Monday, October 7, 2019

The Warren Report Issue 18: November 1968-April 1969

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

Tom Sutton
Eerie #18 (November 1968)

"Hard Luck"
Story by Bill Parente
Art by Moe Marcus & Sal Trapani

"Cry Fear, Cry Phantom"
(Reprinted from Eerie #7)

"A Change of Pace!"
Story by Bill Parente
Art by Tom Sutton

"The Jungle" 
(Reprinted from Eerie #5)

"Vampire Slayer!"
(Reprinted from Eerie #5)

"Trial by Fire!"
(Reprinted from Eerie #6)

"Side Show"★1/2
Story by Bill Parente
Art by Bill Fraccio & Tony Tallarico

"Hard Luck"
Gordon Shockley thinks he's found the location of the Fountain of Youth in the Florida Everglades. One of his fellow explorers drowns in quicksand; Gordon knifes the other in the back when they reach the fountain. Gordon drinks from the fountain, hoping to gain eternal youth, but instead turns into a granite statute.

Huh? What was that ending? Why did Gordon turn into a statue and why should we care? If that was supposed to be a surprise twist or some sort of justice, it was lost on me. Also lost on me was the appeal of the art by Moe Marcus and Sal Trapani. It's passable but that's about all.

"Cry Fear, Cry Phantom" wasn't much good the first time around, and here it is again less than two years since it premiered.

Scientists Raymond and Felix invent a Time Modulator that successfully transports objects back in time. Before you know it, the intrepid scientists go back in time themselves, but Felix is killed. Raymond finds himself reverting to behavior of prehistoric man when the machine fails to bring him back to the present; unexpectedly, he suddenly pops back into 1968 and must tell another scientist all that occurred. It seems Raymond can't avoid transforming into a gorilla!

Grodd? No! Grooch!
("A Change of Pace!")
That's the second story by Bill Parente in this issue that meanders its way toward an incomprehensible conclusion. Why exactly did Raymond turn into a gorilla after traveling back in time? Is that supposed to represent an earlier stage of human evolution? I think that, by 1968, it was pretty clear to anyone who went to school that man did not descend from gorilla. Maybe Parente was angling for a job at DC and wanted to showcase his gorilla chops?

At least "The Jungle" is a little older than the first reprint. If the story is weak, we can still enjoy Al Williamson's art. I can't say the same for "Vampire Slayer!," from the same issue of Eerie as "The Jungle." When we read it the first time, I called it bottom of the barrel. It hasn't risen any higher. "Trial By Fire!" is the third reprint in a row in this issue; while I love Johnny Craig's work, I called this one a "stinker."

When a man is murdered at a carnival "Side Show," Sarno and his snake are blamed. The corpse has two puncture wounds on its neck and lost a lot of blood. Bimbo the clown is killed in the same fashion, so the other carnies set fire to Sarno's tent and kill him and his snake. Lt. Novak thinks the real culprit is Magnus, the magician, but when the lieutenant pulls out a mirror, Magnus's reflection is clear as day. But wait! Magnus has a midget twin brother who's a vampire and who rides around on his back and hides under his cape!

Probably the best panel in the new stories this time out.
("Side Show")

Is this what we have to look forward to at Warren in the near future from writer/editor Bill Parente? This is the third of three new stories he contributed to this issue, and all are awful, with twists that come out of nowhere and make no sense. The art by Fraccio and Tallarico is nothing special, even though there are a few passable panels here and there. This has to be one of the poorest issues of Eerie to date. Eighteen pages of new stories for forty cents. Not a bargain.-Jack

Peter-Bill Parente opens his magic bag and pulls out more cliches... the explorers; the time travelers; and the freak show. Amidst all the swill is a glimmer of quality in "A Change of Pace!" but that is quickly extinguished and we're left with a hopelessly convoluted climax (wait, so Dubarton screwed up time but, unlike in all the Bradbury stories, he didn't screw up the future, only his own evolution,
but the powers-that-be allowed him to come back and be human long enough to tell his story and then turn into a monkey... ooooookay) and more proof that Tom Sutton should stick to eldritch tales of old men who wander through dark hallways and keep shoggoths in their cellars. "Side Show" is a complete disaster and "Hard Luck" shows off even more editorial screw-ups when Uncle Creepy makes an appearance on page 9!

Creepy #24 (December 1968)

"Black Magic"
(Reprinted from Eerie #5)

"You Do Something to Me" ★1/2
Story by Bill Parente
Art by Tom Sutton

"The Day After Doomsday"
(Reprinted from Eerie #8)

"Room for a Guest" 
Story by Bill Parente
Art by Reed Crandall

"Type Cast!"
(Reprinted from Eerie #8)

"A Silver Dread Among the Gold" 
Story by George Hagenauer & Bill Parente
Art by Tony Tallarico

Three years after a gruesome car crash that left his wife, Cyndy, paralyzed, Carter is convinced his wife is out for revenge. She's been addicted to black magic since the accident (which, miraculously, Carter walked away from without a scratch) and lately she's been acting really weird. The nervous ninny finds an incantation he believes is meant to bring on his untimely death and burns it in front of his wife. As Carter's skin begins to burn, Cyndy explains that he actually died in the crash and her voodoo spell brought him back from the dead. For "You Do Something to Me," Bill Parente pumps out another predictable script, but that could have been overlooked with some good graphics. Alas, this was an off day for Tom Sutton, whose art here looks rushed and a far cry from his usual drippy, atmospheric Warren work. The whole "Cyndy gets into black magic" time-frame is a bit jumbled as well; it seems as though her obsession only takes hold after the accident but then how did she resurrect hubby and keep his death quiet? I'm so confused.

"Room for a Guest"
Obsessed with musty old tomes filled with incantations and demonic biographies, Julian Thatcher travels to the castle of the Marquis Boussac, whose library is filled with collectors' items. Only one book is missing from the Marquis's incredible collection and that is the one-of-a-kind Black Missal, rumored to have been written by Satan himself in his spare time. Boussac invites his guest to a wild party that night and, after the gala winds down, disappears into a reading room. Thatcher follows and discovers his host relaxing in his armchair, enjoying a perusal of... The Black Missal! Thatcher's excitement turns to terror when the Marquis explains that he came into possession of the tome because... he wrote it! Surprise! Well, no one will be surprised by the climax of "Room for a Guest," a truly disappointing capper to what began as an intriguing Lovecraftian melodrama. There's really no reasoning given for the devil's elaborate ploy; just take the guy's soul already. Reed Crandall seems to have rediscovered his Jones for this type of work as the graphics are top-notch (though that final panel looks awfully familiar). Heck, I'll take this one. It's better than anything else Warren has been serving up lately.

"A Silver Dread
Among the Gold"
Fortune seekers Gunther, Eric, and Gustav have climbed to the top of a high mountain during a blizzard to search for the treasure of... Bjorn, Prince of Vikings! Relaxing after the treacherous climb, the trio discuss the legend of Bjorn, Prince of Vikings and his fabled clash with the undying Sven, the Immortal! In a scene vaguely reminiscent of (and just as hilarious as) an infamous segment of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Bjorn dices Sven to small pieces only to discover the scum won't die! Bjorn discovers that Sven has been blessed with eternal life by a wizard located in the "dead lands," and heads off to find said wizard. He disappears and then shows up on the doorstep of one his comrades months later, only to fall into a deep sleep. His body is entombed in a cave, covered in two shrouds, one silver and one gold. Legend complete, Gunther, Gleban, and Glauben stumble over the body of Bjorn, Prince of Vikings! in perfect suspended animation. They remove the two shrouds and discover the Viking's secret... he's a werewolf!

Oh boy! I don't know what Jim Warren was more embarrassed about when he sat down in his office to read "A Silver Dread Among the Gold"; was it the awful script, the amateurish scribbles, or the breakdown in the proofreading department? There are fans in every artist's camp, I get that, but can someone out there defend Tony Tallarico? Though we may have softened our stance on Grandenetti, I can lay money down you'll find nothing of the sort in the future when it comes to my appraisal  of Tony the T's talent. The artist's idea of scary was bulging eyes and irregular teeth. Of course, he's got nothing to work with when it comes to the confusing and meandering script Hagenauer and Parente have laid on his desk. None of it makes a lick of sense.-Peter

Jack-I'm in full agreement, Peter. The best things about this issue are the cool cover and the six pages of Crandall art. Once again, we get only 18 new pages for our four dimes, way less than we'd get from a DC or Marvel comic in 1968. "Black Magic" and "Type Cast!" are reprints of good stories, while "The Day After Doomsday" is not, and two of the three are from just 21 months earlier, so readers were sure to recall them. I am very concerned about Bill Parente's inability to tell a coherent or interesting story, and his reliance on stupid twist endings is troubling. Sutton seems overworked if "You Do Something to Me" is any indication.

Alan Willow
Eerie #19 (December 1968)

"Tomorrow's Reminder"
Story by Bill Parente
Art by Bill Fraccio & Tony Tallarico

"Dark Kingdom!"
(Reprinted from Creepy #9)

"Dark House of Dreams"
(Reprinted from Creepy #12)

"Monstrous Mistake"
Story by Bill Parente
Art by Barry Rockwell

"The Squaw!"
(Reprinted from Creepy #13)

"Unfeeling Heart"★1/2
Story by James Haggenmiller
Art by Ernie Colon
An uninspired page from
"Tomorrow's Reminder"

A malfunction forces astronauts to land on Atura, an uncharted planet that they explore while their ship's battery recharges. They find a metropolis that seems to have been destroyed recently and a group of what look like prehistoric men destroy their ship. They decide to blow up themselves and the aliens to alter the fate of the universe for the better. But wait! A scientist just died on the operating table from a cerebral hemorrhage. Was the whole thing in his mind? I have absolutely no idea. "Tomorrow's Reminder" makes no sense whatsoever and is perhaps the worst Parente script we've read yet. The art by Fraccio and Tallarico is inexcusable.

Much better is "Dark Kingdom!," but, of course, it's a reprint. "Dark House of Dreams" is not nearly as good, though my rating probably would be higher now in comparison with the new material in these issues.

They all laughed at bald Dr. Spool, didn't they! The idea of keeping a dead body viable so that a brain could be transplanted into it successfully? Poppycock! Forget that successful trial with a monkey--let's see it work on a human! Dr. Spool murdered Professor Von Eron and has kept his brain alive, waiting for a suitable body. He and his hunchbacked assistant, Benjamin, steal a decomposed corpse from the graveyard and plop Von Eron's brain in the skull cavity. Add a little electric juice and bingo! Another grunting, groaning monster that must do Dr. Spool's bidding is created! All goes well at first, as the monster commits murder for Dr. Spool, but here comes the full moon! Something's wrong! The monster no longer obeys! It killed Benjamin and now advances on Dr. Spool! Too bad Dr. Spool dug up a body that turned into a werewolf and no longer had to obey his commands! What a "Monstrous Mistake"!
Groan, just groan
("Monstrous Mistake")

Hoo boy, this is some Godawful writing. How many doggone times will we read the "surprise" ending where a character is a werewolf or a vampire? At least Barry Rockwell's art is pretty cool, looking like something from underground comix with interesting shading.

The best art in the issue, once again, comes from the great Reed Crandall, who illustrates a reprinted adaptation of "The Squaw" that suffers from Goodwin's dialogue.

A dumpy, middle-aged scientist falls hard for a hot young chick who only has eyes for body builders, so he builds a sexy, male android and installs in it a heart that will transmit every feeling to be shared by his own heart. Lovely Lori really digs Duke Armstrong (the android's moniker), but when the scientist has Duke dump Lori, she reacts badly, drinking poison and stabbing Duke in the heart. Unfortunately for the scientist, the wound kills him as well.

"Unfeeling Heart"
I count a grand total of six stories by James Haggenmiller for Warren. "Unfeeling Heart" isn't terrible, but it's not very good, either. I do like Ernie Colon's spare art style here; it reminds me of the cover of many a DC Romance Comic.-Jack

Peter-"Tomorrow's Reminder" is very similar to "Completely Cured" in Creepy #26. They're both unnecessarily complicated and laden with bad art. The twist is an obvious rip-off of Fantastic Voyage, which had hit screens a couple summers prior to this issue's release. I like Barry Rockwell's art a lot; it's unconventional and has an energy to it that livens up a tale... at least until Parente throws in a "Monstrous Mistake" of a climax. Groan, just Groan. But the trophy for the most inane story of the issue goes to "Unfeeling Heart," in which a lovestruck scientist whips up a handsome android so he'll get Lori's love and then switches gears without warning and decides the robot should be used as revenge for the girl ignoring his advances. Deadly dumb.

Richard Conway
Creepy #25 (February 1969)

"Keep Your Spirits Up"  ★1/2
Story by Bill Parente
Art by Reed Crandall

"Witches' Tide"
(Reprinted from Eerie #7)

"Their Journey's End" 
Story by Bill Parente
Art by Ernie Colon

"It That Lurks"
(Reprinted from Eerie #7)

"Deep Ruby"
(Reprinted from Eerie #6)

"An Unlikely Visitor" 
Story by Bill Parente
Art by Tony Tallarico

"Keep Your Spirits Up"
Dante, a struggling artist, hits on a novel approach for inspiration after normal methods have left him dry. With the help of seer, Madame Nona, Dante enters the spirit world, absorbs all the oddball visions around him, and makes the trip back to our world to paint what he saw. Very soon, Dante is selling his paintings for top prices and the art world is abuzz. Problem is, the spirits don't take kindly to a non-dead force in their world and, after one trip too many, they decide Dante should hang around for (quite) a bit longer.

For seven pages, it's almost as though Archie never left. Parente finds his muse (even if he is using yet another horror story standby- the starving artist) and Crandall seems invigorated by a script that actually makes some sense (well, I'm a little puzzled by Dante's appearance in that final panel, but...) amidst the jibber-jabber foisted on him lately. Easily the best story to appear in a Warren mag in ages and Parente's most satisfying script yet.

"Their Journey's End"
In the distant future, free-thinking and experimentation are forbidden and citizens are controlled by the Ministry. Betha secretly studies chemistry but when he's discovered he's sent to prison. There he meets free-thinkers Orin and his gorgeous daughter, Lanu. The three are sentenced to death for their crimes but the Ministry offers them freedom if they agree to be brain-washed. After a scuffle, Orin is taken into a lab and given a futuristic lobotomy but Betha and Lanu manage to escape into another part of the building, a room housing a time machine. Hoping they can have a better life in the past, they pull the switch and end up in... oh, how ironic... Nazi Germany!

"Their Journey's End" reminds me of those cockamamie science fiction stories Marvel would run in their black-and-whites, written by young would-be savants itching to change the world. Problem was, most of those silly yarns came off just like "Journey," as pretentious microwaved Ellison rather than brain food. Ernie Colon's art is just awful; Lanu seems to swerve from Natalie Wood to Carol Burnett (no, seriously, check out the panel reproduced here for the proof) and the panel placement is confusing and just plain boring.

The "Williamsune" trademark
Stephan Wingate returns to Wingate Manor, after an absence of years, when his father passes away. Stephan had left the estate after the murder of a young girl and his father's babbling of a curse. His surviving relatives greet him but Stephan knows there's a sinister secret hidden deep within the walls of Wingate Manor. Oh, heck, I'll just tell you what the secret is. The young girl was murdered by Stephan because he's a monster! One that looks exactly like  Bjorn, Prince of Vikings! without his helmet. No surprise there since Tony Tallarico is responsible for the abysmal "art" on "An Unlikely Visitor" and all his monsters look like wild boar. Bill Parente's story is Gothic Poe tripe with a really lame twist. Did Parente consider this stuff original or was it just a paycheck?-Peter

Jack-I think it was just a paycheck. I enjoyed most of "Keep Your Spirits Up"  and love Crandall's pictorial interpretation, but does Bill Parente have a clue how to end a story effectively? And why is Dante nude in the spirit world? No one else is! "Their Journey's End" is weak sci-fi with an "oh brother" ending. I like Colon's art better than you do, Peter; I think it looks like Neal Adams lite. "An Unlikely Visitor" is not only incoherent of plot, it's also ugly to look at. I assumed that creature in the last panel was yet another werewolf, since that seems to be Parente's favorite way to end a tale. As for this issue's reprints, "Witches' Tide" is not among Colan's best, but "It That Lurks" and "Deep Ruby" demonstrate fine efforts by Adkins and Ditko, respectively.

H.B. Harris
Eerie #20 (March 1969)

"Round Trip"
Story by Bill Parente
Art by Bill Fraccio & Tony Tallarico

"A Cloak of Darkness"
Story by Bill Parente
Art by Reed Crandall

"Cave of the Druids!"
(Reprinted from Eerie #6)

"The Fall of the House of Usher"
Story by Edgar Allan Poe
Adaptation and Art by Tom Sutton

"Dark Rider!"
(Reprinted from Eerie #8)

We didn't!
("Round Trip")
One rainy night in the big city, taxi driver Harry recalls one recent passenger, a deluded old woman who lives in squalor but imagines she's in high society. He picks up a mysterious man who asks to be driven to a place along the river. As he drives, Harry recalls another fare: a priest rushing to catch a train. His current passenger reveals himself to be Death just as Harry's cab suffers a fatal crash with a truck. Harry awakens--or does he?--and now both he and his latest passenger are dead.

I think that's a relatively cogent summary of what happens in the six meandering pages that make up Bill Parente's confusing story titled "Round Trip." What does the old woman have to do with anything, much less the priest? The last page makes no sense at all--after Harry's taxi crashes, he wakes up and is driving again, but he's dead? Or his passenger is dead? Or they're both dead? And who's being loaded in an ambulance? I only put this much thought into it because Peter pays so handsomely.

A powerful wizard named Xanthus summons up a demon spirit who tells him that, to rival Satan's power, he must steal Satan's cloak! The demon guides Xanthus to Hell, where the wizard makes his way to Satan's throne room and steals the cloak. Returning to Earth, Xanthus soon is hailed as emperor among sorcerers, wearing "A Cloak of Darkness." When Satan shows up to demand that his cloak be returned, Xanthus kills him, only to learn that he now must take Satan's place as ruler in Hell!
Satanic cheesecake from "A Cloak of Darkness"

Leave it to Reed Crandall to transform a Bill Parente script into an engaging and beautifully rendered tale. There's nothing complex or surprising in the plot or the ending, but at least it makes sense, and Crandall's art is superb.

Perhaps realizing that he has his hands on at least one great artist, editor Parente follows the new Crandall story with a reprint of a classic Goodwin/Crandall tale from late 1966.

A man visits his old friend, Roderick Usher, at his gloomy home and encounters a sad scene: Usher is overly sensitive and thinks his own house is holding him prisoner! His sister has it worse and soon dies of an unknown disease. Usher buries her in a basement vault but she returns, having been prematurely entombed, and takes him with her beyond the grave. The visitor barely escapes the house before he sees it rent in two!

Wow! Tom Sutton comes through with a stunning, eleven-page tour de force adaptation of Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher." Each page is a delight to look at and Sutton wisely writes it in Poe-like language that keeps the gloomy, nineteenth century mood intact. This is as good as it gets at this point in Warren's history and I'm thrilled to find this gem among the reprints and often terrible new stories.-Jack

Just one of many beautiful panels from Sutton's
adaptation of Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher"!
Peter-More proof, with "Round Trip," that Bill Parente really couldn't write. This one makes no sense whatsoever and, ultimately, falls back on the "Death Takes a Ride" cliche. It's as bad as one of the fan-written prose stories found on the Creepy or Eerie Fan Pages, which makes me wonder why Warren didn't simply use those little fillers for stories during the "Dark Age." And yet... Parente actually produces a decent script (granted, it's got a weak ending) yet again for Reed Crandall just as he did for "Keep Your Spirits Up" in Creepy #25. Must be the allure of working with one of the EC masters that elbows Parente to do good. Tom Sutton was graced with a few more pages than usual and classic Poe to work from and he does not disappoint. This absolutely gorgeous tale holds its own with such classic Warren adaptations as Crandall's "The Cask of Amontillado" and "The Body-Snatcher." You can see how Sutton's work has improved over the course of a year. Nowhere to go but up!

Creepy #26 (April 1969)

"Stranger in Town" 
Story and Art by Tom Sutton

"Second Chance"
(Reprinted from Creepy #13)

"Completely Cured" 
Story by Bill Parente
Art by Bill Fraccio & Tony Tallarico

"Untimely Meeting" ★1/2
Story by Bill Parente
Art by Ernie Colon

(Reprinted from Creepy #10)

"Voodoo Doll"
(Reprinted from Creepy #12)

John Randolph becomes lost on the desolate road to Prides Crossing, a village with an eerie reputation, and must pull his car to the side to wait out the choking fog. A man approaches Randolph from out of the fog to tell him that Pride's Crossing is no more; the town has vanished. He then tells John a strange and fantastic story about a Eliza Mapes and his deformed son, Wilfred. Mapes had been experimenting with "sentient vegetable life" and created a literal monster in his garden. When Wilfred grows up to be a young man, he goes sweet on the local beauty and gives her a bouquet of flowers from his pop's garden. Unfortunately, the plants eat the girl and the townsfolk, in a rage, burn Mapes's house to the ground, with the botanist still inside. Their anger unabated, they shoot Wilfred and dump him in the swamps.

"Stranger in Town"
Obviously, the villagers had never read the Heap or they would have known what happens when you mix weird chemicals with a stinking, fetid swamp. Time passes and, finally, Wilfred-Thing rises and heads for town, destroying everything and everyone in its path (including the entire town). Story finished, the stranger explains to John Randolph how he knows so much about the legend.

No one was fooled by the Bill Parente/Reed Crandall credit on page one. This was a Tom Sutton production all the way! If I had to point to one comic book story where Sutton first displayed that all-out Tom Sutton style he'd become famous for, I'd say it was "Stranger in Town." The wild flourishes, the creepy old men, the detailed backgrounds, the Lovecraft influence... it's all here. Sutton still had problems with delineating "normal folk," but his depiction of other-worldly beasties was without peer. It's as though the entire world in a Sutton story is rotting and oozing nasty secretions. The pay-off isn't the cliche of the stranger exclaiming "I know everything because I'm Wilfred!" but the amazing full-page pin-up of Wilfred-Thing wrapping the villagers in his vegetal tentacles (the first full-pager in a Warren?).

Andrew boards a train to his home, Fallsburg, but the train goes no further than Grimsdale. Leaving the station, Andrew is struck by how desolate the town is. Moving further in, he runs into some creepy characters in robes, who grab the frightened man and take him to a graveyard where he discovers his name etched on a tombstone. The lid falls on his coffin and we discover that Andrew was actually an inmate at Grimsdale Sanitarium, who has died and is en route to his final resting place.

"Untimely Meeting"
Granger, a ruthless convict, murders a guard and escapes his prison on the edge of the swamp. The sadistic warden isn't about to let the killer go free, so he grabs his dogs and goes a-hunting. Meanwhile, Granger stumbles upon a highway on the other side of the swamp, where he meets a man dressed in vintage clothing, attempting to fix his jalopy. Granger kills the man and motors on but discovers the further down the highway he travels, the older he gets. Suddenly a light bulb goes on over his addled head: if he ages heading this way, perhaps the other lane will take him to youth. Unfortunately, the dope doesn't figure on running right into himself, coming down the highway minutes before.

"Completely Cured" and "Untimely Meeting" continue Bill Parente's shameless pillaging of old EC scripts. We've seen both plots umpteen times before (usually done better), but maybe Bill figured no one was paying attention. The only plus to "Completely Cured" is that this is the first instance where Tallarico/Fraccio don't trot out the saber-toothed troglodyte creature they're so fond of. Aside from that, the narrative makes no sense. Is Andrew dead the entire time? Is he dreaming about his trip to Fallsburg? Why is he terrorized by the hooded figures? The same sort of problems sink "Untimely Meeting." One perplexing sequence has the warden falling back once Granger enters the deep part of the swamp and commenting, "One thing's sure, deputy--if our man went in that way--he ain't never comin' out!" after several panels of the guy proclaiming he was gonna get his man no matter what. Didn't the warden know about the highway? Or is this a secret highway only Granger would stumble on? None of this makes sense but I'll give the writer one-half star for an interesting (if cliched) twist. Another cover reprint, by the way, this one from Famous Monsters of Filmland #20.-Peter

Jack-That cover may be a reprint, but I still love it and anything having to do with London After Midnight! As we move through the "dark ages," trends start to pop up. Generally, we're getting three reprints and three new stories per issue, though this time we get 22 new pages, an improvement over the 18 we had been getting. Sutton is doing fine work, as is Crandall, with Colon's art decent and Fraccio/Tallarico's not so hot.

I agree that "Stranger in Town" is a fine piece of work by Tom Sutton, though I don't think it's as impressive as "The Fall of the House of Usher." I like the pun on the last page, where the monster uses "protean" rather than "protein"; I think it's a clever pun and not a misspelling, though we see plenty of those in the Warren mags. "Completely Cured" is not the first Parente tale that seems to be over and then goes on one more page. The art here is passable and reminds me that we saw some pretty bad work by Joe Orlando back in the glory days. Colon is certainly better than Fraccio and Tallarico and his art in "Untimely Meeting" has a kind of Alex Toth feel to it, though not anywhere near as good. The muddled time paradox story is poor. The three reprints are all fair to fairly good; none of them was great the first time out.

H. B. Harris
Creepy 1969 Yearbook

"Scream Test!"
(From #13)

"The Doorway!"
(from #11)

(from #10)

(from #9)

"Curse of the Vampire!"
(from #14)

"The Beckoning Beyond!"
(from #14)

"Midnight Sail"
(from #10)

One only has to look at the inside front cover of this "1969 Yearbook" to see just how lazy Warren had gotten. It's an illo of Uncle Creepy hyping the contents of this "Collector's Edition," explaining that it contains the very best in illustrated terror and suspense from the first seven issues. Only problem is that the present volume highlights highlights from #9-14 and, yep, that illo is the exact same one that appeared in the 1968 Yearbook! Uh-oh. One wonders what Warren could possibly do to fill a 1970 Yearbook but we'll find out in good time. The cover is based on a still from an old Mexi-monster movie called Ladrón de Cadáveres. -Peter

Jack-I went back over our coverage of these seven stories and saw that we gave two stars to four of them, 2.5 stars to two of them, and three stars to "The Doorway." Hardly the very best! Still, a mag that collects work by Angelo Torres, Dan Adkins, Wally Wood, Neal Adams, and Johnny Craig can't be all bad!

Next Issue...
Can Yandoc succeed where Wildey and Evans failed?


Grant said...

It isn't a popular opinion, but I think Nazi Germany is such a "go-to" subject in EVERY kind of entertainment, including SF, that it's become a huge cliche. And that includes using it as a TWIST. (And you don't have to be someone who "ignores history" to feel that way, because I'm talking about entertainment.)
Because of that, I don't think I'd be very annoyed by the twist in "Their Journey's End." Not because it's good, but because it probably doesn't do any WORSE a job than so many OTHER stories with Nazi tie-ins. Including well-received ones.

Jack Seabrook said...

Grant, you make a good point, but I wish the story was better. If it were much good at all we could debate whether the twist is overused! Thanks for your comment.