Sunday, July 14, 2013

Eerie 4

Eerie 4 cover by Jim Pavelec

Flashback to sometime in 1968 when, as a 12 year old, I find a treasure trove of Warren Magazines by a curbside trash pile.  How I thought to open that box and look inside- I can only guess some otherworldly directive was guiding me-I’ll never know but I am certain it changed my life.  Eerie and Creepy Magazines became instant favorites and while I loved my superhero comics, seeing many of my Marvel favorites (Gene Colan, Steve Ditko, Wally Wood, and John Severin among them drawing horror stories) instantly rocked my universe.  Not to mention such giants as Gray Morrow, Al Williamson, Neal Adams, Reed Crandall, and covers by some guy named Frazetta. 

Frank Frazetta

Over the years both magazines had their periods rich and lean but they always had a spot in my heart. So when Dark Horse Comics began reprinting the run in Archives editions I was ecstatic.  No matter that I still own the originals; this was a chance to revisit them in the upscale format they deserve. The recently revived comic book series-a more contemporary reworking of the creative premise-has been somewhat less successful.

The bi-monthly Creepy has been wildly inconsistent, utilizing artists such as Peter Bagge who, despite their following, seem badly ill-suited for what is after all a HORROR book, and the choice of reprints has been dubious at best, often selecting stories that were reprinted in the Archives only months before.  With such a diverse selection to choose from I have to wonder why Dark Horse cannot quite seem to decide which direction the series should take.  The far less regularly published Eerie has fared better, building upon the unique blend of terror and absurdity that balance one against the other. Behind a very Frazetta like cover by Jim Pavelec Eerie 4 opens with “Hunger” by the writer/artist team of Landry Walker and Troy Nixey. 

Troy Nixey

Nixey’s art has a nice Tom Sutton (one of the most unsung comic artists of all time) feel to it that well suits this gruesome tale of an Earth bound alien with a taste for human flesh.  

Jonathan Case

Next up is “The Saturnian Infantroids” a rather odd take on celestial artificial insemination.  With script and art by Jonathon Case, whose recent “The Creep” series for Dark Horse was a solid read, I would have expected more. Case’s art straddles a line between EC like (think Wally Wood) science fiction and humor, but doesn’t quite hit its mark.


  Wally Wood

Speaking of Wally Wood, the final tale is a newly colored reprint of “The Manhunters.”  Written by Gerry Boudreau and magnificently drawn by Wood this is one tale worthy of finding a new audience. When it was first published in the mid 1970s it blew my mind. Reading it again almost 40 years later it is no less affecting. 

Berni Wrightson

 Richard Corben

Paul Chadwick

 Also included is a brief but excellent interview with the great Rich Corben, who continues to do groundbreaking work for Dark Horse, while the Berni Wrightson back cover brings back some fond memories.  I should also mention the inside front cover by Paul Chadwick, whose comic book work is far too infrequent for my tastes.  Here’s hoping to see more by him!


Gray Morrow

Vic Prezio

 Vaughn Bode & Jeff Jones

 Jack Davis

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