Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reviews: Creepy Archives Vol. 7 and Marvel Masterworks Golden Age Human Torch Vol. 3

CREEPY ARCHIVES VOL. 7 (Dark Horse, 2010; Hardcover)
Collects Creepy Nos. 33-36 (cover dates June- November, 1970)
Yet another beautifully produced Dark Horse Archive, with the same high quality paper, restoration, and sewn binding that I have come to expect from the line. Most of the stories during this era of the title were okay but not very memorable. There were several that deserve to mentioned.
Issue 33's Blue Mum Day is wonderful mummy story by (writer) Michael Rosen and EC alumni (artist) Reed Crandall, a master of the art form, particularly the Horror genre.
Issue 34's The Swamp In Hell (writer-Don Vaughn/ Artist-Al Hewetson) has a very Twilight Zone feel to it. It's a story about a blind man and a swamp monster. Ando!, by writer Michael Rosen, boasts excellent, vibrant artwork by Golden Age great Syd Shores. His pencils have nice texture and shading and are a treat to look at.
The pair collaborate again on Issue 35's Army of the Walking Dead, a World War II zombie story that sees the Nazis experimenting with an army of the undead. The zombies bear a resemblance to Eddie from the Iron Maiden albums covers, and this story pre-dates Eddie by at least a decade. Syd Shores also provided pencils to this issue's It's Grim, this time with writer Al Hewetson, in a tale about taxidermy gone wrong.
Creepy began to diversify it's content into science fiction and sword and sorcery, and Godslayer fell into the latter category. Written and drawn by Bill Stillwell, this is another delight to the eyes. I'd even go as far as to say that Stillwell was among the finest artists of the era. Your mileage may vary.
The gem of Issue 35 would have to be Gunsmoke Charly, another Twilight Zone riff about a gunslinger who wants to be the fastest gun in the West. He makes a deal with the devil, and you can probably guess how that turned out for him.
The final story in the book also happens to be Artist Richard Corben's first for the Warren Magazines. Frozen Beauty is another age old retread about vanity and beauty, but has nice Corben artwork that keeps it from wallowing in mediocrity.
So yeah, while this book is not the golden age of the Warren Magazines, it is definitely worth taking a look at. There is much gold in this sand. 
MARVEL MASTERWORKS: GOLDEN AGE HUMAN TORCH VOL. 3 (Marvel, 2010; Hardcover)
Collects The Human Torch Nos. 9-12 (cover dates Fall, 1942- Summer, 1943)
Either the writing is getting more sophisticated and enjoyable in these Golden Age comics, or I have simply read so many of them that my brain has turned to mush. I think that the lack of continuity is funny, like how the Human Torch gets knocked out by gas when he is an android. He is clearly established as an android in his earlier appearances in Marvel Comics in 1939. The Sub-Mariner (a regular back-up feature in this title) no longer has the tiny wings on his feet or the ability to fly. There is also no mention of, or even a visit to, Atlantis, which is odd since Namor was shown to be a prince in his own title. I am guessing that the primary reasons are that Carl Burgos and Bill Everett were in the army at this time, and that Carl Pfeufer and company did whatever they wanted to with the characters.
The production values are all top notch as usual. Nice paper, sewn binding, excellent restoration...heck, it even smells good. I seriously stop and whiff these books every so often. I know, I have problems.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not surprised that Human Torch eventually loses all regard for continuity...this is the same series, after all, with two issue #5's! I've been working through the first Golden Age Marvel Comics Omnibus lately and enjoying it, so I'll be looking forward to getting into the Torch's series.

    I also can't wait to get that far into Creepy and Eerie. That's interesting about it veering into Twilight Zone territory...were those stories perhaps created for some other magazine and then re-used in Creepy, or were they original material?

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