moench for the worst story of all (and surely one of the worst of 1973), "The Slipped Mickey Chick Flip," in which yet another character is stabbed in the head. Doug reaches for absurdity but only grabs stupidity, and the ten pages are an utter waste of Richard Corben's talents. Remember two decades before, when Harvey Kurtzman could succeed at writing an absurd comic horror story? Doug Moench is no Kurtzman.

Don McGregor supplies the deadly-dull "This Graveyard is Not Deserted," which features Crandall art that is a bit better than some of his recent efforts but still not great. This is not the first time Reed has drawn a story that seems to build a plot around a particularly gruesome sequence, as if that sequence is the reason for the whole exercise. I agree with you, Peter, about the color in "Descent into Hell;" it doesn't serve Maroto's art well and it's painful to look at. It's odd that a story with so much action could be so boring. Kevin Pagan is one of the writers whom DuBay arguably should have left behind.

New arrival Jack Butterworth contributes a pretty good tale in "Dead Man's Race," and I also enjoyed Salvador's art. There's good Gothic atmosphere throughout and a surprisingly strong last page. Once again, the Sutton story is saved for the back of the mag, after all of the ads. I thought it was weird that they found Lilliput but the sudden left turn revealing that they're vampires was unwelcome. The story, by R. Michael Rosen, another writer with a checkered past at Warren, is a complete mess, but Sutton does his best with it.

Next Week...
1980 is in the bag.
The Best of Batman!


Glowworm said...

Oh boy, so we've gotten at last into those weird series in Eerie--the mummy and the werewolf ones--which while I've only glanced at bits and pieces of--know for certain that at some point the stories go straight off the rails and at one point crossover with one another. I don't know if the Mummy series actually has a coherent ending to it, but the werewolf one does actually end at some point in a manner that makes some sense at least.

Sadly, if I'm not mistaken, that Reed Crandell story is the second to last of his published works--and the story and artwork are not up to par at all. Creepy 58 will contain what may be his last published comic work: "Soul and Shadow" which also is a bit of a mess in my opinion.

Peter Enfantino said...

You're absolutely right. Crandall's end is, sadly, on the horizon. I'm not sure his style would have fit in with the "new wave" anyway.

Quiddity said...

The only thing that could make that Dracula story opener worse is the fact that the storyline stops here and isn't resolved. For whatever reason (maybe to make room for the other new series) things stop here on a cliffhanger. Also no clue why Buckler/Dubay take care of the art instead of Sutton, who still worked for Warren for a little while longer. The series will be resurrected eventually, but it goes in a totally new direction. It is also far better at that point as Esteban Maroto takes over the art and the storytelling is way more toned down. Personally I think the Mummy series is a pretty good one, at least for a while, although this first story is a rather odd ball one and acts more like a prologue not so much connected to the future stories. The series has some of the best art Brocal will do for Warren. "Think of Me and I'll Be There" is a rare Warren story I've never finished, as my copy of Eerie #48 is missing the last 2 pages. The Werewolf series is quite an over the top one, and we get that right from the start as our protagonist kills his own daughter. This series eventually goes into some really crazy places, especially once Steve Skeates takes over. Agreed that the style of the art doesn't really fit Warren though. Some great Dax art to wrap things up!

I was gonna make a comment on the Vampi story but will hold off on saying it (unless people want to be spoiled for next issue). Oh, and this absolutely isn't the first time Vampi has killed someone, she did in "Death's Dark Angel" back in issue 12 at the very least. I did like "The Haunted Child" a bit better than you did, although maybe I don't as much if it doesn't have the good Auraleon artwork. The end twist I enjoyed a lot. The mental institution part should have been dropped and we just got head stabbings last issue with "Changes". "Nimrod" I enjoy as a story, but holy crap does the coloring ruin the artwork. You can barely tell what is going on in many panels. Warren finally jump into doing color stories, and the first 3 attempts (2 this time, another next time) are absolute disasters. Thankfully Richard Corben will show them the way in the very near future. I've got to assume that "Nimrod" was a Warren original as I don't see why it would have taken 2 separate writers to write a story for something Maroto had already done in Spain. No clue who Jack Bannow is though, I think this is his sole Warren credit. "Cold Calculations" makes me think very much of "The Thing", although this story came out approximately 10 years before that movie did (well the more well known John Carpenter version at least). "The Dead Howl at Midnight" I was never much of a fan of.

This issue of Creepy gives us the first of the short lived disaster to not do a painted cover, but instead do some colored panels from interior stories; the next Vampi issue will do the same thing then thankfully the experiment never occurs again. "The Slipped Mickey Click Flip" may go down as the most bonkers story Warren would ever publish. I'm considerably more fond of it than you are due to the Richard Corben artwork, which suits it perfectly. Any other artist, outside of perhaps Tom Sutton, and I wouldn't feel the same way about it. Oh joy, another lengthy Don McGregor story. This time its not as preachy as he usually is but this one was a real slog to get through and Crandall's art continues to decline, such as a lack of even bothering to do a background at times. "Descent Into Hell" once again ruins Maroto's art with that horrific color. "Dead Man's Race" is fairly good, my favorite from the issue, although Sutton's story to wrap things up is also good. I'm pretty sure Salvador never does a color story for Warren. Alas, Maroto will have several more, although the coloring will be a lot better than it is here.

andydecker said...

I was quite interested for your take on Moench's "Mickey". Not really shocked that you hated it, but I must have read it a dozen times over the years. I first got it in the Corben special. Eerie 86. It never made any sense to me, but it fascinated me. I would have liked to see this script. Who really did what? Did Corben read the script, shook his head and threw it in the trash? Or did Corben just drew this nonsense and gave it to Moench to dialogue it? There was something in an interview of Moench, but I can't remember where it was.

I liked Eerie 48 a lot more than you guys. Either the art or the stories are entertaining, sometimes both. Didn't know that they were hot-pants in 1890, but I guess Brocal did his reserch ;-) I even liked the Dracula story, it being beyond ridiculous in every regard. Maybe because it was in the Marvel style. Hm … I guess I am a Marvel zombie. At the end of "Think of me" Salvador drops the ball with his tiny last panel which kills any dramatic impact, but as the end of a horror story this is not bad. Even Teddy now stalks her. What is not to like?

I always thought Buckler imitated Starlin, never thought of Eisner. (My god, I AM a Marvel zombie)

Finally we got some savagery in Vampirella. It is a bit jarring, especially as it is kind of a one off. The story should work, it even is kind of original with the family drama. But it leaves me absolutly cold. And three parts is too long for this.

The Maroto coloring is awful beyond belief. It even obscures the art. I read somewhere that Warren's editors used to cut the original art and turned it around till they had a new story. Maybe this happened with Maroto. I really have to search for some Spanish edition. I am curious if he makes more sense in these. But I have to confess that I used to like his stories much more in the past. Now I find the sameness tiresome.

Quiddity said...

andy -

Nevermind 3 parts, if I remember correctly this Vampirella storyline is a four parter. From 3 different writers too.

Warren absolutely has some instances where they buy art with one intended story (or a story published in other countries first) then cut up the story and rearrange the art and try to tell something completely new. That's more of a thing later in the Warren's dark ages though, as Warren has a big inventory of stories build up that got initially rejected, sit there for years, then are forced into publication. It also is what happened with the Harlan Ellison plagiarism story for 1984 although the cutting up of stuff and rearranging it was more to hide that it was a stolen story.

I don't really think that's the case here with Maroto though, at least outside of his Dax and Tomb of the Gods stories. My best guess is Jack Bannow wrote Nimrod, the art was done, and Dubay, who was a very hands on editor who often rewrote a lot of stuff redid a lot of it and never hired him to write another story again.

Anonymous said...

Though I’d prefer to have Sutton art on the Dracula strip, I kinda like Rich Buckler’s art from this period. His big influences at the time seemed to be Neal Adams and John Buscema, and the fancy panel layouts probably derived from Eisner, Bernie Krigstein and Steranko. I don’t think Dubay was the best inker for him though. Buckler’s Dracula and Morbius stories in DRACULA LIVES and VAMPIRE TALES from around this same time (inked by Pablo Marcos and Klaus Janson) look much better.

The big question is, why did the Dracula strip just peter out like this?

Yes, the color on the two Maroto stories is just effing awful.

“The Slipped Mickey Click-Flip” — sigh. Corben seems to be having fun, but man, what a load of irritating hooey. Am I misremembering, or did Moench have lots of nonsensical story titles along the same line — things like “Mudwiggle Mangleroot” and “Glopgizzard Flibbertyjism”? Or was that Dubay?

- b.t.

Grant said...

I'm thoroughly sentimental about Eerie # 48 for a lot of reasons, but I think I'd like it anyway.
I have a problem with downbeat endings, but the grim ending of "The Sacrifice" makes so much sense.
Another thing about Marie in "And An End" is that, even though I'm pretty sure it's a period story, she has "early ' 70s" written all over her as far as her appearance, including the wardrobe. Maybe she's dressed like a female archaeologist, but one right out of a comedy sketch. (Not necessarily a bad thing.)

Grant said...

I didn't see andydecker's comments right away, but as he says, "hot-pants in 1890."
Which isn't exactly the worst anachronism a story could have.

Jack Seabrook said...

Thank you all for the entertaining comments each week! We look forward to reading them.

Quiddity said...

b.t. -

My guess is Dracula got dropped because Eerie was projected to be crowded with a bunch of other series; the Mummy and Werewolf most notably, but there is a lot of stuff coming up like "Alien Nation", "Satanna", "Marvin the Dead Thing", etc... that were probably intended to be series even though they ended up being one part stories. The features pages also speak of several series that never appear.

Moench has some crazy titled stories coming up like "The Low Spark of High Heeled Noise!", "Stridespider Sponge-Rot" and "Webtread's Powercut". Dubay has way more though, and as editor may have even come up with the names for those Moench stories. We've got stuff like "Orem Ain't Got No Head Cheese!", "Mrs. Sludge and the Pickled Octopus Raid", "Mordecai Moondog", "The High-Gloss Egyptian Junk Peddler", "The Saga of Frick and Frack Freckles and the Phantom of Hollywood" and probably most ridiculous, "The Incredible Sagas of Sludge the Unconquorable, Helga the Damned, and Marmadrake, the Magnificent!"