"Creepy Archives Volume 12" Comic Review
Written by Ilan Sheady
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Various Writers
Illustrated by Various Artists
Originally released 1973, 240 pages
Comic Collection released on 25th January 2012
It's hard to know how to start this review. Seeing as this is the 12th tome in Creepy's archive I don't want to repeat what 11 people have said 11 times already. By now you SHOULD know that Creepy and its sister title Eerie were originally released between 1964 and 1983 and, along with their second cousin Vampirella, they were one of the greatest publications for horror comics. But again I'm sure this has already been mentioned 11 times and I am in no way a specialist in the history of comics.
This volume, amassing a hefty 274 pages, consists of at least 22 short stories created by writers and artists hailed as being the classical masters amongst their peers. Creepy (Eerie and Vampirella) can boast being touched by some of the greatest artists and writers of all time. Sanjulian, Tom Sutton, Archie Goodwin, Wally Wood and the Legendary Frank Frazetta all had their names made from working on the pages of these horror comics. Frank Frazetta's covers in particular were the most iconic and are STILL the most collectible artifacts of the series and each issue is to this day a beauty to own.
Click images to enlarge.
Each story is vintage storytelling at its best with a great range of tales that never feel repetitive. Each artist was/is a master of manipulating black and white and this volume opens up with another heartfelt and nostalgic intro in acknowledgment. It's no accident then that nobody ever seems to mention the coloured strips that start to infest the collection. Maybe because in comparison it feels more like a marketing gimmick, which is the only inevitable flaw in this volume seeing as each issue has the strapline ‘NOW! FULL COLOR COMICS!’ in hideously childish letters.
There are going to be people who will curse me as a blasphemer for saying this, but I’m not a fan of the full colour artwork. That’s not what I picture when I think of these collections and seeing as every coloured story is illustrated by the same artist (Richard Corben) no effort was made to convince me to feel otherwise. This in no way ruins the stories and, credit to Corben, the opening pages to the Christmas tale ‘Bless Us, Father…’ is phenomenally freaky.
Click images to enlarge.
My issues with colour are purely personal and won’t influence the fact that each archive that Dark Horse releases is a genuine slice of history. You can see first hand the evolution of sequential art and the origins of campfire tales. OK it’s hard to imagine these stories frightening readers and sickening parents because by today's standards this is far from Avatar's Crossed series, but this is more than a graphic novel. This is an experience. Dark Horse even respectfully included the letters pages that housed the fan mail, there are original board games to (somehow) cut out and play and let’s not forget seeing every advert that ever graced the original pages. You too can be the envy of your friends with an 8 inch monster fly for $1.75, terrorize your siblings with over-the-shoe monster feet ($1.50 each) or be the proud owner of your very own LIVE Squirrel monkey for $19.95.
Is that real?