Monday, August 9, 2021

The Warren Report Issue 65: July-August 1975



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

Creepy #72 (July 1975)

"Vendetta" ★1/2
Story by Rich Margopoulos & Gerry Boudreau
Art by Jose Gual

"Malocchi!" ★1/2
Story by Don McGregor
Art by Jose Gual

"Lick the Sky Red" 
Story by Doug Moench
Art by Jose Gual

"The Terror-Stalked Heiress!" ★1/2
Story by Carl Wessler
Art by Jose Gual

"The Bite" 
Story by Jeff Rovin
Art by Jose Gual

"Labyrinth" ★1/2
Story by Gerry Boudreau
Art by Jose Gual

Heartless Howell Hayes is shutting down his factory and laying off the workers with no fanfare and a simple two-weeks' notice. After decades of service, the workers are understandably miffed. That includes Walter Hargrove (whose wife lies dying in the hospital and whose son awaits sentencing on drug charges) and one-armed 'Nam vet, Frank Troughton. Life is not fair.

But Frank has an idea. With Walter's assistance, Frank's going to use his mechanical skills to create a cyborg body in which he'll put his brain. Then he and Walter will head over to Hayes's mansion and bring up their dismissal with the boss. The operation is a success (who knew that Walter had brain surgeon skills?) and the now-indestructible Frank rises up from his slab and tells Walter: "Let's do it!"

The boys drive over to Howell Hayes's estate and easily fight their way past the guards. But Hayes has an ace up his sleeve: he's also transferred his brain to a metallic vessel and puts the hurt on Frank. Unbeknownst to the boss-man, his workers gave him a farewell gift: the men knowingly produced a bad batch of "charge cartridges" (the little capsules that keep Howell Hayes's shiny new form energetic) and his robotic body shuts down. Walter arrives, figures out what's going on, and destroys Howell's cyborg. He then reenergizes his friend, pops the Hayes mask on Frank, and the duo set out to conquer new worlds.

"Vendetta" is fatally overlong and laughably stupid. So many dopey twists and turns that neither surprise nor delight. How does Hayes hide the obvious bucket-shaped head under that silly mask? How does Walter perform brain surgery with the aid of a few jotted notes? And what a coincidence that the workers decided to deliver their revenge by mucking up the same capsules that Hayes would need to survive! The Gual art is nothing special (it reminds me of a heavily-inked Mort Drucker) and I again wonder what Dube was thinking parceling out an entire issue to one man. It's not like Gual was one of the staples of a Warren diet. In fact, outside of one more appearance in Eerie #73, this issue's contents will be the last we see of Gual in the Warren comics.

Mr. Troy Rutherford visits the Psychic Phenomena Institute to discuss his problem with institute senior partner, Mike Monnigan. Rutherford is convinced that a fortune teller named Madame Swambada has crafted a voodoo doll and, within 24 hours, he'll die a fiery death. Monnigan is skeptical. That night, Rutherford does indeed die in a house fire and Monnigan becomes intrigued. He does a little investigating but the gorgeous Madame Swambada seems to be just a simple fortune-teller.

After some fisticuffs with the woman's bodyguard, Monnigan is knocked unconscious and awakens to hear the voodoo woman explain that she has manufactured a mini-Mike and that he has 24 hours to live. She then releases him and bids him good luck. Mike relates the tale to his partner, Earl, and admits that he's a bit nervous about the next 24 hours. Earl heads over to Swambada's place, where he also tangles with her big bodyguard and manages to get away with the Mike voodoo doll. Meanwhile, Monnigan discovers a pitcher of cyanide in his kitchen and calls police. The cops arrest Swambada and Mike and Earl walk away, discussing the vagaries of psychic phenomena.

It amazes me that two guys who don't believe in psychic phenomena would create an institute devoted to the paranormal. At no point does Mike explain that the purpose of the business is to debunk demons and ghosts. Other than that weird discrepancy, I found "Malocchi!" to be an enjoyable little yarn, devoid of the sort of traps Don McGregor usually set for himself. There are no long, flowery passages and the dialogue is crisp. The climax is refreshing as well; Swambada is hauled off in cuffs rather than sent to her demonic maker. "Malocchi!" reminds me of classic TV-movies like The Norliss Tapes and Ritual of Evil

The fire that pyromaniac Richard Wycliff sets off in the chemical plant permanently scars the face and life of Terry Shaffer. Terry leaves his hospital bed after months in darkness and discovers a world that will not accept him. He loses his job, his friends scorn him, and his landlady evicts him. Homeless and penniless, Terry moves into the shack he played in as a kid. He buys a batch of dynamite and plans to blow up his old workplace out of spite.

One day, Terry looks out his window to see a pretty girl walk straight into the lake that borders the shack. He runs out and rescues her, discovering the girl is blind. They find immediate happiness and Terry decides this is a good time to go back into the world and reclaim his place on Earth, forgetting he was about to willingly place himself on the FBI's Most Wanted list. Meanwhile, firebug Wycliff finds Terry's shack (holy cow, what a coincidence!!!), and stumbles in the darkness. Thinking he's found a handful of candles to light, he puts match to the dynamite sticks. Ka-Boom!

"Lick the Sky Red" (oh man, what a great Doors song that would have made!) is stupid with a capital DUMB. As with most of these funny book stories, the downtrodden always seem to be surrounded by the vilest of human beings. There is not one sympathetic character (outside of the blind miss who makes barely a cameo at story's end) to be found. Wycliff is obviously a psychotic scumbag but landlady, boss, people on the streets--all are exaggerated haters. Even Terry himself caves to the dark side. Alas, there are only a few Moench-isms to take your mind off the lack of a plot (The ghostly shriek of the ambulance echoes in its passengers' ears. Terry Shaffer hears it as a muffled weeping... and struggles to answer it. A struggle that is lost... to haze-rimmed oblivion.), but the Three Stooges-worthy climax will leave you in stitches.

Jill Redey has been willed a fabulous mansion by her dead Uncle Anthony. When danger rears its ugly head, in the form of supernatural beings popping out of one of the huge mirrors in the house, Anthony rises from the grave to save Jill. The creatures safely back in the mirror-land, Anthony heads back to his resting place. But no sooner does he get comfortable than he's back on the road again, this time to avert the evil plan of two real estate agents. The villains intend to kill Jill and then sell her mansion to a developer for a huge profit. The living corpse heads them off at the pass and unleashes the monsters from the mirror. The dastardly duo are dragged off into another dimension and the mirror is smashed. Jill sighs and looks forward to a more peaceful existence. Anthony does as well.

From the pulp-addled brain of Carl Wessler comes what would appear to be the third chapter in the "It!" saga, "The Terror-Stalked Heiress!" All the names are changed, which is odd, but this is clearly a continuance of that storyline. Perhaps the character names were changed when Dube slotted its appearance in Creepy rather than Eerie (the series will see one more installment in that title in a few months). In any case, I found this scattershot thriller to be seriously lacking in clarity. Why, after one attack by other-dimensional creatures, would you leave an evil mirror lying around your house? And, as I queried after the "It!" sequel, who is covering the corpse with dirt every time he rises? I did find some (perhaps unintentional) hilarity in the scene where the real estate guys are trying to lure Jill out of the house by playing a tape recording of an eerie voice beseeching the girl to come out and play. Jill takes one look out the window, sees the two dopes standing right in the middle of the front yard, and tells them to get lost. 

There's a mad murderer loose in New York and the prime suspect is Giants' tackle Carl Keller. He knows he's innocent, but the gossip rags keep harping that he loves blood on and off the field. The only people who believe his plea of innocence are newspaperman Luke, Luke's girlfriend, and the exotic and mysterious restauranteur Anita Perkiel. When a double murder happens just outside of Perkiel's establishment, Luke suggests that Carl go into hiding from the cops and, dumb as a linebacker, Carl agrees.

When they arrive at Anita's place, the charade ends and Anita admits she's the killer. She's a ghoul!!! Luke and his gal have been paid to cover for Anita and the police have been called. When the cops get there, they haul Carl away to the looney bin and Anita admits it's probably time to find another small town to munch on. Hard to believe this clunky mess was written by a professional. None of "The Bite" makes much sense at all. Why would any half-intelligent ghoul think to frame a high-profile celebrity rather than some nobody? I'd think you'd want to avoid exposure rather than seek it out. The reveal, when Anita cackles, "It's simple, really! I'm a ghoul!," is laugh-out-loud stupid. Another thing that makes no sense (and I swear I'll stop after this one) is killing the couple outside the restaurant while Carl is inside the packed establishment. Alibi, anyone? 

Sam, a trucker and part-time country-western singer, stops in at his usual resting place, Marge's, for a little warmth and gossip with the owner. Today, though, Sam is surprised by a newcomer, a bizarre but enchanting woman known as Dierdre. The two strike up a quasi-friendship and Sam invites Dierdre to accompany him in his big rig to Cuernavaca, where he's dropping a big load. Dierdre agrees and talks Sam into visiting a tourist trap known as the Catacombs. A guide takes them what seems to be miles underground on a tour of an underground burial site. During the trip down into the "Labyrinth," Marge admits that she's been lonely and Sam might just be the antidote. Laughing, the trucker tells her that no dame will hold him down; he's strictly a one-night stand. Telling Sam she doesn't want to die lonely, Dierdre kills the tour guide as Sam looks on, astonished.

There are two ways to view the climax of "Labyrinth": it's really dumb or it's really clever. Ok, so three. There's a bit of both. Dierdre's action comes right out of left field, as does her prattling on about life and loneliness. She's the hard, unloving type when Sam meets up with her at Marge's and he's just an old softy. For some odd reason not explained, those personas are reversed when the couple get to the Catacombs.  But, for some reason I can't put my finger on, the script and art both work for me better than any other story this issue (though poor Sam's appearance changes from panel to panel). Perhaps it's that abrupt and violent final scene and Dierdre's insane confession.-Peter

Jack-It's odd that they'd pack an entire issue with stories drawn by Jose Gual, but the art isn't the problem with Creepy #72. The writing, for the most part, is terrible. Margopoulos and Boudreau jump on the cyborg bandwagon, but this bionic man doesn't cost anywhere near six million dollars--more like six bucks.  I liked the timeliness of having the one-armed Vietnam vet want to have his consciousness transferred into a robot body, but the story loses focus partway through and the end is a letdown.

"Malocchi!" reminded me of The Sixth Sense, a series I never liked because I was always disappointed when it appeared masquerading as a Night Gallery rerun. "Lick the Sky Red" was the second of three stories to feature workers treated badly by their employer; I'm glad you explained the ending to me because I did not understand what happened. "The Terror-Stalked Heiress!" is at least a horror story, with its shambling corpse, but Carl Wessler makes a mess of things once again. I thought it was funny that no one blinked twice at the corpse of Uncle Tony rising from the grave; instead, the crooks tried to imitate him!

"The Bite" is easily the issue's low point, with football players and ghouls making little sense. "Labyrinth" started out promisingly but ended up meandering pointlessly to a bizarre finish.

Eerie #67 (August 1975)

"Death's Dark Colors"
Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Jose Ortiz

"Hunter II"★1/2
Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Paul Neary

"The Hacker's Last Stand!"
Story by Steve Skeates
Art by Alex Toth

"The Man Named Gold!"
Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Leopold Sanchez

"The Kingmaker"★1/2
Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Esteban Maroto

Alone in the desert and desperate for food and water, Coffin is unable to attract the attention of a passing caravan that scatters handbills advertising itself as the "Caravan of Death." Traveling by night, Coffin reaches the deserted town of Cemetery Creek and sees evidence that the caravan has passed through. When he discovers all of the town's inhabitants crucified on the outskirts, Coffin goes looking for the caravan in the desert. He finds it and kills its members, freeing a beautiful girl who they were about to kill and ignoring their entreaties that she is the demon responsible for the murders of the townsfolk of Cemetery Creek.  Sure enough, as soon as Coffin rides into the desert, the woman reveals that she is, in fact, a demon, who spares Coffin because he helped her.

"Death's Dark Colors" is an excellent story whose ending is straight out of "The Howling Man" on The Twilight Zone but whose prose and art are darkly captivating. Jose Ortiz's Coffin is a haunting figure, both unmasked and masked, and Lewis does a nice job of summarizing Coffin's back story without wasting much space. The deserted village, its crucified inhabitants, and the final confrontation at the caravan all work well; nothing is too drawn out or confusing. This is the best Warren horror story I've read in a while.

In 2394 A.D., long after the death of Demian Hunter, the Earth has begun to recover, yet mutants still roam, killing humans. An old wizard named Mandragora tells a young man named Karas about his theory that the Earth is like a phoenix; when a man named Browne Loe is found to have been attacked by mutants, Mandragora fears the old cycle of violence is repeating itself. He has a plan to pause the Earth's rotation and thus prevent its destruction, so Karas goes out and brings home a mutant for Mandragora to question. The wizard explains that an evil magician named Yaust wants the Earth to end, so Karas takes on the mantle of the original Hunter and becomes "Hunter II" to try to save the planet.

It's all a bit confusing, but I'm glad to see Paul Neary's art and I always liked the Hunter character (and his cool outfit and helmet), so I'm hopeful that this is the kickoff to a new series that will rival the earlier one. I can do without the wizard spending page upon page explaining the phoenix, so perhaps future installments will focus more on Karas and his mission to kill mutants.

For thirty years, the Hacker has terrorized London, chopping off heads every ten years and always starting with the chief of detectives. Inspector Smythe survives the latest attack and follows clues to Soho's Red Light District, looking for the killer, but the Hacker goes on a rampage, killing people at random and sending their severed heads in boxes to Scotland Yard. Finally, Smythe tracks the Hacker to Fishmonger's Pier, where he learns to his dismay that the only chance to survive in London is to hide from the Hacker!

I'm not sure why they call this "The Hacker's Last Stand," since the end seems to suggest the cleaver-wielding killer will be back, but never mind. Steve Skeates's story is all over the place, but that doesn't stop Alex Toth from delivering one thrilling page after another. Is there another artist working at Warren in this period whose page designs are so creative or who pours so much inventive energy into his work? I can't think of one. Toth's figures may tend toward the cartoony but you can't argue with his creativity and draftsmanship.

By 1910, Crackermeyer is an old man, known to the local kids as Papa Voodoo, who is beloved for his stories of the Old West. He tells the tale of "The Man Named Gold," a black cowboy who worked hard riding fences after the Civil War in order to take care of his wife and babies. When Apaches attack their homestead and carry off his family, Gold goes on a long quest to find his missing loved ones, killing many Apaches and bringing home captives. He finally found his wife, but by then she was married to an Apache. He killed her husband and she killed herself (I think), so Gold took her hone and buried her. He raised the kids and eventually died of a broken heart.

The Spook/Crackermeyer series has been one of my favorites in the Warren mags, and this Western tale is beautifully drawn by Leopold Sanchez, whose pages often are reminiscent of the great John Severin's work. The fact that Gold is a Black man is notable but doesn't change anything about the narrative, which is an old story that's not much different from a certain classic John Ford film.

In Roman-occupied Britain, Merlin and Snivel, his familiar/sidekick/super-hot chick, vow to end the tyranny of the Latin-speaking invaders. Merlin visits a blacksmith, who has forged a sword known as "The Kingmaker," which the wizard plunges into the Learning Stone, certain that the one who pulls it out will rid England of the Roman forces. Merlin is summoned to help King Uther in his battle against the Duke of Cornwall; a bit of magic ensures that the king is able to reunite with his lover. Their son will be known as Arthur, who will pull the sword from the stone.

It's funny how, a few years ago, a Maroto story would have been the highlight in an otherwise-mediocre issue of Eerie. It speaks to the increase in quality by 1975 that the Maroto story is just okay, nothing more. I don't know why Budd Lewis felt the need to retell the story of Merlin, Arthur, etc., but--as usual--Maroto finds ways to get beautiful, scantily-clad women into the story. Not that that's a bad thing, but this is not the best story in a strong issue of Eerie.-Jack

Peter-Solid "Coffin" story this issue. Startling original facial features, but I swear I've seen them somewhere before (below). With its western backdrop, this is obviously Warren's version of Jonah Hex. Alas, this one won't last quite so long (two more chapters, to be precise). Anyway, I like the script; Budd manages to put aside his usual flowery prose and just tell the story. 

Unfortunately, I can't say good things about either Hunter II or the Hacker. Hunter is talk talk talk, as if Budd feels the need to explain everything that happened in the past series and then tell us everything that will happen in the present series. Nothing really happens except sore jaws. Likewise, "The Hacker's Last Stand!" is a dismal finale to an otherwise enjoyable series. The ending is the epitome of abrupt and confusing, as if Skeates had no idea how to finish off this trilogy and said, "Screw it, let's make it the butcher" (which further confuses things since we recently had a character named the Butcher around these parts). Very disappointing.

Papa Voodoo's story of Rufe Gold might have had a little more punch to it had it not already been written down (and filmed) as The Searchers. I continue to question why some of these stories (including this sappy retread) bear placement in a horror/fantasy/science fiction magazine. Hilarious when Budd mentions that Spook and Crackerbarrel had become anachronistic monikers but Papa Voodoo was hunky-dory. Brother Voodoo had already been taken. Overall, I liked "The Kingmaker," though it was (like too many of these series entries) too long. Maroto's art is exquisite but might need a touch more inking, as a lot of it just melts together. Budd goes with an original take on Merlin the magician, eschewing the typical bearded hunchback eccentric and going more for the Conan/Kull physique. Well done.-Peter


Vampirella #44 (August 1975)

"Blood for the Dancing Sorcerer" 
Story by Bill DuBay & Gerry Boudreau
Art by Jose Gonzalez

"Love Strip" 
Story by Gerry Boudreau & Victor Mora
Art by Luis Garcia Mozos

"Troll" ★1/2
Story by Bruce Bezaire
Art by Ramon Torrents

"Changing" ★1/2
Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Rafael Auraleon

Adam Van Helsing hurries his girlfriend, Vampirella, away from her hospital bed to a hiding place near the wharves of New York's Lower West Side. Adam worries that the police might make trouble for Vampi (she's wanted in connection with the slaying of Conrad Van Helsing last issue), but she's worried her friend, Pendragon, has been slain by the same sniper who took a shot at her (also last issue). Safely tucked away, the vampiric vixen drops off to sleep and dreams about a recent adventure she enjoyed with her partner, Pendy.

She and Pendy take a trip to Cuernavaca (evidently the vacation destination for Warren Publishing this month), avoiding the catacombs, but inadvertently stumbling into a killing cult, "The Dancing Sorcerer," whose members believe their god will grant them immortality. To get their wish, they need copious amounts of blood and, during one of their blood bank "withdrawals," the thieves are seen getting away by Vampi and Pendy. Our favorite alcoholic magician is kidnapped by the thugs and Vampi must save him once again. Dream/Memory over, Vampi awakens to Adam telling her everything will be okay. Hidden in his hand is a newspaper that details the murder of Conrad van Helsing.

"Blood for the Dancing Sorcerer" is an oddball Vampirella story. The art, as usual, is good but the script is wonky. It's tantamount to one of those Marvel Deadline Doom stories where Iron Man is fighting with the Unicorn and is trapped under a ton of rubble and remembers the time he fought Sub-Mariner in Baghdad (cue complete reprinting of Iron Man #23). The "inner" story is not a reprinting but it might as well be; it's skimpy as all hell and once this all-important cult is introduced they're pretty much dismissed without anything of consequence taking place. I love how the leader produces glamor shots of Vampi and Pendy when sending his muscle out to kidnap them, despite the fact that the duo were in street clothes when they witnessed the crime. Why belabor the return of Pendy and Conrad? We all know they're not dead. But, on the bright side, we get to see Vampi in a tight pair of Daisy Dukes!

A comic book artist grows despondent over his work, realizing he could give more to the planet than just romance funnies. Intent on delivering his masterpiece, he doesn't realize his girlfriend is bedding his friend, the strip's writer. Depressed over work and life, the artist kills himself. But an epilogue shows the man writing a new biographical comic strip, at last intent with his situation.

"Love Strip" is another of those stories that walks the fine line between pretension and entertainment. A lot of the prose comes off like stream-of-consciousness banged out on a typewriter while the writer is tripping on acid. Not my cup of tea by any stretch. The denouement is not really clear (or I'm a dunce), so I had to take a wild guess in my synopsis. The art is really top-notch, and that's the reason for a two-star rating. Clearly, I felt the script (rewritten by Gerry from its original version in Pilote magazine) was murky and more than a tad showy, but Garcia's visuals carry the day. Eighteen pages are way too many for material such as this.

Dennis has become tired of trying to please everyone else. His father, his teachers, his friends--they all try to push Dennis into doing something he doesn't want to do. So Dennis does what any other man, pushed to the brink, would do: he becomes a troll. He buys a costume and mask and puts his gymnastic moves to good use, hanging and swinging from the Ambassador Bridge. But then things go pear-shaped and Dennis is shot and killed by police. The End.

I assume the point Bruce Bezaire is trying to hammer home in "Troll" is just be yourself. Even if that means swinging hundreds of feet above the water and demanding tolls from the people using the bridge. Yeah, so it's an... eccentric viewpoint on life. What it's decidedly not is a story fit for Vampirella.

When Pantha is raped one night and cannot change into her feline form, she faces the fact that she might be "Changing." Ready to start a new life, Pantha moves out of her awful apartment and moves across town. On a whim, she visits a hiring agency and is sent to an interview with Professor Goldman, an archaeologist working at the Museum of Natural Science. Going under the name of Terry White, Pantha accepts the job and is told to pack for a super-secret temple excavation in Egypt immediately.

Goldman and Pantha land and are greeted by Goldman's colleagues, who tell the old man that they're having problems at the dig, courtesy of the Russians. Sure enough, when the expedition enters the temple they've excavated, they are ambushed by stinkin' commies and most of the party is shot dead. Suddenly, Pantha regains her power of transformation and tears the Russkies limb from limb. Curious as to the nature of the temple, Pantha enters a secret room and discovers an ancient UFO!

I'm not sure what's worse here, the awful prose or the indecipherable plot. There's a lunk-headed rape scene that opens "Changing" with a bang (pun intended), but I'm not sure it's really a rape scene. Pantha lies back and seems to enjoy herself, despite the drivel that comes out of the mouth of her attacker: 

"Yeah... you're black! You may be lily white on the outside... but you don't jive me...! Deep down, way behind them brown eyes, you're black as the shadows of hell. You're black all right! Race don't make no difference! So come 'ere my little black mama... come enjoy your color. When I get done doing this to you... you'll never want to be white again. Ummm... so soft!"

Budd comes back to the race issue several times during the length of the story, so many that I assume he'd just watched an MLK documentary on PBS and itched to tell the world in his own little way. But it's a clunky way of doing it. The Russkie angle goes nowhere, nor does Pantha's sudden ability to control her transformation. Where was the power when she was being molested? The ending is a big cliffhanger, but I won't pretend to be interested. This series is going nowhere. Oh, and I certainly have no problem with Pantha lounging around naked (especially when depicted by an artist like Auraleon, who knows his way around the female figure), but what's with the missing nipples? A perfect conclusion to an utterly dismal issue.-Peter

Jack-Weird, yes, but utterly dismal? I don't think so. First of all, the inside cover drawn by Neal Adams makes me wish he'd do a full-length Vampirella story. Zowie! I thought "Blood for the Dancing Sorcerer" was a very good tale with fabulous art, and the end, with the headline that van Helsing is dead, came as a shock. I think Gonzalez is the perfect artist for this strip, so it's hard for him to go wrong. I didn't care for the murky art on "Love Strip" and I thought the story was way too long. I actually preferred the clean lines of the art in the comic inside the story here, but every few pages I thought the story was over and then turned the page and was disappointed to see more.

I really enjoyed "Troll" and found the art to be excellent, but I agree that this story doesn't belong in Vampirella. Finally, the Pantha entry, "Changing," has lovely work by Auraleon but is one of the most bizarre stories we've seen recently. And what's with another ending involving aliens? At least this time the spaceship is in an Egyptian pyramid, where it belongs!

Next Week!
For the first time in 18 years...
The Batman Annual!


Quiddity99 said...

So oddly enough for me, this all Jose Gual issue made me appreciate him more as an artist the first time I read it and I am generally positive towards him. Granted I will admit there were so many more artists that are better than him that they could have used for a single artist issue (a concept I still fundamentally disagree with). I actually liked "Vendetta" quite a bit and considered it my favorite story of the issue. "Malocchi" is an inventory story that sat around for years, made obvious by the fact that McGregor was long gone from Warren at this point and I think they even featured it on a preview page for an upcoming issue years back. "Labyrinth" was a pretty good story to wrap up the issue. The rest is quite mediocre. Nothing special from "Lick the Sky Red" or "The Bite" and the latest story in the "It" series, surely put in this issue solely because it was drawn by Gual and they needed another story to fill the pages, is just the same old stuff over and over again with the niece being in trouble and the corpse rising up and helping her. And suddenly the Foleys are the Reddys, which messes up the continuity. Blah. I had fonder recollections of this issue, but overall an "eh" for me when I reread it a few weeks back.

Coffin took quite a while to finally appear, then has 5-6 issues off before showing up again, but it is good to see him. I also found this a high quality story and overall this is quite a good series in my eyes. Jose Ortiz continues to provide really high quality artwork along with a strong story. Hunter II I actually prefer to the original Hunter series, so good to see its start here. Overall I find the plot a lot more interesting for this one, as the original series kinda meanders until the last couple of parts. Amazing art job by Toth on the Hacker story; I am a bit confused by the ending (is this supposed to be the Butcher from the other Eerie series?) and it just stops here. I'm assuming due to Steve Skeates departing Warren, although a writer leaving didn't stop them before as they usually just hand it off to another writer. "Papa Voodoo" had been promoted as an upcoming series I think going back 20 issues at this point and I think they just ended up throwing the name on this Spook series spinoff which is just this one story. in any case its another high quality story. A really good issue concludes with Merlin, which I'm just so-so on as a story, feeling it to be rather dragged out (and sword and sorcery was never a genre I loved). Maroto's art as always is quite good though.

Quiddity99 said...


An extreme rarity for this issue of Vampirella in that we don't have Vampi on the cover, or any woman for that matter, something that I'm pretty sure never happens again. I think this cover was originally intended for Famous Monsters of Filmland, but switched here to Vampi. The fact that the next issue of Vampi is just a montage of past covers (despite being an all new issue) makes me think they were low on cover paintings for some reason. Maybe its because I'm a couple of issues ahead (read Vampi #46 last night), but I can't remember anything whatsoever about this unmemorable Vampi lead story. "Love Strip" is another praised Warren story, I believe in the top 10 Warren stories in the Warren Companion, but oddly enough this time reading through it I wasn't the biggest fan. It would have helped being a bit shorter. In any case, the art is totally amazing as usual for Garcia and contains a lot of fun Easter eggs. The lead character is modeled off of fellow comics artist Carlos Giminez, who actually provides art on some of the pages (the comic within the comic is his work). The girlfriend character is modeled off of Carol de Haro, Garcia's then girlfriend, who acted as a model for a lot of the Vampi covers. I believe the friend character was also modeled after a real life figure although can't recall if it was Victor Mora, the writer of the original story or someone else. Also, this story is massively swiped by Paul Neary in the Exterminator story from Eerie #63, with most appearances of the assassin named Slaughter in that story being taken from the lead character here. While its not really a horror story, I liked "Troll" quite a bit and found it the best story of the issue. A very fun story to read. Some great artwork from Auraleon, but Pantha disappoints as usual. I think this is the last Pantha story for around 40 or 50 issues, but she will become a guest star in Vampi's strip. In fact I'm pretty sure this is the last time Auraleon draws her, which is depressing.

andydecker said...

Awful issue of Vampirella. But there were a few truly amusing moments scattered in this issue.

Holy Hack, is the Vampi story an example of bad writing. You set up a cliffhanger in the last story, Vampi wounded and on the run. You pick it up – and tell an absolutly arbitrary story which has nothing to do whatsoever with the original plot and reeks of inventory. And is also truly lame. Epic fail! (And even with the hindsight of how this plot is finally resolved it still doesn't work)

"Love Strip" didn't bother to white out its origin in Spain. Laugh out moment was the dialogue. "It is also pretentious and self-indulgent because it serves to satisfy only my own delusions of creativity". This coming from a bunch of the most pretentious comic writers of the era is funny. I liked the story, but it seemed to have been clumily re-written to include some supernatural nonsense and a suicide which wasn't on the page. This story didn't belong in a Warren magazine, but the art is georgeous and without the Warrenized nonsense it surely read better in the original.

Pantha is a bit rubbish and doesn't work at all. After all the mean streets now we get UFOs and the KGB. Okaay. But Auraleon can draw nice girls.

A Vampirella cover without Vampirella doesn't sit right, but this Sanjulian is a lot of fun. A little love for old horror movies.

Eerie on the other hand ... is not much better. "Coffin" is a solid Weird Western, but the ending feels tacked on or just an afterthought. If the demon has slaughtered all the people of the city, shouldn't Coffin see some corpses or blood?

I was not a fan of Hunter, and Hunter II did nothing for me.

I also doubt if this originally was a Crackermeyer tale. Ignore the one caption and the narrator could a random old man telling a story.