Monday, October 18, 2021

The Warren Report Issue 70: January 1976




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

Creepy #76

"Goodbye, Mr. Lincoln" 
Story by Bill DuBay
Art by Jose Ortiz

Story by Rich Margopoulos
Art by Alex Toth

"A Flash of Lightning" ★1/2
Story by Gerry Boudreau
Art by John Severin

"My Monster... My Dad" 
Story by Jan Strnad
Art by Martin Salvador

"In Darkness It Shall End!" ★1/2
Story by Doug Moench
Art by Vicente Alcazar

"The Imp of the Perverse!" 
Story by Edgar Allan Poe
Adapted by Rich Margopoulos
Art by Luis Bermejo

A distraught woman arrives at a police precinct to tell her story. Her son was the latest in a line of reincarnations that included Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, but he was tossed out of a tall building by Satan to keep the kid from growing up to be a savior. At first unbelieving, the detective she speaks to (the same detective assigned to the dead boy's case) comes around and promises the woman he'll get to the bottom of it. He leaves the room and his partner transforms into Satan, killing her.

The plot sounds ridiculous (and believe me, it is) but it's also uber-clever and engaging. That cleverness devolves into cliche with the "holy cow, what a shock" twist ending but there's enough good here to keep the pages turning. Further adding to his cleverness quotient, Dube continues the "Satan works in a high-rise" storyline in this month's Vampirella (see below).

Arnold Waldon awakens to find himself "Ensnared" in a small cubicle with no windows or visible exit. As he begins to panic, his mind goes over all the various scenarios: rehab clinic, Masters and Johnson research, etc. In the end, he's not far from wrong; Arnold has been abducted by aliens who are running tests on humans to determine their "curiosity levels." That's about it. I think my synopsis might actually be wordier than Rich Margopoulos's script. That's a good thing, since it's fairly predictable where this thing is going. At least we get some more Toth visuals.

A vampire rides through the Nevada desert in the 1890s, looking for a place to lay his head and seek shelter from the rain. He comes across the ranch of Jeb Keller and his family, who oblige the stranger with a place to sleep for a few days. At night, the vampire feeds on "sodbusters" and then returns to the cabin he's been loaned. When he dines on one of Keller's hands, the ranch owner asks the stranger if he'd like to fill the position and stay on a permanent basis. The visitor agrees but only if he can work evenings and sleep during the day. 

Night after night, the bloody murders continue and, after a few weeks, it occurs to the rancher that the killings began with the coming of his new employee. He rides out to discuss this with the man, only to find him in the arms of Keller's teenage daughter, Jaime. Keller goes nuts and wallops the stranger, who falls back into a sharpened fence post and is impaled. The grieving Jaime can only go back to the ranch house and await the birth of her vampire baby.

I'll not get into the mechanics of why a vampire really shouldn't be able to father a child; suffice it to say, it's a slippery slope. But as I've no doubt mentioned a time or two, I'm a sucker for a horror western and "A Flash of Lightning" is blessed with visuals from the only artist (aside from Kubert and Heath, maybe) who should be tackling the genre. Love the accurate Mexican accents delivered by Boudreau's immigrant ranch workers: "Eet's Pancho! We better tell Meester Keller!"

Young Robert hates his new step-dad, William, and considers him to be a monster because of the color of his skin. This, naturally, leads to complications in the life of Robert's mom and her new mate. Robert finds that, as he begins to dream of African savages torturing him, his fear and hatred of William begins to engulf him. He finds peace only when he sneaks into his stepfather's room and buries a knife in the man as he sleeps.

I can see what writer Jan Strnad was aiming for in "My Monster... My Dad," but I'm not sure he reaches that goal. Racism is evil, those of us who know better already know, and the new generations should be saved from the stupidity and indifference of the older generations (Robert's grandmother considers her daughter's new marriage an abomination). At least I think that's what he's going for. But is it purely Robert's grandma who is responsible for the boy's intolerance? That part of the kid's psyche isn't really fleshed out that well. Martin Salvador is easily Warren's weakest link by this point and I've no doubt the editor knew this, since Salvador's appearances have dried up of late.

Beautiful Rowena was loved by both Peter and Ruger but, alas, they both couldn't have her and Rowena has said "yes" to Peter. So Ruger, who happens to be a vampire, puts the bite on the pretty lass and negates the girl's choice. Peter suspects that his Rowena was murdered by a vampire and he's pretty sure he knows who the culprit is, so he visits Ruger, armed with stake and crucifix. When Peter makes his intentions known, Ruger drops the facade and escapes into the night. 

But Peter is a heartbroken man, so nothing will keep him from killing the monster. He catches up to Ruger just as the vampire is trapped in the shadow of a church's cross. While Ruger is helpless, Peter drives a wooden cross into the vampire's heart. In 1975, the police arrest a man for nearly tearing the throat out of a church worker and are baffled that the man's fingerprints match those of Ruger von Daemon, dead for nearly a century. Too late, they head for the man's cell to interrogate him and discover the guard murdered, his throat torn out. Ruger von Daemon has returned!

"The Perverted Imp"
Lord knows I've had my problems with Doug Moench in the past, but "In Darkness It Shall End!" is a fabulous thrill-ride which recalls one of the 1960s Lee-Cushing Hammer films (and I assume that was Doug's intention). There's not much of a plot but Doug does a swell job of keeping our minds off that fact. It's a propulsive, exciting horror story with some great graphics by Alcazar. The only nit I'd pick would be Ruger's killing of Rowena, which seems to be a false step. The vampire loved her and wanted her to choose him over Peter. The right kind of bite ensures she's his bride forever, right? Maybe Ruger had monogamy issues. Great downer of a climax as well.

In the latest Poe adaptation, "The Imp of the Perverse," a man poisons his uncle in order to gain a vast estate but then guilt causes his downfall. A lot of these lesser Poe stories just blend together and seem to take bits from the best of his work and integrate them with disparate characters and settings, but they all seem the same to me. We've got at least one more adaptation coming down the pike. Not a fan.-Peter

Jack-The story I enjoyed most in this issue was "A Flash of Lightning," with its vampire in the Old West setting. Severin is the perfect choice for artist and Boudreau's storytelling is satisfying. "Goodbye, Mr. Lincoln" features the old Lincoln/Kennedy silliness mixed with some Warren black magic and fine art by Ortiz. I liked the rare cameo by Satan and thought the demon on the last page was very well rendered. "Ensnared!" frustrated me because Toth's page layouts are so inventive but they're at the service of an extremely poor story with cringeworthy mid '70s dialogue.

The letterer misspells Poe's middle name on page one of "The Imp of the Perverse!" (I know because I did it once and got called out for it). Bermejo's art fits the story, which stars another of Poe's tortured souls. I had the opposite reaction to Peter in regard to "In Darkness it Shall End," which has to be a file story left over from the bad old Moench days. I didn't think the story was any better than the art. Worst of all was "My Monster... My Dad," which wants to be progressive but falls flat and ends up being borderline offensive with disappointing visuals.

Eerie #71

Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Jose Ortiz

"Time in Expansion"
Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Paul Neary

"Irving and the Devilpie"★1/2
Story by Bill DuBay
Art by Leopold Sanchez

"Pooter and the Magic Man"★1/2
Story by Bill DuBay
Art by Luis Bermejo

"The Demon's Treasure"★1/2
Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Gonzalo Mayo

"Mordecai Moondog"
Story by Bill DuBay
Art by Esteban Maroto

A pretty woman is fixing her hair in the mirror when she notices that her grandfather clock has stopped ticking. She investigates, and out of the clock's face pops a "Goblin," who asks her to stop screaming and then wipes away her mouth to quiet her. Her husband rushes in, justifiably upset, and shoots the Goblin, who tumbles out a window. The Goblin is rescued by another pretty young woman who takes him to her home to tend to his wound. He explains that his name is Salem and that he is lost. He also heals his own wound.

The young woman takes Salem to see a priest, but the priest mistakes him for a demon and ends up with his own cross stuck in his chest. Police intervene and shoot the young woman in the face, disfiguring her; Salem commands them to shoot each other and they do. The young woman asks Salem to take her to a house on a hill, where a kind man helps the young woman and shows Goblin a doorway to his magic world. Goblin disappears through the door and screams are heard from the other side; the young woman's face is healed and she lives a long and happy life.

For a story in which several people are disfigured or killed, "Goblin" is unusually charming, mainly because Salem is such an engaging character. The art by Ortiz is very nice, as usual. I wasn't clear on what happened in Salem's world at the end but it didn't bother me.

Hunter, Exterminator, and Hunter's new gal pal find a fortress where dead humans are scattered outside. They break in and find people who are lost without their king, who has recently abandoned them. Goblins attack and the trio fight them off until the king suddenly returns and leads a massacre of the Goblins. The fortress again secure, Hunter and his friends resume their journey.

"Time in Expansion" seems to be yet another chapter where Hunter finds some people, fights goblins for awhile, and moves on. Neary is clever with his art, since it seems he knew his own weaknesses (human faces) and avoided drawing them as much as possible. The goblins in this story are much nastier than the one in the story that precedes it!

Invincible Irving McCoy is a legend in the Old West whose exploits are featured in pulp magazines. When he is shot and killed, Irving finds himself in an afterworld where he meets Devilpie, a demon who grants Irving's wish to return to Earth and live a life of leisure. Irving finds himself in the town of Horseglue and pursues Peaches LePrude, who turns out to be far less attractive than her depiction in Irving's magazine adventures. He marries her but tires of her and considers murder; Devilpie appears and Irving makes a run for it, living the rest of his life in obscurity.

The art by Sanchez is excellent but has to fight for space with the overwhelming number of captions and word balloons that DuBay uses to tell his tale. "Irving and the Devilpie" seems like an illustrated short story due to its verbosity, but Sanchez does his best and makes it better than it should be. The narrative ends suddenly and the conclusion (as is often the case here at Warren) doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Warren's writers often are better at setup than payoff.

Bertrand Smithpooter is an alcoholic failure, a magician relegated to playing the most down and out music halls in London in 1878. One night, he sits drunkenly in a graveyard, feeling sorry for himself, when the spirit of the late illusionist Sigmund Pavolv-Freud appears and grants Smithpooter the gift of becoming the greatest magician of all time. Smithpooter's fortunes immediately improve: he is irresistible to women, he inherits a fortune, and his magic act is a smashing success. The magician forgets the catch in Pavlov-Freud's gift, though, and fails to be kind to the less fortunate, so his powers are suddenly stripped away from him in the middle of a performance and, when he saws one lovely assistant in half and impales the other with sword thrusts, the results are a bloody mess.

In spite of being another example of torturing the poor letterer with innumerable captions and word balloons, "Pooter and the Magic Man" is enjoyable, mainly due to the stellar artwork by Bermejo. DuBay doesn't miss an opportunity to use corny names in his story--Smithpooter's assistants are the Tighthigh sisters, he performs at a sleazy music call called the Red Cock Grill--but the overall story is fun.

A thief named Aledo seeks "The Demon's Treasure," but in the treasure chest he finds not riches but a murderous demon. Aledo's day job was as a valuable spy for King Alphonso, so El Cid sets out to find and bring him back. On his way, the Cid slays monsters, chats with a wizard disguised as a beggar, and beds a bikini-clad beauty. El Cid reaches the castle of the wizard who owns the treasure and learns of Aledo's death, but the wizard's attempt to poison El Cid backfires when the hero switches goblets with the man.

As in prior stories featuring El Cid, Gonzalo Mayo's art would be gorgeous if only we could make it out more clearly. I don't know what technique the artist used, or if he worked in pencil and didn't like clear, solid inks, but (as Peter has pointed out) it always seems a little bit oozy and murky. He sure can draw a beautiful babe, though I wonder if she was swiped from some other story (possibly by Maroto?). This is the third story in this issue to include mention of goblins and at least the second to use some form of "vomit sucking thief." Budd Lewis had a thing about vomit, apparently.

The ever-popular pendelum.

An exorcist named "Mordecai Moondog" reports to a house that is said to be haunted by seven demonic spirits. Von Daemon, the haunted homeowner, marches Mordecai around the house while telling him the sordid tale of his ancestors and their dastardly deeds. Demonstrating his professionalism by not falling asleep during von Daemon's endless blathering, Mordecai eventually reveals that von Daemon is an evil spirit and Moondog is actually the immortal bishop who slew him long ago.

That's a short summary of the seemingly endless nine pages of DuBay cramming as many words as possible into one word balloon after another. The story goes nowhere and Maroto is wasted as an artist, since every panel is so chock full of words that the pictures have little room to shine. I don't know why DuBay felt the need to overwrite his stories in this issue, but they sure make for tedious reading.-Jack

Peter-I found "Goblin" to be a likable, if confusing, little fantasy. The story is a small milestone in Warren Publishing history. Originally set to be a new, continuing series, the second chapter would not see the light of day until The Rook #12 (December 1981), and the character was granted his own magazine the following year. The title lasted three issues. Thank God there's no test to take after I read a new Hunter installment. I have no idea what's going on and, at this point, I have no desire to put the puzzle together. Kill the Goblins... something something something... here's to a better future... something something something... the king returns!

Both "Irving and the DevilPie" and "Tweeter and the Monkey Man" (sorry, that was a Traveling Wilburys song, wasn't it?) come across as what Dube thought might be clever ideas, but he couldn't come up with anything to flesh either out. Both scripts remind me of the stuff we used to write in 8th grade English to try to impress Mrs. Saenz. More dopey names, more unmemorable and hazy plots. I do like the Sanchez art in "DevilPie," though; reminds me of Wrightson in spots. 

"Demon's Treasure" would seem to be the perfect melding of a script filled with dopey gobbledygook ("vomit sucking thief" and "maggot licker" have now been put to good use on my answering machine) and Mayo art that must have been left out in the rain. Seriously, I can't figure out what's going on there on page 39. I'm tempted to write off "Mordecai Moondog" as some sort of a joke with its bloated text balloons and its hidden Maroto art. Who thought that was a good idea? Probably the editor. The word "Jigaboo" on the first page brings to mind all the discussion of DuBay's ignorance or naivete. It only adds fuel to the argument that he knew what was what the whole time, regardless how he wants to paint it these days.

Vampirella #48

"The Wonder World of 
Ambergris, Kato and Tonto, Too!" ★1/2
Story by Bill DuBay
Art by Zesar

"The Satan Complex" 
Story by Bill DuBay
Art by Ramon Torrents

"Of Death and Distinction" ★1/2
Story by Gerry Boudreau
Art by Joaquim Blasquez

"The Miracle Hands of Simon Silvershoe" 
Story by Bill DuBay
Art by Luis Bermejo

"Star-Bright Lantern 909" ★1/2
Story by Gerry Boudreau
Art by Jose Ortiz

While Vampirella ponders the problem of finding blood, she watches a strange situation unfold before her Drakulonian eyes. Siamese twin dwarves kidnap a man and force him to enter a manhole with them. Astonished (and forgetting she's very hungry), Vampirella gives chase down the rabbit hole and discovers that, beneath the city, lies a "Nineteenth-Century storybook" world, one with cable cars, zeppelins, and antiquated buildings.

Vampirella follows the men to a house and eavesdrops on the conversation within. The house belongs to the ailing Ambergris Muskman and his three sons, Kato, Tonto, and the Siamese twins, Poncho (sic) and Cisco. The abducted gentleman is a doctor who tells the dwarves that the bedridden old-timer has very little time left. Ambergris explains that the world they live in was an abandoned city that was built over and forgotten nearly a century before; he adopted the city and created a fantasy land for misfit kids (like the dwarves) abandoned on the surface world. All he asks of the doctor is to grant him enough life to "play with his toys one more time."

Touched by the man's kindness, Vampi enters and tells the man that a bit of her blood transfused into his veins can add the few hours to his life he desires. The doctor performs the blood-mingling and Ambergris rises from his bed, seemingly younger and stronger. He dons his best suit and takes his entire audience on a tour of the underground city. As Vampi warned, Ambergris's spark only lasts a couple hours and, sensing the end is nigh, he boards his zeppelin and crashes it into... something. The dwarves sigh and note that Ambergris's love and spirit will live on after his suicide.

A typically slipshod script by Dube that somehow works... kinda. It's hilarious that Vampi is pert near dying of hunger at the onset of "The Wonder World of Ambergris, Kato and Tonto, Too!" but puts that to the side to begin a new adventure. The underground city seems a tad too large to be forgotten by the surface world; the fact that a zeppelin can comfortably navigate is an eye-roller. But, I'll be honest, this WTF? installment sure beats the hell out of yet another "Vampi, Pen, and Adam happen upon a town held in the grip of a Satanic cult." Ambergris has more than a touch of Willy Wonka in him. I like Zesar's art; he includes the requisite amount of "ass in the air" and spread-legged cheesecake but his fantasy world is nicely detailed and magical. 

The police arrive at the base of a New York skyscraper to investigate the death of a young man who took a header off what witnesses swear was the 13th floor. But there's no 13th floor in this building! Shortly thereafter, Mr. Tibbs arrives at the same building and takes the elevator to the 13th floor. There he meets "Warlock Winkle," a man who has promised to aid Tibbs in his dream of flight.

Tibbs doesn't want to go the expected routes, though; this guy wants to soar without the aid of aircraft of any sort. Winkle promises that, once Tibbs signs the contract, he'll meet the boss and Tibbs will be granted his wish. Contract signed, Tibbs meets Satan, who explains that his human disguise is good for business and assures the man that he is going to fly. Sure enough, Tibbs jumps out the 13th floor window and glides over the alleys of the city... until Satan snaps his fingers and Tibbs falls to his death. Smirking, Satan explains to Winkle that Tibbs never specified the length of his flight.

Dube manages to inject a little life into the "devil's bargain" cliche but not enough for a thumbs-up. The idea that Satan would approach his pacts just like a 20th-Century businessman is intriguing and would be a solid foundation for a horror story in the hands of a really good writer. But Dube can't help but surround the core with silly stuff. I let out a series of loud chuckles between the detective assigned to the case of the splattered kid and the beat cop, who explained that the witnesses insisted that the boy jumped from the 13th floor. Not the 12th or 14th, but the 13th. "Yes, officer, I know there's no evidence of this and the building has no official 13th floor, but I insist..." As mentioned already, the foundation of DuBay's 20th-Century Devil began in "Goodbye, Mr. Lincoln," and it's the unseen climax of that story that begins this one. Oddly, the detective who was one of the two main characters in "Goodbye..." is introduced here and then discarded quickly.

Charlie Mann tires of being a nobody, waiting in the unemployment line every day while a maniacal killer terrorizing the city grabs headlines. One day, after an exhausting day waiting in line, Charlie hits on the perfect solution: he'll knife his girlfriend to death, wait for the cops to arrive, and claim responsibility for the slasher murders. The plan goes perfectly until the police arrive and, standing over the bloody corpse of his girlfriend, Charlie confesses. It's then that the detectives notify Charlie that the real slasher was just caught uptown. Charlie is a nobody again.

"Of Death and Distinction" is a dreary think-piece, with writer Boudreau continuously reminding us how futile life is and assaulting us with clever-writer sentences like "Garish neon signs peddling skin cinemas and topless bars blared their messages to near-empty streets." Boudreau's structure is odd in that (much like "The Satan Complex") characters are introduced and then shunted to the side as if they were red herrings. The climax is inevitable, isn't it? The protagonist repeatedly hammers home the message that he is a nothing in this world and the only way to achieve greatness is to become a monster. Blasquez's art is competent but inconsistent; Charlie's face seems to change from panel to panel.

Simon Silvershoe has always had a unique gift; with his hands he can mold the faces and bodies of those he touches. He can cure the malformed and grant beauty to the ugly (and vice versa) but he's never really questioned why. Then, a Ms. Lungset visits Simon at his workplace and explains that Simon was actually born on a distant planet called Crucis, where every thousand years, a "healer" is born. Simon's real name is Chris Tyian (insert eye-rolling emoji here) and Chris is in grave danger, as a group calling themselves "the Disbelievers" are searching Earth for him. Killing "healers" is their favorite pastime. Indeed, they catch up to Simon/Chris and gun down the pretty Ms. Lungset. Simon escapes but his past, and a really bad choice of disguises, catches up to him before long.

I really hated "The Miracle Hands of Simon Silvershoe." It's meandering, disjointed, and supremely silly. I've been unable to find data to support my theory, but I believe Bill DuBay was supplying Bruce Springsteen with lyrics and song titles at about this time (Well now Hazy Davy got really hurt, he ran into the lake in just his socks and a shirt/Me and Crazy Janey was makin' love in the dirt singin' our birthday songs sounds like natural Dube dialogue). Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't "Pooter and the Magic Man" and "Irving and the Devilpie" sound like characters you'd find in "Blinded by the Light?" 

"Star-Bright Lantern 909" is a lighthouse located in the middle of the galaxy and its keeper is Budd Bramlett. For Budd, the lighthouse is everything and its care is his only purpose in life. The Liberation Resistance Coalition (the Rebels) want to capture 909 to use against the Allied Government, but the only way to do that is to capture Budd. To that end, they enlist a gorgeous operative named Lena, who intercepts the supply ship heading for 909 and steps out of her spacecraft to the astonishment of Budd, who hasn't seen a woman in forty years. But, as always happens, forty years of abstaining leads to explosive violence and Budd strangles Lena! 

The Rebels, not having heard from Lena in some time, send Captain Welles to investigate. When he enters the lighthouse he finds Budd raping the corpse of Lena and, in yet another fit of explosive violence, stabs the lighthouse keeper to death. Realizing now that he's got 909 to himself, he goes about readying the lighthouse for his fellow Rebels. Alas, he trips a self-destruct device and the lighthouse goes nova, lighting up the galaxy. 

I'm not sure what good a lighthouse in the middle of the galaxy would be. You fly past the light and then it's just as dark as it was the million miles before, right? As with so many Warren SF tales, the pitch is a decent one but the execution is lacking. Secret agent Lena is a brilliant solution to the Rebels' problem but Budd's crazed bloodletting seems random. Still, "Star Bright Lantern 909" is more imaginative than the usual Warren science fiction claptrap.-Peter

Jack-What a disappointing issue of Vampirella! I don't usually like Warren SF stories, but I thought "Star-Bright Lantern 909" was the best story in the bunch, mainly due to the art by Ortiz. I think this would've been a great story for Wally Wood to draw. "The Satan Complex" was poorly written and much too long, at 16 pages, but Torrents did a good job with the art and the first big panel with Satan is impressive. The Vampi story is terrible and I don't think Zesar is right for the strip; his art is an odd mix of finished and unfinished panels. Blasquez has some nice stylistic touches in "Of Death and Distinction" but the overall art is not great, and Boudreau's decision to name the main character Charlie Mann is in poor taste. Like Peter, I very much disliked "Simon Silvershoe"; I've had more than enough DuBay goofiness and wordiness.

Next Week...
After a while, Croc...


Anonymous said...


‘Goodbye Mr. Lincoln’: typically good Ortiz art in service of typically bonkers Dubay story. Sigh.

‘Ensnared’ : the ‘story’ here is incredibly slight, but God bless him, everyone’s favorite Mad Hungarian does his absolute best to make something intriguing out of it, with imaginative page layouts and dramatic choice of ‘camera angles’. If any of the Usual Suspects (even Top Tier talents like Ortiz or Sanchez) had drawn this, it would have been solid but unmemorable, but Toth makes it sing. I’ll take this over Dubay’s uncontrollable projectile word-vomit any day.

‘A Flash of Lightning’ is pretty dang good. Severin’s visuals are perfectly matched to its melancholy mood, and I’m a total sucker for Weird Westerns. Peter, I’d be curious to hear your theory about why vampires can’t procreate. Marv Wolfman said the same thing once (in a letters column in TOMB OF DRACULA or DRACULA LIVES, I forget which), his reasoning being along the lines of ‘Dracula can’t procreate because he’s dead’. Which, okay, I guess — but by that logic, Dracula shouldn’t be able to walk around and talk, either, so….?

‘My Monster, My Dad’ : Hmm. Seems like Strnad — oof, Autocorrect REALLY doesn’t like that name! — might have been on to something here, but couldn’t quite stick the landing.

‘In Darkness It Shall End’ feels like one of those back-up stories Moench was cranking out by the dozen for Marvel’s VAMPIRE TALES around this same time. Definitely some logic problems here (Jealous Vampire kills his lover instead of his rival for her affections?) but it works better than it ought to, thanks to Alcazar’s dynamic visuals.

‘Imp of the Perverse’: ….umm….nah.

More later…

b.t. and the scooter-pie

Quiddity99 said...

I enjoyed "Goodbye Mr. Lincoln" as well, is the story rather ridiculous? Of course, but its a fun journey before the rather "eh" ending. I also tend to love conspiracy theories over JFK so this plays into that. "Ensnared" brings great Toth art, and yep, not much of a story. "A Flash of Lightning" is perfectly suited for John Severin's specialty of westerns. "My Monster... My Dad" is a horrendously racist story and I don't understand why they felt the need to include a story like this in the magazine. Is the point to show that racism is bad and that going really over the top with a racist kid murdering his stepfather is going to deliver that point? In the past I think Dubay has tried to tackle stories akin to EC's Shock SuspenStories and has completely flopped, and with this story it doesn't even seem to try for that angle. I'm also surprised this was written by Strnad and not Dubay as I would have expected it more from him. "In Darkness it Shall End" carries some great Vicente Alcazar art; Doug Moench was long gone from Warren by this point so I've got to assume this is an old inventory story that was only just recently drawn. "Imp of the Perverse" also comes off to me as too repetitive and similar to Poe's "The Telltale Heart".

"Goblin" is a strong start to this issue of Eerie, I've got to assume it was intended to kick off a new series but this is the only story we'll get of him until his later return mentioned in your post. I struggle to think of much to say for the Hunter II and El Cid stories in this issue; both I read at least a month ago at this point and I have a hard time distinguishing individual entries for both series. This may be the last El Cid story. Both "Irving and the Devil Pie" and "Pooter and the Magic Man" are fun stories, perfectly suited for their respective artists. Dubay loves the name "Sigmund Pavlov" and we will see that used for what is by far the most bizarre and out of this world series Warren would ever publish, in 1984/1994 with Alex Nino doing the art. I absolutely love "Mordecai Moondog". While yes, Dubay goes overboard, I think the stories of the Von Daemon family are quite bizarre and horrifying and Maroto's art, while not displaying any real action, fit the dark, scary mansion that the story takes place in. Best story for this month for me.

Surreal Vampi cover this month with her shrunk and stuck in a bottle! Her story is a bit more fantastical than usual, but I'm happy to see Zesar providing the art, this time for a real comic story unlike what he was made to do in issue 46. "The Satan Complex" is over long and has the typical ending you'd expect from a story where the protagonist makes a deal with Satan. Great Torrents art as always though. "Of Death and Distinction" is totally the type of story I'd expect from EC's Crime SuspenStories. Blazguez' art, much like in the mummy series varies wildly, from Luis Garcia-lite to quite iffy in others. Likewise "Star Bright Lantern 909" comes off much like a Weird Science/Fantasy story. Especially if Wally Wood could have done the art! Ortiz does his usual fine job though. I recall liking "The Miracle Hands" but your synopsis really does put across just how ridiculous a premise it is!

andydecker said...

"why vampires can’t procreate"

I fear there are whole shelves of vampire fiction explaining why they cannot - or can do. :-) Or who the first vampire was who created the rest. A whole generation of DC Vertigo writers tried to answer that one.

I have got nothing good to say about Eerie #71, except that "Mordecai Moondog" must be one of the most over-written stories I ever had the misfortune to browse. Peter and Jack actually read that from start to finish? Respect. This is just an example of bad craft with a not working editorial office.

Vampirella is not much better though. This must be one of the weakest cover of the run. Vampi dancing before an audience of overgrown hamsters. How boring. Dubay tries to write his Alice in Wonderland story but fails. The Zesar art is not bad. As a replacment for Gonzalez he works. He knows how to tell a story.

The rest of the stories are the currently sadly usual misfires. Torrrents, Blasquez and Ortiz delivered solid work. I liked "Star-Bright Lantern 909" best. Not because the story – or the pretentious title, whatever happened to the other 908 asteroids? - is any good, nothing here makes any sense. But I liked the visual of the lighthouse in space and the absurdity of the old keeper type transplanted from 1850 to the far future. The more things change ...

Anonymous said...

I was going to pontificate in minute detail about this week’s EERIE and VAMPIRELLA mags too but can’t quite work up the enthusiasm. A few brief points then…

Seriously, what IS it about Dubay’s sudden proliferation of “Cutesy and the Compound-Word” titles? Peter, you get extra points for the Traveling Wilburys shout-out and making the Springsteen connection to boot (tho surely, there’s a BIT more artistry to Go-Kart Mozart checking out his weather chart than the likes of Mordecai Moondog and Pooter and his Devilpie?).

Let’s take a closer look at the title of the lead story in this week’s VAMPI, shall we — ‘The Wonder World Of Ambergris, Kato and Tonto, Too!’ Everything about it is HORRIBLE. Right out of the gate, ‘Wonder World of…’ is extremely twee, sounds like it belongs on some fifth-rate Czechoslovakian Children’s movie from the 1960s after being dubbed (badly) and sold directly to TV as part of a bargain-priced syndicated package. ‘Ambergris’ is one of those deceptively magical sounding words — it sounds pretty, even LOOKS pretty on the page and then you find out what it actually is: a chunky substance that literally smells like crap, formed in the digestive tracts of sperm whales, long used for extending the scent-life of perfumes. Then we get The Green Hornet and Lone Ranger’s non-white sidekicks teamed-up for God Only Knows Why. For the rancid cherry on top, Dubay sloppily conflates The Lone Ranger’s faithful Indigenous American companion with Dorothy Gale’s DOG. It may not be intentionally racist or insensitive, it may be just be Dubay free-associating at the typewriter with a belly full of Boone’s Farm, but it’s all ugly and unpleasant.

On another point entirely, I believe this month’s Warren mags coincided with the release of Ron Goulart’s first Vampirella novelization. I bought ‘em all, fresh off the paperback rack at the local Gemco (and still have ‘em, in pretty good nick too) and actually re-read the first one a few years ago. It’s a re-telling of the early Goodwin/Sutton Cult of Chaos arc in prose, sexed up a bit (The Doctor can’t keep his hands off Vampi’s mammaries). It’s not great.


Anonymous said...

According to GRAVE OF THE VAMPIRE (starring those Titans of Grindhouse Terror, Mike Pataki and William Smith), vampires CAN SO procreate. That’s good enough for me!

And the TWILIGHT series too, of course.

(Oh, wait…)


Peter Enfantino said...

b.t. and the cowflop mandarin-

As to vampires being unable to have kids. I've never met a vampire father but I would ASSUME the little tadpoles don't swim much inside the blood-sucker's walnuts. I'm sure Stephanie Myers would poo-poo my ideas. They not only swim, they sparkle. But if I had to choose between Myers and Marv, I'd clap for the Wolfman.

As to your recent revisit of the Vampi paperbacks. Bear in mind, the bare bones print edition (addition?) is actively seeking new blood (and swimming tadpoles) to write for us. A critiquing of the Vampi paperbacks would be high on my Wanted List.

Anonymous said...

It just so happens, B.T. AND THE COWFLOP MANDARIN is my favorite Elton John album.


Anonymous said...

Also— I too would love to read an in-depth article on Goulart’s Vampirella books in your magazine, as long as I didn’t have to WRITE it :) Those skinny little books are barely 140 pages each, with pretty-good-sized type and fat margins, and I could barely finish the first one. It’ll take a heartier soul than I…


Grant said...

I don't think everyone here is fond of it, but "The Son of Dracula" in Eerie # 48 also has a vampire procreating, Dracula himself.