ADVANCE REVIEW! Creepy #7 will go on sale Wednesday, January 25, 2012.
Anyone who has spent more than five minutes in my presence knows that I have a love affair with Warren's Creepy and Eerie magazines. I was raised on the terror tales contained within the yellowing pages of these putrid periodicals. With the exception of a brief lull in quality after the departure of editor Archie Goodwin and subsequently a great deal of their talent roster, these comics were always phantasmic — err, fantastic!
The resurrected Creepy comic at Dark Horse woefully brings to mind that aforementioned dark period. The first handful of issues were acceptable, and I figured it would take some time before the series really grew wings and began to soar. With Creepy #7, I've come to realize that not only did the comic fail to take flight, it fell into a nosedive and has finally crash landed in a plume of pitiful plots and agonizing art.
Contained within this 48 page letdown are three new stories, and two reprints. That's right, TWO reprints! "The Ultimate High" from Creepy #44 and "Deep Ruby" from Eerie #6 are, of course, classics not to be missed. I wouldn't have such an issue with the inclusion of these timeless tales if not for the fact that Dark Horse is already reprinting these gems in the Creepy and Eerie hardbound archives. It astounds me to think that they can repeatedly milk these stories and not be called out on it.
As for the original material, well, there were ups and downs. Strikes and gutters, so to speak. Mostly gutters. The first story, "Mud", is a revenge piece about a little boy who conjures mud monsters to get back at a group of bullies. There is very little character building within the story, and one could ultimately care less about what happens to any of the characters. The art by Guus Floor is delivered in simplistic chunks of dark and light with no gray tones. This leaves the story feeling, well, muddy and devoid of any real emotion.
Next up on the list is a riff on the current fascination with shows like Storage Wars. "The Shroud" is a short story written by one of the Creepy owners, Dan Braun. It focuses on a down-on-their-luck couple who buy out a storage unit of junk with a hidden gem inside. This treasure comes in the form of a demonic looking shroud, which finds the couple facing supernatural evils. It was a relief to finally see a creature feature within the pages of Creepy, but in the end, the story was nothing more than mediocre. The art by Patric Reynolds was quite atmospheric, though, and makes this particular tale worth the read.
Finally, we have the yawn-inducing yarn, generically titled "Bloodsuckers". This seems, to me, to be the writer's attempt at drawing parallels between vampires and mosquitoes, albeit in a very strange way. I can't say much more than that, lest I risk giving away what little plot lies within. The art is simple and blocky, which I suppose serves as a nice compliment to the story.
I give this book one star for each of the classic tales contained within. I really want to like the new Creepy series, but I just can't overlook mediocrity and the sheer laziness that is evident in the production of these issues. Between the half-assed material being fed to us in the pages, and seeing a painfully disappointing Creepy panel at NYCC 2011, my suspicions have been confirmed: The new Creepy owners view the property as nothing more than a springboard for merchandising and media tie-ins. This is, perhaps, a tough review, but if you're going to display the Creepy logo on the front of your comic, you'd better have your shit together. I only hope that I can be made to eat my words with future issues, but I won't hold my breath.
Rachel Deering is horror incarnate. Before most children learn to read, she was cutting her teeth on Warren Publishing magazines like Creepy and Eerie, and the beloved multitude of EC titles. Feeding her ever-growing hunger for horror on a steady diet of Hammer flicks and anything having to do with werewolves, it became all-too-clear that she was beyond the help of even the saintliest of priests. Her family abandoned her in a remote forest, where she was raised by Bernie Wrightson and his Swamp Thing. Today, she works as a freelance writer, editor, and letterer for comics and lives in Columbus Ohio with her wonderful wife and tiny chihuahua.