Monday, November 23, 2020

The Warren Report Issue 47: November-December 1973


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

Eerie #52 (November 1973)

"Ghoulish Encounter"
Story by Steve Skeates
Art by Jaime Brocal

"Darkling Revelation"
Story by Al Milgrom
Art by Martin Salvador

"The Hunter"★1/2
Story by Rich Margopoulos
Art by Paul Neary

"The Beheaded"
Story by John Jacobson
Art by Aldoma Puig

"The Golden Kris of Hadji Mohammed"
Story by George Henderson (adapted from a story by Frederick Moore)
Art by Isidro Mones

"Death Rides This Night!"★1/2
Story by Esteban Maroto and Al Milgrom
Art by Esteban Maroto

"Ghoulish Encounter"
Realizing that he needs to find a place to hide his human body until he can locate the amulet that will allow him to transfer his consciousness back to his unwrapped form, the mummy stashes the body in a crypt in the local cemetery. He does not realize that his act was observed by a young woman, who recently lost her mind and turned into a ghoul when forced to eat her deceased husband because they were both trapped in a locked basement.

Licking her chops, the ghoulish gal heads for the crypt while the mummy tracks down and kills the men responsible for the theft of the amulet. The prize itself has disappeared, and the mummy deduces that it must be around the neck of a woman who often accompanied the thieves. He returns to the crypt and sees that there has been a "Ghoulish Encounter" between the woman and a tasty corpse; he kills her and is relieved to discover that her choice of repast was another body. Elsewhere, the woman wearing the amulet boards a coach to leave for parts unknown!

"Darkling Revelation"
I have to hand it to Steve Skeates for creating real suspense with this ridiculous situation. I was convinced that the ghoul gal was munching on the mummy's human body all the while, and I was wondering what he would do if, say, an arm was missing. The revelation that she mistakenly ate a different body surprised and pleased me. I was not so pleased by the gratuitous violence that took up most of the rest of the story. It seems like all the mummy does is shamble around and murder people in graphic ways. If this series is going to improve, we need to be able to have a character with whom we can identify. We don't have that yet.

Arthur Lemming staggers through the woods until he collapses. He is found and taken in by a band of gypsies and soon falls in love with pretty Ophelia. Meanwhile, in town, his wife Angela is convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to death. Arthurs asks old Mother Eva to tell his fortune, but right in the middle of the process the full moon rises. He turns into a werewolf and kills lots of gypsies; when he kills Ophelia, Mother Eva curses him with the memory of what he has done. 

Gleaming helmet, furry
boots, and Zip-A-Tone!
"Darkling Revelation" is average across the board. Al Milgrom's story doesn't really go anywhere interesting until the very end--it may be worthwhile to see Arthur as a werewolf have to deal with the memory of his crimes. Like the Mummy series, the Werewolf series is cursed with the need to have a sequence where the main character goes wild and kills lots of people. This is predictable every issue and means that most of the new characters who are introduced won't be around long. Hopefully, the series will start to go in a more interesting direction soon. Martin Salvador's art in this story is particularly uninspired.

In the 21st century, after atomic destruction, a man called "Hunter" makes his way through the snowy wasteland that used to be the Rocky Mountains, ending up at a monastery where the monks worship a giant computer. They think that there are no more demons, but Hunter knows better. He encounters three mutant demons that enter the monastery and he manages to destroy them all. He then reveals to the monks that he is half-human and half-demon.

Not a bad introduction to a new series character! The best feature of "Hunter" is the art by Paul Neary, which (and I think I may have said this before) reminds me an awful lot of what John Byrne and perhaps Mike Zeck would soon be doing much more famously. There's plenty of Zip-A-Tone on display and lots of gleaming helmets and furry boots. It's not always entirely clear what's going on, and I chalk that up to Neary's inexperience as a storyteller, but his graphics are above-average. For a Warren science fiction story, this is bearable.

"The Befuddled Beheaded"
Dean and Maggie rent a haunted house and immediately meet "The Beheaded" ghost of Bianca Eden. Dean insists he's there to help her get reunited with her head, so the ghost shows him the events that led to its being removed. He's actually after Bianca's hidden treasure and convinces the ghost to lead him to it after telling her he knows where to find her head but needs cash to make the trip. Once Bianca realizes Dean's real goal, she beheads Maggie and ends up causing Dean's demise. Maggie seems to end up with her head back on, happily living in Bianca's home and explaining to a cop that she is the ghost's descendant.

At least, I think that's what happened at the end of this story. It was all somewhat confusing. Early on, Dean blithely tells Maggie that ghosts can't harm the living, but later on, Bianca grabs a sword and lops off Maggie's head. So much for Dean's belief. The final pages, with heads being stuck on bodies, is hard to follow, and Aldoma's art isn't very impressive.

"The Golden Kris..."
An old Arab tells a sailor a story in a San Francisco dockside bar in exchange for a drink. "The Golden Kris of Hadji Muhammed" was a dagger that belonged to a sultan. On the dagger was a saying about all women being unfaithful. When a beautiful woman is brought to be one of the sultan's brides, she insists that he renounce the saying and then she is spirited away by another man. The old Arab was sent to track her down, which he did. She had killed the man who kidnapped her and she wants to be returned to the sultan. Soon after she returns, she kills the sultan with the dagger and the old Arab tells the sailor that she became his wife.

As we so often complain, the biggest problem with Warren stories is the writing. This tale is based on a short story by Frederick Ferdinand Moore that was first published in the May 1912 issue of The Blue Book Magazine. I don't have the original to compare this adaptation to, but it is in keeping with the type of tale that was popular in those days--swashbuckling among the denizens of foreign lands. George Henderson does a good job of fitting it all into eight comic pages and Munes's art is dark and sensual. I like this story a lot.

Dax lies badly wounded among the corpses on the field of battle, so Death sends his sexy, female helper down to collect him. But Dax isn't quite dead yet and tries to use his considerable powers of persuasion to convince the fox to abandon her master and return to life with Dax. Persuaded, she kisses him and turns into a slug-like monster as punishment for betraying Death. The Grim Reaper then has a chat with Dax and admits he's been after him for some time. Dax says no thanks, I'll keep living, and Death relents, but Dax discovers to his dismay that his spine is broken and he lies paralyzed on the bloody ground.

Dax gets a gander at what his latest
conquest looks like in the morning.
"Death Rides This Night!" features the usual, lush art by Maroto and the usual progression of events, in which Dax finds a hot woman who turns out to be some sort of supernatural creature. I read that this was the story where Dax finally dies, but that's not clear from the last panel, so time (and next issue) will tell. Poor Al Milgrom does his best to make some sense of Maroto's flowery panels.-Jack

Peter- Neither the Mummy Walks nor the Curse of the Werewolf series is brain food. Once you get past that, these are bearable stories. Hindered, it would seem, by a format that never changes. The Mummy is Richard Kimble in bandages, visiting weird European villages that all happen to be haunted by their own beasties. It's never clear why the poor unfortunate girl who gets trapped in the basement with her husband (and we're never told how they got trapped either) and has to resort to cannibalism suddenly decides human meat is preferable to a Whopper with Cheese, other than the fact that it advances the plot. The climax is hilarious ("Oops, I didn't have to kill her after all!") but nothing has been resolved. We're still at Point A.

The same could be said for the Werewolf, who exists only to slaughter those he loves, but I find this series to be much more enjoyable despite, or maybe because of, its sameness. Lemming is one cursed guy, never getting a break, and the best is yet to come. Martin Salvador's art is coming around; his werewolf is still more a teddy bear than a Howling monster. Having Lemming's memory restored pushes the series down an interesting road next issue. Of all the early Warren serials, "Hunter" was the most intriguing and showed the most potential. Whether it ever achieved that potential is another story altogether. But it was certainly ground-breaking. (SPOILERS!) If I recall correctly, this was the first major character to be killed off and certainly had its share of copycats down the road (including two spin-off series). I may regret saying this now, not having read the series in over a decade, but it was the best SF series Warren published. Go ahead, name another. To enjoy the opening chapter, however, you really have to look past RichMargo's obvious adoration of Moench&McG. Their presence is felt right from the splash (The environment: Bad! The individual: Equally Bad!) but, after a few pages, RichMargo settles down and simply lets the tale unfold.

Of the two non-series stories this issue, I really liked "Golden Kris," due mostly to the primitive but atmospheric Mones artwork. Amazing that just a few posts ago, I was checklisting Mones's weaknesses and now he's evolving into a mid-'70s Jerry Grandenetti. "The Beheaded" is dreary nonsense; really very hard to keep my eyes open during its duration. I can picture this being adapted into a 1980s' romcom/horror starring Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner. For the most part, "Death Rides This Night!" is just another Dax installment, but what saves it is its strong climax and the fact that it's the finale. The idea that this unconquerable barbarian will die a slow death, amidst the carnage he helped create, is a powerful one.

Enrich Torres
Vampirella #29 (November 1973)

"Vampirella and the Undead of the Deep!" 
Story by Flaxman Loew
Art by Jose Gonzalez

"The Evil Eye" 
Story by W. Eaton
Art by Ramon Torrents

"Stairway to Heaven!" 
Story and Art by Fernando Fernandez

"Last Lunch for Rats!" 
Story by Doug Moench
Art by Auraleon

"The Vampires are Coming, the Vampires are Coming!" ★1/2
Story by Doug Moench
Art by Isidro Mones

In the conclusion to last issue's thriller, Alastair MacDaemon, last Laird of the MacDaemon clan, is buried in the deeps of Loch Eerie with Vampi and Pendy as onlookers. Vampi is visited in her dreams by spirts that night, ghosts that beg her to bring Alastair back home for a proper burial. Believing this is the right thing to do, Vampi dives down to the bottom of the Loch, where she happens upon a sunken luxury liner populated by the undead. The corpses dance to the ragtime band that plays in the ballroom while Vampirella's long-lost love, Tristan, saunters on down the staircase.

Elated, Vampi accompanies Tristan outside the ship for a little kissing and petting but, to our Drakulonian heroine's horror, Tristan's outer shell dissolves and standing before her is the Monster of the Loch! Realizing she's losing energy, Vampi attacks and drains all the dancing copses of their blood and then heads for the surface, dragging Alastair's body and head along with her. The script for "Vampirella and the Undead of the Deep" is just as disjointed and blurry as any that preceded it; as Monday morning quarterbacks, we know that's not going to change. The reasoning behind Alastair's burial in the Loch and Vampi's subsequent urge to "unbury" him is skewed. I assume it's all tied into the Loch Monster's desire for vengeance, but the details are sketchy. What's more fanciful than a Titanic full of zombies is the fact that Vampi can speak, dance, and change into a bat (and fly!) underwater. Jose, however, seems to hone his skills every issue. There are several pin-up-worthy panels of Vampi in various stages of undress. 

"The Evil Eye"
W. Eaton's choppy "The Evil Eye" concerns a witch's curse plaguing ten generations of the Lanier family. The curse involves a metal box that is handed down through the generations; when the owner of the box opens the lid, they lose that which they most cherish (great-great-great grampa Ezekiel Lanier loses his eyes, great grampa Craig Lanier loses his pecker, etc.). Now the box belongs to vain Larry Lanier, so you can just guess what he's going to be void of by story's end. No real surprises here, but Torrents's art has definitely improved over the last few months (although one foxy lady seems to put in an appearance in two different time frames). I'll give it a thumbs-sideways as this has been a real weak month and I'm jonesing to like something.

After an automobile accident, Farley Foster lies dying on an operating table, his life flashing before his eyes. The light approaches even as the surgeon tries his hardest to keep Farley alive but, in the end, Farley chooses the light. I'm not 100% sure what Fernando was trying to say in "Stairway to Heaven!" but the story and protagonist touched me in a way very few Creepy stories have. The tale never approaches pretension the way a McGregor or Moench piece would have, given the same plot; the prose is tight and to the point. Of course, that long hallway to "wherever" and the light that approaches have been a part of literature for many a moon, so "Stairway" does not perform miracles with the trope. It's just a good, sentimental story with a great Led Zeppelin song title.

The very definition of
"swift justice" in the '70s
The boys in the gang always picked on poor runt, Harold, but killing his pet rats was just a lousy thing to do. Harold swore to his only friend, Albert, that he'd get those guys; it was only a matter of time. Then, when Al and Harold go swimming down at the lake, they run into the four bullies and Harold is subjected to more harassment. When Bully #1, Max Robbins, proposes a breath-holding contest, Harold agrees but, long after the other boys have surfaced, he never surfaces. 

Twenty years later, all the boys (including Al) have grown up to be powerful businessmen and co-owners of the Apex Chemical Company. When three of the men turn up dead, all drowned in brutal fashion, suspicious eyes fall on Al and he's convicted of first-degree murder. The judge turns out to be Max Robbins, co-owner of Apex, and the only surviving member of the four rats. As Al is hauled from court, he warns Max that Apex has been dumping chemicals into the lake Harold drowned in, and Max is next on the murder list. Soon after, Max is poisoned by bad water and Al's cell is broken into. Al disappears and, it seems, Harold's revenge is complete.

At least I can't level accusations of pretension at "Last Lunch for Rats!" This is one dumb story, with a whole lot of empty-headed plot twists. Doug starts us down a path of Willard-style vengeance, teasing us with visions of rodent-chewed bully guts, but then dumps the whole "Harold has become psychotic" angle and swerves into the water-based kills. I'm thinking the writer just couldn't decide which would be cooler, so he opted for both. Having your partner in the business also be the judge that sentences you to the electric chair is one bad break. And how about the swift trials they had back in the early '70s? No jury and quick justice. One more quick, dim-witted question: once dead Harold broke Al out of the pokey, what was the plan? Was the odd couple going to live down by the polluted river? I may be the dopey one, giving this a full two stars as a reward to Doug for skipping the whole "Bullying: a man-child contest borne of a father's backhand" nonsense, but it's worth it.

Foiled by the deadly drumsticks
During the Revolutionary War, drummer boy Chad Bowman watches as a Redcoat rises from the battlefield and drinks the blood of the corpses around it. Chad flees, comes across a regiment of Patriots, and tries to convince them that he’s seen the devil. But, of course, no one will listen to a foolhardy young boy until the men come face to face with the vampire themselves. By then, it’s too late and "The Vampires are Coming, the Vampires are Coming!" Not a bad story at all, with Doug Moench managing to work up quite a bit of suspense, marred only by a really dumb climax (the vampire is felled by drumsticks!). One of Isidro Mones’s better contributions thus far. One question though: what happened to all the girly strips? Wasn't the initial idea behind the launch of Vampi to spotlight women in horror (and, yes, I realize there's nothing feminist about a zine like Vampirella)? Not a whole lot of that going on this issue.-Peter

Jack-Not only the strips with ladies are missing, but where's the color story in the middle? This month's Eerie has 76 pages while this month's Vampirella only has 68. In the letters column, the editor writes that they wanted to see how readers reacted to an issue without color inside. I am skeptical! He promises color will return next issue.

My ratings for the stories in this issue were in line with yours, Peter. I liked "Stairway to Heaven!" best and found it unusual and interesting. The writer creates real intrigue about what's going on and the artist mixes styles to good effect. How about that--they're the same person! It's more philosophy than horror, but it works. The Vampi story came in next for me, completely due to the art by Gonzalez. I was thinking that this is one really big loch until it became clear (sort of) that much of what was going on was in our heroine's mind, though I can't imagine why the loch monster just disappeared from the story all of a sudden. How did it know Vampi was in trouble? And hadn't it been eating human sacrifices for centuries? Now it's just an evil shrink?

"The Evil Eye" is another well-illustrated tale, but it boasts no surprises. That leaves the two Moench stories. "Last Lunch for Rats!" made me wonder where Tom Sutton disappeared to, since he's much better at drawing stories with kids than Auraleon is. "The Vampires Are Coming" is just weird, with a Revolutionary War setting and a fatal drumstick. I thought drumsticks had rounded ends.

Not what we would want to see our
14-year old daughter doing...

Creepy #58 (December 1973)

"Change... Into Something Comfortable" 
Story by Doug Moench
Art by Richard Corben

"An Excuse for Violence" 
Story by Don McGregor
Art by Adolfo Abellan

"Shriek Well Before Dying!" 
Story by W. Eaton
Art by Jose Bea

"Soul and Shadow"★1/2
Story by Gardner Fox
Art by Reed Crandall

"The Waking Nightmare!" ★1/2
Story by Don McGregor
Art by Isidro Mones

The Wolfman, escaped from Grimstone's Carnival of Freaks, enjoys a bloody jaunt through the city on Halloween night. Ripping to shreds many young boys and girls but soon tiring of the easy game, the lycanthrope breaks into a mansion full of celebrants. But the young, happy faces disguise the truth beneath: these are the vampires and ghouls of Grimstone's Carnival of Freaks masquerading as, of course, humans. Grimstone emerges from the shadows to explain to the Wolfman that, because the creature is a human during the day, he and his "employees" no longer can trust him, and they tear him to pieces.

Moench-isms abound in "Change... Into Something Comfortable," starting with Doug's annoying habit of defining his caption boxes (Night: a time to die... abruptly, fiercely, terribly... with unmitigated terror a choking of sour bile searing a shrieking throat...) and peaking with a script that makes little to no sense. Why has this werewolf suddenly decided to dine on the townsfolk and, most curious of all, why does Grimstone suddenly decide that a werewolf is a big risk to have around all his creepy-crawlies? Wouldn't the fact that a werewolf becomes a man half the day have occurred to him at the onset? I would have liked to have sat through Grimstone's job interview process. The Corben art is great but this werewolf is no Lycanklutz; this one is a big furry bear in clothing, nowhere near as frightening as the earlier creature. More frightening, in fact, are the breasts on the female ghoul. How that cloth maintains its hold on those basketballs is anyone's guess.

Two black girls are murdered on the already racially-tense campus of Harrison State. It's up to guidance counsellor Ken Corrado to track down the killer (because, after all, that is listed in the job description of a college counsellor), with the help of "associate" Ron Gray. Both girls were drained of blood, but that's immaterial to the protestors, who turn violent when their outrage is ignored. In the end, it's discovered that the killer is LeRoy Holmes, an African-American janitor, who was bitten by a white female vampiress and who becomes a white blood-sucker now and then. LeRoy is beaten to death by a white cop and the terror comes to an end.

What a freakin' mess. How can anyone read the ten pages of utter crap known as "An Excuse for Violence" and not roll their eyes and throw the damn zine in the pool? Don McGregor once again shows us how much he wants to unite the people, since we're all the same on the inside. So, then, why give LeRoy Holmes such a cliched name? Don hammers home just what an important script this is by using the "N" word. Why does Count LeRoy target black girls? Other than to forward Don's thesis on racism, there is no reason. A big deal is made of the white vampiress/black man union, but then we get almost unintelligible art by Abellan that makes distinction impossible. How is the panel of LeRoy changing into a bat supposed to signify a transformation of races when all we see is a big bat? My patience for these political diatribes is wearing thin.

"Farm equipment salesman" Floyd Crampus knows a good thing when he sees it and that choice piece of real estate right now belongs to Josh Silar and his daughter, the mousy but attractive Ada. Floyd worms his way into Ada's heart when he discovers that the family has a bank account stuffed full of 28,000 dollar bills. Once he gets Ada wrangled, he starts to work on Mr. Silar, who's immediately wise to the young whippersnapper's game. The senior Silar has a pair of fatal heart attacks and Floyd wastes no time in convincing Ada that they should become Mr. and Mrs. 

Josh Silar might be buried deep, but that never stopped an angry father; Floyd and Ada watch in horror as Josh rises from the grave while Ada is paying her respects. Floyd grabs his new bride and tosses her in the VW, hightailing it, but Mr. Silar convinces his neighbors to rise from their earthly resting places and join him in a little vengeful fun. The corpses run Floyd and Ada off the road and Floyd is burned to death. Ada goes back to her farm, Pop in tow, and adjusts to life without Floyd.

If it ain't eco/racial/feminist awakenings, then there's always the EC rip-off to fall back on, and that's precisely what "Shriek Well Before Dying!" (one of the dopiest titles ever) offers up. Writer Eaton takes the standard "money motivation" plotline and does absolutely nothing original with it. 28,000 bucks sure seems like a piddling amount to settle for when you're going to so much trouble (although, to be fair, my inflation calculator tells me that $28,000 in 1973 is tantamount to $164,000 today), but what's more giggle-worthy to me is Floyd's blasé reaction to his dead father-in-law rising from the dead (nice casket, too, with a sunroof yet) and, somehow, catching up to the speeding auto. The gravedigger's reaction is even funnier. Jose Bea's art is adequate but rushed. There's a panel of Ada and Floyd canoodling next to a haystack that I had to look at a couple dozen times before I could decipher whose limbs belonged to who.

A warrior enters the temple of Shalimar to seek a legendary jewel but discovers a beautiful princess named Karalina sleeping on a stone altar. The woman awakens when the barbarian takes the jewel and explains that she's been trapped in the temple and wants to escape but could only leave when the jewel was stolen. The pair leave the temple, unaware that the warrior has lost his shadow. Later, that shadow attacks them, killing the barbarian and reducing him to bones. Karalina takes the jewel back to her temple and slips back into her sleep.

"Soul and Shadow" is an odd one. It's got Reed Crandall and Gardner Fox written all over it; this late in their careers, fantasy and sword-and-sorcery were just about the only genres they contributed to. But damned if the story didn't work for me and I can't really say why. It's very familiar (the general plot was explored in an earlier tale in, I think, Eerie), and Fox's prose is as purple as ever before, but it's also got a bit of an edge to it. Call me an art idiot, but it's the best from Crandall we've seen around here in years; his Karalina is eye candy. "Soul and Shadow" would be a Warren swan song for both Fox and Crandall. Very shortly after this appearance, Crandall quit art, became a janitor for Pizza Hut (according to my Wikipedia sources), and died in 1982. A really shitty ending for one of the EC masters. 

A strange virus overtakes Houston, transforming peaceful, law-abiding citizens into murderous madmen. Can science overcome this epidemic and return Houston to the AFL Championship game? Writer Don McGregor lets us know right up front that "The Waking Nightmare!" isn't just a reimagining of Night of the Living Dead but a serious treatise on drug addiction and the government's failure to help those afflicted, by signing his opus "Donald Francis McGregor." Unfortunately, Donald Francis McGregor's wordy novel is disjointed and boring, a lethargic jumbling of (one assumes) best intentions and lazy plotting. Don can't help but interject his opinions on solving drug addiction, but the problem is that he does it in a way that slows the pace. The quasi-happy ending is anti-climactic and preachy. I continue to be unimpressed with Mones's art; it's muddy and impenetrable at times (I defy you to make sense of the page where a man throws himself off a building and lands in front of Mason's car) and just adequate for the remainder.-Peter

Sometimes a haystack is just a haystack...
Jack-The letters page in this issue has two items of interest. The first is a letter from the great Fred Hembeck, whose career would end up being longer and more successful than those of many Warren creators; the second is a note from the editor who, in answer to a question about what ever happened to Billy Graham, replies that he was swallowed up by "Monstrous Marvelosaurus." The two highlights for me in a mediocre issue are the Corben art on "Change," a story that displays one of the biggest gulfs in quality between writing and art I can remember, and "Soul and Shadow," an unexpectedly entertaining bit of sword and sorcery from two old masters whose best days were behind them.

The two McGregor stories are dreadful. The sheer number of words overwhelm the art, which isn't very good either. The Eaton/Bea story had two memorable panels. The first is on page 27, where the young lovers get it on behind a ridiculously phallic haystack, and the second is the last panel, with a decaying Dad you just have to like. Like Vampirella, this issue of Creepy is 68 pages long and has no color story, making me wonder if the longer issues with color were summer specials.

Next Week...
Batman teams with the
Guardians of the Galaxy!
Wait... What?


Quiddity99 said...

Pretty decent segments for both the Mummy and the Werewolf this issue. I similarly liked the direction they took the story in for the Mummy, and the Werewolf, while its art is lacking and it can be kind of predictable, I do like the never ending disasters that seem to occur to Arthur due to him becoming a werewolf. His daughter's dead, his wife's sentenced to death, his new lover's dead, how will he handle things now that he knows he's responsible for all of this? "Hunter" begins; this was one of the more popular serials for Warren and I think its pretty decent, although also aimless at times until the last couple of chapters. Or at least that's my recollection of it. I look forward to rereading it. It does end on a strong note. Similar to Dax, they eventually gather all the stories in one reprint issue (although they're able to fit them all in unlike Dax which had to cut a couple) and that is how I first read the series. I was a bit higher than you on "The Beheaded", including Aldoma's art, which will be his final of two Warren stories. "Golden Kris" was a fairly strong effort as well. Dax's final story is a strong one, with quite the horrifying sequence when the woman transforms. Dax doesn't actually die (the cover lied to us!) but he suffers a fate wore than death in being paralyzed, and surely died for real of starvation or exposure shortly afterwards. Overall a very strong issue of Eerie for me, and since I was also quite high on Eerie #50, Eerie's on quite a hot streak right now for me.

The most memorable part of Vampi's story for me this issue is the four panel sequence where Tristan turns into the monster, it makes me fondly remember an extremely similar sequence from Jose Bea's extremely bizarre "Picture of Death" story (it was a woman that time). "Evil Eye" I liked a lot, sans the predictable ending. "Stairway to Heaven" has writing that is a bit too flowery for me, at least among Fernandez' stories, but holy crap that art is beautiful. The story does have one panel that is an extremely obvious swipe from 2001: A Space Odyssey though. Fernandez is arguably even outdoing Gonzales and Maroto art-wise at this point. Lots of great stuff from him coming. The last 2 stories of the issue are a bit iffy for me; good art as usual but nothing great writing-wise. As for your question on the lack of "girly strips" that will soon change as starting next issue we have the first of what will be several female-led new series in Vampirella, with "Pantha".

Quiddity99 said...

"Change into Something Comfortable" I have historically enjoyed, but that's all due to the Corben art. It would be considerably weaker if someone else drew it. You'll just have to get used to really big breasts in Richard Corben stories, he sure has a type. :P "An Excuse for Violence" is a disaster with the typical over the top pretentious McGregor script and ugly artwork from Abellan. Get ready for a very similar story next issue. "Shriek Well Before Dying" goes to show that Bea should be allowed to write all his stories, we just got one of his best stories in the prior issue of Vampirella, while this is a really weak and cliche effort. Reed Crandall's art in "Soul and Shadow" is a decent improvement over his other recent stuff, although as you've said, it is his final story. A real sad end for who was such a great artist for both EC and Warren. The story reminds me a bit of an EC story he drew featuring a murderous shadow in one of the final issues of the Haunt of Fear, although that was a contemporary tale, not a sword & sorcery one. "The Waking Nightmare" continues the themes of other recent Mones drawn stories written by Moench or McGregor about current social ills and is quite a mess although I'm a lot higher on his art than you. Overall a really mediocre issue of Creepy, especially for this era when I think the Warren mags are on as a whole on an upswing.

Color stories will come back starting with next month's issues, at least for Creepy and Vampirella. Eerie for whatever reason was a bit behind on the color stories and I don't think gets one until they start reprinting "The Spirit".

With us wrapping up 1973, I'm sure you'll be happy to know that 1973 was the last year Doug Moench regularly contributed stories to Warren. The down side? Such a massive inventory had built up that it will still be quite a while before they run out of his stories. McGregor on the other hand we're just about finished with, he's got 2 more stories in the next issue of Creepy but then we're finally done with him for many years sans an occasional inventory story or two. We'll slowly be seeing newer writers like Gerry Boudreau, Budd Lewis and Rich Margopoulos take over a lot of the writing as we head into 1974 and beyond. 1974 - 1975 was Warren's peak as far as I'm concerned, so very much looking forward to what is coming up.

Peter Enfantino said...

Thanks for being the bearer of good tidings. A sit-down with Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella sans Moench and McGregor means I can finally be true to my AA vows.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Dax series finale was pretty clever. Grim as hell, but clever.

Good opening installment for the Hunter series. Like Quiddity, I too read it for the first time in EERIE #69. For months, fans had been raving about the series in the letter pages, and I wasn’t disappointed when I finally got to read the entire thing. Definitely one of the better EERIE series.

I kinda liked Aldoma’s art on “The Beheaded” but wow, talk about your incoherent stories. This is like Horror-Mood Level stuff.

DELAYED GRATIFICATION DEPT: I love the Coming Attractions ad on the back cover, especially the “FIVE EERIE SUPERSTARS COMING YOUR WAY!” centerpiece. Besides The Werewolf and The Mummy, we get our first glimpses of The Spook (looking very “70s” with his full Afro) and Coffin (whose first story won’t show up for another whole year). Marvin the Dead-Thing is apparently set to return as well, but don’t hold your breath, Fear Fans — far as I can tell, it’s going to be NINE WHOLE YEARS before the next chapter in his gooey saga!

Have to admit I didn’t much like Fernando Fernandez’ art when I was a teen but I sure do now. (I disliked Toth back then too — I wanna slap 13-year-old Me upside the head sometimes). And yes, that 2001 photo swipe really stands out, don’t it — did anyone else catch the Ernest Borgnine / WILLARD swipe in “Blind Man’s Guide” from VAMPI 28? Fernandez did a fully painted color adaptation of Stoker’s DRACULA in one of the European horror mags in the 80s that is simply gorgeous, and sexy psychedelic space opera strip called Zora in HEAVY METAL.


Quiddity99 said...

I do get a chuckle out of some of those coming attractions, not just what they put on the back cover but on the inside features pages as well. Beyond just Coffin, they also promote series like Papa Voodoo or The Freaks which are delayed even longer than Coffin was. It is pretty clear that they had all these grand ideas, but nowhere enough space to include everything.

On the other hand, that great new series that premiered this issue, Hunter? I don't think they previewed that at all. Another great new series coming up soon, Dr. Archeus? Same thing, it just appears with no fanfare. I think Schreck shows up starting next issue too out of nowhere.

andydecker said...

"The Beheaded" would have been much more understandable with better art. I mean, it is pretty ridiculous with its twists and double twists, but I like the complicated concept for trying something different with its seemingly harmless ghost which jumps at her chance.

I understood the end this way: Dean's ancestor is the guy who killed Bianca und hid the head. When Dean doesn't want to re-unite the ghost with her head, she beheads Maggie. Then she forces Dean to put the skull on Maggies dead body. Skull-Maggie awakes as a zombie and strangles Dean, while Bianca puts on Maggies head. After Dean is dead, Ghost-Bianca takes over the rest of Maggies body. Now she lives again – and all was only possible because she is Maggie's ancestor.

Did I say complicated? Okay, it is indeed ridiculous. It's magic, so you don't have to explain it. :-) Maybe it would work better as a prose story.

As one-note and episodic The Mummy is, the art is well done. And I like the mindless violence here. It makes sense in the context. The story is nonsense of course. But wacky nonsense.

The Werewolf becomes boring. Maybe I am projecting here, but did Milgrom managed to do the concept of Whedon's Angel here first? A gypsy curses the monster to remember its atrocities? Weird.

I am in the minority here, but I can't stand Hunter. The concept doesn't work for me, the mix of post-doomsday, sf and fantasy is awkward, derivative and doesn't come together. And I find Neary's art often hard to follow.

But I love the cover. Again the best thing of this issue.

Grant said...

People are always praising or criticizing some story's addition to the werewolf mythology, but the description of "Change Into Something Comfortable" is the first time I've heard of a werewolf "tiring of easy game."