CREEPY ARCHIVES VOL. 9 (Dark Horse, 2011; Hardcover)
Collects Creepy Nos. 42-45 (originally published by Warren Magazines, cover dates November, 1971- May, 1972)
Writers: Gardner Fox, Don Glut, Steve Skeates, Gary Kaufman, Fred Ott, Don McGregor, Gerry Conway, Kevin Pagan, Jack Katz, T. Casey Brennan, and others
Artists: Dave Cockrum, Jorge B. Galvez, Jerry Grandenetti, Gary Kaufman, Richard Corben, Jaime Brocal, Luis Garcia, Felix Mas, Tom Sutton, Jose Bea, Martin Salvador, Mike Ploog, Frank Brunner, Jack Katz, and others
This era of the title had some stories with incredible artwork and mediocre writing, while others have good writing and subpar art. There is early work from writers and artists who would go on to make huge waves at Marvel Comics in the '70s, such as Don McGregor, Gerry Conway, Dave Cockrum, and Mike Ploog. Ploog is especially important to me, as he went on to draw my beloved Werewolf By Night.
Some of these stories are truly inspired. The Ultimate High! by Steve Skeates and Martin Salvador is a cautionary tale about doing drugs. The Warren Magazines were free from the confines of the Comics Code Authority since they weren't technically comic books and could therefore get away with murder. Literally. One must recall that the Code wasn't relaxed until 1972, and the creative freedom of the Direct Market and independent publishers was well over a decade away.
They say that a high tide raises all ships. Well, there are some real duds in this book that threaten to sink it, such as Grandenetti's mediocre artwork. While many of these stories are tame and dated by modern standards, there are a number of winners. I'm surprised by the diversity of the genres in this title.
Dark Horse has a huge task ahead of them. Creepy Archives are slated to run 25 volumes, with Vol. 15 slated for a February, 2013 release. I hope that the sales are there to see the entire run collected. There are fans who prefer the smattering of artist-centric editions that Dark Horse has released, but I want it all. That way, I can cherry pick my own “artist edition” volumes at my leisure.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- I love how these include the ads and letters pages.
Linework restoration rating: 4.5 out of 5. These are high resolution scans, and are excellent.
Paper rating: 4.5 out of 5. It's a coated stock with a slight sheen. It's not the greatest paper for black and white material but is still pretty nice.
Binding rating: 5 out of 5. Glorious sewn binding which allows the book to lay flat. It should be a crime if a high end hardcover book doesn't lay flat.
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