Are you scared? An intro to Creepy and Eerie Comics
[This is a guest post by Thomas Riccardi]
When I moved to Staten Island in the early 70’s the Staten Island Mall had just opened a few years prior. Every weekend my father and me would go to the mall and look around at the various stores and one of my favorites was the local newsstand. This tiny store would not only have the various magazines that would interest a young kid but would also have comics. One weekend I saw a magazine on one of the upper racks that proclaimed itself to be Creepy. I asked my father if he would buy it for me and he relented and when I got home I spent the entire afternoon reading story after horrible story. However, if you have read this far and are scratching your head trying to figure out what I am talking about then read on as you are going to get a short history lesson on the magazines that were Creepy and Eerie.
Warren Publishing got their start in 1957 by the publisher James Warren. In 1964 after introducing comics in his other magazine “Monster World” both Creepy and Eerie were founded the same years. The magazine was set up as an anthology magazine in the same vein as Tales from the Crypt as a host such as Uncle Creepy introduced the story and then weaved a horrific tale within the pages. Some of the issues had such great stories illustrated by Richard Corben, Berni Wrightson, Wally Wood and Neal Adams. One of the most iconic stories has to be in Creepy #63 which was a story called Jennifer. In this story a hunter is in the woods where he comes upon a man who is about to take an axe to a woman! Shooting the deranged man he whispers only one word on his dying breath and that is “Jennifer”. The twisted tale unwinds from there as it was written by Bruce Jones and illustrated by Berni Wrightson. The tale was so popular it even was adapted to an episode of Showtime’s Masters of Horror series.
One of the selling points of both comic magazines were the covers and these were no exceptions. However, unlike some comics which showed a situation that was never covered in the issue this magazine always had a comic to go with the image on the cover! And some of these covers were done by some great artists in the industry including Frank Frazetta! So imagine a cover done by either him or some other great illustrator like Steve Ditko and then diving into the issue to find a story associated with the gruesome cover. One of my favorite covers has to be Eerie #90 which has a woman clad in rags perched upon a giant, blue lizard. The story that goes along with it is also amazing as it is full color and deals with the woman trying to remember things in a bleak wasteland.
Both of these titles are now owned by Dark Horse and you can not only get either digital reproductions or hardbound editions of the original series but there are new stories being told as well! There have been issues of Creepy and Eerie published under a new format but with original stories being told in the same format. However, the last issues I can find are 2016-2017 and I could not find any future issues being offered so we will have to wait and see. And the stories that are being told are amazing as my favorite has to be in Eerie #7 a story called Monument. This story has an amazing twist at the end that has to be seen to be believed as it deals with high tech houses, architects and betrayal.
If you want even more horror fret not as there are two publications who are trying to capture the spirit of the old Warren Publications. One of them is simply named The Creeps as it follows almost the same format as there are amazingly illustrated tales of the macabre. With amazing artists as well as writers each issue will send a chill down your spine. You can find out more information on their website.
The other publication is Blokes Tomb of Terror and deals with a host that is only known as the Bloke. He tells strange and haunting stories that will most certainly keep you up at night. One of the best things about Tomb of Terror is that you can get the issues collected in paperbacks and it is not only a great way to get started but cheap as well! You can find more information on them on their Facebook page.
This is only a small glimpse into the world of horror comics and if you love this genre like I do I highly recommend checking out some of these books. However, if you read these books before bed and then hear some strange noises outside your home. Well… don’t say that I didn’t warn you.