Monday, July 4, 2022

The Warren Report Issue 88: September - October 1977



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

Eerie #86

"Unprovoked Attack on a Hilton Hotel"
(Reprinted from Creepy #73, August 1975)

"The Oval Portrait!"
(Reprinted from Creepy #69, February 1975)

(Reprinted from Creepy #70, April 1975)

"Pinball Wizard!"
(Reprinted from Creepy #66, November 1974)

"Change... Into Something Comfortable"
(Reprinted from Creepy #58, December 1973)

"The Slipped Mickey Click Flip"
(Reprinted from Creepy #54, July 1973)

"Friedhelm the Magnificent"
(Reprinted from Creepy #46, July 1972)

"Frozen Beauty"
(Reprinted from Creepy #36, November 1970)

Don't get me wrong. If you gotta do an all-reprint issue, by all means publish an all-Corben special, but an Eerie reprinting nothing but stories found in Creepy is kinda like tuning in to a marathon of The Six Million Dollar Man and getting nothing but The Bionic Woman, no? Why wasn't this slated over at Creepy? Maybe no one was paying attention.-Peter

Was this the best they could do for a Corben collection? Had the best ones already been collected? I called "Frozen Beauty" a hidden gem the first time around, and I thought there was a nice page midway through "Shadow," but "Unprovoked Attack" tries too hard to be funny and "Change..." features one of the biggest gulfs between quality in writing and art that we'd seen up to then. "The Slipped Mickey" was one of the worst stories of '73. I don't think we benefit from getting to see three early works of Doug Moench once again; he had not yet turned into the decent comic book writer he'd become on his 1980s Batman run. The new cover by Corben tells me Warren was best sticking with Enrich and Kelly.-Jack

Vampirella #63

"Vampirella and the Sultana's Revenge !"
(Reprinted from Vampirella #33, May 1974)

(Reprinted from Creepy #63, July 1974)

"Ground Round"
(Reprinted from Vampirella #50, April 1976)

"As Ye Sow..."
(Reprinted from Creepy #79, May 1976)

"The Parable of the Hermits of Glastonbury Tor"
(Reprinted from Vampirella #45, September 1975)

"The Professional"
(Reprinted from Vampirella #53, August 1976)

"Wings of Vengeance!"
(Reprinted from Creepy #81, July 1976)

92 pages for $1.50 sounds like a bargain now, but back then it was a small fortune for us kids. The irony, of course, is that the best story included, the Jones/Wrightson classic "Jenifer," originally appeared in the pages of Creepy! The rest of the retreads are fair to middlin', but nothing special.-Peter

Definitely better than the Eerie special, any issue that reprints "Jenifer," one of Warren's all-time best stories, can't be all bad. Gonzalez draws gorgeous gals in the Vampi story and I liked "Grand Round," which I thought was a good EC knockoff. The rest of the stories were either predictable, distasteful, or both, but the drawing of Vampi on the cover by Torres...what were we talking about again?-Jack

Creepy #92

"A Toast to No Man's Memory" ★★1/2
Story by Len Wein
Art by John Severin

"Mrs. Sludge and the Pickled Octopus Raid" ★★1/2
Story by Bill DuBay
Art by Luis Bermejo

"Instinct" ★★
Story by Nicola Cuti
Art by Richard Corben

"Toward High Places" ★★
Story by Bruce Jones
Art by Ramon Torrents

"The Executioner" ★★1/2
Story by Russ Heath & Cary Bates
Art by Russ Heath

"Goddess in a Kingdom of Trolls" ★1/2
Story by Gerry Boudreau
Art by Esteban Maroto

"Everybody and His Sister" 
Story by Jim Stenstrum
Art by Leopoldo Sanchez

"The Generations of Noah" ★★
Story by Roger McKenzie
Art by Leo Duranona

Babbitt, a green RAF pilot, joins up with a seasoned squadron and decides he's going to be the last man standing. The reward for surviving is a special bottle of champagne, placed above the headquarters' fireplace and to be opened only to toast the fallen heroes. Babbitt arranges the death of each of his comrades in order to taste that sweet alcohol, only to find that his C.O. knew what was coming.

As is usually the case when John Severin is the artist, the script becomes almost an afterthought, but Len Wein at least puts in an effort rather than resorting to the cliched Ten Little Indians routine. Severin's penciling is gorgeous and I can't think of another EC artist whose work managed to retain its impact and excitement twenty years later. Only Heath and Evans drew better dogfights.

A wayward traveler stops in at Mrs. Sludge's place in the Ozarks during a frightening snowstorm. Hungry, cold, and out of gas, the visitor welcomes a sit-down in front of Mrs. Sludge's pot belly, surrounded by friendly locals. One of the men recommends that the stranger try Mrs. Sludge's pickled octopus and then launches into the story of how Sludge managed to acquire octopus a thousand miles away from salt water.

A few days prior, a shooting star exploded into a nearby mountain and Sludge and her husband went to investigate. There, they found an octopoid creature in the snow. When it charged the couple, Mr. Sludge attacked it with an axe but was overcome and eaten. Mrs. Sludge ran back to the family shack for a shotgun and blew the critter to kingdom come. Now, the Mrs. and her local friends are dining on pickled octopus!

The stranger gasps out that what they're really chomping on with their collective three teeth is a visitor from space and what the hillbillies have done is nothing short of catastrophic. Imagine the secrets scientists could learn from the body of a space visitor. Mrs. Sludge chuckles and admits that there's a full "visitor" waiting to be pickled in her freezer. After witnessing the miracle for himself, the stranger runs out the door, promising that he'll bring back scientists, NASA, the SLA, anyone who will listen. Mrs. Sludge's place will soon be famous and crawling with activity. As the visitor makes his way down the mountain through the snow, Mrs. Sludge and her three yokel buddies revert back to their octopoid forms and wait giddily for more food to arrive.

Though "Mrs. Sludge and the Pickled Octopus Raid" has the same annoying title and hick dialogue that permeated the fecal matter known as "Orem Ain't Got No Head Cheese" (from Creepy #85), Dube manages to rein in his underlying social relevance and repellent gore scenes and tell a charming sci-fi tale that actually brought a smile to my face with its climactic reveal. I assumed Mrs. Sludge and her friends were going to abhor any city folk contact and slice the stranger up the middle and eat his entrails, so I was delighted that Dube's good sense took over. I do think Bill should target another demographic, though. Surely, he's said all he could say about hillbillies by now.

King Ladislaws is beside himself over his new bride, the lovely and bodacious Rhoda (teehee!), whom he planned to marry simply to bear him a son. After a few years have passed, two children are born but both are female, and Ladislaws continues to push for an heir to the throne. A strange thing happens once the Queen has become pregnant a third time: she begins gnawing on the two young princesses. When pressed about the odd occurrences, Rhoda's loyal servant, Grunda admits that her people are a primitive people who worship a rat god (teehee!) and Rhoda is reverting back to her animal "Instinct." Eventually, she will devour her young!

Given this quite appalling news, the King heads off to find his wife, only to discover her about to dine on her daughters. This is too much of a shock to the King's system and he dies from a heart attack. Rhoda is banished from the kingdom but first gives birth to a healthy male... rat! It's obvious Nick Cuti went back through Corben's old strips to see what makes him tick, because "Instinct" fits in well with previous breastaculars such as "Lycanklutz," funny but horrifying at the same time. I'm still waiting for that flat-chested Corben maiden, but I don't think she's coming any time soon. The panel of Rhoda looking down at her two young daughters with hunger in her eyes is truly creepy!

"Toward High Places" is a lengthy and rather dry trip down National Geographic Avenue. The story of feuding Egyptian sisters, Tanakus and Eutheses, the latter of whom became the Queen of Egypt for a short time (in Bruce Jones's fictional world, that is), and their polar opposite temperaments. Jones throws in a few twists and turns along the way but make no bones about it, this is Ramon Torrents's glory day. His details and backgrounds are precise and his princesses gorgeous. 

Tony DeSoto works his way up to the top as hitman for Don Morricone, but once you're at the top there'sa nowhere to go butta down. The anxiety and tension of leading the life of "The Executioner" eventually weighs heavy on DeSoto's shoulders and he announces his retirement. As any goomba could tell you, there's no retiring from the mob, and quickly DeSoto finds himself staring down the barrel of a gun hired by Morricone. He escapes through trickery and, knowing he won't find work from any other family, decides to turn state's evidence against his former boss. Bad mistake as any baccala could have told our esteemed gunslinger since Morricone also owns most of the cops in the city!

No idea why a gangland drama (five years after The Godfather last played an American cinema) with no horror elements outside of a cleaver murder seemed like a good fit for a funny book called Creepy. Maybe this script was written while the iron was hot (there's even a scene that brings to mind Michael Corleone's murder of Sollozo and McCluskey) and then sat in meatballs mothballs for a few years. The Heath art is nice but the whole thing seems very much out of place, no?

Nonja leaves the kingdom of trolls to look for true love, only to discover that the story of the frog who dreamed he was a king was a true story. "Goddess in a Kingdom of Trolls" is yet another dreary exercise in Gerry Boudreau cashing a check and Esteban Maroto closing his eyes and drawing panel after panel of butts and boobies. By 1977, I was sixteen and into my old man's Playboy stash, so it's no wonder I stopped collecting Warrens shortly thereafter. Yeah, the guy can draw a gorgeous nekkid lady better than, say, Jack Kamen, but I've pretty much had it up to here with unicorns and fairies, even the ones who are built.

Poor Norman Dibble can't ask for a simple thing without twenty people answering the call. He needs one typist and fifty are hired. A mugger assaults him and fifty cops come running. When Norman has an accident in an elevator, he awakens to a sweet nurse telling him he'll be just fine after the operation. Norman sighs, happy that he was just hallucinating the whole "fifty people" thing, and then the fifty surgeons show up. A very silly idea or a very deep story depending, I assume, on your college education or how much dope you smoked while reading "Everybody and His Sister," a rare misfire (at least for me) from Jim Stenstrum. 

Noah travels through the galaxy with his ark, collecting two specimens of life on each planet with the apocalypse imminent. For Earth, Noah chooses to land in Hillbillyville just as young couple Jimmy and Mindy Jane are professing their undying love for each other down at the crick. Noah exits the ark and tells the couple they have been chosen to represent the human race after the Big Galaxy Meltdown. At first hesitant, the couple decide this is a good way to get away from Mindy's dominant pop. They board the vessel and meet Noah's first mate, Breen, but barely get to know the interstellar travelers when Mindy's old man bursts through the door and empties both barrels into Noah. Breen blasts the old codger with his ray gun (which actually looks like the muffler that used to fall off my '74 Maverick) and the trio watch as Noah dies, moments after bestowing the rank of captain upon his trusted first mate. The ark shoves off just as three missiles, launched by the U.S. military, blow "The Generations of Noah" to kingdom come.

I've stated ad nauseam that I'm not a big fan of pretentious "man invites misery upon his own head" fables delivered by funny book writers who, no doubt, exist on a steady diet of booze and cigarettes but, somehow someway, Roger McKenzie left his notebook of man's foibles at his apartment that day and wrote a good solid sci-fi tale with little to no moral. Yeah, the big bad military was responsible for the inevitable downfall of all life in the universe, I guess, and Noah was unfortunate enough to land smack dab in the middle of hillbilly country, easiest target of Warren writers... and there's that biblical quote in the final panel and... where was I?-Peter

Jack-Not a bad issue of Creepy! I liked the Severin story much more than you did, but I wonder if it was sitting in a file because I can't recall the last time we read anything by Len Wein. Leave it to DuBay to find a disgusting angle in "Mrs. Sludge," but I'll admit the twist ending was amusing. "Instinct" was my favorite this time out, with classic Corben art, a decent story, and a funny last panel. I agree that the art by Torrents on "Toward High Places" is superb and nearly makes up for the rather dull story. "The Executioner" is not top-tier Heath, but that's still worth reading, despite the increasing nudity and violence that fill this issue. The troll story is wildly overwritten and reads as if someone handed Boudreau pages by Maroto that were already drawn and asked him to make sense of them. He didn't do a bad job, though. The Stenstrum story is funny but makes no sense, and the Noah tale at the end was dreadful, in my opinion.

Eerie #87

"Prisoner in a Chinese Fortune Cookie Or:
Bad, Bad Granny Gadget!"
Story by Bill DuBay
Art by Luis Bermejo

"The Black Demon's Sword: Scallywag"
Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Jose Ortiz

"Years & Mind Forever"★1/2
Story by Bruce Jones
Art by Richard Corben

"Second Wish"
Story by Roger McKenzie
Art by Leo Duranona

"The Incredible Illusions of Ira Israel"
Story by Roger McKenzie
Art by Leopold Sanchez

"What Price Oblivion?"
Story by Jim Stenstrum
Art by Alex Nino

With Restin Dane only a memory (at least until next issue), Bishop Dane builds a dangerous obstacle course and has Useless (the robot with a British accent) run through it at great peril. Why? To make sure he's ready when people start to answer an ad for a hero for hire that Bishop placed in an Old West Gazette! Suddenly, the laboratory comes under attack from a big tank-like machine shooting death rays!

Meanwhile, Katie and Jan look in the mailbox that appeared out of nowhere and find a letter from 1857 addressed to the Rook. Miles away, a vengeful old woman known as Granny Gadget monitors the attack on the lab, an attack she engineered to get revenge on Restin Dane, whom she holds responsible for her husband's suicide. It seems that her late husband, Ezra Prunedot, couldn't keep up with Restin's high quality robots and killed himself in despair. Two smaller robots resume the attack on the lab and fly off with Katie and Jan as prisoners.

Bishop and Useless hop in a rocket ship and fly off to Granny Gadget's lair where, after some fighting and speechifying, they rescue the gals and return to the lab. Finally opening the letter from the mysterious mailbox, they discover that Restin is very much alive and should be home by Christmas!

I like the Rook series! I don't recall any hero for hire ad; in fact, I think we were not told what Bishop put in the paper. And how would an ad in an 1857 paper be answered in 1977? I enjoy the continuing story and the characters, but a bit of plot consistency might help. Still, Bermejo's art is nice and clean, with an appealing use of white space, and the stories are fun. Granny Gadget reminds me of Kirby's Granny Goodness from his Fourth World series.

When Hickey J. Lubus buys a beautiful cane from a seaman in an alley, he is inspired to leave his dull life as an accountant and sail for Japan, where he buys a gambling house. He meets a rough, tough sailor named Sullivan, who notices when Lubus's cane strikes fear into the heart of a Japanese gambler. When samurai attack the duo, Lubus discovers that the cane hides a sword with magical powers. A visit to a Daimyo reveals that the sword is the key to releasing a demon from a statute of a screaming god. Unfortunately, the statute has been stolen by a sexy ninja, who explains that her master will soon release hell on Earth!

"The Black Demon's Sword" appears to be the first entry in another new series, and it's fun if somewhat reminiscent of another series that petered out not long ago--I can't recall what it was called. The art by Ortiz is excellent and goes a long way toward making the story fun.

Scientists in the Time Travel lab discover that Jeff and Karen faked their trip back in time. Meanwhile, Karen uses her voluptuous body in an attempt to seduce a guard and escape from prison. She loses a massive Kung Fu fight with the guard and the scientists check her nearly naked body, which confirms that she's not really Karen. The guard, who is not only a superb King Fu fighter but also a master telepath, returns to ancient Kansas in his mind and tracks Karen and Jeff to a mysterious island after battling a group of plesiosaurs while on a tiny raft. He discovers Jeff about to take a scalpel to the prehistoric man who was the source of the whole human race. A fight ensues, a gun is fired, and the human race is wiped out before it is born.

I hope my summary is somewhat accurate, because I admit I didn't really understand what was going on in "Years and Mind Forever." It's a bit hard to pay attention with busty, half-naked Karen running around in panel after panel. Still, I'm sure that Bruce Jones had some idea of what he was trying to do with this story. It's too bad he couldn't share that idea with the readers.

An attractive Black woman in the back woods in 1930 rebuffs the advances of a white sheriff, who vows revenge when she scratches his face. She is then impregnated by a space alien, who takes the form of a handsome Black man. Nine months later, on Christmas Eve, the sheriff of New Bethlehem leads the townsfolk in setting things up to burn the woman as a witch for carrying the spawn of the Devil. Gaffer and Jamie are kicked off of a train right as this is happening, and Gaffer manages to put a stop to the proceedings.

Gaffer, Jamie, and the woman retreat to a barn, where she gives birth to a creature who is said to be the messiah that will lead the alien race back to glory. The alien daddy returns in his spaceship just in time for the birth, and it's a good thing, because the sheriff and his men burst in and cause chaos, until the space aliens return and take the baby back to their planet. Unfortunately for Mom, she catches a bullet in the melee and ends up in the cemetery.

I read this story a few times and I'm darned if I can figure out just what Gaffer's "Second Wish" was. Was it that the sheriff and his men would back off? That's about the best I can figure. It does look like Gaffer somehow was granted three more wishes in the middle of all the excitement, so the series could go on indefinitely. Duranona's art is not very pleasant and I wonder if it's uninked pencils.

In Germany, in 1911, magician/shyster Ira Israel tours the carnival circuit with his wife Esmerelda, who turns into a werewolf on stage before the eyes of the audience. That night, under a full moon, a young girl is killed by a werewolf. Was this a result of "The Incredible Illusions of Ira Israel"? The townsfolk think so and storm the stage that night, bearing pitchforks. They tie up Esmerelda to see what happens at moonrise, but it's Ira who transforms into a werewolf, and mayhem ensues. Leaving town by horse-drawn cart the next day, Ira explains that a doctor in Transylvania injected him and his wife with a serum that cause them to become werewolves when the stage lights shine on them; too bad Esmerelda isn't listening, since Ira killed her the night before.

It seems like we haven't had a dumb werewolf story in a while, and this one sure is dumb. I'll leave it to Peter to comment on the increasing tendency to draw topless women, something this issue demonstrates in spades. I was 14 when this came out and I don't think I would have been comfortable buying it and bringing it home. At least, not in public.

Decades after the Hunters had rid the world of goblins, a hero-worshipping boy named Max Hallibut finds the Hunters' old helmet and one of their robots and sets off to avenge the destruction of the city of Margopolis by frogs. "What Price Oblivion?" wonders the lad, who meets and teams up with pretty Twyla Smyla. They are quickly taken prisoner by frogs, only to discover that the frog in charge is Max's long-lost mother. When Max asks Twyla to share his sleeping bag, she reveals that she is his long-lost father. Max and his robot depart for the South Pole in hopes of finding somewhere that they can tell the men from the women.

I don't usually like it when Warren writers try to be funny, but Stenstrum succeeds here, in large part due to the superb artwork by Alex Nino. The story is just plain silly from start to finish, but with these pages to look at, who cares? Oh, and any suspicions I had about Star Wars influencing Warren are now confirmed.-Jack

Peter-I feel like this is the first time I didn't understand and (more importantly) didn't have the patience for a Rook story. The Fortune Cookie thing doesn't even show up until the final panels and Bad, Bad Granny Gadget is about as uninteresting a character as Dube has ever concocted. She sure ain't badder than ol' King Kong. "The Black Demon's Sword" seems like it might have an interesting plot buried somewhere under all the confusing exposition. The two main characters are likable enough and the pace is quick; I'm just not sure Budd has an endgame in mind.

The female body in all its splendor used to move forward the plot

For his final episode of the "Within You, Without You" trilogy, Bruce Jones goes for the goofy; it's a reboot, actually, not a sequel. I won't pretend to understand most of it, but the final twist is a good one and Corben (even in black and white) is always a welcome sight.

I didn't like the first Gaffer and might like the second even less. Someone will have to explain two things to me: 1/ is this Gaffer just a regular guy who's drifting from one supernatural event to another, a la Kolchak, the Night Stalker?; and 2/ what the hell is going on in those fourteen long pages of panels? Duranona's art seems to be getting murkier and murkier with each successive assignment. And then there's that McKenzie dialogue. Shuriff Radnek is a little too on the nose, wouldn't you say?

Exploitive and unnecessary?
"The Incredible Illusions of Ira Israel" has to be Roger McKenzie's homage to the early days of Warren, right? Please tell me that's what he was up to. I could see this stand-alone appearing, with visuals courtesy of Joe Orlando in, say, Eerie #5. If that was not his intent, then this is just really dumb. Like the art, though, especially that cheesy and wholly unnecessary breast shot in the final panel. Classy. 

Hunter gets resuscitated for one last gasp and thank goodness it got a decent team this time out. The sideways presentation is annoying, but I love the crazy vision of Alex Nino (everything has tentacles) and the parodic slant Stenstrum brings to the third incarnation of Hunter. The series, under Budd, had gotten so far up its own ass that I was fearful it was just lost and might return someday. But, seriously, enough is enough. Put this concept to bed. Well, actually, that's what Jim does. Thanks, Jim.

Vampirella #64

"The Manipulators"
"The Eradicators"
Story by Gerry Boudreau
Art by Carmine Infantino & Gonzalo Mayo

"The Vindicators"
"The Intruders"
"The Stalkers"
"The Iconoclasts"
"The Survivors"
Story by Gerry Boudreau
Art by Gonzalo Mayo

The agent known as Spectrum hires Vampi to deliver a briefcase to a man in San Bernardino County. Arriving on the edge of the Mojave Desert, Adam and Vampi find their contact dead in a snake pit; they then get a flat tire in the desert and meet a local amateur archaeologist named Greybird, who invites them to the rodeo. When the duo returns to their hotel room, they find a nail file and a comb missing. Adam opens the briefcase to discover it empty and, after a quick phone call to Spectrum, Adam disappears by the ice machine. Meanwhile, back in NYC, Pendragon is hypnotized by a blind street juggler, leaving Conrad alone.

A seemingly helpful policeman shoves Conrad in front of a moving subway car, while in California, Vampi discovers that Adam has been abducted. She meets Jean Crowley, who claims to be Spectrum's agent. Conrad survives his fall and returns home, as Vampi travels to an old San Diego mission, where she learns that Adam has been taken to Brigadoon Albion, a ghost town that pops up here and there and now and then. In New York, Pendragon is hypnotized and sent to murder Conrad. Oh, and by the way, Albion is controlled by KAOS Chaos!

Vampi removes a hidden computer tape from the "empty" briefcase and hands it over to Jean Crowley before heading back to San Berdoo, where she meets with Tina Greybird, who suddenly collapses to the floor and is burned to a crisp. Must be voodoo after all! In NY, Pendy can't bring himself to kill Conrad and collapses. Back in Cali, Vampi finds Jean Crowley dead at a cabin in Barstow, along with a note telling the Drakulon babe that her blood serum will be traded for the computer tapes at a cemetery late that night. Vampi meets a mysterious Englishman while agents of Chaos plan to do away with Conrad once and for all.

After somehow losing her cutoff jeans, Vampi is taken to Baja, where she meets the Englishman, a master criminal who found the secret to immortality in the Crimson Chronicles. Unfortunately, he lost the secret (it's on the computer tape) and will celebrate his 142nd birthday soon if he can't say the magic words. Vampi agrees to give him the tape if he'll help rescue Adam. After a betrayal and a double cross, Vampi gives the tape to the Englishman, but it's too late and he crumbles to dust. In NYC, Conrad hears that someone fell from a seven-story window in Pendy's room!

Vampi meets Greybird in the Mojave Desert and starts looking for clues to the location of Albion; she gets lost and Spectrum turns up, disguised as an old prospector, something that doesn't fool Vampi for long. He then goes on at length about his work as an agent of Chaos and his plan to create volume two of the Crimson Chronicles. Spectrum takes Vampi to Albion, an entire town on a hydraulic lift that lets it go up and down, in and out of a hole in the desert floor. Evil scientists are hard at work on nefarious plans, including screwing up the 1980 Democratic Convention and releasing the mad god Chaos and his servants back on Earth. Vampi is reunited with Adam and negotiates a price with Spectrum to hand over the tapes. Back in New York, Pendy reveals that he's been part of a complicated setup and he and Conrad head for the West Coast.

Adam van Helsing at JFK Airport,
right before he' arrested by the fashion police.
When Spectrum chants the words on the computer tape in an attempt to bring the gods of Chaos back, the plan backfires, due to damage to the tapes. Albion begins to collapse as Vampi chases Spectrum into the desert. He briefly gets the upper hand but is shot and killed before he can do permanent harm to our heroine. Vampi and Adam are reunited with Conrad and Pendy and the quartet fly back to NYC.

The evil god Moloch survived the mess at Albion and his spooky eyes follow Vampi east, urging her to end it all. Fortunately, she manages to read a spell and get Moloch to back off.

Trying to keep it all straight while reading this 68-page epic is not easy. It makes me appreciate good comic writers and, more importantly, good comic artists. The first two chapters are penciled by Infantino, who is a great storyteller in pictures. When Mayo takes over in chapter three, things grind to a halt, in large part because he doesn't know how to use his panels to tell a story. Instead, he presents the reader with a series of staged poses, where word balloons are stuck in but the drawings don't convey what's going on or create any sense of forward movement. The story itself, such as it is, is an uneasy mix of spycraft and horror, and the horror elements seem tacked on. If Vampirella is really a mag for young boys to look at and get excited by the half-naked star, then this works, but as an entertaining comic it falls flat.-Jack

Revenge of the Famous Monsters stills
Peter-I have to say I thought this Vampi-Novel was one huge, crashing, stultifying bore. Obviously, espionage and female vampires don't mix. I could not keep the "guest stars" apart in my brain; they all seemed to run together like a visual septic tank. Mayo's art is equal parts forgettable and not bad. The question is, was reading one very long 68-page snoozer more ideal than 5 smaller but equally mediocre tales? Ask me again next issue. 

Adam says he's "feeling more like Matt Helm every minute," and that ain't no coincidence. It's obvious from the chapter titles that Gerry was a Donald Hamilton fan. By the time 1977 had rolled around, there were 18 Matt Helm novels (all but one with a dramatic two-word title like The Menacers and The Poisoners). He's not credited, but you can definitely see Carmine's pencils in the first two chapters of this "epic." Oh, and by the way, Louise, it's San Bernardino! You'd think someone, even an East Coast editor, might have noticed that particular typo since it occurred over 20 times.

Next Week...
For the first time in
what seems like minutes...
Batman finds true love!


Quiddity99 said...

Happy fourth! Nothing like reading up on some horror stories before heading out to a cookout. Got nothing to say on the Eerie reprint issue, but Vampirella #63 was my first exposure to Jenifer, so I appreciate that at least! Pretty nice cover too.

"A Toast to No Man's Memory" was a bit predictable, but Severin's strong art saves the day. "Mrs Sludge" on the other hand surprised me with its ending and I liked it more than I thought I would. My understanding is that "Instinct" was an old inventory story that sat on the shelf for years before being used here. No idea why they'd sit on a Corben story for so long though. Just a year or two prior with this being the big issue of the summer this story would have been in color, but alas color stories are becoming rarer and rarer these days. Beyond being obviously written to justify the Frazetta reprint cover, "Towards High Places" is a fairly strong tale. Warren doesn't give us enough horror stories told in ancient Egypt. I'd agree that "The Executioner" seems quite out of place for a Warren comic, but Heath's art makes up for it. "Goddess in a Kingdom of Trolls" I enjoyed quite a bit due to Maroto's art. He is very well suited for these types of stories. "Everybody and His Sister" was a bit of a mess for me, with a rather lame ending. "Generations of Noah" was a strong conclusion to the issue. Duranona's human character may often be rather ugly looking, but he does a great job at drawing extremely bizarre aliens and monsters and this story is full of them. Quite a downer of an ending though! All in all I was quite happy with this issue of Creepy.

Quiddity99 said...

Luis Bermejo's art remains fairly strong on The Rook, but the story itself I didn't care for. I continue to be rather disappointed that Eerie throws away so many pages each issue on a series with no horror element to it whatsoever. Odd that the titular Rook doesn't even appear this time! I couldn't recall if Scallywag ever returned as the previous story seemed like a pretty conclusive ending, but here we are again with a spinoff of it. A so-so story for me but Ortiz's art is particularly strong here. "Years and Minds Forever" wraps up our Corben/Jones dinosaur trilogy going in some rather unexpected and crazy directions (hard for me to buy that they were able to fake the traveling to the past with the dinosaurs) and I can't say I understand why Jeff was willing to wipe out the entire human race including himself, which is ultimately what ended up happening. I too struggled with figuring out what was Gaffer's wish; I'd have expected it to be to let the mother live, but that doesn't happen. I didn't pick up on him getting more wishes either, but can say that isn't the case as the next part wraps up the series. That aside though, I continue to really like this series and Duranona once again provides us some extremly bizarre looking aliens. "Ira Israel" looks like quite the off day for Leopold Sanchez. He is usually a very strong and dependable artist but this story just looked totally off to me. A weakly written story too. "Hunter III" thankfully is a one time only parody story and doesn't kick off another drawn out Hunter series. I liked the story quite a bit though and it was a fairly fun read. This is Alex Nino's first time breaking out on his own after many stories with Carmine Infantino and you immediately wonder why they didn't do this sooner. Nino's art is about as impressive as anything you're going to get from Warren for the rest of its run and is stylistically very different than all the other Warren artists. Great stuff, and I look forward to reading more of it.

Our third time with a Vampi only issue, and as usual I'd prefer that we instead got a brief Vampi story and anthology stories for the rest of the issue, but so be it. While this set of stories is absolutely overly complicated, presumably because Boudreau needed to keep the storyline going throughout the entire issue, I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. At the very least its better than the previous all Vampi issue as well as better than the recent individual stories of her we've gotten. The two things I didn't care for was Pendragon being in on it, which from a character standpoint doesn't really fit him (as he's pretty much always portrayed as an incompetent drunk) and the fact that the main storyline conclusion comes in the penultimate story, leaving the last one as a bit of a let down. Boudreau couldn't come up with more twists to keep the climax to the end?