"Creepy Presents Bernie Wrightson" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James "Spez" Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written and Illustrated by Bernie Wrightson
Graphic Novel released on September 13th, 2011
It's hard to believe given the current landscape of comics, but super heroes weren't always this popular. Back in the 1970s the biggest thing in funny books was horror and Creepy and Eerie were two of the largest names in the genre. Each issue featured a number of spooky tales with an introduction from characters that are clear ancestors to the Crypt Keeper. One of the legendary names to come out of this era was Bernie Wrightson, who consistently turned in some of the scariest art that's ever seen print. Dark Horse has collected a number of Wrightson's stories in Creepy Presents Bernie Wrightson.
Each of the tales feature a twist at the end that's meant to terrify you. Some are a lot easier to predict than others. They're all quick reads as each issue of the comic was an anthology meant to hold four or five stories. Remarkably, each one has a satisfying conclusion. Comic writers today could learn a lot from this book as many of them have trouble completing an arc in six issues, let alone a quarter of a single book. Many of these are adaptations from the likes of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, but some are original writings as well.
While each story is enjoyable, I think I liked Country Pie the best. It has an interesting take on the serial killer sub-genre with a satisfying closer. Jenifer is a close second, but not a comic I would want to read again anytime soon. The title character is something that's going to haunt my nightmares even if I accidentally flip to one of those pages again.
Wrightson's art has an attention to detail that is just not seen in today's comics. I don't want this to sound like a nostalgic rant or use the cliche of "They don't make them like they used to," but it's tough not to think of that when flipping through this book. Wrightson manages to cram so much detail into each panel that you almost don't need the captions and speech bubbles. Plus his monsters are downright frightening. It's easy to imagine them in the real world as he's already done all the work for you.
Only one of the stories is in color, but in many ways they work better in black and white. This is true pulp comic stuff here. The lack of color for most of the stories have no adverse effect on them at all.
Along with the various stories featuring Wrightson's art, Dark Horse has also included several pin-ups and introduction pages from back issues of Creepy and Eerie. These are the pages where Uncle Creepy or Cousin Eerie gives a brief description of the tales included in that month's issue. They're usually standing over a decaying corpse while doing so.
These are the kind of comics that you would stay up late as a kid reading under your blanket with a flashlight and then wake up in the middle of the night due to nightmares. If you have any inkling of nostalgia for old school horror comics, you cannot go wrong with this hardcover.