Williwaw's Reviews > Creepy Archives, Vol. 1

Creepy Archives, Vol. 1 by Shawna Gore
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Nov 23, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: comics
Recommended for: comci book connoisseurs

This was absolutely my favorite comic book when I was growing up. Too bad that Dark Horse finally put out these archival volumes only AFTER I had spent several years and major money collecting ALL the original comic books, mostly on eBay. I never would have done it if high-quality reprints like these had been available back then.

As it turns out, my youthful tastes were not simply arbitrary: Creepy featured some of the greatest comic book artists ever, like Wallace Wood, Steve Ditko, Jerry Grandenetti, Dan Adkins, Gene Colan, Alex Toth, Bernie Wrightson, Richard Corben, Neal Adams . . . the list goes on and on.

What's more, Creepy was a black & white comic book. None of that crappy looking, blotchy four-color stuff that you saw in the old Marvel or DC comics. Black & white gives the reader a clear view of the artist's lines and shading. What's more, drawing and coloring are usually separate steps, executed by separate people in the comic book production process. The original artist would often have no idea how his work would ultimately look.

Another interesting feature of Creepy is that it was printed in full magazine size and displayed on magazine racks -- not comic book spinners -- to avoid the necessity of compliance with the Comics Code Authority. (So look out: there's plenty of gore and nudity, especially in the issues that were published during the 1970's.) The covers were usually masterful, full-color oil paintings by the likes of Frank Frazetta, Enrich, or Sanjulian. The full magazine size also helped showcase the incredible art work on the inside.

Dark Horse is now (at the time of this writing)up to Volume Eleven of the Creepy Archives. (Less than half way through, I'd guess: there were 145 issues of Creepy, in all, before the publisher's bankruptcy, circa 1983.) Creepy started out in 1964 as a gothic, traditional horror magazine, but slowly evolved into a more ground-breaking, occasionally post-modern, and often disturbing periodical. These reprints allow the reader to review that evolution in a convenient, hardbound format.

Not that you should have particularly high hopes for the writing. It's very difficult to do much in a stand-alone six or nine page comic book story that is targeted at 12 year old boys. Yet I think Creepy did remarkably well, given these limitations. (Beware: there are lots of bad puns and "trick" endings that will be sure to make your eyes roll.)

But that's what Creepy was all about: stand-alone short stories. There were no continuing characters to identify with, as in the typical superhero comic book. Which was great, because each magazine could feature several different artists and writers. And different genres could be mixed in for variety: typically horror, science fiction, or fantasy, with an occasional crime noir story.

If you love high-quality comic book art, you will love these volumes.
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