Monday, March 22, 2021

The Warren Report Issue 55: August 1974



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

Creepy 64

"Forgotten Flesh" ★1/2
Story by Doug Moench
Art by Vicente Alcazar

Story by Doug Moench
Art by Esteban Maroto

"High Time" 
Story by Steve Skeates
Art by Paul Neary

"Only Losers Win!" ★1/2
Story by Rich Margopoulos
Art by Howard Chaykin

"One Autumn at Arkham" 
Story & Art by Tom Sutton

"To Sleepy Hollow... Returned" 
Story by Jeff Rovin
Art by Leo Summers

"An Angel Shy of Hell!" 
Story by Jim Stenstrum
Art by Rich Corben

The “story behind the story” on this one is almost as fascinating as the story itself. Larry Todd and Vaughn Bode had painted a cover of a disintegrating astronaut to go with a story Todd was writing called “Philadelphia Pilot” (which, ironically, was never written). Editor Dubay was so fascinated by the decrepit face that he commissioned writers and artists to come up with seven different stories revolving around the visage. The experiment was well- received by readers but not undertaken again.

In the opener, "Forgotten Flesh," the corpses of the poor break out of their graves in Thorndale Cemetery, shuffle over to the graves of the rich, and begin digging. For some reason, on this night, the "poor-dead" have decided they don't like the fact that the "rich-dead" have been lying in silk-lined coffins all these years and they're about to play a game of musical caskets with the snobs. Meanwhile, two grave-robbers are plying their trade in the same acreage, unaware they are about to be inducted into the "poor-dead" as honorary members. 

Well, it is Doug Moench we're talking about here so no real surprise that there's nary an explanation present for what the hell is going on. How long have these dead peasants been stewing? Why the sudden desire for a change of address? Not like it's International Be Kind to Someone Who Doesn't Have Any Money Day or something. The story's also a cheat as far as the figure goes. That panel of a rotting skeletal corpse is as close as we get to our cover guy in this story. But, look at the bright side: more Moench bon-bons to chew on! Dirt has trembled and shifted and burst upward in spraying streamers driven by clutching hands of charnel flesh...! Next!

Looking for the best lay in the galaxy, a traveler heads for the planet Ecdysia, rumored to be populated by the most gorgeous and sexy babes this side of Uranus. Our "hero" crash lands and must fight off some creepy-looking savages before finding the city of the centerfolds, where he gets down to business quickly and frequently. Alas, the next morning our star stud realizes that these babes carry a very nasty strain of VD and he's reduced to... you guessed it!... a creepy-looking savage. Putting aside the misogyny imbedded in Doug Moench's strip (yes, that's right, we're graced with a "Double-Munch" this issue), since the chauvinist gets what's coming to him in the end, it's still not that great of a story. We've seen variations on this plot all the way back to EC days. There aren't even any bon-bons to giggle over. The Maroto art is great but, again, I really must insist his stuff is best viewed in B+W rather than color. And the only tie to that cover is the teensy weensy panel reprinted to the right. Two for two, I feel cheated.

"High Time"
A space warrior lies dying of radiation poisoning on a faraway planet, his dreams of an idyllic paradise the only thing he has left. There's not much more than that to Steve Skeates's "High Time," which makes hardly a bit of sense. The story is so disjointed, in fact, that I had to check to make sure the pages were printed in order or maybe someone down at the plant forgot to print a few pages. The Neary art is good enough but it all kinda melts together into a spaceman pie, doesn't it? The chicks have great boobs and there are lots of big flowers. Obviously, those are the ingredients for a Warren SF/Fantasy tale.

In the future, the world is overpopulated and every inch is fought over. With the grand prize a full year of solitude in Central Park, racers from all over the world converge on New York to participate in a grueling road race through America. Our "hero," Mark Denton, racer extraordinaire, has no qualms with injecting himself with the illegal drug, Hermezine, in order to vacation in the great green expanse. Mark wins the race but the drug takes its toll because everyone knows... "Only Losers Win." Not a bad SF tale (emanating some DR2000 vibes, as Jack notes below), with some stylish early Chaykin work. Oddly, "Only Losers Win" is identified on the contents page as "Speedway."

"Only Losers Win"

Carl Dinian can't finish his research until he gets his hands on the notebook of Dr. Artemus Mundi, a professor whose tragic accident years before left him bandaged and bound to a wheelchair. Luckily, Carl's squeeze, Melany, is the niece of Mundi and the professor grants the young man an audience. Unfortunately, Carl cannot persuade Artemus to hand over his notes but, later, Carl is elated to find that Melany has "borrowed" the book. Turns out that around the time of the tragic accident, Mundi and his partner, Renquist, were working on a "Protec-Suit," a gizmo that allows the wearer to live forever. But, as happens in these scientific tales, there's a battle of egos and Artemus buries Renquist alive in the Protec-Suit. Carl is determined to get his hands on the Suit and digs up Renquist's grave. Big mistake.

Right from the splash, you know what you're going to get from "One Autumn at Arkham," a meticulously detailed, atmospheric nightmare whose story might have seen a few too many tellings, but whose visuals are enough to carry the whole thing over. Reading Tom Sutton's oddities, you almost wonder if the man had Lovecraft buried in a Protec-Suit someplace and would pick his brain every month or so for some new crawling, dripping whatsis. Uncle Artemus is a frog-like creature who could also pass as a demented pulp hero a la The Spider. The bad news is that this is Sutton's last original appearance in a Warren zine and his absence creates a huge gap that will never be filled.

News photographer Richard Reynolds is sent to the town of Sleepy Hollow to snap candids of its residents at their annual Halloween celebration. Reynolds meets up with a comely waitress named Leslie, who is immediately smitten with the shutterbug and retells the man the story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. Reynolds naturally scoffs at the tale but talks Leslie into accompanying him to the gala that night, to the dismay of Leslie's boss, who fancies himself Leslie's beau. The dance goes swimmingly and Richard and Leslie get smashed; the photog has more than drinks on his mind and talks the woman into going back with him to his hotel room. Leslie agrees but refuses to drive with the alcohol-soaked sod, suggesting they take a horse instead. 

It's while on this ride that Leslie and Richard meet up with the Headless Horseman, who's holding a glowing jack o' lantern, just as in the legend. At the fearsome sight, the horse bucks its riders and Reynolds hoofs it. The Horseman catches up with the spineless weasel and tosses his pumpkin at Reynolds's noggin. The next morning, Reynolds is found burned to death and Leslie and her boss are never seen again. A rip-snortin' good time, this one is. Updating the old chestnut and adding a few wrinkles, Jeff Rovin does a great job building the suspense in "To Sleepy Hollow... Returned," and leaves the climax with an ambiguous air. Was it really the Horseman, or Leslie's jilted wanna-be lover? Rovin (who warrants a one-and-done "Associate Editor" listing on the contents page) would contribute a handful of stories to the Warrens (and wrote a short-lived column in Famous Monsters in the last days of that magazine's life) before going on to fame and fortune as a novelist and Tom Clancy ghoster. To me, Rovin's greatest achievement was his 1998 novel, The Return of the Wolf Man, a wild Universal monster rally and a direct sequel to Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. I'm not a Leo Summers fan, but I think "To Sleepy Hollow..." contains the artist's best work yet.

"Sleepy Hollow"

In a post-apocalyptic future, a soldier of fortune named Hard John Apple has been given the keys to all of Kansas. It's his for the taking, but first he has to clear it out of all the damn "Cat-Licks," "Protstints," and "Davidists" who remain scattered throughout the State, most in hiding. Hard John goes about his business like a man doing God's work and, just as soon as he learns how to read the ICBM Missile manuals, he's gonna have himself a real good time.

"An Angel Shy of Hell"
Despite the high pedigree of "An Angel Shy of Hell" (both Stenstrum and Corben would be in my Warren Hall of Fame), this story left me cold. Could be the stylized writing, presenting the thoughts of what is essentially a grown child, or the annoying "nicknames" Stenstrum assigns the various religious sects. It very much reminded me of Ellison's "A Boy and His Dog" without the canine.-Peter

Jack-If this is an above-average issue of Creepy, I'd hate to see a below-average one! My favorite story was "To Sleepy Hollow...Returned," perhaps because I've always had a soft spot for the headless horseman. The art by Summers again reminds me of the work of Jack Davis, and the story probably makes the most creative use of the cover image. "One Autumn at Arkham" is not Sutton's best, but he still manages to deliver the gruesome goods with a welcome touch of humor. Maroto provides his usual smooth art in "Mates" and Moench (for once) resists the temptation toward verbosity; the result is fairly entertaining and the twist is a good one.

"Forgotten Flesh," on the other hand, contains Moench's usual, overheated prose and simplistic politics, though Alacazar draws decent corpses. "An Angel Shy of Hell!" is kind of like Warren's version of A Canticle for Leibowitz; Corben's art is below average for him. Not surprisingly, "High Time" is a pointless waste of seven pages with the usual Neary art. Most disappointing is "Only Losers Win!" because I expected more from Chaykin. I was surprised to see that this story predates the film Death Race 2000, since they share some common elements. Overall, I don't think the conceit of having seven stories spun off of the cover illo was worth the trouble.

The Spirit 3

"Black Alley"
Story by Will Eisner & Jules Feiffer
Art by Will Eisner
(Originally appeared June 5, 1949)

"Fox at Bay"
Story & Art by Will Eisner
(Originally appeared October 23, 1949)

Story by Will Eisner
Art by Will Eisner & Jerry Grandenetti
(Originally appeared November 13, 1949)

"Foul Play"
Story by Will Eisner & Jules Feiffer
Art by Will Eisner
(Originally appeared March 27, 1949)

"The Strange Case of Mrs. Paraffin"
Story by Will Eisner
Art by Will Eisner & Jerry Grandenetti
(Originally appeared March 7, 1948)

"The Embezzler"
Story & Art by Will Eisner
(Originally appeared November 27, 1949)

"The Last Hand"
Story & Art by Will Eisner
(Originally appeared May 16, 1948)

"Lonesome Cool"
Story & Art by Will Eisner
(Originally appeared December 18, 1949)

"Black Alley"
Jack-Another spectacular collection of post-war Spirit strips features the classic, "The Strange Case of Mrs. Paraffin," in which a wife kills her crazy scientist husband in self-defense and then turns herself in. Her composure and eventual suicide are perfectly captured and the color is gorgeous. This issue also contains three related stories from the fall of 1949: "Fox at Bay," in which the Spirit is shot in the legs, "Surgery...," in which Ellen and Satin race to find the only doctor who can save the Spirit's legs from amputation, and "The Embezzler," in which the Spirit is still on crutches. These stories did not follow each other over three consecutive weeks but were spaced out, with other brilliant stories in between. They demonstrate how Eisner could keep the Spirit in the background or bring him to the foreground as the story required.

"Black Alley" contains great use of sound effects and smoke, as well as a brilliant physical depiction of the Spirit's ethics, as he makes a fantastic leap to save the life of a man trying to kill him. Ethics are also central to "Foul Play," where one of Eisner's "little people" weighs the pros and cons of helping what appears to be the injured Spirit lying on the sidewalk below an apartment window. Perhaps most surprising is "The Last Hand," in which a city sharpie takes what looks like a cushy job with an old lady at her house in the country, only to discover that she is Meataxe Mary, a homicidal maniac! The last story, "Lonesome Cool," recalls any number of Bogart or Cagney films in its depiction of the way a wayward boy's life goes bad.

This magazine continues to be a delight; easily the best thing Warren was publishing at the time.
"The Last Hand"

Peter-Yep, another batch of fabulous mini-noir masterpieces. I love how The Spirit can go missing for some of these tales but they remain strong, as in my favorite this time out, "Foul Play" (although the opener, "Black Alley," is a close second). Eisner wisely puts the spotlight on the paranoid protagonist of "Foul Play," rather than our undead sleuth, knowing that "superhero comics" can become cliched and boring after a while. The letters page continues to be an all-star affair, this issue featuring missives from science fiction historian Sam Moskowitz, comics encyclopedia Robin Snyder, Warren vet Greg Potter, and Joe Brancatelli, who would, in a couple years, pen a controversial and essential regular comics column for Warren.

Enrich Torres
Vampirella 35

"The Blood-Gulper"
Story by Flaxman Loew
Art by Jose Ortiz

Story by Bruce Bezaire
Art by Esteban Maroto

"Our Tarts Were Young and Gay!"★1/2
Story by John Jacobson
Art by Ramon Torrents

"Pure as Snow"
Story by Jack Butterworth
Art by Felix Mas

"The Night Ran Red With Gore"
Story by Carl Wessler
Art by Rafael Auraleon

Story & Art by Fernando Fernandez

Someone is going around town draining bodies of blood, but it isn't Vampirella! Pendragon doesn't believe her, so she fires him as a partner and goes it alone, quite successfully. "The Blood-Gulper" is actually the revived body of the late singer Sammy Bleecher (last seen in Vampirella 34), who has been given a computer brain by a loony scientist. Sammy requires five liters of fresh human blood each day to function, so his handlers rig up a long tube with fangs at the end to do the job. Using the new name of the Devastator, Sammy is a hit, but when he gets a look at Vampi, the revived corpse with an electronic brain discovers what it means to feel desire. His management team captures Vampi in order to put an electronic brain in her head and mate her with the Devastator, but she turns the tables and drains all of their blood. With no blood, the revived corpse of Sammy falls to pieces. Vampi forgives Pendragon and decides to get the band back together.

Summarizing this story underscores just how nutty it is, yet it works for some strange reason, perhaps because it's just so over the top. I was not happy at the prospect of a replacement artist, either, but Ortiz does a nice job and has obviously studied Jose Gonzalez's work on the two main characters. There are some very good close-ups of Vampi that include her fangs, which we don't often see. It's a fun story and not at all boring.

As their spaceship prepares to land on an alien planet, scientists Paul and Cliff debate whether God created intelligent, non-human life. Cliff says that any environment that doesn't support human life doesn't support intelligence, but when they find intelligent life on the planet, Cliff can't deal with it and shoots a creature with his ray gun. Back in space, the ship's computer translates the alien's language and Cliff is shocked to learn that not only did they believe in God, they thought Cliff was Satan! The aliens were mankind's "Relatives!" after all.

This is a rare example of a thoughtful story in a Warren mag that is somewhat hobbled by below-average Maroto art. I was intrigued by the debate between Paul and Cliff and I was surprised that Bruce Bezaire went all the way with his script and had the alien reciting the Lord's Prayer. Too bad Maroto decided to dash off six sketchy pages to accompany the words.

Fleur the witch learns that "Our Tarts Were Young and Gay!" when Mickey, a warlock disguised as a rat, asks her to deliver an envelope to a house of ill repute. The fate of the coven depends on it and they're now living in nineteenth-century Boston. Fleur takes up temporary residence at the "Girls' Boarding House" to wait for her contact and is sent upstairs to service an unusual customer, but their time together is interrupted when her contact arrives, dressed as a priest. Fleur leaves in his company and the house Madam goes up to service the customer, which turns out to be a tentacled creature sent by the rival coven to destroy Fleur.

Truly terrible writing, this Fleur story makes very little sense as part of a continuing narrative. I looked back at our summary of the prior Fleur story, but that didn't help--the two tales have little in common beyond the main character. Torrents draws a gorgeous lead character but his ability to tell Jacobson's "story" in pictures is, as Peter pointed out last time, is sorely lacking. It's more like a series of poses.

Wishful thinking...
A young man elopes with his sweetheart to escape her controlling father and promises not to touch her until they're wed. They become trapped in a blizzard and, by the time they reach a deserted cabin, she has died of pneumonia. She remains "Pure as Snow" as he goes slowly mad, convinced her corpse keeps moving from place to place. Finally, unable to resist her fast-decaying form, he sets off to find a priest so they can be married and he can sleep with her.

There's a fine line between humor, horror, and bad taste, and this story crosses it. I read the whole thing, hoping that it would not go there, but in the end, it did. The only saving grace is that we don't get a picture of the man having sex with the corpse. I don't know why Goodwin chose this to be the color story this issue, but the watercolor palette doesn't do Felix Mas's illos any favors.

In Hungary, in the year 1854, Magda Hortza protects her young daughter, Verna, from the creepy schoolteacher, Franz Kapoyla, who seems to have designs on the girl. They escape by horse and buggy, but the schoolteacher gives chase. An innkeeper demands money to keep their presence secret, then takes more money from Kapoyla and betrays them. A stablehand's body is found drained of blood, and Kapoyla is suspected of being a vampire. He follows them to another inn, where Magda throttles him right before he gets ahold of Verna. Surprise! Verna is the vampire, and she kills Franz.

Now who didn't see that coming? Raise your hand. No hands? OK. Carl Wessler keeps up a decades-long tradition of telling cliched stories with endings that are telegraphed pages in advance. At least this one has lovely art by Auraleon, who draws creepy men and beautiful women in a realistic yet shadowy way. His pictures earn the story an extra star.

In the early 1800s, Europe is torn by war and Eva waits each day for her lover, Hans, to return. She reads his letters and sits in the grove where they last were together. In the nearby village, Franz Muller sees Eva and thinks she is wasting her youth and beauty. One night, she thinks Hans has returned, but it's only the front door banging in the breeze. Suddenly Franz appears, determined to have his way with her. She fights him off and runs to the grove. He follows and, when she shoves him away, he is fatally impaled in a sword held by a corpse, the corpse of Hans, whom Eva killed rather than let him go off to war.

Though the story is a bit too Secrets of Sinister House for a Warren mag, Fernandez does a fine job of merging words and pictures to tell a haunting tale. His style, which consists of lots of half-drawn faces in shadows, forces the reader's mind to fill in the missing portions of each panel. It's certainly better than most of the stories in this average issue of Vampirella.-Jack

Peter- I'm glad "The Blood-Gulper" worked for you, Jack, but it left me dry. I get the feeling Flaxman Butterworth was throwing everything in his scripts and just hoping something would stick (together) but none of it is very good. I always get a kick out of the lyrics these guys provide to their would-be rock stars (Listen, baby/ Listen to the soft night approachin'/ flowin' like sap in the tree of evil); truly awful stuff but, to be fair, pretty close to what Grand Funk was cooking up around that time. Ortiz is a good stand-in for Gonzalez but some of the magic seems to be missing. 

"Relatives" is an interesting and thought-provoking tale; yes, it stands on the ledge of pretension and sways to and fro, but never quite makes that leap, thank goodness. And thank goodness as well that, for once, a Warren space opera does not degenerate into Voyage to a Planet of Prehistoric Women. Not one scantily-clad vixen in sight! But, as Jack notes, this is barely-recognizable Maroto. "Fleur: Our Tarts..." is truly wretched, one of the worst "stories" of the year. At the end of one reading, I almost went back to reread the damn thing to try to make some kind of sense of it, but I thought better of it. Thankfully, this is the last chapter and the character is resigned to guest star status in her last appearances. 

"Pure as Snow" is like a five-minute joke told by someone who doesn't know how to tell a joke, and once you get to the punchline you realize you knew it from the get-go. Holy cow, how controversial is necrophilia in a Warren comic? Worse, the color only accentuates the problems with Mas's art; the stiffness of his characters and boring choreography (although I do like the eeriness of those final panels). This is a misfire in all departments. Carl Wessler draws from his pulp roots for "The Night Ran Red With Gore" (surely, the best title this month) and draws... and draws... Overlong and lacking a climax worthy of that running time, I kept wondering why the two vampires didn't just cut to the chase and kill the vampire hunter way back at the beginning. "Because then there wouldn't be a story to fill those eight pages," I can hear Archie telling my 12-year-old self. As dumb as the script is, I really liked Auraleon's art. 

The finale, "Rendezvous," is a really well-told creepfest, complete with a predictable-yet-not-so-predictable climax. You just know Hans will show up, most likely as a shambling deader, but not as a stiff corpse who was helped along on his journey by Eva herself! The story is well-paced (although I would have cut about twelve pages out of the "there comes a knock on the door" sequence) and beautifully delineated. Easily the best thing to appear in this below-average issue and, perhaps, the entire month's worth of original stories. Oh, wait, that gorgeous cover should warrant a big shout out as well. Sheer erotic menace.

Eerie 59

"Dax the Damned"
(Originally appeared as "Dax the Warrior" in Eerie #39)

"The Paradise Tree" 
(Originally appeared in Eerie #40)

(Originally appeared in Eerie #41)

"Let the Evil One Sleep"
(Originally appeared in Eerie #43)

"The Golden Lake"
(Originally appeared as "Lake of Gold!" in Eerie #44)

"The Witch... The Maneater"
(Originally appeared as "The Witch" in Eerie #45)

(Originally appeared as "The Giant" in Eerie #46)

(Originally appeared as "Gemma-5" in Eerie #47)

"The Lord's Prayer"
(Originally appeared as "The Sacrifice" in Eerie #48)

"Death Rides... This Night!"
(Originally appeared in Eerie #52)

Peter- The same Maroto art as the original Dax appearances but, for some oddball reason, Archie decided to expend a little more effort with the Annual and had Budd Lewis come up with "fresh" scripts. Not my cup of tea. At 100 pages, this was the biggest Warren magazine ever to that point.

Jack-I tried to read these stories again but got so bored about halfway through the issue that I just gave up. The art is pretty to look at but I just can't get interested in Dax. Dax meets lots of beautiful, half-naked girls, has lots of sex, and swings his axe. Or his sword. Yawn.

Next Week...
So what was the best
Batman story in 1981?
Peter and Jack offer some suggestions!


Quiddity99 said...

This is one of my favorite Creepy issues, if only because I love the idea of basing all the stories on the cover, which is quite an amazing one. It wouldn't be accurate to say this experiment wasn't undertaken again; there are several later instances where Warren will base all the stories on the cover painting, the most notable being Eerie #81 which features a Frank Frazetta painting of a King Kong takeoff (with a giant woman holding a tiny ape instead). This is also the first issue of Creepy to be themed on one subject, and we will soon see that became quite common with Christmas issues, Edgar Allen Poe issues, issues dedicated to one artist, etc...

That said, they clearly screwed up with "Forgotten Flesh" as that story doesn't feature the rotting man of the cover. This was actually a last minute replacement; there was a seventh story based on the cover called "Avenger" written by Archie Goodwin and drawn by Jim Starlin that must have not been finished in time or got lost in the mail as it missed getting into this issue. Likely due to their embarrassment over the matter, it got thrown in the inventory pile and wouldn't get printed for another 7 or 8 years (a late issue of Eerie) when they were printing all their unused stories so they wouldn't have to pay for new ones.

"Mates" also seems like it wasn't originally intended for this issue as the rotting man doesn't look like the cover. I'd assume this story was originally created separately then later tossed into the issue to help them get to seven stories. This story seems clearly influenced by the story "Rescued" from EC's Weird Fantasy #6 which also features astronauts coming across rotting men and unknowingly killing them before their body decomposes to the same state. Moench adds in the STD element here. A fairly good story in my eyes, although it is kind of a preview for the type of story that 1984 magazine will be filled with.

As for the rest of the issue, I think they do a fairly good job integrating the rotting man into them without always making it the shock ending, which is what one would expect once realizing the issue's theme. Corben's story for example simply has it as a random guy on the first page who gets immediately killed. Of these remaining stories, Sutton's is far and away the best. Like you, I will miss him quite a lot! The Sleepy Hollow story is also quite good, one of the few (perhaps the only) Warren story to be inspired by the Headless Horseman/Ichibod Crane story. "High Time" seems like a fitting title for a story featuring people eating magic mushrooms and existing in a psychedelic world of "free love". One of the most confusing and nonsensical stories Warren would ever publish. "An Angel Shy of Hell" is pretty decent, clearly intended to parody religion, although isn't really a horror story. The Hard John Apple character would eventually get his own series in Eerie, although Jose Ortiz would draw the remaining stories instead of Richard Corben. Interesting to note that this issue almost entirely eschews the Spanish artists dominating Warren at this time; I'd assume due to Archie Goodwin's connections.

Quiddity99 said...


This issue of Vampirella features my favorite cover to ever appear on a Warren magazine; a rare instance where Vampi herself isn't on the cover and who we have here is considerably more beautiful than the ridiculous costume Vampi wears that is on nearly every other cover. Also love the pointing to the reader part of the painting. Agreed that "The Blood Gulper" is a hilariously over the top story and a fairly enjoyable one. The only thing that really irks me about the story is Pendragon comes off as quite the drunken jerk; he should be thankful that Vampi spends any time with him at all and basically does his whole act for him. Great to see the debut of Jose Ortiz, despite not appearing until now he will be the most prolific artist to work for Warren. A very versatile artist who can handle just about anything. The art for "Relatives" has always seemed rather iffy to me too; surprising since it is a fairly short story.

"Fleur' is another rather mediocre story; this latest effort to have a backup heroine to appear in Vampi's magazine is quite the flop as the series stops here, with a third Fleur story not to appear for many years. Something I'm totally fine with; give me another anthology story instead of this. "Pure as Snow" comes off as Warren's attempt to further push the envelope (which they already did this month with "Mates"), this time tackling the subject of necrophilia. Yikes. While Felix Mas' art is good and effective with the atmosphere the story is looking for, the coloring here is absolutely dreadful. "The Night Ran Red With Gore" is average fare; whereas his contemporaries here are tackling STDs, necrophilia, etc... Wessler as expected goes with the rather cliché vampire story where the twist ending reveals someone other than who you expect is the vampire. Easily a type of story that could appear in an EC comic. "Rendezvous" is quite the highlight for me, one of my top 10 favorite Warren stories of all time (and if I remember correctly it appeared in the top 25 stories in the Warren Companion too). Superb art by Fernandez from that amazing splash page on, really effective atmosphere and a great twist ending.

Ah, the famous all Dax special issue is finally here. I likewise can never find myself willing to expend the effort to read this entire issue; I usually only read "Chess" due to it being in color this time.

A few more notes for this month; this is unfortunately Archie Goodwin's last month as editor; him and Dubay didn't get along, it quickly became clear one had to go and Goodwin quit. Quite unfortunate. Rather than make Goodwin the editor of the horror mags again with Dubay effectively being his boss, Warren should have created some new magazines for Goodwin to edit. Or perhaps give Vampirella entirely over to Goodwin and create a new magazine for Dubay. This month's Creepy also features two color stories, the first and only time that would ever be done for this magazine. We'll get the same for Eerie and Vampirella next month.

Jack Seabrook said...

Thanks for your detailed comment! As usual, I learn a lot from the comments each time a Warren post runs.

Anonymous said...

Well, actually, Warren DID do another “Bunch of stories based on a single cover Special” : EERIE 81, with seven stories inspired by Frazetta’s “Queen Kong” painting.

Sorry EERIE 59 doesn’t do it for either of you. I’ve loved it since that day I saw it on the magazine rack at Smith’s Food King, right next to a copy of FAMOUS MONSTERS 110. If I weren’t going to be cremated, I’d have someone put a copy of it in my casket so I could have it with me in the afterlife. I do wonder why they went to the trouble of having Budd Lewis re-script all the stories, they could just as easily have reprinted them as they were. But I’m glad they did — Lewis’ rewrites read more smoothly than the originals, with a bit of a flowery “high fantasy” gloss. They even had an all-new cover by Sanjulian on the back, when they could have just re-used his EERIE 41 cover, so SOMEONE went the extra mile to make the issue a special event.


Grant said...

I can't help liking "An Angel Shy Of Hell." In a way it looks ahead to those countless "hit man as protagonist" stories (and entire TV series). I'm also surprised that no one (?) has mentioned the great pictures of the "Nymphos."

I feel the same way about Eerie # 59 as Anonymous, though that's partly because I only knew two of the original Warren versions of the stories when I read it, so when it comes to the rewritten versions of the others, there was hardly anything to compare them to.
One odd thing is how the rewritten version of "The Sacrifice" is given that Biblical title "The Lord's Prayer." And how "The Paradise Tree" goes from one mythology to another with the same character - she becomes "Echidna" after being "Astarte."