Monday, June 14, 2021

The Warren Report Issue 61: March-April 1975



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

Eerie #64 (March 1975)

"The Children's Hour"★1/2
Story by Bruce Bezaire
Art by Jose Ortiz

"Exterminator One"
Story by Bill DuBay
Art by Paul Neary

"Bye-Bye Miss American Dream"
Story by Bill DuBay
Art by Richard Corben

"Daddy and the Pie"
Story by Bill DuBay
Art by Alex Toth

"The Caul"★1/2
Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Leopold Sanchez

"The Plague"★1/2
Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Jose Ortiz

The kids at Houndsditch Orphanage have had enough and decide to take the Hyde drug in order to turn into monsters and get revenge on the adults who take care of them. "The Children's Hour" turns deadly and a crowd forms outside the building where the monsters are on the rampage. Once again, the police stand back, but when Bishop and Garson witness a well-dressed woman enter the scene of chaos, they follow in hopes of protecting her. Inside they see the monsters beating men and attacking women; the woman they saw go in is Berthe Astruc, a chemist whose husband was killed in the first Jackass event. She has created an antidote that she needs help testing. An injection in the backside of one monster causes it to turn back into a child, but the boy immediately dies of exhaustion. Though Bishop enjoys killing the beasts, he agrees to help Garson and Astruc develop the antidote in hopes of ending the Jackass menace.

This third episode of the Night of the Jackass series is a welcome step forward from the carnage of the prior parts. The introduction of Berthe Astruc suggests that there may be an end in sight, which is more interesting than one episode after another where the beasts go wild and Bishop kills them. Ortiz's art is decent but, again, it can be hard to follow exactly what's happening from one panel to the next.

"Exterminator One" tries to escape, but the man who shot off his arm follows him and blows off his other arm. The robot with a man's brain tries to run for it and is shot in the knee. The killer known as Slaughter keeps blasting away and turns the robot into a heap of junk. Suddenly, another robot arrives--Exterminator Two, who is part robot and part tank! Number Two is more than a match for Slaughter and Number One lies on the ground, trying to figure out a way to stop the carnage. Exterminator One tosses a grenade that destroys Exterminator Two and now Slaughter realizes that the robots have human brains. He advances on Number One and looks like he intends to shoot it in the head.

Is this the end of the series? I have not peeked ahead. The story is entertaining but the art is a bit static--after the "splash" page, the next seven pages are all six panels each of equal size, heavy on the captions. Still, I don't usually think much of Warren's attempts at science fiction and I like this series. It's funny how similar it is to Deathlok and how close "Exterminator" and "Exterminator Two" are to the Terminator movie character names.

The Gambino and Ponti families are engaged in a gang war in New Orleans, and the Butcher is killing the top men in both organizations! The families decide to make a peace deal and meet at the Butcher's church, but Harry Gambino has assassins wipe out the representatives from both sides so he can be the new czar of the united crime families. He doesn't realize that the Butcher is waiting for him at his home, where Harry becomes the latest victim. The heads of both families wiped out, the Butcher feels remorse for all of the killing and leaves a note for the cops that he's giving up his life as a vigilante killer.

"Bye-Bye Miss American Dream" is violent and there's not much new to the story, but seeing Richard Corben draw a mob slaughter tale is unsettling and weird. It's a good thing this is in black and white, because there's some fairly explicit gore. As with the Exterminator story, this looks like it could be the series finale, but who knows?

In the midst of the Great Depression, a spaceship crashes outside the town of Stillwater, Maine, where a man and his son rescue a tall, blue alien and, with the help of the boy's mother, nurse him back to health. Eventually, they learn to communicate with each other and nickname the alien "Pie," since the symbols he writes resemble 3.14. Pie's ship is destroyed and he can never go home, but he shows the boy a "gadget" that turns thoughts into reality. The townsfolk fear and hate Pie, but Dad protects him until, one night, the townsfolk turn on Dad and beat him. Pie heads into town and destroys quite a bit of it before he is led to Dad. He brings Dad home and dies of wounds sustained in his rampage, but Dad survives and the narrator--his son--remarks that the gadget came in handy years later.

I don't know what we did to deserve an Alex Toth story set in the Depression, but I really enjoyed "Daddy and the Pie." Toth tells the story clearly with elegant panels that mix simplicity with sophistication. I do hope this will be a continuing series, though it seems like the Pie's participation is over.

Crackermeyer is in Africa, where men are being sold into slavery to be taken aboard ship to America. Sailing back aboard the slave ship, Crackermeyer is asked to help a woman in labor; her baby is born with "The Caul" over its face and Crackermeyer takes the prized membrane as a charm. The slaves are being purchased by a mysterious man named Toorean and the Spook wrote to Crackermeyer in Africa to request his aid in infiltrating the house of the slaver to see where all of the Africans were disappearing to.

The ship lands in New Orleans and the slaves are to be delivered to Toorean's house before dawn. Crackermeyer and the Spook enter the house and in the basement they find the slaves, chained or worse. They free the men and confront Toorean, a vampire who uses the slaves to slake his thirst. A stake to the chest ends the menace.

Crackermeyer now receives co-star billing with the Spook and seems to have become a light-skinned Black man, unless I missed this in prior entries. Once again, Lewis and Sanchez craft an exciting tale that is longer than the average Warren story, at twelve pages. The art is atmospheric and the narrative, with slaves being brought back to the U.S. illegally (it became illegal to import slaves to the U.S. in 1808), is fascinating, but I docked the story one star due to the cliched ending where the mysterious bad guy is revealed as a vampire.

A man and a woman run from "The Plague," lamenting their fate. They try to hide in the mountains but find that the plague has already been there. They race to the highest peak but cannot avoid being overtaken and killed. They discover that the afterlife is far better than life on Earth.

Whew! That was some serious overwriting by Budd Lewis. Next to nothing happens, but you wouldn't know it from dialogue like this:

Man: "I never expected the world to end in a blinding flash. And it isn't. It's ending like...the closing of a book. But why does it have to close on our brief chapter?"

Woman: "Maybe... because our running through... running between these last few pages will give us something more profound between us than an entire lifetime of normal existence."

The art is reasonably good but it's clear Ortiz had to stretch out a thin script, since two of the ten pages are full-page panels. So far, these four horseman of the apocalypse are turning out to be nags.-Jack

The Jackass series continues to be almost incomprehensible yet enjoyable. The closest comparisons I can make are the (Rec) and The Raid series of films, where all the action is centered within one building and we watch the mayhem as it expands from floor to floor with no end in sight. I have the same complaints about Exterminator One that I've had with previous chapters (all titled "Exterminator One" so that we don't get confused), chief among them that it's nothing but a poor man's "Deathlok." Now add in a sprinkle of blaxploitation and you've got a big gurgling brew of "homage." Speaking of the blaxploitation angle, it seems as though artist Paul Neary couldn't decide whether to make his version of "Slaughter" an African-American with a 'fro or a straight up white man with flowing mane. 

I found the second (and final) "Butcher" to be a chore to read and infinitely less successful than its predecessor. It's a downright crime Corben not only didn't get his color but had half his art covered up by the mountain of words. "The Pie and I" is indeed a fine fantasy (with an almost western Shane-type atmosphere) and fine fantasies were few and far between at the Warren offices. Doubtless what makes "Pie" fly is the master Alex Toth (back again after a way-too-long sabbatical). Even an art moron like myself can spot Toth from a mile away (he makes it even easier with his signature lettering). We'll see how essential his presence is when we get a "Pie" follow-up in #72. 

"The Caul" is just what the witch doctor ordered, a good reason to read what, 'til now, was just a meandering voodoo series. "The Caul" is a rousing sea saga with some grim twists and an interesting, if rushed, finale. Sanchez's art is just as grim as those twists. Easily one of the top five Eerie series entries thus far. I had to force myself at gunpoint to read the entirety of "The Plague," a maudlin and horribly-overwritten hunk of stale Limburger. Was it the meandering plot or the fact that Budd decided he was writing lyrics for the next Bread album (My life is no gamble with you/I have no life but you/When I found you, my life ended/I became you/Your very essence/Tra la la) instead of a funny book script? Come back, McGregor, all is forgiven (that last bit is sarcasm, I don't really want Don back). This series is like riding a pretension seesaw. What may seem to us to be but dim funeral pyres may be in truth heaven's distant lamps.

Vampirella #40 (March 1975)

"The Nameless Ravisher!" ★1/2
Story by Flaxman Loew
Art by Leopold Sanchez

"The Winged Shaft of Fate" ★1/2
Story by Gerry Boudreau
Art by Esteban Maroto

"The Face of Death!" 
Story by Carl Wessler
Art by Ramon Torrents

"The Man Who Never Was!" 
Story and Art by Fernando Fernandez

"The Time Eater!" 
Story by Jack Butterworth
Art by Paul Neary

"Home for the Holidays" 
Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Luis Bermejo

As if Mad Jack D'Arcy (from last issue) weren't enough trouble, now Vampirella must deal with his two insane sisters, who conjure a demon from the dark world to avenge their brother's death. The creature, an elemental who calls himself "The Nameless Ravisher" (because The Grim Reaper was obviously taken), tries to drown and burn our favorite Draculonian. When both those powers fail, he commands a tree to strangle Vampi, but the sturdy vampiress proves too powerful and the creature returns to the flat of the D'Arcy sisters, where he takes out his frustration on the two elderly loons.

I sure wish Flaxman Butterworth would let these storylines breathe a bit, rather than the standard wham-bam-thank you ma'am we seem to get every issue. This Ravisher might be more of an imposing figure if he wasn't introduced and dispatched fairly easily in just a few pages. Still, the story is pure pulp fun and I love the art. There's an obvious distinction between Vampirella as envisioned by Jose Gonzalez and Leopold Sanchez. While Gonzalez's Vampi is voluptuous and full-bodied, Sanchez opts for a cuter and more petite version. I see Linda Ronstadt and Karen Valentine instead of Ingrid Pitt or Raquel Welch now. That's not a bad thing, though. Both have their pros and cons. The series of panels depicting Vampi in battle with a killer tree are very erotic.

Dracula and his female vampiress friend, Cassandra Kiley, continue to do what they do at the King Carnival. At each stop, they dine on another unwary villager and write in their journals. Ah, the life of a vampire! Meanwhile, a poor schmuck by the name of Herbert Larkin has embezzled ten grand from his real estate firm (and keeps it in a mighty teensy weensy bag, I should add) and intends to run off with his lady love, the beautiful Evelyn Hicks. Larkin intends to meet up with Evelyn at the Carnival one night, but Dracula gets to the gorgeous blonde first. That sucks, sighs Herbert, who proceeds to walk off with another woman he's just met, the homely but good-hearted Amelia Parrot. Unfortunately, the now vampiric Evelyn Hicks doesn't take the betrayal lying down. She drains both Evelyn and Herbert and then flies off into the night. The King Carnival moves on.

"The Winged Shaft of Fate?" Sounds like a bad porn flick. But, alas, this isn't porn, this is a really dumb series, with some very odd twists and turns. The supporting cast is introduced and dispatched in no time and we are left to wonder why we should care. I think it's hilarious that the local gendarmes can't put two and two together. Hmmmm. Let's see. Victims have terrible bite marks on their necks and are drained of blood. Found in the spot where the King Carnival sat. Top attraction: Dracula and His Vampire Cutie. The Universal mob would have been burning down the carnival with their torches in no time. I don't even care that much for Maroto's art this time out. Did everyone keep a diary in the early 1900s? I will say one positive thing about this mess: at least it provides a connecting tissue with that old Eerie Dracula series, rather than try to claim this is an alternate Drac. 

The king of pulp drivel, Carl Wessler, delivers yet another horrid waste of paper, namely "The Face of Death!" Harry Taylor has never gotten over being dumped by delicious Bianca, who married another guy and broke Harry's evil heart. Now, four years later, Harry invites himself to Bianca's Halloween party by grabbing hold of the first kid he sees on the street, little Mort. Once he's infiltrated the party, Harry gets Bianca alone with her son in an upstairs room and prepares to cleave her in half when he slips on a toy and does a cannonball out the second-floor window. As he lies dying in the street, Harry watches little Mort approach and explain that "Mort" means "Death" and he's really the Grim Reaper! How cunningly clever! Good God, this script is happy load of horseshit. It explodes my brain to contemplate editor Dube reading Wessler's rambling and declaring it a competent story. Pity poor Ramon Torrents, who does his best to ensure the reader will ignore the typesetting and admire the pretty pitchers. That splash is a killer! I think I need another drink.

Jim Sutton finds himself 182 years in the future, in a society that does not want him. How did the jump occur? What will the powers-that-be in this new era do with Jim? "The Man Who Never Was" (just about the most Marvel-ish title ever slapped on a Warren story) is an overlong, wordy sci-fi tale that is neither involving nor entirely cohesive. It's the kind of thing that Philip K. Dick would do on a whim and make work. What was confusing, for me, is that Sutton obviously is dumped into a far future from a future time, making comments about "pleasure pills" and that he was born in 1978. So, when he's asking for "pleasure pills," I wasn't quite sure what the hell was going on. By the end of the story, I still wasn't. The art is decent, though a bit sketchy. 

A space exploration team meets up with "The Time Eater," a giant mass drifting through our solar system, eating everything around it and triggering a bizarre chain of events which causes time to move backwards. Reading "The Time Eater!" is like listening to a joke you've already heard, told by a good friend, and you're polite and patient enough to sit through the inevitable punchline. It's established on page three that this big space amoeba somehow makes clocks run backward but we have to sit still for eight pages of "And then there was a caveman.... and then man was a little lizard climbing out of a swamp..." only to wind up with the cliched "back to page one" epilogue. Yep, no denying that Neary can draw (especially pretty space girls in tight spandex suits) but, again, let's give the guy a decent story to attach his doodles to.

After being released for jail for a crime he committed while serving in Viet Nam, a man boards a plane with his nagging, shrewish wife and heads "Home for the Holidays." Budd Lewis tells the story of our nameless ex-con, ex-soldier in a split-screen fashion: one side from the perspective of the man and his unforgiving spouse on the plane, and the other from the perspective of his young daughter, Cherry Ann, awaiting his arrival. Once in the air, our protagonist notices that the man behind him is carrying a gun (we never do find out what this guy's motive or plan is) and tries to warn the stewardess, only to be shushed. All the while, the Mrs. is giving him an earful about his prison time. Finally, the poor guy confronts the man with the gun and all hell breaks loose. The hijacker (if that's what he is) shoots the pilot and Cherry Ann gets her wish when daddy's plane crashes nearby. Extremely preachy and maudlin, "Home for the Holidays" is another example of the new generation of 1970s funny book writers attempting to save the world rather than tell a gripping story.-Peter

"Home for the Holidays" surprised me as a late Vietnam War allegory with a well-done parallel story structure. The part on the plane is exciting, while the part with the little girl is a bit heavy-handed, but it all works together effectively. "The Nameless Ravisher!" was interesting in that the portions of the story with Vampirella were lackluster but the portions with the two crazy women were creepy and engaging. I did not expect to see them nude and summoning a demon! "The Time Eater!" drags on too long but, once again, Neary's pages look great, kind of like early John Byrne.

Maroto fills up more pages with pictures of people posing in "The Winged Shaft of Fate," and he can't resist drawing naked women with butterfly wings for some reason. This Dracula entry makes a bit more sense than the last one but hardly qualifies as a good story. Fernandez scores points for writing and drawing "The Man Who Never Was," but the art could use more detail and the attempt at profundity rang hollow for me. Finally, Carl Wessler lets us down yet again with the corny "The Face of Death," which manages to be both disturbing and cliched.

Eerie #65 (April 1975)

Story by Bruce Bezaire
Art by Jose Ortiz

"The Hacker is Back"
Story by Steve Skeates
Art by Alex Toth

"Coming Storm... A Killing Rain!"
Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Leopold Sanchez

"El Cid and the Troll!"★1/2
Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Gonzalo Mayo

"The Death"
Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Jose Ortiz

Bishop discovers that Madame Astruc not only came up with an antidote to the Hyde drug, she invented the drug in the first place! He takes a dose and turns into a zombie, chasing Garson, Astruc, and Inspector Oates around the chemist's house until they barricade themselves in a room for safety. Astruc tinkers with the antidote until Bishop finds a way into the room. He attacks Astruc but she injects him with the antidote and it works! Bishop recovers and exits, wanting nothing more to do with killing. The others announce that the Jackass menace is at an end.

And there ends the series, just as it was getting interesting. "Endstorm!" doesn't follow the pattern of the prior stories, instead presenting Madame Astruc as responsible for the drug and driven to find a cure. It's all strangely prophetic in the world of 2021, with questions swirling about whether COVID-19 came from a lab or was a natural occurrence. I think this series could have gone on longer; from a quick bit of online research, it looks like it picked up again decades later.

The beheading of a rich Londoner named Terrence reveals that, after ten years of silence, "The Hacker is Back"! Lt. Smythe of Scotland Yard is on the scene and resumes his hunt for the killer, his only clue a silver toothpick found at the scene of the crime. Smythe recognizes the object as being associated with the Gourmet Club, so he visits a woman named Melody, who invites him to join. At the club, he makes his way to the kitchen, where he finds human corpses and body parts hanging, waiting to be cooked and served to the members. Smythe is caught and tied up; he learns that all of the club members were in on the murders committed by the Hacker. The lieutenant manages to escape his bonds and fights to the death with club members, killing several but uncertain if this means the end of the Hacker.

Skeates's script is a mashup of Murder on the Orient Express (multiple killers) and "The Specialty of the House" (a club that serves human flesh to gourmets), with a bit of Jack the Ripper thrown in for good measure. In the hands of a lesser artist it might not work, but the great Alex Toth makes it a feast for the eyes, with beautiful pages where the hacker's shadowy form looms over the foreground panels. Even the scene in the kitchen, where corpses and body parts are displayed, is done in shadow, which (for me) is more effective than gory color.

In 1862, the Civil War is raging but Crackermeyer doesn't see the Union soldiers as liberators. Disgusted by the war, he decides to try to stop it with voodoo. He summons the Spook and the duo sneak up to a Yankee camp, where they steal a Gatling gun and a wagon of ammunition and race off, planning to dump them in a nearby swamp. Pursued by soldiers, Crackermeyer and the Spook turn and start shooting, driving the Yankees away. They discover that the Rebel forces are nearby and both sides are about to meet in battle. Crackermeyer plants himself between the armies and appeals to them, but they ignore his pleas and attack each other. He and the Spook begin shooting both sides with the Gatling gun but, when it jams, the Spook must resort to voodoo to try to hold off the soldiers. It works for a moment but, in the end, the Spook is killed, leaving Crackermeyer to mourn the loss of his younger brother.

Another good series comes to an abrupt end in "Coming Storm... A Killing Rain!" Rats! I really enjoyed the series and I thought this story was very good, despite some moments where Lewis veers toward Moenchian overwriting. It was a shock to see a Black man opposing the Civil War and unimpressed by the Union soldiers; in 2021, we are so used to the black and white view of the conflict that looking at it from a post-Vietnam, anti-war viewpoint is refreshing. The art is superb; some of the panels with soldiers could almost be swipes from the work of John Severin. The only thing that didn't completely work for me was the end, where the Spook and Crackermeyer start calling each other Johnny and Andrew and it seems like the Spook is Crackermeyer's son. It was somewhat unclear and not necessary to make the anti-war point.

Legend has it that there was a certain bridge in Spain under which lived a troll who would capture women trying to cross the bridge and leave a ransom note demanding gold. When the famous knight known as El Cid happened by a nearby cabin, the residents begged him and his friend Tomas to rid the world of the menacing troll once and for all. Tomas disguised himself as an old woman and rode to the bridge, where he found not a fearsome troll but rather an old man, who he killed. El Cid and Tomas find bones and gold under the bridge and realize that the legendary troll was nothing but a greedy, lustful man who spread a legend to scare travelers.

"El Cid and the Troll!" has lovely art that reminds me of the Prince Valiant comics I used to see in the Sunday funnies when I was a kid. Budd Lewis has become Warren's most reliable writer of late (not a high bar, I know) and Gonzalo Mayo's pages make sword and sorcery, my least favorite Warren genre, easy to take.

Plague, Famine, and War meet before "The Death," each insisting that he be chosen the Grim Reaper's favorite. Death sends them off in a contest, to see who can wreak the most havoc. The corpses pile up but, when the trio return to visit Death, he announces that they all create equal paths to his dark door. Suddenly, the quartet are joined by children playing, youngsters they find themselves unable to kill. Death explains that children bring the promise of hope and love, and the only one mightier than the fearsome foursome is the Lord of Lords himself.

Yes, Jesus triumphs to end a surprisingly good issue of Eerie. Lewis doesn't come right out and use the name, but I think it's obvious from the end of this story who he's referring to. This is the best of the Apocalypse series to date and the longest story of the issue, at 13 pages. Fortunately, Ortiz outdoes himself with splendid art. This is the sort of tale Maroto might have done but I don't think his style would be as effective as that of Ortiz is here.-Jack

I thought the "Endstorm" of the Jackass series was soggy cornflakes. Bishop taking the drug doesn't make one whit of sense (and don't give me that "He was feeling helpless, he was losing his friends, and he wanted revenge" malarkey) and neither does his half-hearted apology for doing so. The story line of Jackass might just have overstayed its welcome but Jose Ortiz sure didn't. His art made the pages bearable to turn even when we got some solidly pretentious captions. I wonder if the characters actually spoke the parenthetical "m" that followed "Hyde 25."

How dare Dube take one of my three favorite horror funny book artists of all time off the "Hacker" series and replace him with... oh, okay, it's Alex Toth. Never mind. Toth's wild page layouts remind me of one of those 1930s b&w horror films where the murderer remains in the shadows and all we see is a silhouette now and then. The story is a bit confusing at times but, when Skeates really got a fire under him, he was as good as Michael Fleisher at this gory killer stuff.

"Spook" ends on a high note. Despite all the proselytizing (Lewis can come off like a college grad who just discovered the evils in the world and plots changes with his #2 pencil), there is an almost lyrical quality to Budd's writing in this finale. There's also a healthy portion of humor ("Monsters or not... they just got our Gatling gun!") in the blazing battle scenes. "El Cid and the Troll" is a visual treat (Mayo's art is gorgeously detailed and doesn't suffer from that melty run-together look we're often stuck with) and contains an engaging story as well, far better than the similar (but different) Dax. That bodes well for us, since the next Eerie is a special "All El Cid" issue. Unlike Jack, I was not a fan of the final installment of "Apocalypse," way too long and boring as all hell. Other than that and a couple of missteps here and there, I think Eerie #64 and #65 were both dynamite issues, full of spectacular storytelling. If only this was to be the norm.-Peter

Next Week...
The return of
(God help us)
The Metal Men!


andydecker said...

I fear again I don't think much of those issues.

It is a nice idea to continue last issues tale of Vampirella. While the attacks on Vampi are incredibly lame, the bit with the two sisters was nice. I liked that the old women were in the nude, it lend a kind of authenticity to the tale. No cheese-cake here.

The rest of the issue is just plain bad to terrible. "The Winged Shaft of Fate" is the worst Dracula ever. Even Maroto's art can't redeem this crap.

"The Face of Death" is amusing from today's view. Hey, kid, want to come with me and play my son? You can call me dad. What can possibly go wrong? The twist can only be surprising if you never read a horror comic before.

But I don't know what was worse. "The Man who Never was" or "The Time Eater". The first was 12 (!) pages of talking heads, the second a prime example of third rate, pretentious sf. Often one blames the translation problems in Spain for badly told stories, but Neary and Butterworth also didn't have much rapport. It would have helped if Neary had drawn Muskat in the beginning as an old woman. So everybody looks the same.

Eerie # 64

Neary's art is much better and clearer when he draws bigger. Still the story doesn't make much sense. Nobody recognizes a cyborg in a trenchcoat? And Exterminator 2 is the better model because he drives? At least the cover is nice.

The Butcher looked better in colour. The story was just the same as part 1.

The Spook could have been so much better. Too long on the voyage and too short on the mansion. This is a comic story, not some novel. Has every writer for Warren forgot how to pace and construct a story?

The Apocalypse was pretty pictures but overwritten pretentious nonsense.

Eerie# 65 is not much better. Toth or not, "The Hacker is back" was surprisingly toned down.

Budd Lewis again manages to make McGregor subtle. Every interesting aspect like the North not being those selfless heroes was killed with Crackermeyer's idiotic speeches and incomprehensible actions. Say what you want about Moench, he at least knew what a voodoo tale needs and what not.

I liked Gonzalo Mayo's art on "El Cid", again the art was better than the story. I skipped reading "The Death" and just looked at the pretty art. I didn't want to wade through 13 more pages of Lewis' unreadable prose.

Quiddity99 said...

Some solid entries here to kick off the issue, both "Night of the Jackass" and "Exterminator One" have their best entries thus far. Exterminator One ends with a better story than last time, on the level of the first one for me. While "The Butcher" story is not as good as the first one it is another solid entry. A mere two stories for this series although it may have gotten old if it was dragged out too much. "Daddy and the Pie" is the highlight of the issue, with both a very strong story and the return of Alex Toth to Warren for the first time since the original Archie Goodwin era. A strong entry for "The Spook" as well, a bit more entertaining to me than the series usually is. "The Plague" wraps things up with another entry of the Apocalypse series with extremely good art, although the story is a bit disappointing in comparison to the last time with just how over the top pretentious it is. I was cringing at the lines of dialogue you included.

Happy to see Sanchez get another Vampirella story to draw although the story itself is rather weak. Story-wise the new Dracula series continues to disappoint as this doesn't seem to go much further than the previous entry did. I didn't mind "The Face of Death" as much as you did, although maybe the strong Torrents art is making me consider it better than it really is. "The Man Who Never Was" is rather disappointing for a Fernandez story, perhaps his weakest to this point. At the very least the art is not as good as it usually is. I really enjoyed "The Time Eater", one of Warren's best and most unique sci-fi stories to this point. "Home for the Holidays" appears to be a leftover Christmas story originally intended for Creepy #68. The whole act about having the dual storylines is starting to get old to me, and the wife/mother of the story is presented in too over the top a manner. That said, absolutely gorgeous Luis Bermejo art for his second Warren story.

For once you've caught me off guard as I haven't had a chance to reread Eerie #65 yet. My recollection is it being another high quality issue. Eerie is running really strong at this point with issues 64 and 65 being among its best.

Anonymous said...

Boy, I sure loved Leopoldo Sanchez’ short run on the Vampi strip — a pity he only has one more installment after this. I wonder if Sam Raimi read this issue when he was a young’un? When I saw the first EVIL DEAD movie, I thought for sure I detected an echo of Vampi’s encounter with a prehensile, rapey tree-branch.

I appreciate Fernando Fernandez’ art more now than I did back in the day, but yeah, ‘The Man Who Never Was’ isn’t one of my favorites. My opinion of Gonzalo Mayo’s work is almost exactly opposite : I liked his art quite a bit decades ago, but his over-stuffed ‘Maroto On Steroids and LSD’ approach just looks messy and unfocused to me now. Also — SWIPE ALERT — Frazetta swipes in two panels posted here from the El Cid story: ‘A Fighting Man of Mars’ and the girl from ‘The Mucker’. And while we’re at it, there’s a full figure drawing in the Fernandez story that rang my ‘deja vu’ bell — the protagonist angrily crumpling a sheet of paper is swiped from Mitchell Hooks’ paperback cover for ‘The List of Adrian Messenger’.


Jack Seabrook said...

Thanks to all for the great comments. Having readers who are engaged makes this project more fun! Yesterday, I went to a minor league baseball game and for the first time was subjected to the "Baby Shark" song, which I have been trying to get out of my head ever since. I am hopeful that the phrase, "prehensile, rapey tree-branch" doesn't take its place in the list of things I wish I'd never heard. :-)

Grant said...

I've never read it, but I'm as surprised as anyone here by the description of "The Coming Storm." (That makes two Civil War stories in a row that I've said that about.) When people say about some piece of entertainment, "This could never be made TODAY," I'm usually pretty unsure, but any Civil War story with THAT description makes me think so.

Jack Seabrook said...

It was quite a surprise to me too!