Monday, February 22, 2021

The Warren Report Issue 53: June 1974


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

The Spirit #2

"Heel Scalloppini"
Story by Will Eisner
Art by Will Eisner & Jerry Grandenetti
(Originally Appeared 2/23/47)

"Powder Pouf"
Story by Will Eisner
Art by Will Eisner & Jerry Grandenetti
(Originally Appeared 1/4/48)

"The Fallen Sparrow"
Story by Will Eisner
Art by Will Eisner & Jerry Grandenetti
(Originally Appeared 1/11/48)

"The Tragedy of Merry Andrew"
Story by Will Eisner
Art by Will Eisner & Jerry Grandenetti
(Originally Appeared 2/15/48)

"Wanted: Mortimer J. Titmouse"
Story by Will Eisner
Art by Will Eisner & Jerry Grandenetti
(Originally Appeared 7/6/47)

"The O'Dolan"
Story by Will Eisner
Art by Will Eisner & Jerry Grandenetti
(Originally Appeared 4/18/48)

Story by Will Eisner
Art by Will Eisner & Jerry Grandenetti
(Originally Appeared 9/28/47)

"Silken Floss, MD"
Story by Will Eisner
Art by Will Eisner & Jerry Grandenetti
(Originally Appeared 3/9/47)

Jack-Issue number two of The Spirit is even better than issue number one! It features a beautiful, new cover by Eisner that illustrates themes from the story "Powder Pouf" without actually illustrating a particular scene. The letters page includes praise from Alex Toth, Wally Wood, Neal Adams, and Robert Bloch! Quite a lineup. There is a one-page interview with Eisner in which he reveals that he passed on the original "Superman" when it was submitted to his shop.

The first three stories are superb. "Heel Scalloppini" is a timely political story of an elected official who won't crack down on the violent people who got him elected until the Spirit helps him have an epiphany and re-discover his conscience. "Powder Pouf" (a title not actually displayed on the stunning splash page) features a gorgeous woman who is vicious and violent; a mild mannered ex-con named Bleak seems aimless at first but ends up helping the Spirit capture Powder. "The Fallen Sparrow," originally published the week after "Powder Pouf," continues the story and follows heroic Bleak and his girl Sparrow, who was jailed for a crime she didn't commit and who had the unfortunate luck to end up sharing a cell with Powder Pouf. These three stories can stand with the best of any comic stories I've ever read and demonstrate why The Spirit section was a comic aimed at the adults reading Sunday papers.

Comics for adults. ("The Fallen Sparrow")

One other story in this issue hits the heights: "The O'Dolan," which features plenty of the always-welcome Ellen Dolan, the Commissioner's beautiful daughter who is hopelessly in love with the Spirit. This tale includes Irish humor and another ghost (like last issue) who really is a ghost and not a trick. In a number of the stories in this issue, Eisner (and Grandenetti, whom the GCD credits as co-artist on every story and who probably did backgrounds and/or inks) makes great use of a technique where he draws a character looking straight at the reader, a look of surprise or shock on his or her face, which is lit in high contrast.

"The O'Dolan"

"Silken Floss, M.D."

Less successful (but still great) is "Silken Floss," with the beautiful doctor of the title; the closest things to clunkers this time out are "The Tragedy of Merry Andrew," told in verse like "Casey at the Bat" with images that contradict the high-minded captions, and "UFO," a weak satire of Orson Welles with a real man from Mars. "Wanted: Mortimer J. Titmouse" is this issue's color section and it features a quick appearance by the Octopus's purple gloves, grasping at the formula for the atom bomb. Even the lesser Eisner Spirit stories are worth reading!

Peter-I may come off as a dolt admitting this (though I've never been shy of my doltery in the past), but my favorite Spirit stories are those without complex plots and lots of annoying words. Eisner was a great storyteller, yes, but I think his greatest achievement was being a storyteller who didn't lean on the word as much as the visuals. "Heel Scalloppini" is way too wordy for my Spirit palette and it's hard to follow as well. Not so the pair of "Powder Pouf" tales, which are a lot of fun and display a good sampling of the subtle Eisner humor. The rest of the contents are equally enjoyable (man, "The O'Dolan" has a killer splash), but if I had to pick one from the batch it would be "Wanted: Mortimer J. Titmouse," and not just because it's the color section this time out. I love the cameo of the Octopus (okay, so it's just his hands) and the open-ended climax. There's no silly wrap-up, just a big question mark. Interestingly enough, the face of the Octopus was never shown during Eisner's newspaper run of the strip, and it would not be until 1966 (and the second issue of Harvey's short-lived The Spirit comic book) that we'd get an origin tale. 

Vampirella #34

"The Carnival of Death!" ★1/2
Story by Mike Butterworth (as Flaxman Loew)
Art by Jose Gonzalez

"Miranda" ★1/2
Story by Fred Ott
Art by Felix Mas

"Fleur: From the Spain of Legend!" 
Story by John Jacobson
Art by Ramon Torrents

"Black and White Vacuum to Blues" 
Story by Doug Moench
Art by Esteban Maroto

Story by Steve Skeates
Art by Jose Bea

"Cold Cuts" ★1/2
Story by Bernie Wrightson
Art by Jeff Jones

Vampirella and Pendragon are in Venice, performing at a party on the yacht of Hollywood mogul Zymer Z. Sull, a man of particularly vile taste and rude habits. Meanwhile, Count Umberto and his daughter are pining for the days when they threw huge galas. They invite several of their old friends to their castle for a party but, alas, all their friends are long since dead. What to do? The Count decides to invite Sull and his hangers-on, since the yacht is parked not far from the castle. Vampi and Pen tag along with the arrogant Sull, since Pen insists they're being paid for the privilege.

Once they all get there, Sull's friend, singer Sammy Bleecher, takes over by talking the Count's daughter into doing a striptease atop the piano. When the Count objects, Bleecher decks him. Suddenly, the butler enters and announces the arrival of the "old friends" Umberto had invited. Bleecher hits on the masked Principessa Di Pozzi, asking for a dance, but insists on unveiling her beauty. To his surprise, beneath the mask is a skull. The shock drives Bleecher mad, but Sull pulls a pistol and threatens the Count unless he 'fesses up that the whole thing is a charade. Vampi, having seen quite enough from the bloated Sull, sinks her teeth into the man's neck and sucks him dry. The party continues on, with the Count trotting out the rotten corpse of his own dead wife. Vampi and Pen throw up their hands and sigh, "When in Venice..."

"Carnival of Death" is one really dumb, meandering mess. We've seen the Sull and Bleecher type-characters one too many times in this series and there's no real explanation for the revival of the corpses. Is the Count some kind of miracle worker? A landline to the other side? Vampi is resigned to stand in the background, uttering awful dialogue like "I'm going to stop the degradation of that poor, stupid woman!" and biding her time until the obligatory "When Vampi gets frazzled, she gets thirsty!" Who the heck would hire a third-rate Vaudeville act for a floating orgy and how much is Sull paying? Vampirella has certainly been a good series to check your brain at the door, but "Carnival of Death" is the one where you should halt before you enter and turn around.

Eccentric billionaire Howard Albert Black has come a long way to see Mrs. Jenkins's niece, "Miranda." You see, Black has a thing for marrying "special" women, like those with only one arm or one leg or no temper. Miranda is very special indeed; she's half praying mantis! Though Black offers Mrs. Jenkins one million dollars for the honor of her niece's hand in marriage, the old woman scoffs and tells him he knows not of what he wishes but she'll let him have an audience with Miranda if he'll leave immediately thereafter. 

Black meets the gorgeous girl, gets an eyeful of her raptorial legs, and talks Miranda into leaving with him. When Mrs. Jenkins discovers her niece has fled the nest, she scurries to Black's house, only to discover Miranda having her new husband for dinner. Well, thank you, Captain Obvious. How can a climax such as this be a surprise if you shout the clues all through the running time? I'll dispense with my usual "misogynistic comic book writers of the mid-1970s" lecture, as this tripe really isn't so much "regrettable" as just plain stupid.

Fleur the witch teams up with Richard, Earl of Parlan, when both are arrested and condemned as witches by Chelidonius, the Witchfinder General. Through witchery and skill with a dagger, the pair escape, but Richard has a surprise for Fleur as they flee the dungeon. There's nothing original going on in "Fleur: From the Spain of Legend," but it sure looks good. In the same way fifty unrelated paintings in a gallery look good. Ramon Torrents can dole out the posed nekkid chicks all right, but there's not a lot of cohesion from panel to panel. It all just melts together into a near-incomprehensible goop. But a pretty goop. "Fleur" will return a few more times over the next half-decade.

Say what?
"Black and White Vacuum to Blues" continues the disturbing trend of Warren editors giving the nod to pretentious pap filled with silly-ass one-liners (Helter-skelter, hectic legs joggle-bog the clownie down the stone stairwell! Drac-flak hard to hack?) and random incidents. Sometime in the near future, TV shows featuring violence and comedy are acted out on our television sets for the entertainment of the stupid masses. We've gotten that message before, Doug. I know, I know, even after your last diatribe, Adam-12 and The Waltons retained their massive audiences. Got some news for you, buddy: John Q. is gonna watch what they like no matter what you or Harlan have to say, so can you whip us up a story about a vampire whose neighbor is a werewolf? Incidentally, I would never have guessed the art was by Maroto; only goes to show that Esteban is Muy Especial in black-and-white.

Fed up with her nowhere marriage, a woman throws her lazy husband down an open elevator shaft but is then cursed with dreams of a murderous hunchback and a fall from a high cliff. After cashing the life insurance check, the woman heads out for a drive in her sports car but meets with disaster on a cliff road after seeing the hunchback of her dreams and taking the high dive to the rocks below. I must be completely dense, because I can see no point to the plot of "Recurrence!" other than that murder is a bad thing. Steve can't even seem to tie the loose ends up; who is this hunchback? Is he the dead man's State Farm policy writer? A road worker who wandered away from his job site to grab a quick jog? Skeates ends his bewildering tale with the equally bewildering message: "Life is a series of connected and similar events... a cycle... a wildly spinning cycle!" Where's the proof?  Deja Vu All Over Again Department: Jose Bea reboots his classic final panel of "The Blood-Colored Motorbike" (Creepy #61) for the climactic car crash of "Recurrence!"

Gunned down by his best friend during a blizzard, a (dead?) man carries an elk back to his wife, starving in their cabin. In the meantime, his best friend heads back to the cabin and, upon arrival, decides the woman looks good enough to eat. My synopsis might be sketchy but so is this script. If you had said to me Wrightson/Jeff Jones, I'd have said "Sold, no matter the quality!" hence my fairly-high rating despite not knowing what the hell is going on in "Cold Cuts." Pretty much the description for most of the stories this issue.-Peter

Jack-There's not a single story in this dreadful issue that I can recommend. "The Carnival of Death!" is decent but Vampi and Pendy are essentially playing the roles of Statler and Waldorf as they stand in the wings, watching and commenting on events. Vampirella eventually puts the bite on a bad guy, but there's no conflict or danger and it's over in two panels. "Cold Cuts" is written by Wrightson and illustrated by Jones, so it has star names, but it's a confusing six pages that are beautifully rendered.

"Miranda" starts out looking like another story that continues the unfortunate Warren fascination with amputees but goes nowhere surprising, though the final panel is gruesomely effective. The other three stories are truly from hunger. "From the Spain of Legend!" reads as if Jacobson was handed ten pages and told to make up words to go along with the pictures, "Recurrence!" has Bea's always-spooky art and not much else, and "Black and White..." is a complete disaster, entirely due to Moench's utterly horrible script. Maroto's art is great but the words are a mess. DuBay's color is vivid but can't rival Corben's and looks like standard comic book coloring on good quality paper. This is an issue to forget!

Eerie #57

"Stridespider Sponge-Rot"★1/2
Story by Doug Moench
Art by Esteban Maroto

Story by Bill DuBay
Art by Paul Neary

"Hide from the Hacker!"★1/2
Story by Steve Skeates
Art by Tom Sutton

Story by Greg Potter
Art by Richard Corben

"The Terror of Foley Mansion!"★1/2
Story by Carl Wessler
Art by Jose Gual

"A Switch in Time..."★1/2
Story by Gerry Boudreau
Art by Isidro Mones

A dead African-American man known only as the Spook is told that a Creole woman is using voodoo to raise an army of ex-slave zombies to kill white slavers. The Spook finds the woman, busy with her naked ritual dance with a big serpent, and wipes out numerous zombies before ending the whole thing by knocking the naked woman into a fire.

Terribly over-written as only Doug Moench can, the oddly-titled "Stridespider Sponge-Rot" is as rotten as its moniker. The endless captions are filled with prose such as: "Expectancy hovers in the air like a darkling cloud gathering the fury of storm. The Creole woman makes a slight, impatient gesture... and the drums intensify in response!" Maroto's art is sketchy and his inability to tell a coherent story is amplified by Moench's nonsensical words. I'm sorry to say this is just the first entry in a new series!

Hunter sets the nuclear missile to go off in an hour and blow up his part of the world. The Blood Princess leads him to Ofphal's chamber in the castle, and Hunter confronts his father. The Blood Princess shows Schreck where his weapons are kept and Schreck dons Hunter's outfit to go demon hunting. As the hour counts down, Hunter tells his father that they all are about to die, but the missile fizzles. Ofphal kills Hunter and Schreck kills Ofphal. The series ends with Schreck and the Blood Princess walking out into a newly demon-free world.

The final, untitled installment of the Hunter series may be its best yet, though it's only tangentially a horror story. Neary's art seems more in line with hero comics and the narrative followed predictable but entertaining comic book tropes. Still, the eight-page package is enjoyable and the end is satisfying; I'm impressed that DuBay chose to kill off his hero and let the minor characters survive.

Just another great Sutton character!
A duo of Scotland Yard detectives investigate the case of a fellow policeman whose head is lopped off and delivered to his wife in a box. It reminds them of a similar case years ago, when a madman cut off pieces of his victims' bodies and delivered them in nice packages. They caught that killer and hanged him, so is this a copycat? The detectives locate the son of the man who was hanged and arrest him, but they have to let him go when another beheading occurs while the suspect is in custody.

"Hide from the Hacker!" is as good as it is due to the talents of Tom Sutton, an artist we really need to see more of in these mid-'70s Warren mags. He knows how to tell a story in an entertaining way through pictures, and his gruesome panels don't shy away from violence but don't glorify it either. He just seems to know how to present horror without making it offensive.

When Dr. Barton Clervel's wife dies and he is left alone and without a "Child," he decides to make one out of spare parts. He stitches together a boy and brings it to life and, after some initial revulsion, becomes a loving father and raises the boy. The child shows his strength and propensity to violence when two crooks try to rob his father; this ability resurfaces when his father's landlord kills him to get the house, which sits over an oil deposit. The child kills the landlord, hangs his body from the swing set in the yard, and sets out to see more of the world.

Greg Potter writes a moving story that avoids needless sensation, and Corben does a great job bringing it to life in pictures. Contrast his color scheme with that used by DuBay in this month's Vampirella and see why Corben was considered such a master.

A crook known as Graak and some friends break into the old Foley place looking for treasure and have to reckon with "The Terror of Foley Mansion!" Yes, "It" is back again, sensing something is wrong at the homestead and digging its way out of its grave to shamble over to go on a killing spree. It kills one after another until they're all dead, then shambles back to the warm grave. When the rightful owners arrive at the house, there is quite a mess to clean up.

Another It story by Carl Wessler follows the pattern of those before it: little explanation or motivation, lots of purple prose and people getting killed. I have to compliment Jose Gual, though--his art is terrific. He really knows how to draw a shambling, bony corpse. I thought it was a little much when It plucked out the eyes of one of the crooks, but I guess you have to take the gross with the disgusting when reading horror comics.

Dr. Archaeus murders Sir Robert Cawling-Byrd IV in the street and Detective Miles Sanford thinks he's worked out a pattern to the murders: they follow the song about the twelve days of Christmas! He resigns after his boss scoffs. Archaeus makes a mask of Sir Robert's facial features, then kidnaps Morgan Grenville (another juror) and murders his lady friend at the opera. Archaeus puts the Sir Robert mask on Grenville's body and makes "A Switch in Time...," substituting it for Sir Robert's at the funeral, after setting off the bomb as a distraction. No one, including Sanford, realizes that Grenville was buried alive.

The Dr. Archaeus series continues to be fun, though this entry is a bit convoluted. I had to read it twice before I understood what happened. The ending is subtle, which is not a word I often use to describe Warren horror comics, and the art by Mones fits the narrative--it's nothing special, but it's good enough. This issue of Eerie is much better than this month's issue of Vampirella.-Jack

Peter-Never one to shy away from pretension, Doug Moench clobbers us over the head with a lame title (but so evocative of those world-saving "authors" of mid-'70s' superhero comics) and more Moenchian bon-bons (Somewhere nearby, a toad grates the silence with its obscene mating call...), but neglects to give us even the bare skeleton of a story. I won't cast aspersions on Moench's later assertions that he had no idea "spook" was a derogatory term when he jumped headfirst into a series about an African-American voodoo man. Well, I might be just a little suspicious. Anyway, Maroto's art is way too sharp for this mediocre script; it's like having Alan Parsons produce The Carpenters. The title could have simply been shortened to "Rot" and that would be perfect.

I liked this issue's "Hunter," despite the confusing finale (due, I think, to Neary's very-small, action-packed panels) and the silly countdown in each caption; that timing doesn't really make sense if you pay attention to it. Neary's art is fabulous and DuBay manages to weave his way through each potentially pretentious hallway (imagine if this series were written by Moench or McGregor), giving us the closest Warren will get to cloning the Marvel sci-fi series. As most of you know, this is not the last we'll see of Hunter. "Hide from the Hacker" is easily this issue's apex, thanks mostly (as Jack stated) to the incredible talent of Tom Sutton, but let's give credit to Steve Skeates as well. Skeates manages to drum up that ol' 1880s London vibe to perfection and leaves us wanting more. We'll get more soon but, alas, minus Tom Sutton.

"Child" is a rare misfire for Corben, but that's due to Greg Potter's script, a patchwork of every Frankenstein film ever made. Why doesn't the scientist ever think to name the child? And the visual of the big little galoot actually made me laugh rather than gasp. "The Terror of Foley Mansion" is a poor follow-up to "It!" (from Creepy #53), but it makes no sense to make what is clearly a one-off into a series. Jose Gual is a competent penciler but he ain't no Sutton, and neither is Wessler. I really wanted a few more panels showing us how this rotting skeleton digs his way back into his grave. Did he leave the lid open? The fourth Dr. Archaeus installment shows that the good doctor still has a little steam in his stride. I have to say I didn't think Boudreau could keep my interest in a series that might have grown samey in the hands of a lesser writer, but Gerry manages to find ways to inject lots of humor into a grim subject.-Peter

Next Week...
Nuff Said


Quiddity99 said...

Unique Vampi cover this time in that it is two separate Enrich paintings; for some reason (I'm presuming because it only shows her face) one of the paintings is used as an insert. I suppose "Carnival of Death" shows as well as any other Vampi story from this era that you just can't take things seriously. Trying to apply logic to Butterworth's writing is a lost cause. This issue is an end of an era of sorts in that Jose Gonzalez's long run at handling Vampi (23 straight issues) comes to a close and we'll have some new artists getting a shot for at least a few stories apiece. Gonzalez will be back, we just will see him more sporadically going forward. "Miranda" doesn't work that well if simply because it is the most predictable ending imaginable. They should have done something to hide the fact that she was part praying mantis until the end. Glad to see Felix Mas back though! With Pantha having been wrapped up, Fleur is another attempt to give Vampi a fellow recurring heroine to the magazine although she won't last even as long as Pantha did. A so-so story this time, I recall liking the next one better. Great art by Torrents though. "Black and White Vacuum to Blues" has always been a nonsensical disaster to me. You get 8 pages of Esteban Maroto in color and you waste it on this? This is up there among the worst stories Doug Moench would ever write for Warren. I think the thing with the hunchback in "Recurrence" is that he doesn't have any nefarious intentions, he just happens to be around there and our protagonist seeing him was dreamed of because her death would come at that moment. "Cold Cuts" is a very highly regarded story, it was in the top 25 Warren stories of all time in the Warren companion and I know Richard Arndt's book on horror magazines praised it a lot too. Basically what is going on is that the protagonist is thinking about how he must provide for his wife by slicing up and preparing the dead elk, but his thoughts are causing his friend to be carved up instead as she's snowbound and he'll never be able to make it to her. Not the easiest story to comprehend, and maybe a tad overrated, but a fairly enjoyable one for me with some great Jones art. Odd to see Wrightson writing a story for someone else (the only time this happens) and perhaps he originally intended to draw it but passed it along to Jones instead. The whole snowbound theme will be revisited with another story next issue from a different team. Overall a weaker Vampi issue this time although very much looking forward to the next one which has one of my top 5 favorite Warren stories and arguably my favorite cover.

Quiddity99 said...


"The Spook" may not have the best first story, but my recollection was that it was an above average series. Those crazy story titles will continue though, at least until Moench departs as writer. My recollection is that Moench blames the racist title on Bill Dubay, and didn't originally come up with the character name (remembering that like with Coffin, who has still yet to appear, the Spook had been previewed on the back covers going back to quite a long time ago). I'd tend to believe him given some very distasteful stuff we'll later get from Dubay. Maroto unfortunately only draws the first story, but his replacement, Leopold Sanchez, making his Warren debut with the next issue was a strong replacement. "Hunter" concludes with what was probably its best entry for me. The big lesson is that Warren's "heroes", at least in Eerie, are never safe. Overall as a series Hunter was pretty decent although a tad overrated. The art is always great but around half the stories were pretty forgettable. Hunter II will be better. "The Hacker" is a fairly strong story, with some great Tom Sutton art as well. Unfortunately this series will go on pause for a bit, I presume due to Tom Sutton departing Warren. He's got one more story coming up soon in Creepy then that's it for him. On the bright side, Alex Toth is the replacement artist for the series, so can't say we're getting a big downgrade in the art. "Child" is another good new series, a fun take on Frankenstein and some usual quality Corben art. Although the frequent references to Child being made out of dead animals makes absolutely no sense. "It' on the other hand is just repetitive and not as good as the previous issue's story although I agree with you about the strong art from Jose Gual. Another good quality Dr. Archeus story to wrap things up. Eerie's quality around this period is really on an upswing, and we'll continue to see some great new series premiering over the next few issues.

andydecker said...

A decent editorial would have deleted half of Moench's text, but I liked the the first Spook. A guy smashing a couple of zombies with a chain and killing the hot witch with the strategically placed pasties which change from panel to panel is exactly the kind of horror story which you didn't get to see in the cinema of the time but always wanted. Maroto's art is at least comprehensible this time and he draws a nice swamp.

The rest of Eerie is a mixed bag. To combine Hunter and Shreck still doesn't work for me at all and I thought the script as heavy-handed as the earlier ones. Dubay's purple prose is as bad as Moench's. 'Child' is just a tiresome collection of Frankenstein tropes and Corben is wasted here.

While I basically share your opinion of Vampirella, I liked the concept of the ball of the dead. Yes, our heroes had nothing to do, and the party crowd was tiresome, but the finale with the walking dead and dear old corpse mummy had a creepy atmosphere. It is a nice Venice horror tale.

'Cold Cuts' was nice to look at, but none of the tales written by Wrightson are memorable. At least they are not as over-written as the rest of Warren, which is a relief. 'Fleur' is incomprehensible nonsense, and Torrents channeling Maroto is also not the best idea. What is the point? The groaner ending of 'Miranda' kills what begins as a decent horror story not that far removed from later erotic horror anthologys like the 'Hot Blood' series. For 1974 it was pretty daring.

On the whole I had the impression that Warren reaised the violence level on the page a bit. Which in a code-free magazine is not a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

‘Silken Floss, M.D.’ gets my vote for Best Story out of this week’s batch, and the brainy beauty herself is in my Top 3 All-Time Favorite Spirit Ladies. Sand Saref and Ellen Dolan are the other two — P’Gell is a distant #4. I freakin’ LOVE this story.

I don’t get Fleur. At all. I’m not even crazy about Torrents’ art on this series. Shrug!

I like the Child series a lot ( though it’s probably just as well it didn’t overstay its welcome). And Dr. Archaeus is still dark, nasty fun. And the Hunter finale is terrific. And The Hacker strip is off to a good start ( sure gonna miss Tom Sutton, tho). Overall, pretty damn good issue of EERIE.

And then there’s the premiere Spook story. Well!

It seems barely credible that the author didn’t realize how offensive the word ‘Spook’ would be in this context. Casual racism (and sexism, and misogyny and homophobia, etc etc) was pretty commonplace across the entire spectrum of mass media back then, so Moench and Dubay probably just thought they were being ‘edgy’. As for the actual story, I’ve tried to read this thing half a dozen times over the years and can never get more than a page or two into it before I start ignoring the captions and just enjoy the visuals. I think it took writing six or seven series per month at Marvel for Moench to realize he could make more money by filling the pages with WAY fewer words. I do kinda like that Nonsensical Non-Sequitur Title. Looking forward to the sequels, ‘Slugspigot Skunkwipe’, Needleknob Nosenugget’ and ‘Turdtwister Gougegut’.

I like to check out the old letters pages, you never know who will show up. This week I spotted Western author James Reasoner (twice!), SF / Horror Specialty Publisher Mark Zeising and Animation Director Kevin Altieri.


Peter Enfantino said...

Thanks for mentioning Reasoner and Zeising. The former is a fabulous western/crime writer and the latter is one of our first reliable supporter/promoters, having sold The Scream Factory and Deadline Press books in his PAPER (!) catalogues way back in the 80s/90s. Good to see Mark's still at it on eBay.

Jack Seabrook said...

b.t., your Moenchian titles are classic!

Anonymous said...

I just read a Career-Overview Interview of Doug Moench in Roy Thomas’ ALTER EGO — his protestations of innocence over the whole ‘Spook’ thing actually ring pretty true. So — withdrawn, Yer Honor.

The Interviewer then brings up a later Bill Dubay story from 1984 called ‘Spearchucker Spade’. And of course there were those god-awful ldi Amin stories he wrote, and I’m sure other ‘shocking and hilarious’ doozies that I’ve forgotten. So I’ll take Moench’s word for it that Dubay was the Naughty Little Boy behind the ‘Spook’ situation.


Quiddity99 said...

Seems like he couldn't stop upping himself, as Spearchucker Spade contains two racial slurs in his name. Sans the name I don't recall that character's stories being that offensive, but Dubay would write several over the top racist stories in 1984/1994, chief among them "The Harvest" which is the most horrifying and disgusting story Warren ever published. Much of that publication seems like he was purposely trying to be as offensive as possible, thinking that's what would sell.

The Idi Amin stories will always be among my biggest disappointments as the art is so ridiculously gorgeous, among the most beautiful Esteban Maroto artwork Warren would ever publish, but Dubay threw out whatever the original story was to make it all about Idi Amin. Probably no better example of the numerous 1984/1994 stories Dubay put out there where the artwork and the story don't match each other at all.

Jim Stenstrum said...

This is Rumor Control. Here are the facts:
In 1974 I took Bill DuBay to see a documentary called GENERAL IDI AMIN DADA: A SELF-PORTRAIT, who was a brand new nutsy dictator on the scene. DuBay was fascinated with the man and for reasons I'll never understand he decided to incorporate Idi Amin into these beautiful Maroto pages we were getting from Spain. The result was - as with most 1984/94 stories - a gorgeously illustrated series with shitty, incomprehensible scripts.
As for Spearchucker Spade, DuBay stole that name from the Fred Williamson character in the movie version of MASH (Spearchucker Jones). I believe DuBay was entirely responsible for THE SPOOK title as well. DuBay wasn't being intentionally racist - he just thought he was being "edgy."

Peter Enfantino said...

There's only one place to come for the real info!