I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got one new comic plus two hard cover collections:

  • Savage Dragon – 138
  • Conan Volume 6 “The Hand of Nergal”
  • “The Alcoholic” by Jonathan Ames and Dean Haspiel
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read recently.

  • Creepy Archives Volume 1 by Various
  • I never picked up many issues of Creepy back when it was published. It ceased publication in the early Eighties when I was in high school. I had picked up an issue or two but they weren’t very good. Creepy and its sister magazine Eerie were long past their heydays by then. But to this day I have friends who have issues from the magazine’s heyday (the early Sixties and then a resurgence in the early Seventies) and they love them. So when I saw that this archive volume was coming out I put it on my wish list.

    Creepy was a black and white magazine first published in 1964 that carried on the horror comic tradition of the EC comics of the 1950’s. And they did it well. The stories are all short, about seven pages a piece, and have a twist ending. That’s a standard length for Horror, Sci-Fi, or Monster comics of the day and is a formula that’s hard to pull off. You need a lot of story ideas. Creepy does it well. They are very well crafted stories that are aimed at adults so there is no holding your hand or lessons to be learned. Bad guys are bad and get their violent comeuppance and good guys better watch out because bad things happen to good people too. Some twist endings you’ll see coming but the ride is still fun.

    And the artwork is stunningly good. Al Williamson, Reed Crandall, Gray Morrow, and Joe Orlando are just a few of the famous names who handle the art chores and I don’t think I’ve ever seen better work from any of them. The book was and is published in black and white and the artists use a large vocabulary of techniques, from the grand traditions of illustration and adventure comic strips, that today’s artists just don’t practice anymore. It’s great great stuff that gives the stories a richness that makes them better than the sum of their parts.

    And one final thing. Since these were originally printed at magazine size I’m glad to see the archive is printed at that large size too. Too often magazine size comics are reprinted in the smaller comic book size. That ruins the art. The recent Savage Sword of Conan reprints are really bad. I was going to pick them up until I saw the horrible job done on them. Full size is the way to go.

    All in all I was really blown away by this volume. I knew from friends who love this stuff that it was good but it exceeded my expectations. The art is really what made it. The stories are so well drawn and without compromise that it’s a joy to read them. Pick this one up.