Monday, January 11, 2021

The Warren Report Issue 50: March/April 1974


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

Vampirella #31

"The Betrothed of the Sun-God!"
Story by Flaxman Loew
Art by Jose Gonzalez

"Family Ties!" ★1/2
Story by Steve Skeates
Art by Rafael Auraleon

"The Truth!" 
Story and Art by Fernando Fernandez

"The Woodlik Inheritance!" 
Story and Art by Richard Corben

"The Strange Incureable (sic) Phobia... 
of Mad Pierre Langlois!" ★1/2
Story and Art by Jose Bea

Story by Doug Moench
Art by Esteban Maroto

Only time will tell, of course, but the good news around the Warren office is that Archie Goodwin is back. I don't remember how long Arch stuck around this time, but since there's a boatload of good stuff coming down the pike, I assume his stay is for more than a few months.

Vampirella has a really big problem. Her beau, the Sun-God known as Huitzilopochtli, has given the Drakulonian sex goddess a deadline for her answer to his proposal. But, in the meantime, any man showing affection to the scantily-clad vampiress will be reduced to ashes! Meanwhile, Pendragon has received a letter from a Ms. Amelie de Mort, a fortune teller who claims to be in touch with Pen's Aunt Agatha, who may have died and left him a considerable fortune. Pen agrees to a seance at de Mort's flat and Vampi accompanies him. 

Unbeknownst to our heroes, de Mort is running a deadly scam with a couple of nasty cohorts, and murder is on her mind. While walking through a park, Vampi is approached by a handsome poet who tells her he has become enchanted by her beauty and wishes to write a poem for her. The fact that the young man may soon be burnt to a crisp makes up Vampi's mind for her. But how to let Huitzi baby down? At the seance, de Mort is possessed by the Sun-God and informs the occupants of the room that he's enraged by the boldness of the young poet and, as punishment, Huitzi will burn all of Paris to the ground.

As Vampi and Pen are leaving the parlor, they hear a scream from a window above and Vampirella investigates. She interrupts the murder of one of de Mort's marks and drains the blood of one of the henchmen. Seeing the perfect out, Vampi summons Huitzi and tells him she'll give him her answer the next night if he won't burn Paris to the ground. Instead, she pleads, just direct a lightning bolt at the de Mort residence.

They don't make rock stars like they use to!

With de Mort out of business, Vampi delivers the bad news to her Sun-Hunk but ponders a life without really good sex. There's always been a bit of a wink to the Vampirella stories, but several of the previous installments have also been dead serious with a reek of pretension. "The Betrothed of the Sun-God!" seems to turn a corner in the series (at least, to me it does) and plants tongue way back in cheek. That's a good thing. This tone I can embrace. There's still no reason a female vampire needs to be the protagonist, but at least Flaxman Loew has thrown up his hands, admitted this is some real dumb crap, and given us something enjoyable to read. As always, the Gonzalez art is stunning, but I still snicker at panels like the splash (reprinted far above) where Vampi is in a park, striking a pose like Lulu belting out "To Sir, With Love!" What are all the Parisians around her thinking? Get over yourself, girl!

After ripping open a reporter's throat, Pantha must flee back to her boyfriend's pad. When she gets there, the erstwhile rock star, Blue (played here by a young Don Henley), is practicing his picking and does not want to be disturbed. When Pantha tells him she killed a man the night before, Blue flies into a rage, accusing his girl of sleeping with another man, and gives her a backhand that lays her on the ground. Before you can say "Desperado," Pantha turns into a panther and rips Blue's vocal chords out. The tour is officially canceled. Transforming back into a woman, Pantha decides it's high time to uncover her roots. She visits her parents in their upscale hovel and confronts them about her suspicions. Her "father" roots through Pantha's purse and then backhands the girl into tomorrow. Not one to ignore a beating, Pantha turns into a panther and liberates the throats from both her parents. She flees the apartment as a human being on the road to discovery. 

Auraleon certainly knows his way around a naked woman (and, I'm relieved to tell you, he's solved the problem of Pantha's missing butt crack), but me being me, I just want to know where Pantha's clothes go when she makes that big leap into feline and why, when she comes back to human form, she's wearing nothing but teensy panties. Yeah, I know, this is a series about a shapeshifter and I should be suspending all disbelief, but there are some things that just need to be said. What else that needs to be said is that, at the core, Pantha is just another entry in the mindless Werewolf/Mummy sweepstakes (change/murder/change), but Skeates leaves just enough bread crumbs throughout "Family Ties!" to keep you following along. I'm itching to find out who Pantha's real parents are and hoping we get there in the near future. 

Don Fernandez Alamo comes back from four years of fighting a war only to discover his house has changed. His wife, Mary, is distant, his sons have been sent away, a plague may or may not have fallen on the land, and there are two very off new servants working at the house. One night, after dinner, Alamo and his wife begin a bit of horseplay, but the Don strangely drifts off to sleep. Awakening a few hours later and believing he's been drugged, our hero is convinced his wife has taken a lover. Following voices outside, Alamo opens the crypt to find his wife is not an adulterer but a ghoul! The Spaniard runs the servants (who are right alongside their mistress, munching away) through with his musket and then chases Mary into the woods. Alas, he's too late, as Mary has hopped aboard her spacecraft and flown away to the heavens. Alamo is arrested for her murder and sentenced to death. 

As with previous Fernandez double-duties, I like the art a lot but the script not so much. Someone out there is going to have to explain to me what Mary's new status as Spanish Ghoul has to do with UFOs. Were aliens a part of the "plague?" Were the servants actually Martians? This out-of-left-field revelation and a finale that defines the word "abrupt" are the downfall of this story and that's "The Truth." 

A reunion of sorts for the Kettles.
Karna Woodlik returns to her childhood home for her mother's funeral and discovers a terrible secret that haunts her family. Her brother, Sately, takes her down into a cavern below the house, human skeletons strewn about its floor, and both witness the flesh-eating creature their dead father has become. Sately battles with his father and mortally wounds the thing, but is killed during the tussle. Karna burns the house to the ground and ponders her future while munching on her brother's arm. "The Woodlik Inheritance," obviously inspired by Lovecraft, is plagued by a pedestrian script and muddy graphics; the "shock" ending is a bit of a cliche and doesn't really make much sense. A rare misfire for writer/artist Corben.

Pierre Langlois grew up unloved and ignored by a stepmother who spent her every waking hour with her beloved flowers. The woman is so annoyed with having to take her attention off her foliage for a nanosecond that she lays a curse on Pierre: her plants will seek some kind of vengeance down the road. Years later, Pierre's wife is in labor and she gives birth to, you guessed it, a very cute turnip. "The Strange Incureable (sic) Phobia... of Mad Pierre Langlois!" is one very weird story, but then most of Jose Bea's scripts are a little... off. Poor Pierre does nothing more to elicit this monstrous curse than ask for a little love and understanding (whatever became of Mrs. Langlois?), but I guess it's Pierre's wife who really must bear the burden (and she must have some nasty scars after that childbirth). Try getting this kid to eat his peas and carrots. What I like about Bea's tale is that he's winking at us the whole time, like he's letting us in on the joke (They named him Bud! And in truth, he was just a little sprout!); that final panel (below) is either very creepy or extremely silly. You be the judge.

Jungle explorer George Barrett is hired by gorgeous Isabelle Saxon to lead an expedition into the Congo to search for the wreckage of the plane that was carrying her father, her stepmother, and her half-sister. Though the plane crashed in the jungle fifteen years before, Isabelle is hoping for some evidence as to the fate of the three travelers. Unfortunately, the plans of Isabelle and George do not jibe with the drug-runners in the forest and the pair find themselves on the run. Enter: Luana, jungle princess, and her pet panther! Luana helps quash the narcotics ring and leads George to the plane lying at the bottom of a river. With the evidence George finds on board the wreckage and some simple mathematics, he deduces that Luana is Isabelle's long-lost half-sister. What further adventures lie before the trio? 

None. Doug Moench wrote an original story based on a Frank Frazetta painting used for an obscure 1968 Italian flick called Luana, The Girl Tarzan, directed by Roberto Infascelli and starring Mei Chen as Luana. If not for the story credit, I would never have pegged this as a Munch production. It lacks the usual flowery analogies and adjective-laden run-on sentences. It reads just like what it is: a pulp adventure. Obviously, if it had not been for the Frazetta connection, this story would have never seen the light of day, but it's still one of the oddest bits of paraphernalia that Warren ever ran. Despite (or because of its) sheer disposability, I enjoyed the heck out of "Luana." Sure, it's nothing more than a rip-off of Tarzan (or, more on-the-nose, Sheena), but its pure pulpishness is extremely charming. And Maroto was the obvious choice for the scantily-clad jungle goddess. A great finish to one of the better issues of Vampirella we've seen so far.-Peter

Just follow her, ya nut!
Why ask questions?
This is a strong issue overall! Gonzalez makes Vampi as stunning as ever. The story is silly--a jealous sun god?--but it makes sense and is fun. I had to chuckle at the sight of a sun god so jealous that he incinerates any man who approaches Vampi, but when she unceremoniously dumps him, he takes it calmly. Auraleon's art is gorgeous as ever on "Family Ties!" but do we have to be subjected to another rock god in a Warren comic? Panther makes the second strong female character in a row in this issue, but Skeates's script is weak and reminds me of the Mummy and Werewolf series over in Eerie in that it is basically just a series of violent acts strung together.

We then get three pretty good stories in a row from three artists who write their own scripts. Fernandez's panels look good, just not as good as those of Gonzalez or Auraleon. The pages are too scratchy and unfocused for my taste. The story is okay but the UFO angle comes out of left field. I love Corben's unusual take on Vampirella as she introduces his weird tale, but the color reproduction is too murky for me to enjoy the pages. The story is fairly good and I enjoyed the bit of humor at the end; Corben's light approach is always refreshing. Bea's story about the flower witch was my favorite of the three stories by writer/artists. His art is haunting and, while the story has a wacky conceit, the last-page payoff was satisfying.

Finally, we get Doug Moench's "Luana," which I thought was a sexy Tarzan ripoff. I looked up the movie on IMDb and saw that the title was "Luana, the Girl Tarzan," so I guess they weren't trying to hide the source! Maroto exercises some rare self-control in his approach to storytelling and, as a result, the tale is straightforward and enjoyable. It's also the third strong female character in this issue. I like the trend of Vampirella featuring more women in lead roles.

Ken Kelly
Eerie #55 (March 1974)

"Worms in the Mind!"
Story by Doug Moench
Art by Vicente Alcazar

"No Flies on Schreck!"
Story by Doug Moench
Art by Vicente Alcazar

"Bucket O' Blood"
(originally published 6/16/46)

Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Paul Neary

"The Quest of the Golden Dove"
Story by Gerry Boudreau
Art by Isidro Mones

"Worms in the Mind!"
Infected with the Moontaint that makes him think he has "Worms in the Mind," Schreck is a madman until the beautiful scientist he nicknames Bright Eyes injects him with a vaccine that has a 50/50 chance of curing him. It works, and Schreck and Bright Eyes must fight their way past more lunatic zombies, many of whom repeat the mysterious name of Lepula. Discouraged that the loonies won't let her inject the vaccine into their arms, Bright Eyes is shocked to happen upon her husband, Lee, who was also Schreck's co-worker. He's now a zombie, accompanied by Schreck's wife, Paula, and both worship Lepula, the Moon God. They promise to sacrifice Schreck and Bright Eyes soon.

Days later, there are "No Flies on Schreck," who is getting tired of rampant zombie slaughter. Bright Eyes helps him wipe out some more monsters by pouring a cauldron of boiling water on them. Later, Schreck is fighting baddies out in the street when he lowers himself into the sewers below and meets Debra James, another beautiful scientist, whose biological research on animals is proving useful in predicting who will next be affected by the moon sickness. Schreck takes her to meet Bright Eyes, who has turned into a zombie. Schreck injects her with the vaccine and she is immediately cured, just in time to be killed by a sniper's bullet fired by her husband, Lee. Debra knocks Schreck out of the way of the next bullet and they go on to bury Bright Eyes before joining forces to continue killing zombies.

"Bucket O' Blood"
Doug Moench and Vicente Alcazar gives us a two-part Schreck story this time out, running a total of 25 pages. The first part is hard to slog through, mainly due to Moench's overwriting ("The gooshy oyster began to fold up over me like a silly putty Venus flytrap just before the gnarly callus-knobbed hands punched out the walls and began pointing accusations at the worms in my head."), but the second part is better and, by the end, it is more effective than the werewolf or mummy stories we've been getting in Eerie. It still spends way too much time on mass killing, though, and the sudden murder of Bright Eyes is in line with the similar quick exits of characters in other Warren series. After the tenth time, it ceases to be shocking. Alcazar's art is average but not up to the level of the better Warren artists.

The color story this issue is "Bucket O'Blood," a classic Spirit reprint from 1946 that features a mysterious Thing that seems to protect the person holding it from harm. There's plenty of action and plenty of humor, and Richard Corben's vibrant colors add immeasurably to the brilliant work by Eisner. The only problem with plunking a Sprit reprint in the middle of an issue of Eerie is that it makes everything around it look mediocre.

"Hunter" is upset to find the village of Pharmark Phal destroyed by demons. With his dying words, an old man begs Hunter to find his daughter, Tynh, and take vengeance on the demons. Hunter tracks down and kills the demons, rescuing Tynh before continuing on his lonely way.

A simple story, well-told by Budd Lewis, with Paul Neary's busy art. The visuals mix science fiction and horror and look impressive, though there's always a little too much going on on the pages for me to give it top marks. This series is not bad, but it's not great, either.

"The Quest of the Golden Dove"
Inspector Miles Sanford thinks that Dr. Archaeus is alive and unwell and planning to murder the twelve men who sent him to the gallows. One of the jurors, Nayland Nevins, thinks he's safe because he's setting out on "The Quest of the Golden Dove," a treasure trove buried under the sands of Egypt. Nevins travels by ship but Archaeus is also aboard, in disguise as a seaman. On reaching the desert, Archaeus murders both a guide and Nevins's beautiful companion during the first night. The next day, Nevins digs until he finds the Golden Dove, but when he lifts it, it explodes, killing juror number two. Archaeus had found it earlier and exchanged it for a counterfeit bird with a bomb inside! Word of Nevins's death reaches Inspector Sanford, who reveals that Archaeus's grave was dug up and was empty.

I enjoyed this story the most of any of the new ones in this issue of Eerie. Mones isn't as good as Gonzalez or Auraleon, but his art seems just right for this Victorian-era version of And Then There Were None. He also draws some nice cheesecake, as shown in the panel reproduced here. It's not a bad idea to have 12 people to murder--I wonder if the series will last for 12 installments?-Jack


At no point in the script for either installment of Schreck (which, except for a cameo in #130, is officially and thankfully defunto) does Doug Moench think to tone down the hyperbole and ultra-adjectives. They reeked of gamey sweat and the worms backflipped into my nostrils, quickly squirming up to nest in my brain... when all the little worms popped their eggs and began gambolling around in my head, I was being dragged down a corridor whose end promised warped dementia for appetizers. Who reads this crap and thinks it's art? The quote Jack uses from "Worms in the Mind" above is actually about three times longer and goes into all sorts of acid-trippy nonsense. The dialogue is just as bad:

Schreck: Bright Eyes, you know Lee...?!
Bright Eyes: He's my husband, Schreck! Oh my god... he's my husband!

Hell, any writer can do that. Give me five minutes and a Mad Libs book and I'll write a Schreck script. Schreck: The Series feels like something Marvel would have rejected; like a bad Killraven episode, complete with unremarkable penciling. Schreck's final screaming match with the assassin ("Do you hear me, you gook-eyed grinning moron?!" would never pass today's PC test) reminded me a lot of Gene Hackman's monologue with God at the end of The Poseidon Adventure. It's all too hammy and self-important. The art does get better with the second episode, but 25 pages is way too much space to waste on this drivel.

The Abominable Archaeus
As Jack hints to in his comments, "Bucket O' Blood" is great stuff and it's not even top-prime Grade-A Spirit to me. The Spirit is a tough nut to critique; Eisner's scripts are like Marx Brothers slapstick routines as directed by Fritz Lang. How do you effectively describe something like "Bucket O' Blood?" You don't. More than any Warren material we cover, The Spirit has to be experienced firsthand.

I'm really enjoying Hunter, despite the meandering story line and Budd's brief lapses into pretension, and that's 75% due to Paul Neary's eye-catching Jeff Jones-esque artwork. It's so unlike anything else on the Eerie Series carousel. As I recall, the scripts for Hunter get better (and more unpredictable), so I'm looking forward to revisiting. Dr. Archaeus is simply the most fun of all the Eerie series characters right now. Sure, it's 100% derivative but then what of what we're reading right now isn't? Boudreau and Mones concoct the perfect pulp cocktail. Give... me... more

Creepy #61 (April 1974)

"A Stranger in Eternity" ★1/2
Story by T. Casey Brennan
Art by Adolfo Abellan

"Advent of the Scrap-Heap!" ★1/2
Story by Rich Margopoulos
Art by Jose Gual

"The Ghouls!" 
Story by Carl Wessler
Art by Martin Salvador

"Terror Tomb"
Story and Art by Richard Corben

"The Blood-Colored Motorbike" 
Story and Art by Jose Bea

"Twisted Medicine" 
Story by Steve Skeates
Art by Leo Summers

"Encore Ghastly" 
Story and Art by Tom Sutton

"A Stranger in Eternity"
The Stranger who used to be in Hell (see Eerie #38) has now moved on to Eternity and the real estate looks just about the same to this poor guy. The Stranger discusses all kinds of deep T. Casey Brennan-esque existential nonsense with a cute babe who represents Death and, in the end, decides he should just take his fate like a man. I had to go back through my notes to find out whether I liked the prequel to "A Stranger in Eternity" and was surprised to find that, for the most part, I did. Of course, that probably had a lot to do with Esteban Maroto's art. We don't have Esteban but we do have Abellan, who does a decent job with the important bit (the girl) and doesn't screw up the rest. Reading the Brennan script is tantamount to watching a Terrence Malick flick without first taking a film course (or a tab of acid). There's a whole lot of philosophizing going on without anything actually happening. Not my cup o' tea.

"Advent of the Scrap-Heap!"
In an innocent case of mistaken identity, two imbecilic mob henchmen kidnap and murder a Hindu high-priest (thinking him a drug mule) in a scrap-metal yard. With his dying breath, the man curses the goons to eternal damnation. Sure enough, minutes later the scrap-metal is struck by lightning and a stainless steel Frankenstein rises from the spare tires and bumpers to stalk through the city on its way to revenge. When the creature finally catches up to the hit men while they're making their getaway in a helicopter, the monster wins justice for the dead man. "Advent of the Scrap-Heap!" (oh pretension, I feel thy sting!) is as dumb and meandering as the creature birthed by inclement weather. This must have, literally, been one of the quickest scripts Margo ever pumped out, since there's nothing accomplished on the way from the scrap-heap to the heli-pad but endless walking. At least Jose Gual delivers enjoyable graphics.

"The Ghouls!"
Grave-robbers Yanus and Gabi make a decent living off their trade, but Gabi does it for the dessert. He's a ghoul and he digs dead flesh. One night, after Yanus leaves his partner alone in the graveyard, a pack of vampires attack Gabi. When Yanus returns, Gabi leads him right into the clutches of the blood-suckers. "The Ghouls!" is pretty much what you'd expect from Carl Wessler, who never missed out on beating a cliche to death. There's no flow to this nonsense and, worse, I couldn't figure out why Gabi was so afraid of the vampires when, in the climactic panels, he reveals he has a bargain with the creatures: he gets them victims and they let him munch on the leftovers. That final image, of Gabi chewing on Yanus's intestines, is nauseating, but that's about as good as this drek gets. I can never buy into these "ghoul" stories when I consider the kind of diseases these dopes will get from ingesting rotten meat. What's the average lifespan of a ghoul?

"Terror Tomb"

An archaeological expedition, searching for the jewels of Khartuka, manages to stumble onto the mummy's sarcophagus. Meanwhile, the guides for the dig are secretly followers of the great Khartuka and manage to revive the long-dead high priest with tana leaves (or maybe it's leben leaves...). The mummy comes to life only when Sandy, the big-breasted female of the expedition, wanders by. In a series of mishaps, everyone falls down a bottomless pit save Khartuka, who snickers with joy that "all the fools are dead." At that point, Snoofer, the team's basset hound, begins tearing away at Khartuka's bandages. An absolutely hilarious follow-up to Corben's classic "Lycanklutz," "Terror Tomb" is another of those Warrens that had me cracking up at a very young age (even before I knew why Khartuka's eyes were popping out at Sandy's boobs). Rich Corben had a fabulous sense of humor (at least while he was with Warren), a perfect counter-balance to the ponderous and pretentious dramas of the McMoench Bros. Corben will prove that mirth and mummies are a perfect combo yet again in the All-Sports Issue of Creepy coming in a couple years.

"Terror Tomb"

"The Blood-Colored Motorbike"
Cesare Santini and Marco Benutti have made a fine success of their steel factory, but Cesare tires of Marco's penny-pinching ways. When the two quarrel over Cesare's desire to buy a motor-bike for the business, Cesare grabs an axe and liberates Marco's head and hands from the rest of Marco. Once Cesare dumps the body in a vat of acid, he runs out and buys his much-deserved motorbike and takes it for a spin. Unfortunately for Cesare, the bike sprouts the hands and head of Marco and the entire affair takes a header off a high cliff. "The Blood-Colored Motorbike" is entirely too predictable and the sudden transformation from Moped to Marco isn't explained (was it all in Cesare's head? were the parts made at the partners' factory?), but fortunately Bea still has his skills as an artist to fall back on when the writing stuff isn't working well. And that final panel is a doozy!

One-armed hunchback Torgol does whatever the village's evil witch tells him to do, since she's promised to make him whole and straight again some day. But Torgol has reached the end of his rope and it's only a matter of time before he explodes in violence. His plan is waylaid when a stranger comes calling, asking the witch to cast a spell on a woman he desires. The potion requires special ingredients and, before he knows it, Torgol loses his remaining hand. In the final panels, we learn that Torgol is not a hunchback living in medieval times but a paralyzed war vet, confined to a hospital bed and fantasizing about "a way out."

Metallica's version was better
I'm not sure how "Twisted Medicine" got greenlit. Steve Skeates had successfully visited the same formula last issue with "The Hero Within," but that story was well-constructed, drove to a memorable finale, and benefited greatly from a gorgeous Corben gloss. "Twisted" has none of these attributes. The plot is almost as sketchy as Leo Summers's ugly and indecipherable penciling and that final panel, with the bedridden Torgol laughing maniacally, is just vile, obviously done for nothing but shock value. I wasn't the only one turned off by its skewed message. "Twisted" elicited a strong reaction from one reader in particular, Mr. Michael Oliveri of Washington, DC. Printed in the letters page of #64, the letter chastises Warren for degrading material, in particular "Twisted Medicine," which Oliveri claims is tantamount to pornography. Though Oliveri descends to the usual "I dare you guys to print this letter..." bait (and also wonders aloud "What'll be next, Warren? Homosexuality?"), there are some on-the-money points brought up and, to Archie's credit, answered. Was Skeates chumming the water for a Warren Award?

"Encore Ghastly"
After a near-fatal car crash, Dr. Frederick Worthworm, the famous psychiatrist who almost single-handedly brought about the destruction of horror comics in the 1950s, rots away in his mansion. But now, someone is planning the good doctor's death... who could it be? Turns out it's Ghastly, the EZ Comics artist sensation who saw his career go up in flames thanks to Worthworm. Ghastly terrorizes the doctor with many of his horror cliches (spiders, rats, etc.) before luring Worthworm to his studio. There, the artist strings up the shrink and lets his blood flow into Ghastly's quill for inspiration. 

"Encore Ghastly" is a cute idea, with some fabulous Sutton graphics, but there's not much of a plot, is there? Fredric Wertham was certainly instrumental in the downfall of the 1950s' horror comics, but he had a heck of a lot of help from headline-loving senators and lawmen. Wertham spent most of the latter years of his life almost trying to make up for what he'd done by writing in to comic fanzines. Tom Sutton certainly owed a debt of gratitude to Graham Ingels and "Encore Ghastly" reads almost like a love letter to Graham. A warped love letter to be sure.-Peter

Jack-A return to Warren mags of old, this issue of Creepy features seven shorter stories with no series characters. Best in show is "Terror Tomb," with great color, humor, and a standout 2/3 page illo of the ancient tomb. As in the March issue of Vampirella, the color reproduction is not as good as it should be. The rest of the stories are fair at best. "Encore Ghastly" is a great idea but not enough of a story; I love Sutton but this is a rare Warren story that would have benefited from being longer. Abellan's Maroto-like art is the best thing about Brennan's preachy "A Stranger in Eternity," which at least has a positive message.

In a similar vein, "Advent of the Scrap-Heap!" has nice work by Gual but not much else, while "The Ghouls!" meanders along like any other Wessler tale but gets an extra half-point for that disgusting last panel. Equally disgusting are the two hand-chopping-off scenes, one in "The Blood-Colored Motorbike" and another in "Twisted Medicine," though the Skeates tale is a wretched and heavy-handed mix of antiwar sentiment and fantasy. Archie Goodwin may be back but we're not seeing the results yet.

Next Week!
At last!


Quiddity99 said...

The Vampi story this time around is pretty good; some great artwork from Gonzalez and the whole fortune teller scam angle I like too. While he wasn't very popular I think Flaxman Loew's handle on Vampi with some mixture of horror and comedy in relatively short stories is the best way to handle her, rather than treating her like a super hero. I agree with the overall point on Pantha (big picture it is like the Mummy and Werewolf) although have enjoyed this series a bit more, at least now early on in the series. "The Truth" is another high quality Fernandez story... outside of that one page where the wife flies off on a UFO. This is the one flaw with Fernandez' writing; sometimes he clearly doesn't know how to end things and just throws in something from left field which makes no sense whatsoever. This is the first, but not the last time it will happen. Great looking monster in "The Woodlik Inheritance", but the coloring does seem a bit off here and I'd agree that it isn't as good as other Corben stories from this time period. Jose Bea's story is yet another of those totally bonkers type of tales we get when he writes his own script. Not as good as "The Other Side of Heaven" or "The Accursed Flower" but still a good one. "Luana" is a bit of a rarity in that its more of an adventure story then horror, and I agree that it probably only exists to justify the Frazetta cover, but better than usual work for Moench and great Maroto artwork. There actually was a cover done by Enrich Torres for this issue featuring Vampirella in Paris, but it was tossed aside to use the Frazetta cover and never was used in its original form; rather surprising as Warren will later reprint covers like crazy rather than pay to have new ones done for every issue.

"Schreck" wraps up its run with the two stories this issue; a series I'd would consider decent but not great. Lee shooting his wife while a zombie never made that much sense to me as much of the series is the zombies running amok wildly. Don't have much to say about the Hunter story, having read this issue probably at least 3-4 weeks ago I'm having difficulties remembering the details, my one big issue with this series. It gets a lot more memorable in its last couple of stories. The Spirit story was an okay one for me, but I didn't like it as much as the previous issue's one. I enjoyed the segment of Dr. Archeus a lot, so there's at least one strong part of an issue that is overall kind of "eh" for me. We are rather fortunate in that there's no Mummy or Werewolf story this issue.

Quiddity99 said...


This issue of Creepy kicks off with the sequel no one asked for! Abellan turns in some better than usual art for him (particularly like the page with the monsters) but this is just page after page of T. Casey Brennan nonsense. Thankfully there is no part three. Good Gual art, but lackluster story for "Advent of the Scrap Heap". "The Ghouls" comes off very much like an EC story, which makes sense since Wessler wrote it. At this point with Warren really going in some unique directions with its stories, this one just seems like a story that would have fit better during the original Archie Goodwin era (even though he is editor again now). Lots of fun stuff with "Terror Tomb"; I'd agree it is quite the good companion for the humorous werewolf story Lycanklutz. "The Blood Colored Motorbike" if anything seems a bit tame for a Jose Bea written story, but I do find hilarious the sequence where the protagonist gleefully grabs an axe and attacks his business partner. As someone whose read a few issues ahead at this point I'm disappointed to say we've got another Bea drawn story coming up with essentially the same ending. "Twisted Medicine" I'm higher on; I am familiar with the controversy it caused (it is probably one of Warren's most controversial stories ever), but I'd also agree with the points Archie Goodwin makes in its defense in that letter column in issue #64 in that Skeates did do a good job building up to the shock ending. Also I am happy to see the debut of Leo Summers, he only does around a half a dozen stories or so for Warren but I really liked his artwork. I never thought of the connection to Metallica's "One" music video, which to my knowledge was a separate film someone made that they then purchased. I wonder if that film inspired Skeates in writing this. Great Graham Ingels tribute by Tom Sutton in the final story. Yeah, it's not much of a plot, but I don't mind that whatsoever.

andydecker said...

I thought Vampi was screaming "Stellaaa". Great splash page. The clothed Vampirella looks even better than the costumed one. The story was stupid, but that is Vampirella's thing. I have come to the conclusion that this was a better approach to the character than some serious minded pulp tale. Vampirella is a difficult character to write as dozens of later writers proved and failed.

I like the Pantha story more than you guys. It is more serious than the silly Werwolf/Mummy series. Or maybe the art makes it appear more serious. The story would have been better with one murder less, but better conceived or written stories, that ship has sailed at Warren long ago.

"The Truth" is, that the UFO doesn't make any sense. But the story is nice to look at.

Worst Corben art ever. I always wondered if this was a problem of the reproduction. Even in the Vampirella Archives it is nearly unreadable in every regard.

Ah, Luana. At the time they seemed to make every half-baked idea into a movie. I have sadly not seen this, but they seemed to make every effort to market this big. There is even a novelization by Sci-Fi scribe Alan Dean Foster of Star Wars fame. So I guess this wasn't a Warren idea, but another effort of jumping on the marketing train. Which sadly didn't leave the station.

Eerie does again nothing for me. How can a comic with a guy with a hook for his hand in a supposed horror tale be so dull? Schreck is as bad as you say.

As ever Hunter could do with less panels for clearer story-telling. And Dr. Phibes (Archaeus) travels to Egypt to kill another one. (Where have I seen this before?) The art is nice, but I didn't know that they had skinny jeans in Victorian times. Still, artistic freedom is nice :-) An exploding dove is just lame, though. Mones could drew everything, but he couldn't do much with that material. I still don't get why to make a rip-off of a horror movie tamer than the screen version.

Jack Seabrook said...

I love reading the comments on this blog! Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge and opinions. For a new reader of Warren horror comics like me, it's interesting to read different perspectives.

Grant said...

I know what you mean about the final page of "The Blood-Colored Motorbike." Even if the story were AWFUL, that image of Marco's face and hands sprouting from the motorcycle would always stay with me.

And of course I know what you mean about Sandy in "Terror Tomb." Its easy to imagine some live-action version of the story, with her played by maybe Lee Meredith or Joy Harmon.

It took me a few moments to recognize Vampirella's "Lulu" type picture, but it's from one of the subscription ads (though I could swear it came along much earlier than this issue). That "plaintive" look goes very well with a subscription ad.