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As I come to the close of my 60th year, I've had an almost-perfect Thanksgiving, full of the things for which I give thanks not just annually, but on a day-to-day basis.  I stayed up late and woke about 10:45 to a full bowl and a frisky wife (today is two days into our 10th year of marriage)...

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...and then there was football and my fantasy players (Diggs and Amon-Ra) did great, and then we went out to get a turkey and ham meal from Bob Evans, since we're doing her family thing tomorrow, and we didn't even have to wait an inordinately long time, and then there was more football, and my fantasy players (Zeke, Lamb, Schultz) again did really well, and then there was more football, and my player (Jefferson) did pretty well, and finally, I'm going to close my 60th Thanksgiving with the thing for which I have been the most thankful this past year--my Warren mags, and the Warren Magazine Reading Club, and this week's CREEPY #16 in particular.

I really couldn't have a much better life!

Cover:  I'm still not a big fan of picture-frame covers, but as picture-frame covers go, this one works about as well as it possibly could in both proportion and color.  The painting just couldn't have been cropped to a vertical rectangle, and the black-green-yellow color scheme of the cover mimics the cat-jungle-blonde color scheme of the painting.

Loathsome Lore:  Ugh--editing please!  "...which can be detach itself wholly or partly from its host."  All your base are belong to us...

But what is that little insignia on the Viking's belt--seems like I've seen it before--is it supposed to be Thor?

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Contents:  Um--editing please!  I'm pretty sure the cover is a Frazetta.

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Letters:  Had to kind of feel for the fan who requested more Gil Kane, in the last issue he would appear.  Uncle Creepy's answer seemed to leave the possibility open for future appearances, so even the staff must not have known at the time that this would be Kane's final appearance.

A Curse of Claws:  I actually enjoyed the art more than I thought I would after the lukewarm review from the Index; I liked the various textures and shadings in different contexts.  I didn't even really mind the "textiness" of it, and the story itself wouldn't have been too bad, but for a woman being strangled to death (you know, with her windpipe closed off and stuff), Lilith the Goddess of Cats sure was a chatty Cathy.

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Frozen Fear:  Yikes--editing please!  It sounds like Professor Storm married Dr. Neal!

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Likewise, I enjoyed it more than I should for a "lackluster" effort, but I don't know that I've seen Reed Crandall handling a sword-and-sorcery type saga before, so that was kind of interesting--and I thought he did an entirely credible job (although he completely failed to include any Crandall rats in what turned out to be an otherwise rat-packed issue).

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Screen Thrills Illustrated Back Issues Ad:  Noteworthy because they are sold out of issues #2, #7 and #8.  Seems like those should be more valuable.

Angel of Doom:  Jeff Jones' art was more than pleasant; looks like a good addition to the stable!  The story wasn't outstanding, but it wasn't bad either; solid filler material anyway.

The Frankenstein Tradition:  Two solid twists here--the female Frankenstein, and how that twist ties together two traditional terror tales as the second twist.  Nicely plotted (well, except for maybe how the monster was just barely alive for like a year as they still continued to operate and improve on it--yeah right) and I can go along with the nomination of Mastroserio for best art of the issue.

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It also foreshadows one of my favorite books of the 70s:

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There Was An Old Lady:  Another new artist with a style that seems right at home in the Warren magazines--and a credible witch story to drive it.  Woulda thought the rat in his miniature house at the end would have been larger, though...

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Fan Club:  Going along with his best art of the issue, Mastroserio takes center stage here as well for another informative and interesting backstory.  The fan-written short story was terrible, though.

Haunted Castle:  I don't remember if Donald Norman was the artist the last time the style reminded us of a woodcutting, but the first few frames of this one--and maybe a few other places--reminded me of that one.  I'd actually call this the second-best art of the issue, but it's close.  I don't really get the story, though...  The guy was a ghost too?  But he still inhabited his physical corpse?  It doesn't really seem to work as a "dead guy doesn't know he's dead" story.  But we did get our second rats of the issue--and Reed Crandall din't do either of them!

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The Sands That Change:  Yeah, it does kind of seem like Ditko half-ed this one in many places, but the full-pager when the monster appears is pretty dramatic.  I thought the story was fairly engaging, even if it ended somewhat weakly.  Best line of the issue:  "Looks like my Yamaha cocktail worked, honey!"

Sorry I copied a lot of art from this one...  just seemed to be a lot of little noteworthy details.

I also think that CREEPY #16 is on the strong side of the tracks as far as all issues go, but with the names of the artists involved, you'd expect that.  It seems that the consensus is this just wasn't the best effort from so many of the best artists.

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CREEPY 1968 Yearbook - August 1967

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According to the Warren Magazine Index...

1. cover: montage of previous covers (1967)

1) Uncle Creepy’s Introduction [Frank Frazetta] 1p   [frontis]   reprinted from Creepy #1 (Jan. 1965)

2) The Duel Of The Monsters! [Archie Goodwin/Angelo Torres] 8p   reprinted from Creepy #7 (Feb. 1966)

3) Return Trip [Arthur Porges/Joe Orlando] 8p   reprinted from Creepy #3 (June 1965)

4) Abominable Snowman! [Bill Pearson/John Severin] 6p   reprinted from Creepy #6 (Dec. 1965)

5) Werewolf! [Larry Ivie/Frank Frazetta] 6p   reprinted from Creepy #1 (Jan. 1965)

6) The Thing In The Pit! [Larry Ivie/Gray Morrow] 8p   reprinted from Creepy #6 (Dec. 1965)

7) Vampires Fly At Dusk! [Archie Goodwin/Reed Crandall] 6p   reprinted from Creepy #1 (Jan. 1965)

8) Sand Doom [Archie Goodwin/Al Williamson] 6p   reprinted from Creepy #5 (Oct. 1965)

9) Hot Spell! [Archie Goodwin/Reed Crandall] 7p   reprinted from Creepy #7 (Feb. 1966)

Notes: Publisher: James Warren.  Editor: Archie Goodwin.  Creepy’s yearbook/annuals came out sometime around various Creepy/Eerie/Vampirella issues cover dated Aug.-Oct.  The actual title of this issue was ‘Creepy 1968 Yearbook’, probably designed so that the 1968 date would give it a longer shelflife.  The Yearbook/Annual series always listed the next year as the cover date so a Creepy Yearbook 1969, for example, would come out in 1968.

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We had some discussion when the Warren Magazine Reading Club was just getting underway as to when to count the Yearbooks/Annuals--or even whether we should count them at all.  But I ruled with my iron fist that we would not only include them, but we would count them as having a cover date of August, since the ones that have any cover date at all just say "Summer" and August is right in the middle of summer.  And so that is how we come to this discussion of the first CREEPY Yearbook, chronologically "dated" August of 1967.

I don't expect anyone to rehash their original reviews of the reprinted stories, but if there are any new thoughts with the benefit of retrospect, or any other little details about the Yearbook you'd like to point out, feel free.  If not, then just consider it a "vacation week" for the holidays here in the Ol' WMRC.

I'm thinking of maybe compiling my own list of which 4 original covers I would have included on the cover of the Yearbook--or maybe even a list of my own Top 10 stories from the first 7 issues that I would have included in the Yearbook--if I have the time.  I wonder why they only used material from the first 7 issues and not all the way up to at least #12, to include the first two years...?

I hope everyone had a good stuffing this week, and plenty of time for reading our favorite magazines!

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Creepy 1968 Yearbook thoughts: 

This is the only one of the Yearbooks/ Annuals that Goodwin edited, so it's something of a guide to what he thought the highlights of the early part of his tenure were.

Cover: I like the vintage poster look of Uncle Creepy's speech balloon.

The cover is incorrectly attributed to Frazetta on the table of contents, given that Davis did the cover for #.  It's mostly Frazetta, though.

The inside front cover is Davis, not Frazetta, I believe.

Goodwin seems to have made an effort to get most of the artists who worked on the first several issues spotlighted, and to make sure it wasn't all his stories.  I'm somewhat surprised he didn't include a Toth story rather than two Crandall pieces, but otherwise it's a respectable overview.

Overall, this is a pretty solid "introduction to Creepy" book.  But I'm not sure of the appeal at this late date... it could have been very interesting back in the day, letting people see out of print material, and as a sampler of the title.  But I see little appeal in the modern era.  There are plenty of the latter annuals (once they're part of the regular numbering) that are quite worthwhile.  There are several excellent artist spotlight issues, and both Vampirella and Eerie will use it to collect serialized stories.  There's also quite a few annuals with nice new covers.  But at this stage there's not a lot to make me warm up to the book 50+ years after it came out.

Creepy_Annual_1968.jpg

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If I were choosing the four best covers from the first seven issues for the first-ever Yearbook, this is how it would have looked:

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I would still include #1, because it's #1, for one thing, and because it's the only cover among the first seven NOT done by Frank Frazetta.

I think it was silly for the other three covers to ALL be either werewolves or vampires.  So give me the werewolf/vampire battle royale on #7 and then move on to some other monsters--like the gargoyle on #6.

My final choice would be the "doorway of the dead" cover to #3.

So #1, #3, #6 and #7 would have been my first Yearbook cover.

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Not sure I would take #3 cover over #4, both are good, but there is something about the #4. It seems to have more depth to me.

Have to agree #6 is probably slightly better than #5.(also mostly due to depth)

Edited by Makmorn
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On 11/30/2022 at 8:57 AM, Makmorn said:

Not sure I would take #3 cover over #4, both are good, but there is something about the #4. It seems to have more depth to me.

Have to agree #6 is probably slightly better than #5.(also mostly due to depth)

Obviously it's all personal opinion, but I just didn't think they ALL needed to be werewolves and vampires, and #4 and #7 are so much alike.

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Well, I tried, but I just couldn't do it.  I just couldn't narrow it down to 8 stories from the first 7 issues to comprise my 1968 Yearbook, if I were doing the editing.  I'd have to do a Giant Super Special CREEPY 1968 Yearbook, with (at least) TEN big stories!

There are really 3 or 4 more stories that I'd include among the best work of those early issues, but just to showcase a greater variety of themes, writers, and artists, I had to cut some really good pieces simply due to redundancy.  A couple of those "Honorable Mentions" would go to two stories that were chosen for inclusion in the original Yearbook--Goodwin & Crandall's "Vampires Fly at Dusk" from CREEPY #1 and the Goodwin & Torres vehicle "The Duel of the Monsters" from CREEPY #7.  Both were actually really good stories, but the bottom line is that there are just too many vampire and werewolf stories already, and the Goodwin/Torres combination already seems to dominate my selection of superlative stories, making "Duel" even harder to justify.

So if I were to put together my dream 1968 Yearbook from the first 7 issues of CREEPY...

I already did my version of the cover, and the Uncle Creepy's Introduction frontispiece from the actual 1968 Yearbook is just fine.  I would include two "Loathsome Lore" features--"Werewolves" from CREEPY #2 (because it's Frazetta's art), and the one on "Ghouls" from CREEPY #3 (because other than the cover of #1, it's about the only Jack Davis art we've seen).

I would also include a "Best Letters" page, and reprint the letter from Bernie Wrightson (CREEPY #5) and a few other gems, like the kid who heard CREEPY was better than MAD, but he didn't find anything funny about it; stuff like that.  lol

And of course I would reprint the debut of the "CREEPY Fan Club" spotlighting Frank Frazetta from CREEPY #7.

As far as the stories themselves go, I'd have to start with the Goodwin/Torres collaboration on "Monster Rally" from CREEPY #4.  I mean, c'mon...  Not only does it feature an array of the finest monsters ever to kick off a horror anthology, but it's Uncle Creepy's origin story!  It has to lead off the first Yearbook.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to the recurring characters of the CREEPY universe--a ghoul, a Frankenstein-type monster, a werewolf, a mummy, a mad scientist, a vampire, and a witch...

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...and of course our own Infant Creepy.

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Next I would skip to CREEPY #7 for a scriptwriter not named Goodwin (Bill Pearson) and an artist not named Torres (Joe Orlando) and a tip of the cap to the inaugural EERIE #1 with a reprint of "The Image of Bluebeard."  This isn't a "great" story, but just as the second song on an album is usually a weaker tune than the first, this story is here more for what it represents in contributor diversity and the expansion of the Warren line than it is for its standalone value.

Next I'll drop in a pair of stories that were also selected for inclusion in the actual 1968 Yearbook--"Werewolf" from CREEPY #1 and "Abominable Snowman" from CREEPY #6.  The former almost needs no justification, as the only full interior story illustrated by Frank Frazetta (scripted by Larry Ivie).  It's also the only story I can remember that is NOT introduced by Uncle Creepy (there's some character calling himself "Julius" doing the intro).  The latter is almost as rare an appearance by John Severin (illustrating a Bill Pearson story), as Severin seemed to be doing most of his Warren work at Blazing Combat in these days.  So it's kind of a nod to that contemporary sister publication as well--and both are pretty solid stories to boot!

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Story #5 would be another Goodwin/Torres outing in "Swamped" from CREEPY #3, giving the vampires their due after the previous werewolf tale.

To include one of the adaptations from classic literature that CREEPY had covered early on, I would select "The Judge's House" from CREEPY #5, adapted by Goodwin from Bram Stoker and illustrated by Reed Crandall--which also happens to be the origin of the "Crandall rats" for me!

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I would go back to CREEPY #3 for the seventh entry, an example of the limited number of stories in the sci-fi genre from the first seven issues with "Incident in the Beyond," which would also add Gray Morrow's art to the Yearbook in a Fredric Brown-esque tale from Goodwin.

And then finally, one last monster run, starting with the vampire story with a vegetative twist from CREEPY #4, "Blood and Orchids."  This not only contributes the twist of a vampire story without an actual vampire, but it also allows me to showcase art by Al McWilliams in the Yearbook as well.

I have to include the werewolf story, "Howling Success" from CREEPY #3, just for the little Easter egg of an issue of "Infamous Monsters" lying on the coffee table!  That adds a third selection from the Goodwin/Torres duo.

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And to bookend the opening "Monster Rally," I would close with "Wardrobe of Monsters."  Since I'm not including any of the Adam Link offerings, this is about my only other shot at acknowledging Otto Binder's scripts--and it adds another artistic contribution from Gray Morrow (though he shares the credit with Torres).

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So there you have it...  Axe Elf's 1968 CREEPY Yearbook!

Edited by Axe Elf
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I don't know if anybody has discussed this tasty tidbit anywhere, but at the risk of interrupting a quite fascinating stream of consciousness and enlightening discussion, this mag landed in my mailbox today after a lengthy wait. It actually seems worth it! Seems like as good a place as any for a mention, no?  Figured you guys were keen, but just in case....it's out there!!!!

 

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On 12/3/2022 at 2:14 PM, wpbooks01 said:

I don't know if anybody has discussed this tasty tidbit anywhere, but at the risk of interrupting a quite fascinating stream of consciousness and enlightening discussion, this mag landed in my mailbox today after a lengthy wait. It actually seems worth it! Seems like as good a place as any for a mention, no?  Figured you guys were keen, but just in case....it's out there!!!!

 

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Cool that it includes an illustrated history of the non-illustrated magazines too, like Screen Thrills Illustrated (which is actually non-illustrated).

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On 12/3/2022 at 3:14 PM, wpbooks01 said:

I don't know if anybody has discussed this tasty tidbit anywhere, but at the risk of interrupting a quite fascinating stream of consciousness and enlightening discussion, this mag landed in my mailbox today after a lengthy wait. It actually seems worth it! Seems like as good a place as any for a mention, no?  Figured you guys were keen, but just in case....it's out there!!!!

 

illustrators-quarterly-special-14-warren-magazine.jpg.c6bef8cc989d74fa2552af411a3b0161.jpg

 

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On 12/3/2022 at 5:35 PM, Taylor G said:

 

Was that Sanjulian book an actual update/revised edition or was it just a reprint of the Wow Cool book that came out a few years ago?  That Illustrators Special on the Warren Spanish artists is pretty excellent too!

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EERIE #11 - September 1967

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(This copy is a 6.5ish upgrade from my original 2.0ish copy, and outside of my 9.0ish EERIE #6, it is among my best-looking copies of the first 20 EERIEs.)

According to the Warren Magazine Index...

11. cover: Joe Orlando (Sept. 1967)

1) Eerie’s Monster Gallery No. 10: The Minotaur [Archie Goodwin/Neal Adams] 1p   [frontis]

2) Witch Hunt! [Archie Goodwin/Joe Orlando] 6p

3) To Slay A Dragon! [Archie Goodwin/Jeff Jones] 6p

4) The Mummy [Russ Jones/Dan Adkins & Wally Wood] 7p from the 1932 Universal screenplay, reprinted from Monster World #1 (Nov. 1964)   [story & art credited to Wally Wood]

5) Berenice! [Archie Goodwin/Jerry Grandenetti] 6p   from the story by Edgar Allan Poe

6) The Blood Fruit! [Johnny Craig] 8p

7) The Monster From One Billion B.C. [Tom Sutton] 8p

8) Big Change! [Ron Whyte/Larry Woromay] 6p

9) First Blood [Archie Goodwin/Gene Colan] 6p

Notes: The money crunch that led to Warren’s Dark Age began to appear with the introduction of reprints in the magazines.  Original Warren editor Russ Jones’ credit was erased from the reprint of ‘The Mummy’.  See notes on Creepy #17 as to reasons why.  Sutton’s story was originally done for Famous Monsters Of Filmland {and was reprinted very shortly in those pages} but appeared in Eerie first due to a deadline crunch regarding his story ‘Image In Wax’ which ended up in Creepy #17.  A note here on Sutton.  It’s my belief that Tom Sutton is probably the most underrated of all the Silver Age artists.  He worked for all of the major publishers--Marvel, DC, Charlton, Warren and Skywald and regularly appeared in fanzines, but never really had a long run on a superhero title, partly because he didn’t particularly like superheroes.  What he did like was horror and science fiction.  He was able to employ a remarkable variety of art styles and was best when left alone to illustrate (and on occasion, write) the scripts in his own unique way.  He was certainly capable of hackwork—his Star Trek work is mind-numbingly average, largely because that’s what the client and the publisher wanted.   He technically retired from regular comic work in 1994, although he continued to occasionally work in the field and his final days were spent drawing grotesque porn comics for Fantagraphic’s Eros line.  Yet he was also capable of absolutely breathtaking artwork, as for instance, on Marvel’s Future History Chronicles in the Planet Of The Apes magazine, the many splendid short horror & war tales he did for Charlton, First Comics eye-opening ‘Squalor’ series, the oddball Frankenstein series he did for Skywald and the Warren work recorded in this checklist.  He came in at the tail end of the Goodwin Era and I suspect if he’d shown up sooner he’d be a good deal better appreciated.  His influence shines on every time Bruce Timm draws the monster of Frankenstein or Steve Bissette or John Totleben apply pencil and pen to paper.  This was Goodwin’s last issue as editor but I’ve included the next issue in the Goodwin Era as he clearly wrote & assembled the artists for much of the contents.  Best art here was Jerry Grandenetti’s work on the Poe adaptation.

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There's a lot to chew on there.  The notes on CREEPY #17 regarding the removal of the Russ Jones credit, as one might expect, refer to a fallout between Jones and James Warren, resulting in Jones' departure.  Interesting stuff on Tom Sutton there too.

It's kind of poignant that immediately upon the heels of celebrating the early issues of CREEPY, we find ourselves descending, over the course of the next few issues, into the "Dark Age" of Warren Publishing.  Again, I don't necessarily intend to write reviews on reprinted stories that we've already discussed, but I guess we will do what we can as we work our way through that period.

I think this is the first Joe Orlando cover?

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On 12/3/2022 at 10:00 PM, Axe Elf said:

I think this is the first Joe Orlando cover?

I think this is Orlando's only Warren cover, but I could be wrong.

Eerie #11 thoughts:

Cover:  Joe Orlando does a nice job on the cover here.  For all that I haven't been a fan of a lot of Orlando's work for Warren, he was a spectacular artist.

Monster Gallery:  For some reason, the perspective on this one seems off to me.  Adams seems to be going for an exaggerated effect on the Minotaur, and goes a little too far with it to work.  It's still fascinating to see his early work as he figures out how to do stuff.

Witch Hunt:  One of Orlando's best stories for Warren, I think.  Beautiful and effective art.

To Slay a Dragon:  Again, beautiful art by Jones, although again somewhat reliant on heavy scripting by Goodwin to clarify the storytelling.

The Mummy:  We get into reprints here, this one is from Monster World #1... and the first Warren horror comic.  Wally Wood's famous quote is clearly in play here... "Never draw anything you can copy, never copy anything you can trace, never trace anything you can cut out and paste up."  But so is the less often included second part of the quote... "Then draw the **** out of everything that's left."  A surprisingly successful compression of the classic movie into six pages.

Berenice:  It's Grandenetti. Insert standard "I respect the craft but the result leaves me cold" refrain at this point.

The Blood Fruit:  Good story, not Craig's best art... but Craig on his not best day is still pretty good.

The Monster from One Billion BC:  Sutton's first work anywhere, not just for Warren.  This has signs of early work; a lot of the faces are a bit too exaggerated to really work well.  Sutton quickly got much better at using exaggeration like a scalpel, it's one of his signature tricks.  Still, a very impressive debut by a great artist who remains very underrated.

Big Change:  The only Warren credit for either Ron Whyte or Larry Woromay.  Woromay had credits in comics dating back to the early 50's.  Whyte has a smattering of scripts at various publishers.  I found the story an impressive twist but the art was underwhelming... I would have guessed the artist was the one with their third published story here and the writer was the veteran, but the reverse is true.

First Blood:  I can't get past the goofy fangs Colan draws in this one.  Ironic given that arguably Colan's most famous work was his 70 issue run on Marvel's Tomb of Dracula.

My somewhat mixed comments above to the contrary, I felt this was one of the stronger issues we've read recently.  It may technically be the last Goodwin edited issue from his original tenure, but I'll have more to say about that with Creepy #17 and Eerie #12.

 

Eerie_011.jpg

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On 12/4/2022 at 12:38 AM, OtherEric said:

Big Change:  The only Warren credit for either Ron Whyte or Larry Woromay.  Woromay had credits in comics dating back to the early 50's.  Whyte has a smattering of scripts at various publishers.  I found the story an impressive twist but the art was underwhelming... I would have guessed the artist was the one with their third published story here and the writer was the veteran, but the reverse is true.

Interesting.

Your copy is very nice, too--deep, vibrant colors!

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On 12/4/2022 at 1:38 AM, OtherEric said:

My somewhat mixed comments above to the contrary, I felt this was one of the stronger issues we've read recently.

I think this issue is really cool because the cover looks so different. If it didn't have that familiar Eerie logo and specify that it was a Warren magazine on the cover, I'd almost think it was a different publisher...  

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On 12/2/2022 at 6:48 PM, Axe Elf said:

Well, I tried, but I just couldn't do it.  I just couldn't narrow it down to 8 stories from the first 7 issues to comprise my 1968 Yearbook, if I were doing the editing.  I'd have to do a Giant Super Special CREEPY 1968 Yearbook, with (at least) TEN big stories!

There are really 3 or 4 more stories that I'd include among the best work of those early issues, but just to showcase a greater variety of themes, writers, and artists, I had to cut some really good pieces simply due to redundancy.  A couple of those "Honorable Mentions" would go to two stories that were chosen for inclusion in the original Yearbook--Goodwin & Crandall's "Vampires Fly at Dusk" from CREEPY #1 and the Goodwin & Torres vehicle "The Duel of the Monsters" from CREEPY #7.  Both were actually really good stories, but the bottom line is that there are just too many vampire and werewolf stories already, and the Goodwin/Torres combination already seems to dominate my selection of superlative stories, making "Duel" even harder to justify.

So if I were to put together my dream 1968 Yearbook from the first 7 issues of CREEPY...

I already did my version of the cover, and the Uncle Creepy's Introduction frontispiece from the actual 1968 Yearbook is just fine.  I would include two "Loathsome Lore" features--"Werewolves" from CREEPY #2 (because it's Frazetta's art), and the one on "Ghouls" from CREEPY #3 (because other than the cover of #1, it's about the only Jack Davis art we've seen).

I would also include a "Best Letters" page, and reprint the letter from Bernie Wrightson (CREEPY #5) and a few other gems, like the kid who heard CREEPY was better than MAD, but he didn't find anything funny about it; stuff like that.  lol

And of course I would reprint the debut of the "CREEPY Fan Club" spotlighting Frank Frazetta from CREEPY #7.

As far as the stories themselves go, I'd have to start with the Goodwin/Torres collaboration on "Monster Rally" from CREEPY #4.  I mean, c'mon...  Not only does it feature an array of the finest monsters ever to kick off a horror anthology, but it's Uncle Creepy's origin story!  It has to lead off the first Yearbook.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to the recurring characters of the CREEPY universe--a ghoul, a Frankenstein-type monster, a werewolf, a mummy, a mad scientist, a vampire, and a witch...

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...and of course our own Infant Creepy.

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Next I would skip to CREEPY #7 for a scriptwriter not named Goodwin (Bill Pearson) and an artist not named Torres (Joe Orlando) and a tip of the cap to the inaugural EERIE #1 with a reprint of "The Image of Bluebeard."  This isn't a "great" story, but just as the second song on an album is usually a weaker tune than the first, this story is here more for what it represents in contributor diversity and the expansion of the Warren line than it is for its standalone value.

Next I'll drop in a pair of stories that were also selected for inclusion in the actual 1968 Yearbook--"Werewolf" from CREEPY #1 and "Abominable Snowman" from CREEPY #6.  The former almost needs no justification, as the only full interior story illustrated by Frank Frazetta (scripted by Larry Ivie).  It's also the only story I can remember that is NOT introduced by Uncle Creepy (there's some character calling himself "Julius" doing the intro).  The latter is almost as rare an appearance by John Severin (illustrating a Bill Pearson story), as Severin seemed to be doing most of his Warren work at Blazing Combat in these days.  So it's kind of a nod to that contemporary sister publication as well--and both are pretty solid stories to boot!

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Story #5 would be another Goodwin/Torres outing in "Swamped" from CREEPY #3, giving the vampires their due after the previous werewolf tale.

To include one of the adaptations from classic literature that CREEPY had covered early on, I would select "The Judge's House" from CREEPY #5, adapted by Goodwin from Bram Stoker and illustrated by Reed Crandall--which also happens to be the origin of the "Crandall rats" for me!

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I would go back to CREEPY #3 for the seventh entry, an example of the limited number of stories in the sci-fi genre from the first seven issues with "Incident in the Beyond," which would also add Gray Morrow's art to the Yearbook in a Fredric Brown-esque tale from Goodwin.

And then finally, one last monster run, starting with the vampire story with a vegetative twist from CREEPY #4, "Blood and Orchids."  This not only contributes the twist of a vampire story without an actual vampire, but it also allows me to showcase art by Al McWilliams in the Yearbook as well.

I have to include the werewolf story, "Howling Success" from CREEPY #3, just for the little Easter egg of an issue of "Infamous Monsters" lying on the coffee table!  That adds a third selection from the Goodwin/Torres duo.

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And to bookend the opening "Monster Rally," I would close with "Wardrobe of Monsters."  Since I'm not including any of the Adam Link offerings, this is about my only other shot at acknowledging Otto Binder's scripts--and it adds another artistic contribution from Gray Morrow (though he shares the credit with Torres).

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So there you have it...  Axe Elf's 1968 CREEPY Yearbook!

Thanks for the good read👍‼️👏

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With my available free time diminishing as the holiday season hits full stride, I was glad I made the time for EERIE #11.

While Frazetta seems to be pretty regularly entrenched on CREEPY covers, EERIE seems to be more willing to let the featured story artist draw the cover as well.  I know at least Morrow and Adkins have done so in the first 10 issues and now Orlando--and I think I kind of prefer that.  As much as Frazetta covers rule, having the cover being drawn by the same artist that illustrated the story increases the continuity between the two--not to mention that a -script written to suit a well-drawn cover tends to be more contrived than a cover drawn to reflect a well-written -script.

So anyway, kudos all around on "Witch Hunt," for its well-twisted plot, for its Orlando art (that panel where he got knocked out by the swamp thing? Ohmgee)...

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...and for the Orlando Cover that so closely relates to the story itself.

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I kind of see what @OtherEric is saying about the odd perspective on Neal Adams' Minotaur (Monster Gallery).  I think the Minotaur's left foot--and especially left hand--are supposed to be much closer to us than the rest of it (suggesting more imminent danger), but that does give it kind of an off-centered fish-eye effect.

Speaking of Adams, I noticed that one of Cousin Eerie's answers on the Letters page referenced Neal's fine-lined pencil drawings from EERIE #10 had been "hurt" in the process of reproduction and printing.  I thought they were pretty good; now it makes me wonder what the originals looked like...

Other interesting letters included the one that apparently correctly identified Adkins' "It" (from EERIE #10) as Ray Harryhausen's "Ymir" from the movie "20,000,000 Miles to Earth" and the one in praise of the onomatopoiea ("sound effects") in Warren mags.  I also found it interesting that they carved out space on the Letters page to include a coupon to send in where you could "report" any delinquent newsstands not already carrying Warren magazines, and they would apparently take it from there.  lol

It seems that this is the first time that the Contents page has not featured two columns of art excerpts on either side of the content listings--in either CREEPY or EERIE.  I guess this will be the new style going forward--credits on the left and contents on the right?  Seems like it went back to the columns of art excerpts at some point, but that could just be a Mandela effect.

Okay, so back to the stories...

Following up the solid first story was "To Slay A Dragon," which was surprisingly just as solid--an almost Shakespearean tragedy in which everyone loses (the dragon, the hero, and the squire) couched in a pretty well-done sword-and-sorcery -script (even if the twist might be a little far-fetched).  I'm growing to appreciate the Jeff Jones art a little more here as well; some areas of fine detailing contrasted against stark white minimal backgrounds.

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Is the reprint of "The Mummy" the first time we've seen Wally Wood's art for CREEPY or EERIE (or Blazing Combat, for that matter)?  It is kind of cool to have a piece of Famous Monsters/Monster World ancestry reprinted here--but I must be thinking of an entirely different "Mummy" movie; the plot of this tale is nothing like the one I remember.  It's pretty cool that they could boil down a whole movie into a few illustrated pages, though, and the story was fairly engaging--so another thumbs up.

I think I enjoyed the Jerry Grandenetti art more than the Edgar Allen Poe story in "Berenice!"  I don't really get the fascination for her teeth, other than just as a manifestation of his OCD or whatever, but he first noticed them when her ghost appeared to him?  So, a fun one to look at, but a hard one to understand; I'll call this one a push.

I remembered @OtherEric had mentioned one story being heavily scripted, and I thought it might have been "Blood Fruit" when I read it--because it seems to be heavily scripted as well (but I see now he was referring to "To Slay a Dragon").  Still, it was given enough pages to breathe and develop, and I thought it was an overall strong effort by a single writer/artist.

Another single writer/artist and new contributor Tom Sutton gave us a very fun piece in "The Monster from One Billion B.C.," as the Warren Magazine Index (above) describes in great detail.  I can see why it was written for Famous Monsters, as the story was obviously written to allow the artist (himself) to frolic through the history of monster films--but I think it's just as much at home in a CREEPY (a la "Monster Rally") or here in an EERIE.

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And then that final sequence over the last couple of pages is just magnificent chaos, as the antagonist's head is revealed to be powering the tyrannosaur monster!

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And then we get even MORE new blood (so to speak) with another very strong offering from Larry Woromay and Ron Whyte (isn't there a comedian by that name?) in "Big Change."  The twist was entirely satisfying as the villains got what they deserved when the tables were turned.

A mummy, a werewolf, a witch, what are we missing--ah yes, a vampire...  "First Blood" delivers what may not be one of the strongest stories of the issue (although it was ok)--but Colan playing around with the black margins and awkward panel placements was interesting enough to look at.

(Yeah, pretty goofy fangs, though.)

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I guess I was kind of expecting a slow decline in quality as we approached the "Dark Days" of Warren publishing, but to the contrary, I thought EERIE #11 was a very strong issue through and through, and actually introduced a lot of promise in the way of broadening its horizons beyond Archie Goodwin scripts and the same familiar artists.  This issue offered several new contributors that all executed pretty strong efforts, tied in other titles and periods from the Warren chronology, and even included another adaptation from classic literature.  This issue was more of a breath of fresh air to me than an omen of hard times ahead.

If these are the dark days, bring 'em on!

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On 12/9/2022 at 3:17 PM, Axe Elf said:

Is the reprint of "The Mummy" the first time we've seen Wally Wood's art for CREEPY or EERIE (or Blazing Combat, for that matter)?  It is kind of cool to have a piece of Famous Monsters/Monster World ancestry reprinted here--but I must be thinking of an entirely different "Mummy" movie; the plot of this tale is nothing like the one I remember.  It's pretty cool that they could boil down a whole movie into a few illustrated pages, though, and the story was fairly engaging--so another thumbs up.
 

It's Wood's first story in EERIE specifically, although he did the Monster Gallery in issue 5.  He had stories in Creepy #9 (Overworked), and Blazing Combat #3 (The Battle of Britain) and #4 (ME-262) so far.

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