EERIE ARCHIVES VOL. 8 (Dark Horse, First Printing, 2011; Hardcover)
Collects Eerie #37-41 (cover dates January- August, 1972)
Writers: Bill DuBay, Steve Skeates, Lynn Marron, Don McGregor, Larry Herndon, Doug Moench, T. Casey Brennan, Don Glut, J.R. Cochran, Esteban Maroto, Kevin Pagan, Fred Ott, Sanho Kim, Buddy Saunders, John Wooley, and John Thraxis
Artists: Enrich, Bill DuBay, Jaime Brocal, Ken Barr, Auraleon, Ernie Colon, Ken Kelly, Jose' Gaul, Paul Neary, Esteban Maroto, Tom Sutton, Richard Bassford, Jose' M. Bea, Dave Cockrum, Sanjulian, Mike Ploog, Sanho Kim, Luis Garcia, and Jerry Grandenetti
The story lengths grew longer than they were in the earlier issues but still manage to hold my interest for the most part. Things pick back up in this volume with the influx of then-new talent that would go on to be legends in the industry. A lot of these guys would go on to work for Marvel in DC in the '70s and '80s.
While free from the constraints of the Comics Code Authority, the Warren Magazines seem tame by today's standards. There is little gore and no swearing and nothing more than fleeting nudity. It's mostly old school Horror with a slight edge for its time.
#37's Horror At Hamilton House is filled to the brim with Gothic atmosphere, really good stuff. That same issue's The Ones Who Stole It From You has one sequence which is amusing by 21st century standards. Natahan Prine and Amanda Vincent are enjoying post-coital conversation and Amanda goes into a paranoid tirade about “tinier and tinier cages of freedom” and how banks are computerizing everybody, eventually giving everyone a “tiny charge card that'll have your symbols and responsibility all stamped on it's plastic surface”. The paranoia of the Baby Boomer generation seems downright quaint here in the middle of the second decade of the 21st century. Computerized files and credit cards seem innocuous compared to drones, NSA surveillance, emerging robotic technology, artificial intelligence, and the like. Sadly, we do have tinier and tinier cages of freedom. If someone reads these words in forty years the things that I worry about today will seem quaint. NSA surveillance? Try One World Government surveillance, where they send the robot thought police to arrest you for thinking about something offensive to someone somewhere!
Ken Barr is one of those artists who seems lost to time. A quick check online revealed a fair amount of work in the 1970s, eventually moving on to painted covers. Jose Bea and Esteban Maroto were at the front of the pack of the Filipino comic artists who were hired by Warren in the early '70s. Maroto excelled at the fantasy stuff. Eerie was more diverse than Creepy, delving into science fiction (Yesterday Is The Day Before Tomorrow) and swords and sorcery stuff (Dax The Warrior, an ongoing strip) which was popular at the time.
We get treated to some great early Mike Ploog artwork in #40s The Brain Of Frankenstein. Ploog of course went on to draw the first six issue's of Marvel's The Frankenstein Monster shortly after this story was published and became synonymous with the early '70s monster revival at Marvel.
The highlight of this book was #41's The Caterpillars, a genuinely creepy story by Fred Ott with brilliant artwork by Luis Garcia. Garcia didn't do nearly enough comic work, leaving the field in the mid-80s to become a painter. It saddens me that a lot of these artists, whose work blows away a lot of modern artists, couldn't make a living as a comic artist and so left the industry. How much quality artwork did we miss because they happened to be a certain age at a certain point in time? Garcia would be a star today.
|Artwork by Luis Garcia, well before the advent of Photoshop.|
Dark Horse pumps these books out rapidly, and while I buy them all I am extremely far behind on reading them. The entire run of Creepy and Eerie should be collected in the next year or two, and Dynamite is zeroing in with Vampirella as well. Fantagraphics collected Blazing Combat a few years ago. I will see the entire run of Warren Magazines collected in high end hardcovers in my lifetime, which was a pipe dream of mine just a decade ago.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.
The OCD zone- Presented in the size of the original magazines, these books are taller and wider than your standard collected edition.
Linework and Color restoration: High resolution scans with yellowing removed. Covers and pages which were originally printed in color are presented in color.
Paper stock: Coated stock with a slight sheen.
Binding: Smyth sewn binding, lays flat.
Dustjacket and Hardback cover notes: Dustjacket has glossy lamination. Casewrap has the faux leather graininess to it and foil dye stamps.