Monday, December 2, 2019

The Warren Report Issue 22: February-April 1970

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

Creepy #31 (February 1970)

"In the Face of Death" 
Story by Al Hewetson
Art by Bill Fraccio and Tony Tallarico

"Telephoto Troll!" 
Story by R. Michael Rosen
Art by Roger Brand

"A Night's Lodging!"
(Reprinted from Creepy #17)

"Snowmen!"  ★1/2
Story and Art by Tom Sutton

"A Wooden Stake for Your Heart!" 
Story by Don Glut
Art by Bill Black

"Death of a Stranger!" 
Story by T. Casey Brennan
Art by Ernie Colon

"Laughing Liquid" 
Story by Kevin Pagan
Art by William Barry

"In the Face of Death"
Right off the bat we know we're in trouble with the quote "...all new stories" blazing across the cover and the infamous "A Night's Lod[g]ing" reprinted within. The mercifully short "In the Face of Death" (at a mere four pages) makes no sense whatsoever and fails to elicit more than a groan from this impatient reader. Our protagonist creeps along the back alleys of London searching for the man who "caused me to live this miserable life," and finds him, at last, after years of searching. Turns out the man he's looking for is Merlin the magician, who stole our narrator's identity... and face. Truly awful, with a"so what?" twist and lazy writing (Uncle Creepy's opening monologue ends with the awkwardly-phrased, "He's been plagued for years with a little problem I call... In the Face of Death" Huh?

Don the astronomer has made a fascinating discovery: he focuses his new telescope on a distant planet, takes a picture and, once developed, the picture comes to life. He photographs gases and the noxious fumes almost overtake him and his gorgeous servant/wife, Julia. He snaps a shot of weird seeds on the planet's surface and, once the photo is developed... voila, seeds in his lab. Julia makes Don promise not to take any more photos, since the practice might prove dangerous, and then heads to bed. Don wakes her shortly thereafter with a fantastic surprise.

"Telephoto Troll!"

"Telephoto Troll!"
He's just snapped a shot of one of the planet's inhabitants, an ugly troll; could Julia please develop the pic for him so he can have photographic evidence to show his colleagues? Without a second thought, Julia does what she's told and, soon after,  Don is attacked in his lab by a "giant troll!" Thinking fast, Don burns the troll Polaroid and... Poof!... up in smoke goes the monster. Phew! That was close! Just then, Don is attacked by a horde of trolls while, in her darkroom, Julia muses how happy Don will be when he learns she's made six extra copies of the photo!

So... Julia tells Don this little experiment of his could be deadly and then makes six copies of the photo to surprise him? Never mind that, what's a gorgeous (if anatomically odd) babe like Julia doing with Dr. Strange wanna-be Don? I kept waiting for her younger boyfriend to come out of the woodwork with a plan to off the old codger. I really dug Roger Brand's past work, but in "Telephoto Troll!" it's awkward and just... goofy. Julia's body changes shapes and bra-sizes from panel to panel and, at times, the poor girl looks like she's just come off a stretching-session on a rack. But the real trouble is the awful script and the sense that writer Rosen doubts he's writing for anyone older than eight.

Timmy Cabot's rich father keeps the boy isolated from the other children in the village, but when a series of child murders rocks the small town, Cabot Sr. must grab the reins and command the investigation. Suspicion falls on slow-witted LeRoy and Cabot takes the law into his own hands, stringing the man up from a tree outside town. Cabot will have quite the surprise, though, when the thaw reveals the missing kids in the "Snowmen!" Timmy built in the yard. Even though we know the "twist" right from the opening panels, "Snowmen!" is still creepy fun. Maybe it's the winter setting, maybe the fact that children are involved, but more than likely it's thanks to Tom Sutton's unflinching art. LeRoy's hanging body is a jarring image, as is that of the melting snowmen.

"Death of a Stranger!"
The angry villagers are intent on beating down the wooden door of Castle Rogo, dragging the Count out and driving that wooden stake right into his heart. Though Count Rogo pleads his innocence, the townsfolk overpower him and drive that stake home, killing him instantly. One of the villagers cries out in excitement that there's a locked door in the room and, unable to hold back their curiosity, they unwittingly unleash the monsters Rogo had kept in check behind the door. With a cliched script and awful, movie-still "inspired" art by Bill Black, "A Wooden Stake For Your Heart!" is really juvenile stuff.

Dying of a brain tumor, our unnamed narrator fears entering the "after-life" alone, so he wanders through life fantasizing a quick exit and a supporting cast who will help him face his final days. In the end, the man gets a helping hand from the Grim Reaper himself. Though not entirely successful,  the powerful message and delivery of "Death of a Stranger!"can't be ignored. Writer T. Casey Brennan, who will contribute even more powerful scripts in the years to come, virtually invents the "adult Warren horror story" on the spot here; nothing that came before this story touched on such a deep subject without a silly twist or random ghoul. The protagonist hallucinates a psychedelic episode with a waitress that might have left Creepy's target audience (which must have been about eight years of age, based on the other scripts being greenlit at the time) scratching their heads and skipping pages. The art's also a little rough in spots, but appropriate for the subject matter. When all is said and done, we may have T. Casey Brennan to thank for showing Warren Publishing the light at the end of the tunnel.

"Laughing Liquid"
Last up is the truly wretched "Laughing Liquid," wherein a man uncovers a nefarious plot from outer space. Aliens have infested our water (and the water within our bodies) and slowly drive their hosts insane. Suicide is the only solution. Writer Kevin Pagan wisely uses an old ploy similar to the plan put into effect by his aliens: stuff your prose full of misspellings and the reader will forget that the plot is as easy to swallow as a Kevin Spacey film festival. Some examples:

I didn't know what to expect when I received that phone call from my friend Proffi (sic) Hirschfield

"Supposedly, he's one of the best Psycoanalyist (sic) in the field. Recently working and researching extra senory (sic)"

I woke up in icey (sic) cold sweat

That unhuman laughing was tearing away at my sanaity (sic)!

I've had enough of these (sic) crap! -Peter

Jack-You said it! How in the world did they misspell the title of "A Night's Lodging!" as "A Night's Loding!"? I wondered for a moment if it was spelled wrong back when it first appeared in Creepy 17, so I looked back and, lo and behold, it was misspelled then, too! So the letterer not only got it wrong the first time and the editor did not catch it, but then they pulled it out to reprint it and still did not notice the error! Incredible.

Not so incredible is the continued poor quality of the stories in Creepy. After a pretty wild cover by Vaughn Bode and Larry Todd, which probably sold most of the copies of this rag, we get "In the Face of Death," which is so poorly told that I thought a page was missing. The end of "Telephoto Troll" made me chuckle, even though art and story were both terrible. The storytelling in "Snowmen!" was a bit hazy but it's still better than anything else in this issue. I didn't think "A Wooden Stake for Your Heart" was as bad as you did, though the ending has been done before and Bill Black didn't do a great job of tracing Christopher Lee movie stills. "Death of a Stranger!" was not bad; I like Ernie Colon's art but thought the ending was disappointing. As for "Laughing Liquid," the story was mixed up and ended abruptly.

Vaughn Bode & Basil Gogos
Eerie #26 (March 1970)

"I Wouldn't Want to Live There!"
Story by Bill Parente
Art by Jack Sparling

"Southern Exposure"★1/2
(Part II)
Story by Bill Parente
Art by Tom Sutton

"In the Neck of Time"
Story by Al Hewetson
Art by Tony Tallarico

"Spiders are Revolting!"★1/2
Story by Bill Warren
Art by Tom Sutton

"The Scarecrow"
Story by Nicola Cuti
Art by Frank Bolle

"Tuned In!"★1/2
Story by Ken Dixon
Art by Dick Piscopo

Story by Ken Dixon
Art by Jack Sparling

"I Wouldn't Want
to Live There!"
Three creatures from outer space land on a remote planet, intending to use it as a checkpoint to help them determine where they are. Landing first on a hot desert, Timuk is smothered to death in a sandstorm. Moving on to the undersea depths, Ven is killed by a sea monster. Finally, atop a rocky mountain, Gork is vaporized by a bolt of lightning. Soon, the prehistoric inhabitants of the planet discover the abandoned spaceship, notice its unusual shape, and cavemen invent the wheel.

Jack Sparling actually does a nice job with the art on "I Wouldn't Want to Live There!" and, for a change, Bill Parente's script makes sense. The end is no big surprise--of course they were on Earth!--but the whole thing is reasonably entertaining.

"Southern Exposure" (Part II)
In "Southern Exposure" (Part II), Grandma issues a warning that tonight, when Melinda turns 21, she will be revealed to be a vampire, just like her mother! Melinda tells her boyfriend, Elliott, that her father had fallen for her mother, even though he knew she was a bloodsucking fiend. Dad pretended to be a maniac, covering up for Mom's murders until villagers killed both of her parents. Midnight arrives and Melinda shows that she casts a reflection in a mirror, so she can't be a vampire. Unfortunately for Elliott, Melinda reveals that her Pop was a werewolf and so is she!

Arrgh! I knew that one half-decent Bill Parente script was all we could hope for. This one is a disaster--it's dreadfully overwritten, with characters coming and going with no explanation and others being mentioned without any sense of clarity. My summary is the best I could do after two careful readings; all I know for sure is that the ending was yet another version of "I'm not Monster A, I'm Monster B!"

Peter sold some more digests!
("In the Neck of Time")
A scientist invents a method to travel through time and takes a "stun-paralizer [sic] ray" gun to commit a series of robberies in the Old West, intending to return to the present with his ill-gotten gains. Sadly, the ray gun malfunctions and he is arrested, tried, and sentenced to 20 years in the state pen. A lynch mob grabs him and hangs him from a tree; when he is pulled back to the present, his house has burned down because he forgot to shut off the power in his lab.

Forget the usual, terrible art by Fraccio and Tallarico; Hewetson's script for "In the Neck of Time" is even worse! Cousin Eerie has to jump in halfway through to help explain what's going on and provide missing details, and the last page makes absolutely no sense, even though it is also explained by Cousin Eerie! Early on, the scientist grabs a ray gun that his brother invented, but we never meet his brother or learn why he came up with this futuristic weapon. At the end of the story, the scientist is dead by hanging and for some reason he is said to return automatically to the present, where his house has burned down. Don't ask me. I have no idea.

A particularly nasty panel from
"Spiders Are Revolting!"
Bill Elliot is in a straitjacket, locked in a padded call, terrified of spiders. Why? It all started when he and his wife Jeanne moved into the old house they bought at an auction and discovered that the attic was filled with spiders. "Spiders Are Revolting!" thought Bill. When the exterminator came, the critters had disappeared, but soon Bill saw them in the cellar, covering a man's dead body. The corpse was gone by the time the police arrived. Soon, a knock at the door revealed a spectral creature that seemed to be made of many spiders; Bill conked it over the head and then burned down the house to try to eradicate the little monsters.

Bill and Jeanne flee to a mountain cabin, but before you know it, another spider-human arrives at the door. Bill sets it ablaze and goes back inside, only to find that Jeanne has become a spider-creature. Bill heads for town and is soon locked away because he thinks he's seeing more creatures. To his horror, the doctor and an orderly reveal themselves to be more of the same creatures!

The script by Bill Warren is nothing special, but Tom Sutton goes for the gross-out and it works, if you like that sort of thing. I suspect the kids reading Warren mags in 1970 would've had a ball with this story. There are some pretty sick panels.

"The Scarecrow"
Farmer Zeb Witney erects "The Scarecrow" in his cornfield, which happens to sit on ancient Indian burial grounds. His daughter, Baby-Lou, names the scarecrow Mr. Willoughby and stays in the field to talk with the man of straw. This brings her wicked stepmother, Linda, out to beat her for being late to dinner; Zeb hears Linda scream.

Six years later, Baby-Lou is all grown up and returns from the sanitarium by train. She is met by her father, who remarks on her beauty. On returning to the farm, Baby-Lou is anxious to chat with Mr. Willoughby and her father distracts her by taking her to the local carnival. Her prowess at the shooting game attracts the attention of Brian, who squires her around and ends up putting the moves on her. She takes him back to the cornfield for some smooching and introduces him to Mr. Willoughby, at which point he smacks her across the chops and says she's a nut. She warns him about leaving the cornfield, but he ignores her and is torn to shreds. Zeb returns and tears down Mr. Willoughby, thinking the scarecrow is to blame, but Baby-Lou informs him that the scarecrow was actually protecting them from the crows, who are really the spirits of Indians. Next day, Baby-Lou wanders in a daze past Zeb's corpse, which has been picked clean and which now hangs in Mr. Willoughby's place.

That story doesn't sound bad in the retelling, and I really think there's something half-decent underneath, but Nicola Cuti doesn't seem quite ready to tell a very good or coherent tale just yet and Frank Bolle's art, while not bad, isn't particularly impressive, either. Cuti is still a few years away from writing the great E-Man series, so I'll put this down to youth.

At least we have this panel...
"Tuned In!"
Fading movie star Russ Andrews is playing a serial killer in a new movie called Blood and Black Stockings and he's miserable, partly due to his knockout wife's shrewish behavior. One day, he picks up a real broad axe instead of a fake one and accidentally murders one of his female costars during filming. Or was it an accident? Russ is depressed and having trouble separating reality from fiction, especially when he hears the movie's theme song. It plays on the radio at home and he kills his wife. It plays in the car and he kills the driver and the film's director. After the movie's premiere, the song plays on the speaker in an elevator, and Russ kills three more people. Too bad the doors open on a surprise birthday party for the movie star.

Dick Piscopo's art makes Frank Bolle's look like the work of Neal Adams, and Ken Dixon's script for "Tuned In!" suffers from the same fragmentary and elliptical storytelling that seems to infect so many of the Warren stable of writers. The end recalls Fredric Brown's story, "Nightmare in Yellow."

The members of The Animals, a motorcycle gang, descend on Roy's Bar, where one of the bikers, a gent named Leather, seduces a lovely gal named Heather. The Animals find one of their members, Crazy Eddie, dead in the street outside with marks on his neck that can only mean one thing--he was killed by members of a rival gang, The Demons, who only ride at night! The Animals track down The Demons and Leather kills one of them. The next night, another member of The Animals, a biker named Exhaust, is killed. The Animals chase The Demons and discover that they're vampires, but that's okay, because The Animals are werewolves.

Good Lord, that was awful. Peter, what did I do to deserve this? It takes a lot of skill and effort to try to make sense of this garbage and summarize it concisely. Jack Sparling's art is particularly bad here; like other comic artists we see all too often (Sam Glanzman, for example), he does not excel at drawing human faces. And there are a LOT of faces in "Cyked-Out!" I can only hope that next issue will be better.-Jack

Peter-Another humdrum issue with very few highlights. I think the script for "I Wouldn't Want to Live There!" might be the best of Parente's career at Warren so far; it's got some nice twists and a climax that actually surprises (the same can not be said for the moronic final panel of "Southern Exposure") for a change. Tom Sutton's art for "Spiders are Revolting!" looks rushed and crowded; there are spots here and there that are not easy to comprehend. The script provides proof that future movie critic Bill Warren was on a steady diet of H.P. Lovecraft in college. Al Hewetson turns in another stinker with "In the Neck of Time," perfectly embellished by Tallarico. Rather than do something new, Hewetson provides yet another example of a scientist who spends a whole hell of a lot of time devising an invention that will help mankind (and I'm a little vague on how this would help rather than hinder, but...) only to decide, just before launch, that he's been treated wrongly and so he'll rob banks instead. Brilliant. "The Scarecrow" has potential that is thrown away fairly quickly and climaxes with "the big shock" that makes no sense. And "the big shock" of "Tuned In!" is a tad muted since Russ spends the entire length of the story killing people! Could the previous six stories only be a warm-up for something vastly worse? You betcha! "Cyked-Out" wins the "You're Vampires? Well, We're Werewolves!" Award this month for both its inane plot and stupid reveal. It doesn't help when Jack Sparling is the artist. Warren paid money for this tripe? Worse, I paid money for this tripe!

Jeff Jones & Vaughn Bode
Vampirella #4 (April 1970)

"Forgotten Kingdom"
Story by Bill Parente
Art by David StClair (Ernie Colon)

"Closer Than Sisters"
Story by Nicola Cuti
Art by Mike Royer

Story by Don Glut
Art by William Barry

"For the Love of Frankenstein"★1/2
Story by Bill Warren
Art by Jack Sparling

"Come Into My Parlor!"★1/2
Story by R. Michael Rosen
Art by Dick Piscopo

"Run For Your Wife!"
Story by Richard Carnell & Jack Erman
Art by Jack Sparling

Note the pretty Spirograph design on the right.
("Forgotten Kingdom")
On the distant planet Uluphon, a beautiful woman named Zodi is riding around on her mount, called a Kog, when she finds that a man in a spacesuit has landed on her planet. He saves her life and introduces himself as Keifer; she takes him back to her temple, where the leader, Temple of One, explains that a plague 200 years before wiped out all the men on the planet. Temple of One wants Keifer to help repopulate.

Oddly enough, he resists and is locked up. Zodi helps him escape and they return to his ship, where he destroys Temple of One's avatar, and thus the entire planet, before they take off. On the spaceship, he reveals to Zodi that, on his planet, there are no women!

At least he did not turn out to be a werewolf. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this story is that the artist, Ernie Colon (under the pen name, David StClair), has discovered the toy called Spirograph, which was invented in 1965. Panel after panel of "Forgotten Kingdom" features those drawings that I used to make when I was a kid by running a pen around and around those plastic discs.

Took the words right out of our mouths
("Closer Than Sisters")
Olivegard is a lonely little girl who lives by the seashore with her aunt and uncle. Her parents were killed in a car crash but she was spared. When her new governess, June Hyland, arrives, she and the girl quickly become "Closer Than Sisters," and it's a good thing, too, since the aunt and uncle want to murder little Olivegard for her inheritance. Olivegard turns the tables and kills her aunt and uncle before June tells her that she is Olivegard too, having come back from ten years in the future to protect her younger self. But wait! It's all in her head. Olivegard actually has been locked up in the loony bin for eight years since she murdered her aunt and uncle.

Some of these seven-page stories feel like they're about 20 pages long and I'm surprised when I go back through them that so much verbiage was packed into such a short space. This is another Nicola Cuti tale of confusion, with awkward art by Mike Royer, who can't decide if Olivegard is a little girl or a pinup. And haven't we had enough of the surprise ending where the main character is crazy? At least she's not a werewolf.

We think he's a werewolf...
When city slicker Paul Klug's fancy car gets a flat tire way out in the country, he is menaced by a couple of gun-toting hillbillies but attracted to their sexy sister. Flat fixed, he drives off and nearly runs over a cat, whose eyes resemble those of the pretty girl. Paul follows the cat into the woods and finds the girl, who seduces him and makes him agree to come live with her and her brothers, as long as he becomes one of them. He follows her back to the family shack and drinks some of her special "Moonshine!," which turns him into a werewolf. Of course, she's a witch, her brothers are warlocks, and Uncle Irv is a vampire.

Now that's more like it! There's nothing terribly original about this story, but at least it's fun and the plot makes sense from start to finish. I kind of like William Barry's art; he's no Reed Crandall, but at least it's better than much of what we've been getting for months and months.

An especially bad panel from
"For the Love of Frankenstein"
Dr. Frankenstein's grand-niece, Dr. Hedvig Krollek, has kept up the family business, trying but failing repeatedly to create life out of dead bodies and electricity. Her assistant, the deformed hunchback Dr. Hoffstein, is in love with her, and she uses this devotion to get him to procure bodies and brains for her experiments. Finally she gets a body to live, but the brain is fried, so she sends Hoffstein out for a new one. He buys a used brain but throws it out of his truck's window on the way back to the lab, sick of Hedvig's experiments. Predictably, she kills him and uses his brain instead; even more predictably, he kills her and blows up the lab.

The good news is that this utterly derivative story has a comprehensible plot. The bad news is that Jack Sparling's art is worse than usual, with some panels requiring one to squint and turn one's head sideways to try to guess what's being depicted. He can draw a pretty sexy Hedvig (and Vampirella) when he tries, but I wonder if the Warren artists inked their own work and that's why Sparling's Warren stories look so much worse than what he was doing for DC around the same time. No DC editor would ever let art this sloppy make it into print.

"Come Into My Parlor!"
Jim Hartman falls hard for Miss Arachna, a circus high wire walker and a scantily-clad beauty. He visits her in her trailer, professes his love, and gets her to show him her secret laboratory, where she experiments with spiders. She takes off her gloves and shows him her hairy, spider-like hands, then explains that she experimented on herself years before and gained the ability to walk on thin wires. Jim doesn't care and talks her into marrying him, but when he brings her home she reveals that, like the black widow spiders on which she conducted her experiments, she must devour her mate!

From his bio, reproduced below, Dick Piscopo sounds like a nice guy and an accomplished comic artist, but "Come Into My Parlor!" is another wretched job. Mercifully only six pages long, it features stilted dialogue by R. Michael Rosen and yet another ending that fails to surprise. At least, unlike most of the efforts of Bill Parente, the plot makes sense.

Several women are thrilled to receive an invitation to visit Count Tsarov in Slovania, all expenses paid. They and their husbands fly to the distant country and are welcomed but, unbeknownst to the guests, the count is actually a woman masquerading as a man. The next day, a tennis match pitting men versus women is interrupted when a high fence emerges to separate the sexes and Tsarov orders the men to start running for their lives. Some of the men fall into trenches, where they are devoured by snakes, alligators, and red ants. One of the wives releases Tsarov's dogs, and the beasts destroy the evil count. The wife takes off her wig to reveal that she is a male investigator!

Words fail us.
("Run for Your Wife")
After reading "Run for Your Wife!," all I can say is "What the heck?" A quick search online reveals no other credits for Richard Carnell, who supposedly wrote the story that was adapted by Jack Erman. I would love to see a copy of the story that served as the basis for this mess, which is "illustrated" poorly by Jack Sparling. It really makes no sense at all, especially the two characters who turn out to be cross-dressing. Peter? Help?-Jack

Peter- Of all the drek we've read that was published during the "Dark Age," I think I can safely say (or, at least, hope to God I can say) that this is the single worst issue I've read of a Warren magazine. The scripts don't just range from inane ("Forgotten Kingdom") to contrived ("Closer Than Sisters") to laugh-out-loud stupid ("Moonshine!" and "Come Into My Parlor!") to indecipherable ("Frankenstein" and "Run For Your Wife"), they almost have a contemptuous air to them as if all seven writers were reveling in the fact that Vampirella readers would swallow anything... even this. Imagine picking up a Warren mag in 1970 and not knowing that things were going to turn around in a couple years and quality would rain down upon you like Chicken McNuggets from the sky. You just had to accept that this was as good as it got. Believe me, if I didn't know it gets better soon, I'd have never talked poor Jack into climbing onto this raft with me.

Next Week...
Michelinie and Talaoc continue to burn
the quality candle at both ends!

From Eerie 26

From Vampirella 4


Anonymous said...

Neat little Vampi pic by future Solomon Kane / Shang-Chi / Steelgrip Starkey artist Al Weiss on the Fan Page.

Boy, if you guys think Hewetson’s stories in these issues are bad (and they abso-effing-lutely ARE), you should check out his Skywald comics a few years down the road. There are people these days who praise his Horror Mood comics as some kind of treasure trove of underrated genius or something — I think it’s the same kind of Outsider Hip attitude that motivates some folks to over-praise junkmeisters like Jess Franco and Michael Avallone. The Horror-Mood books have their moments (namely some decent art here and there) but they’re nigh unreadable IMO. And don’t even get me started on his quirky punctuation tics...

Let’s just say...

the man never met an ellipsis...

he didn’t love...


Grant said...

It doesn't sound like some shameless copy, but "Snowmen" sounds like it borrows a lot from THE BAD SEED. Timmy turns out to be the killer of other kids, and a "dim-witted" employee named Leroy gets killed (though not by Timmy). I've never read it, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Leroy seems to be on to Timmy just before getting killed, which is another big part of THE BAD SEED, Leroy suspecting too much about Rhoda before it happens to him.

Jack Seabrook said...

Grant-I've never seen THE BAD SEED so I'll have to take your word for it.

b.t.-Thanks for the laugh about Hewetson. I've not read the Skywald mags and don't intend to.

Peter Enfantino said...

Well, I have read a whole bunch of the Horror-Moods and, B.T., you... are... absolutely... co... rrect. There are so many out there that think that stuff rivaled Warren. Lunatics, I says. Most of it made no sense whatsoever or felt like you were being dropped into the middle of a story and plucked back out before a proper ending could come your way. There may just be a Skywald blog in the future (put that gun away Jack... it'll be with Jose) if I work up the nerve. Still so much on the horizon that's better to dissect though.

Anonymous said...

From the cover of PSYCHO # 9 -- ALL of these words and oddly random punctuation marks appear on the cover, verbatim:



...the creep who slithers, half-dead, half buried

...into graves he doesn't own...

...his filthy, age-matted fingers grab the earth...tear at the coffins underneath...

rip up a crumbling skull and horribly display it for you...


I have questions.

Who STARTS a sentence with an ellipsis?!
Can a person own a grave? I mean, I guess they CAN, but it doesn't right.
Do fingers actually get matted by age?
Can they even be matted at all? Isn't that more of a hair thing than a finger thing?

Then, there's this, from the cover of NIGHTMARE #12 -- again, verbatim:




God, i kinda love that colon! So definitive. But... if he's already buried, why must I bury him? Hmm.

And finally, this from NIGHTMARE #15:



...I AM HE...

...I AM EVIL...


It's like, "Yeah yeah, we get it, calm down already. Jesus."

And note that it isn't just ANY old Creeping Death Issue, it's the WEIRD Creeping Death Issue. Makes a difference, i guess.

It's actually pretty magical, in a way.

-- b.t.

Quiddity said...


I'm making my way through the Skywalds for the first time now, and I'd say they are at least decent. The Warren material from the equivalent time period is better, no questions asked. Especially the ongoing series. I haven't reached the famed "Saga of the Victims" series yet, but Skywald series like the Human Gargoyles or Lady Satan are by and large a complete waste of time. I am though having some fun reading horror magazines that are a drastically different style than what we got from Warren editors like Archie Goodwin, Bill Dubay or Louise Jones. A story like say "The 13 Dead Things" is something you'd never see in a Warren magazine, but boy is it an amazing read. Mood, atmosphere, and being as over the top as possible are all treated as more important than a coherent plot in the Skywald stories. I will take Warren's style over Skywald's, for sure, but I am for certain enjoying the Skywald experience.

Don't have much to comment on for today's Warren report. Eerie #26 was one of the earliest Warren issues I ever owned, so I do look somewhat fondly on it for that reason. Vaughn Bode provides some good cover work and seems to be quite the hit with Jim Warren at the moment as he has a hand in all 3 covers. Speaking of Skywald, "Spiders Are Revolting" seems like a story that would fit just at home in one of their magazines.

Todd Mason said...

These were the vintage of Warren horror comics that I first encountered...and that they, and their 1973ish successors, weren't even as good as contemporary DC or Marvel...or Charlton or Gold Key(!)...horror scripting...made it very easy for me to ignore them going forward. Ellipses or not.

Jack Seabrook said...

The only Warrens I ever bought were The Spirit and Famous Monsters, so it's all new to me.