Monday, June 28, 2021

The Warren Report Issue 62: April 1975



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

Vampirella #41

"The Malignant Morticians!" ★★★
Story by Flaxman Loew
Art by Leopold Sanchez

"Rainy Night in Georgia" 
Story by Gerry Boudreau
Art by Esteban Maroto

"The House on the Sea" ★★1/2 
Story by Jim Stenstrum
Art by Rafael Auraleon

"The Wickford Witches" ★1/2
Story by Gerry Boudreau
Art by Jose Ortiz

"Goodbye, My Love, Goodbye" ★★
Story and Art by Fernando Fernandez

Vampirella and Pendragon are staying in the English village known as Sinkville, utilizing the stop for personal purposes. Pendy wants to visit his sickly Uncle Orsic, who's living out his final days at Eventide rest home, and the duo are taking a well-deserved rest. While walking in the town square, Vampi spies a gorgeous little mutt in a pet shop window and talks Pendy into buying the mongrel. 

The next day, our heroine and her fermented companion visit Eventide, where Pendy is given the bad news by the hospice's bosomy young manager, Eudoxia Varzie: Uncle Orsic has shuffled off to a better place, leaving no cash or valuables in his wake. When Pendragon mentions that his uncle had a special signet ring that he'd promised to his nephew, his inquiry is met with a terse "Brass! Worthless!" The ring was buried with Orsic. Heartbroken, Pendy heads home with his sexy vampiress friend to feed their new dog.

After dumping the Yummy-Yum Dog Chow into the bowl, Pendy notices something gleaming at the bottom of the greasy muck and pulls out his uncle's ring (now, that's a hell of a coincidence!). How could that be if the bauble was supposedly six feet under with Uncle Orsic? Only one way to get to the bottom of the mystery (literally) and that's dig up the old duffer. Once the lid is opened and Pendy is staring at two hundred pounds of sand, the duo decide there's something funny going on in Sinkville.

Our favorite alcoholic magician investigates Augustus and Vesparian, the Brothers Crebble, owners of the funeral parlor that Eventide utilizes, and discovers that the proprietors are indeed mashing up the dead folk to fill cans of Yummy-Yum, manufactured by... you guessed it, the Crebble Brothers (says so right on the can!). But Pendy's tipping the bottle too much and stands out like a sore thumb on a corner across from the Crebbles' office; the Bros. send some muscle to abscond the old sod and Vampi fears the worthless vaudevillian might end up as Yummy-Yum for their new pup before too long.

Meanwhile, back at the Crebbles factory, Augustus is showing off the machinery to Eudoxia (whom he intends to propose to soon) when the beauty innocently asks what kind of meat is used in the Yummy-Yum. Augustus is about to explain when his goons show up with Pendragon. Eudoxia recognizes him and tells Augustus that Pendy had a half-nekkid chick with him when he came to visit the old folks' home. Augustus again sends his bodyguards out hunting but, once they find Vampirella, she makes short work of them and then heads to the factory. Just as the Crebbles are about to can dog food with history's highest alcohol content, Vampi swoops in and knocks the Crebbles and Eudoxia into the grinder. Another happy ending!

How could an entire town be so stupid as to not put two and two together and come up with canned corpse? A mortician company that also cans dog food? Wouldn't that be considered a red flag? There are a whole lot of coincidences going on in "The Malignant Morticians!" (Vampi buying a dog makes absolutely no sense considering her lifestyle but if there's no dog, there's no dog food), but I thought it was enjoyable enough to ignore the stupidity and just play along with it. How else can I get through these things? Nice twist that Eudoxia knew nothing about where her dead residents were ending up but obviously couldn't be bothered to care. When Pendy is about to be ground into hamburger, she stands off to the side as an attentive witness. Bet that dog will be gone next issue.

It's a "Rainy Night in Georgia," such a rainy night in Georgia. Annie Lee Baker believes it'sa rainin' all ovah the world. Having watched her African-American lover (and father of her unborn child) hoisted up and hung by her father and the good men of Johnsonville, Annie Lee hops aboard a covered wagon bound for Macon, little knowing she shares that wagon with Dracula and his vampire squeeze, Cassandra. Since Annie is pregnant, Dracula feels it beneath him to feed on her so the young girl becomes a pal to the two vampires. Once they get to Macon and put up the tents, Annie is free to wander the carnival grounds, eventually coming across the wonderful Hawk-Man, Garuda. Though the giant bird wants nothing to do with Annie or the human race, the girl finds him fascinating and tells him so. 

Meanwhile, back in Johnsonville, Annie's father, Arthur, is putting pressure on Sheriff Buford to find his daughter. The sheriff would just as soon "tear that black baby right out of (Annie's) belly," but Arthur is still undecided about the whole affair. He wants his daughter back. The sheriff puts out the word and very soon he hears back about the girl's whereabouts. The men head to Macon, where they have a confrontation with Annie that turns violent. Dracula and Cassandra swoop in and kill the sheriff but Annie begs the two blood-suckers to spare her father. With a brand new day of enlightenment just over the hill ahead, Annie and her pop head home.

Having successfully raided all the glam and metal albums for cool titles, Gerry Boudreau turns to the soul section in Tower Records for inspiration. I love the image of Cassandra, in her coffin, busily jotting down the day's events in her diary (So, we heard screams and me and Dracula bounded out of the wagon and ripped the bad guys to bits. One of the carnival guys winked at me yesterday!), but the concept of this thing being made up of excerpts from diaries, newspaper clippings, and police reports comes off as scattershot. I'm not sure what Annie's supposed to mean when she tells the Bird-Man, "If I judged by what I saw and not what I felt, I would not be carrying a black man's child," but it comes off as a lunk-headed line from Gerry Boudreau, no matter what he meant. Bar none, the worst Maroto art I've ever seen. Not sure if it's the reproduction or that Esteban was in a hurry, or what, but this is the pits. Sheriff Buford and Annie Lee's pop, in particular, almost look as though someone from the Warren office broke into Maroto's studio and stole the art before it was done. The final sentiment, that Annie Lee's dad sees the error of his ways and, ostensibly, will welcome his black grandson with open arms is a touching one if you brush aside the fact that he just hanged the child's father. What a load of crap this series was. Thank god it's over.

A sea captain and three of his mates are about to be the victims of a mutiny when suddenly they discover they're about to sail into "The House on the Sea." The ship wrecks against the brick building and the surviving quartet enter the huge mansion, where they discover some oddball occupants. As expected, we discover the four men have been killed in the mutiny and are now comfortably residing in purgatory.

I do like that "The House on the Sea" is an eccentric change of pace but it could have been shaved in half and been quite a bit more effective. I'm assuming the final panel that Jack can't figure out has to do with the fact that the same purgatory comes to everyone, regardless of whether they be on sea or in the Wild West. But that's just my psychology major showing off. Great moody art from Auraleon.

Witchcraft has consumed the 18th-century village of Wickford. Well, at least Minister Adam Nilsson believes this is true and the man has begun a binge and purge method of cleansing the town of its evil. If that means every woman of Wickford should die, then so be it. When Elizabeth's father dies suddenly in the town square while a public hanging unfolds, Nilsson takes advantage of the event to remind Elizabeth that her father had betrothed her to him. The young girl refuses (she's in love with another guy) and Nilsson declares her a witch. Wishing aloud that her father was still here, Elizabeth watches in awe as pop rises from the grave and strangles Nilsson, effectively ending the witch hunt. 

"The Wickford Witches" is the kind of clumsy pulp wiring we usually would get from Carl Wessler or Gardner Fox. Boudreau isn't high on my list of top notch Warren writers but he usually stumbles over his pretension rather than moldy cliches. The scene where dead pop explains what's going on and how we got there is expository gold. The finale is a bit abrupt though; we don't get to see Liz and her beau walking off into the sunset.

In 1980, man can have any woman he wants... in android form. After trying several different females, Nicholas finds himself obsessed with his new model, Sonya, but after some time finds faults even he cannot live with. After he "terminates" Sonya, he discovers a diary the girl was keeping that reveals she was a new type of android that contained a human soul. Nicholas sighs and wonders if he'll ever be able to find true happiness.

I'm torn on "Goodbye, My Love, Goodbye," which is much too long at twelve pages. The story is involving and I appreciated that it didn't resort to the usual Warren SF tropes like calling an android a "Flippin-rod" or some silly acronym, but in the end it doesn't tell me anything I didn't already know. Men are never satisfied. Men just can't live with women. Men... Fernandez's art is really nice despite the fact that it's made up of just about nothing but head shots (looks like a couple of Rock Hudson and Clint Eastwood in there). I'll give this a thumb sidewise but it probably could have used a good editing.-Peter

Jack-An enjoyable, if not sensational, issue. I enjoyed "The Malignant Morticians!" more than many recent Vampirella entries, mainly because of the humor. I laughed out loud when I realized that corpses were being used to make dog food, which makes sense from a recycling standpoint. I was slightly concerned that the villains were clothed when they fell into the grinder, but I guess I can suspend disbelief. Sanchez's art is very nice.

Also very nice is Fernandez's work on "Goodbye, My Love, Goodbye," which I wasn't thrilled with at first because of his habit of drawing posed figures and putting everything in captions with minimal dialogue. But the story, which has echoes of "Marionettes, Inc.," won me over by the end, which was not a big surprise. I thought I'd like the Auraleon story ("The House on the Sea") more than I did; at twenty pages, it's just too long and the many dialogue- and caption-free panels give the storytelling an elliptical feel. I have no idea what the last panel means.

"Rainy Night in Georgia" isn't as bad as prior entries in the Dracula series, but that's not saying much; Maroto still seems the wrong choice for this. Finally, "The Wickford Witches" features some decent work by Ortiz and has a bit of a Jack Davis vibe to it, but the end is abrupt. I would've liked this longer and "House" shorter.

The Spirit #7

"The Big Sneeze Caper" (2/6/49)
Story by Will Eisner & Jules Feiffer
Art by Will Eisner

"Hoagy the Yogi" (3/16 & 3/23/47)
Story by Will Eisner
Art by Will Eisner & Jerry Grandenetti

"Cheap is Cheap" (6/13/48)
Story by Will Eisner
Art by Will Eisner & Andre LeBlanc

"Young Dr. Ebony" (5/29/49)
Story and Art by Will Eisner

"A Moment of Destiny" (12/29/46)
Story by Will Eisner
Art by Jack Spranger & Will Eisner

"The Explorer" (1/16/49)
Story and Art by Will Eisner

"A Prisoner of Love" (1/9/49)
Story and Art by Will Eisner

"Cheap is Cheap"
Jack-I was not looking forward to revisiting the "Special All Ebony Issue" in 2021 and, unfortunately, it was worse than anticipated. First of all, why did Warren reprint the stories in random order? In "Hoagy the Yogi," Ebony is upset about the Spirit's "marriage" to Silken Floss, which readers may have forgotten about by now. This two-parter features not just Ebony, but also Hoagy and Lt. Gray, a light-skinned black policeman. As if the Black stereotypes aren't bad enough, part two goes after Indians, Chinese, and Arabs before taking a welcome break for some nice, dialogue- and caption-free storytelling involving the Spirit.

"A Prisoner of Love"

I always liked "Cheap is Cheap," with its demonic character on early TV egging people on to commit crimes; the art, by Eisner and LeBlanc, is particularly sharp and the minimal role played by Ebony is welcome. The other decent story, also not focused on Ebony, is "A Prisoner of Love," which features some Spirit action and a great closeup of Ellen.

Not as successful is the Chandler satire, "The Big Sneeze Caper," which tries too hard to be funny and ends up overburdened by excessive dialogue. "Young Dr. Ebony" is a dull attempt at satire that makes me wonder how in the world they chose which stories to color. "The Explorer" adds a caricature of an Eskimo girl to the panoply of offensive stereotypes in this issue. Perhaps worst of all is "A Moment of Destiny," which goes after Italians in between way too many panels with Ebony and Pierpont. It's issues like The Spirit 7 that make me reconsider my lifelong belief that this was one of the best comic series of all time.

Peter- I found this issue to be a real chore to wade through. It's not just the obviously non-PC stuff but, sans the Spirit as lead, this strip really isn't my cup of tea. I appreciated the hardboiled dick satire of "The Big Sneeze Caper," but not having to read what seemed to be an entire novel in the word balloons. Loved the "Glossary of Detective Terms" and the bad guy with a baby bottle. The best time I had reading a story this issue was the second part of the "Hoagy the Yogi" saga. That's probably because, jettisoning the dialogue and captions, Eisner does what Eisner does best: tell the story in pictures. There were other bits here and there that I enjoyed throughout the issue but I also do have to admit to myself that The Spirit strip (even with the big guy) is beginning to be a bit samey (I can see the Eisner fans, led by Jack Seabrook, loading up on their fruit and vegetables to pelt me with).

Creepy #70

"The Murders in the Rue Morgue" ★★★
Story by Edgar Allan Poe
Adapted by Rich Margopoulos
Art by Jose Ortiz

"Man of the Crowd" ★1/2
Story by Edgar Allan Poe
Adapted by Rich Margopoulos
Art by Luis Bermejo

"The Cask of Amontillado!" ★★
Story by Edgar Allan Poe
Adapted by Rich Margopoulos
Art by Martin Salvador

"Shadow" ★★1/2
Story by Edgar Allan Poe
Adapted by Rich Margopoulos
Art by Rich Corben

"A Descent Into the Maelstrom!" 
Story by Edgar Allan Poe
Adapted by Rich Margopoulos
Art by Adolfo Abellan

"Berenice" ★★★
Story by Edgar Allan Poe
Adapted by Rich Margopoulos
Art by Isidro Mones

A second issue of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations might be a case of going back to the well six times too often. Imagine a second volume of Milli Vanilli's Greatest Hits and you see the problem. But if Dube and Jim W. decided it was a great idea to use as a foundation six stories written over one hundred years before and, perhaps, avoid paying a real writer to come up with something original, at least they started the issue off on a high note.

Master sleuth Auguste Dupin investigates the grisly murder of a woman and her daughter in a Paris flat. Mother had been nearly decapitated and daughter strangled and shoved up a chimney. The murderer would have to be very strong and hairy (a clump of animal hair is found in the clenched fist of one of the women) and, since the apartment door was locked, very agile. "Aha!," exclaims Dupin, "The fiend is a minkey!" Genius! Dupin deduces that the ape is the pet of a local seaman. With the help of the Paris gendarmes, Dupin tracks and kills the gorilla before it can murder again.

The reason to read this, besides Ortiz's wonderful art, is the enthralling build-up. For the first time while reading these Poe stories, I'm thinking this is some great story. Not clunky. No flowery prose. Just a good solid mystery. But the wrap-up is way too rushed and abrupt. I think this is one of the times that Hollywood got it right, changing just about everything Poe had written other than the setting and the simian "murder weapon." For the record, my favorite film adaptation would have to be the 1954 version, Phantom of the Rue Morgue, with Karl Malden as the ape's master.

Smells Like Tom Sutton
I'm not familiar with the original version of "Man of the Crowd," but the version that RichMargo puts forth seems more like a vignette. Our narrator finds himself obsessed with stalking a creepy old man walking with a cane and seemingly absorbing his energy from the crowd around him. "Psychic vampire" thinks our narrator. Good enough. What this story needed was some energy of its own. It's perhaps not fair of me to continually bring up the snail's pace of Poe's prose and the familiarity of his themes (especially, I'm quick to admit, since the man created a lot of those tropes) but I can only react to what is put in front of me. I can't pretend I'm a reader of Burton's Gentleman's Magazine in December 1840. Bermejo does an adequate job illustrating "Man of the Crowd," but this screams Tom Sutton to me.

Montresor has weathered "a thousand insults" from his friend, Fortunato, and plans to murder the little oaf. He lures the clown (dressed in jester's uniform for a carnival) into his basement with the promise of a new case of Amontillado. Being that this is Fortunato's favorite wine, Montresor is assured that his buddy will follow him to the ends of the Earth. Once Montresor gets Fortunato into the basement, he fills him with wine and shackles him to a wall. Then he bricks in Amontillado and settles back, a job well done.

Again, I've not read the original prose version of "The Cask of Amontillado,” but this version does not work as it doesn't build up a very good defense for Montresor's actions. What could this guy have done to deserve this fate? Insults? And what's with the pile of human bones already in the basement? No explanation for that either. I actually laughed out loud when Montresor comments that the old pile of bones will ensure that "no one could tell that Fortunato was imprisoned behind the new wall..." Um, isn't that actually a red flag when you have a skeleton in your cellar? Salvador's art is neither good nor bad, it's just there.

In ancient Greece, seven soldiers gather before the corpse of one of their comrades, felled by a deadly plague. A "Shadow" enters the room and declares that none of the men can escape him. All seven then die of the plague. Whereas I've called out several of these Poe adaptations as nothing more than vignettes, "Shadow" is based on a very short parable written by Poe in 1850. The Corben art is striking (especially the contemporary-movie-poster-esque full-pager reprinted here) but the "story" comes off as very reminiscent of "The Masque of the Red Death" to me. 

There's an exciting story buried in the overlong "A Descent Into Maelstrom," a rare adventure tale by Poe, but I couldn't care less by the climax. I was bored to tears by the story of a man who's lost two brothers to a gigantic whirlpool while out fishing and we just had a giant whirlpool story by Poe last issue. Someone goofed on the splash and forgot to pop in a headshot of Uncle Creepy; as it is, it looks like the Maelstrom itself is introducing the story!

Our narrator relates the story of how he fell in love with his cousin, the beautiful "Berenice," only to lose her to epilepsy. After the woman's death, the man descends into madness and digs up Berenice's grave, ripping out her teeth as a souvenir. Poe's best works, obviously, have to do with madness and "Berenice" is suitably creepy. Poe has buried so many of his characters alive that I assumed our guy would find her inside the coffin, fingernails broken and mouth agape, but not this time. The final panel is a stunner and so is Mones's art (the montage on page 60, utilizing the skull from the Tales From the Crypt poster, is a humdinger as well). A couple of decent reads this issue but I'll be glad to get back to "original material" next issue (he said, with hope).-Peter

"A Descent Into Slumber"

I think I've about hit my limit for Warren doing Poe. The main adjective I'd use to describe this issue is boring. Oddly enough, no glaring spelling errors jumped out at me. Perhaps having the same person write all of the stories helped. In any case, my favorite was "Berenice," which ends with pages where Mones focuses in on the woman's various features before delivering a knockout when her teeth are disinterred. Next best was "The Cask of Amontillado"; even though Salvador is not among the best Warren artists, the story lends itself to a visual presentation, with the jester costume and the process of walling a man up alive.

Ortiz's art is the highlight of "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," where the writer takes a fairly interesting short story and drains all the entertainment out of it by trying to focus on the more ghoulish aspects. "Man of the Crowd" and "Shadow" are just plain dull, though Corben turns in a nice page midway through "Shadow," a story that shows us that Poe went back to certain themes more than once. "A Descent into the Maelstrom!" is a long descent for sure, but there's some excitement toward the end, despite mediocre art.

Next Week...
At last, the truth behind
Robin's frosty new girlfriend!


Quiddity99 said...

Another great cover for this issue of Vampirella. A rather predictable and cliche storyline this issue for Vampi, but I again enjoy the Leopold Sanchez art and the rather humorous feel. This is a kind of story I can't really imagine Jose Gonzalez drawing. This is it for Sanchez's time drawing Vampi, with Gonzalez returning next issue. And yeah, I doubt we see that dog again. The new Dracula series ends with a better story than the first two, but still overall rather weak. Glad that this series is coming to an end with Pantha coming back next issue to take up the backup series slot. I've got to assume this story was originally intended to be in color as the first two were, and usually Maroto's art for his color stories are weaker than his black and white ones which may explain why this isn't as good as usual for him. "House on the Sea" is a fairly strong story, my favorite of the issue, even if I agree that it was a bit too long. Although 20 pages of Auraleon art is never a bad thing. It comes off very much like a Twilight Zone episode. Not much to say on "The Wickford Witches" which I'd agree, comes off a bit like an old EC Carl Wessler story. Like his earlier "Stairway to Heaven", Fernandez' "Goodbye My Love Goodbye" doesn't have much of a plot to it but does overall set an interesting mood and contains his usual quality artwork.

I think the second (and thankfully last) all Edgar Allen Poe issue would have worked a lot better had Warren spread it apart by a year or so like they do with the Christmas themed issues. There is a bit too much of a level of sameness to me with these stories, in part because of very similar themes (A Descent into the Maelstrom, Shadow and Berenice all share themes with other Poe stories, and Warren had already adapted both the Cask of Amontillado and Berenice in the Archie Goodwin era). Berenice is far and away the best here for me, primarily due to Mones' art, but a pretty good story too. "Murders in the Rue Morgue" had a rather unofficial sequel short story penned by Clive Barker, which I prefer to this original, but its still overall pretty good. Luis Bermejo puts out another strong art job and will be handed the entire issue next time as Warren continues to stay away from much variety with Creepy.

andydecker said...

Vampirella ever gets more farcial. It seems that Butterworth himself can't take it seriously any longer. Is this supposed to be funny? Or is the tone just condescending? And as much as I like Sanchez' art, he seriously blew the ending here. This could have been much better told.

The rest is a mixed bag. I just browsed "Dracula", the art it not Maroto's best, and the story is terrible.

I like "The House on the Sea", even if the story has aged badly. The ending is not terribly surprising, but the realisation is nice. Maybe it is a bit too long.

"The Wickford Witches" is just boring, and "Goodbye" is again a weak story. I don't get Warren's desire to illustrate this talking heads story with no exciting visuals whatsoever. And apart from Vampirella's costume there is nothing here which couldn't have been published in a Dell horror comic in terms of content. When did the magazine became so tame?

Too much (boring) Poe. I actually like the Corben story. I think it much superior to his new 2014 version of it for Dark Horse. The rest of Creepy is meh.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don’t really know what they were thinking, having two ‘All Poe’ issues back to back. Not only that, but none of these have anywhere near the impact of their previous adaptations : ‘Cask of Amontillado’ and ‘Tell-Tale Heart’ by Goodwin and Crandall, and (especially!) Wrightson’s brilliant ‘The Black Cat’. And next up, an ‘All Bermejo’ issue? Gosh, how exciting. I tend to think of Dubay’s tenure as Editor in Chief as ‘My Warren Golden Age’ but decisions like these make me wonder.

Did Jerry Grandenetti ever draw a Poe adaptation? If not, he sure as f*** SHOULD have….

I dug out my copy of THE SPIRIT #7 and just kinda flipped through it. Well. I think the Private Eye parody is actually pretty funny. And I have fond memories of the two Hoagy The Yogi stories. And though I usually land on the ‘We shouldn’t edit, revise or otherwise censor problematic entertainment from less-enlightened times’ side of the argument, it’s hard not to wince at Ebony when viewed thru a 21st Century lens. Robert E. Howard, too, at times. And Mickey Spillane. And James Bond. Etc.


Peter Enfantino said...


You are so on the money with these Dube issues. Why do I remember loving these as a kid? There's just so much pretentious crap you can swallow without letting it permeate your critical pores. I'm hoping my brain is just playing games with me and it's the 1976-77 years I really loved. Who in the world cried out for an All-Bermejo Special?

Quiddity99 said...

b.t. - Grandenetti did do a Poe adaption; Warren's first go at "Berenice" back in Eerie #11.

Having already read it, I can say the all Luis Bermejo issue is really good, I enjoyed all five stories quite a bit. I just question the idea of handing an entire issue to a single artist. An even dumber idea when they give Jose Gual an entire issue too as while I happen to like him a lot, he probably wouldn't even rate on anyone's top 20 list for best artists of this era. For whatever reason Dubay got obsessed with doing themed issues for this year and that simply doesn't work that well for Creepy; its at its best as a pure anthology with a mixture of different types of stories.

The rather dreary lack of variety in Creepy aside, I'm fairly happy with this era for Warren; yes there is pretentiousness but I haven't minded it that much, at least when its someone like Budd Lewis or Gerry Boudreau penning the story rather than Don McGregor or T. Casey Brennan. I think the Dubay era is most fondly remembered for the artwork; you've got Berni Wrightson, a bunch of Richard Corben color stories and the Spanish artists at their peak; no era of Warren (or any other horror comic in my opinion) reaches the heights Warren does on that front. From a writing standpoint the Louise Jones era probably edges it out, at least in Creepy and Vampirella (for me Eerie's at its peak now). Although what is probably Warren's most acclaimed story is not that far off, as well as another that I'd consider just as good.

Anonymous said...

Quiddity :
Yes! I thought Grandenetti might have done ‘Berenice’ (or ‘Ligiea’) but was just too lazy to check. So, thanks for that. Pity some bright editor didn’t think to have him do ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’….

I mostly agree with your assessment of Dubay’s overall effect on the Warren books. At the very least, all three titles looked considerably better during Dubay’s run than they had in the previous few years, both inside and out. He also brought a more sophisticated approach to their trade dress and graphic design. If we rank just the covers of all the b/w horror mag publishers of the period, we’ve got Myron Fass’ Eerie Pubs on the bottom with their super-gory Graveyard Slaughterhouse covers, then Skywald with their Exploitation Movie Poster style covers, Marvel with their more action-oriented Pulp / Men’s Adventure style covers, and then a big leap to the Warrens with their dark, upscale, European Gothic style at the very top.

Also, yes, Louise Jones’ term as editor (from late ‘75 to around mid-‘77 ) may in fact be the most consistently excellent run of the Warren books (there is some overlap with Dubay’s tenure, at both ends), with terrific art from both the Spanish guys and the Yanks (Corben, Severin and Toth) and strong stories from Bruce Jones and Jim Stenstrum.

I’d forgotten all about the All Jose Gual Special. Wow.


Quiddity99 said...

Skywald did an adaption of the Fall of the House of Usher drawn by a guy named Maro Nava who always came off as a low grade Jerry Grandenetti to me, in Scream #3. Alas, the art is rather lousy.

Even with its flaws, Dubay's run as editor is quite better than the revolving door of editors that came before him and Warren has a consistent, sophisticated look throughout his run. There are many well written stories during his time as editor in my eyes, although I think the writing for Warren really takes off when Louise Jones is in charge and gives Bruce Jones (no relation) a lot of work. For some insane reason Dubay only accepted a single story from him ("Jenifer" which is a top 5 story for his entire time as editor).

Peter Enfantino said...


A "low-grade Grandenetti?" The mind boggles!

As I recall, there are some insanely good moments coming soon... but then my memory is crap when it comes to Warren. I remember really great moments during this era as well and, for the most part, they're not materializing.

Anonymous said...

Peter, i don’t want to raise your hopes up too high, but I re-read various issues from Louise Jones’ run occasionally and find they mostly hold up, in both story and art. There is some junk among the gold, of course (even Bruce Jones strikes out once or twice) but art-wise especially, there is a whole lot of good stuff coming soon.