The Brave and the Bold 119, 1975 “Bring Back Killer Krag”

After sitting down and thinking about what book to cover next on my blog, it seemed like quite a while since I covered a DC book. Looking back, it has been, and to be specific, it was all the way back on November 11th! Since then, I’ve acquired a few more DC books, this awesome issue of The Brave and the Bold being one of them!

The creative team on this one (and many awesome DC books from the Bronze Age) is fantastic, but we’ll get to them later. For now, I’ll just say that this crazy (or zany) story has Batman investigating a murder at an equestrian event. The murder makes the newspaper, and Dr. Kirk Langstrom sees it. He realizes a reward of one-hundred thousand dollars could benefit him quite a bit, so he ingests his formula, and the Man-Bat is back! This one has it all, a Great White Shark (remember, it’s 1975) restless natives, real bats, and a second Man-Bat…?

As usual, this book is super entertaining for me. Mostly because I enjoy Bob “Zany” Haney (writer) and Jim Aparo (interior and cover art, Tatjana Wood colors). These two creators are probably my favorite team from DC comics. The stories are always solid and borderline on the bizarre, which suits my tastes perfectly. From an artistic standpoint, I can’t get over how much Aparo reminds me of my favorite artist, Gene Colan. He’s the perfect artist for Batman, Phantom Stranger, The Spectre, etc. His moody pencils create an atmosphere I don’t see consistently from any other artist from this era in DC books (not even Neal Adams).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doc Savage 8, 1976 “The Crimson Plague!”

The black and white magazine market was absolutely booming in the 1970s. Warren Publishing had already been producing exemplary material since the late 1950s, but in 1964 is when they went full on horror with Creepy and Eerie! Both of these mags had top notch creators on them, and still stand the test of time with excellent stories and artwork by some of the giants of the industry. In typical Marvel fashion, they didn’t waste any time copying the business model of Warren (once the CCA relaxed a bit), and began manufacturing a ton of magazine content.

The content was mostly horror and Sci-fi, but Marvel had other books like Rampaging Hulk, Savage Tales, Conan, Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu, Planet of the Apes, and of course, Doc Savage! In this, the final issue, you’ll see madness like never before!

The Doc and the crew head to Acapulco for a funeral, little do they know that they must then contend with a Lovecraftian creature that can completely absorb someone’s mind, turning them into a zombie! Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Renny gets beaten down by some thugs. Later, Doc and Monk come face to face with Randolph Dorn and his Brain Bank!

This insane story was scripted by Doug Moench, from a plot by John Warner and John Whitmore, art by Ernie Chan, letters by Joe Rosen (and Gaspar Saladino). The incredible cover is by the awesome artist, Ken Barr! There are also two pinups I’ve included. The first (inside cover) is from perennial horror artist of the Bronze Age, Tom Sutton, the second by Bob Layton and Dick Giordano!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marvel Team-Up 71, 1978 “DeathGarden”

It feels like it has been forever since the blog covered a Marvel anthology title (superheroes). After sifting through some boxes, I decided to spotlight this one! How can you not get drawn in by this cover? Cap slowly dying, Spidey and the Falcon swooping in to try and save him, the always loved Marvel hyperbole…”when dies a legend!”

The story isn’t too deep, but it’s mostly about the action, drama, and two heroes getting together to save a mutual friend in Captain America. You do get a lot in this issue though, as A.I.M., Nick Fury, Dum Dum Dugan, Redwing, and the Plantman all make appearances! A fun issue and you always get that with Marvel Team-Up!

Written by Bill Kunkel, pencils by David Wenzel, inks by Dan Green, letters by Rick Parker, colors by Francoise Mouly, and edited by Jim Shooter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Machine Man 2, 1978 “House of Nightmares”

When Jack “King” Kirby returned to Marvel in the mid-1970s, not only did he spend time on an old favorite, Captain America, but he also created some new characters that were absolutely mind-blowing. One at the top of the list has to be Machine Man. An android created by a scientist, that in turn was killed trying to remove the auto-destruct mechanism from him. Machine Man was introduced in the pages of 2001: A Space Odyssey (issue 8, 1977). This was another Kirby vehicle that was initially based on the film (Stanley Kubrick) and novel (by Arthur C. Clarke). Kirby eventually took the book in his own direction though, and brought more of his Bronze Age bombast with it.

Kirby eventually left Marvel in 1978/1979 (after issue nine of this series), but the title did go on for a few more issues with Steve Ditko on art. It was interesting, but not the all out craziness and cool of Kirby (some of that was definitely the writing, too).  But we did get this awesomeness from the King for those first nine issues, and how glorious they are to behold! Written, edited, and penciled (cover as well, with possible inks by Mike Esposito) by Jack Kirby, inks and letters by Mike Royer, and colored by Petra Goldberg!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SGT. Fury and His Howling Commandos 108, 1973 “Bury My Heart at Dresden!”

As I continue plowing through #warcomicsmonth like a Sherman tank, I thought it would be awesome to give Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos a look! For Marvel fans, this is the big dog of war comics, with only some ancillary titles in the mix (you’ve got to count Captain America in there for a lot of his publishing history). Marvel really did a great job with this team, as it not only had (eventually) distinct personalities for each character, but it was full of diverse ones as well.

In this epic tale, Fury and the Howlers are trapped in enemy territory, as the Allies begin to bomb the city of Dresden. In this real world event (like quite a few of these tales) more than twenty thousand lives were lost. This issue shows the real cost of war and how often those that are not involved get caught in the ugliness. Yes, we also see the usual awesomeness of Fury and the Howlers kicking Nazi butt, and the issues that feature only that are fun as well. But, this one is a bit more profound than most, and will definitely get you thinking. Dum Dum, Izzy, Gabe, Dino, Pinky, etc., they’re all here in this explosive issue!

Written by Gary Friedrich, pencils by Dick Ayers (cover by Ayers as well), inks by Vince Colletta, colors by Dave Hunt, letters by John Duffy, and edited by Roy Thomas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Batman 236, 1971 “Wail of the Ghost Bride!”

Happy Halloween! I’ve been spotlighting the wonderful additions to my collection from Warren Publishing (Creepy, Eerie) over the last several weeks, and I hope you enjoyed them. Now though, it’s time for some holiday spookiness from the caped crusader himself, Batman! In this issue, we get three stories, but the one I’m going to be focused on is “Wail of the Ghost Bride!” Written by Frank Robbins, with art by Irv Novick (pencils) and Dick Giordano (inks).

The opening splash page shows Batman attacking a man with his back to the audience, and with a ghostly apparition of a woman egging him on to kill her murderer. We then flashback to a time before, and Bruce Wayne is on a flight back to Gotham City. He’s reading a book on unsolved mysteries (cue Robert Stack), and wonders about the death of a woman named Corrine, the heiress to Hellbane Manor. He falls asleep and begins to dream. He wakes up though, and lurches back in terror, as this same woman he read about, Corrine, is outside the window, calling to him to avenger her death. From here, the story follows Batman, as he attempts to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of the young woman.

The story is a good one, but the overall brilliance is the art by Novick and Giordano. The two make a great paring for a character like Batman, and really showed me that they belong right up there with the other great Batman creative teams. And of course, you can’t go wrong with a fabulous cover by Neal Adams!

I’ll just briefly mention the two back up stories. First is “Rain Fire” written by Mike Friedrich and again Novick and Giordano on art. It’s just ok, and not really my cup of tea (a political/social commentary story). The second one is a reprint from Batman 30, 1945. “While the City Sleep,” is a fun little romp by Bill Finger (writer, and the true creator of Batman with the various ghost artists), with art by Dick Sprang!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eerie 51, 1973 “Special Issue, Best Stories Ever!”

In this, the final installment of my  Warren Publishing Halloween spectacular, we get an all-out “best stories” issue! The issue brings some interesting stories for sure, but some similarities to comics/characters that would come later down the road from other publishers (I’m looking at you, Marvel). But when they say it’s a best of issue, they weren’t kidding. And, as a bonus, you get seven big stories in this issue rather than the usual six! All started off with a beautiful painted cover by Sanjulian!

The first story is one that shocked me quite a bit. Not really because of the content, but one of the characters has a strong resemblance to Gamora of the Guardians of the Galaxy. And just so it’s clear, this came out two years previous to Gamora’s first appearance. OK, back to the story. “A Stranger in Hell” is a mysterious one that shows a man that cannot remember his name, and is lured deeper into a realm that closely resembles Hades itself! Written by T. Casey Brennan, and art by Esteban Maroto!

The following story is entitled “Pity the Grave Digger!” It shows a gruesome tale of a graveyard full of vampires! And if that wasn’t enough, we also get something else insidious that will gnaw on you! Story by Buddy Saunders, and art by Auraleon.

The third selection is an absolutely terrifying yarn! “The Caterpillars,” is about a secret government lab, and something called Project X-3. Something rises from a grave, and later an autopsy reveals a worm was inside a skull, eating away at the victims brain! Written by Fred Ott, artwork by Luis Garcia!

Evil Spirits” gives us not only two iconic creators I’ll mention in a second, but first there’s a woman that has disturbing dreams. By the end of it, she’s swinging an axe, but at whom? Story by Archie Goodwin, art by EC legend, Johnny Craig!

In “Head Shop,” a man takes an interest in an odd dummy head. The head seems to change it’s facial expressions, and become almost psychotic! In fact, if the man keeps obsessing he might end up losing his head over it. Written by Don Glut, art by Jose Bea.

The next story is another treat because of the creative team. “Vision of Evil” is quite a yarn. This one shows us an artist that has a flare for the dramatic with his horrific paintings. There’s only one problem…they’re a bit too life-like! Written by Archie Goodwin, with art by Alex Toth!

Finally, “The Curse of Kali!” This tale involves British soldiers and a bizarre adventure in India. By stories’ end, most of the soldiers don’t make it out alive to tell the tale! Story by Archie Goodwin, with art by Angelo Torres!

This issue is a must have for any Warren mag, horror, or fan of Archie Goodwin and these fantastic artists!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creepy 57, 1973 “The Destructive Image”

In this, the penultimate black and white magazine spotlight for October (I have something special planned for the 31st), the awesome talents of Sanjulian are on full display with this cover! The horror and fantasy elements here are spectacular, and really eye-catching. After so many good covers, it’s easy to get spoiled, and give him his due, but lets be honest, the man deserves it.

As usual, the issue contains six stories, and some fun games and little articles as well. Uncle Creepy introduces us to the stories, and adds his usual bit of sick humor as well. Alright, here we go!

The first story is called “The Destructive Image.” In this one, we see how television can become reality. A deadly reality! Written by Don McGregor, with art by Ramon Torrents.

The next story is called “The Hope of the Future,” and it involves a man and some children. Not just any children though, the kind that murder! Story by Doug Moench, and art by Jaime Brocal.

The Bloodlock Museum,” is a story that shows a psychotic man and his one-of-a-kind museum. And the man that he’s giving a tour to will be the final exhibit! Writer Jack Butterworth, art by Martin Salvador.

In the middle of the book we get a story in full color (not sure how I feel about this). It’s called “The Low Spark of High Heeled Noise.” A couple let a stranger stay at their home for the night with interesting results! Writer Doug Moench, and art by Richard Corben.

Following the Corben/Moench madness, is “The Red Badge of Terror.” A war/western story with a vampiric twist! A very good yarn by Doug Moench (story) and Jose Bea (art)!

Finally, we have “Sense of Violence.” The story shows us a paranoid man that thinks everyone is out to get him. He uses a knife to defend himself against his attackers, but was any of it real? Story by Doug Moench and art by Munes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eerie 52, 1973 “Who Will Die?”

Dear cousin Eerie, thanks for all the horror! Especially in this issue, where there are six stories! The Mummy, werewolf, and others scare up some excitement, as Warren magazines brings another issue packed with the scary! And as usual, we get it all started off with a wonderful painted cover by Sanjulian!

The first story gives us a “Ghoulish Encounter,” as The Mummy himself comes face to face with a flesh eating zombie! You see the mummy, snappin’ necks and cashing checks, a zombie chowing down on an unsuspecting dude, and more! Story by Steve Skeates, and art by Jaime Brocal!

Next up, is another tale of the werewolf! “Darkling Revelation” as we see the werewolf meet a fortune teller, and a traveling band of Gypsies. Needless to say that by the time our story ends, the werewolf is doing werewolf things. Writer Al Milgrom, with art by Martin Salvador.

The third installment “Hunter,” is indeed a strange one. We see a a man faced with the harsh reality that a war has devastated the planet, with talk of a demon nearby who knows how this tale will end! Story by Rich Margopoulos, art by Paul Neary.

Beheaded” gives us a haunted house and a headless ghost! A very spooky story that is atmospheric with a deadly ending! Written by John Jacobson, with art by Aldoma.

The penultimate story in this book is called ” The Golden Kris of Hadji Mohammed.” A story about a golden dagger, and the men who will kill to get their hands on it! Written by George Henderson, art by Munes.

Finally, we get another chapter in the story of “Dax the Warrior.”Death rides this night is the name of the story, and it’s no joke, as we see a crew of skeleton warriors on horseback to open the action! Not only that, but Dax is having woman trouble as well, and this kind can’t be settled with some flowers and chocolates! Written and drawn by Esteban Maroto!

A very strong issue, and of course, the back pages are filled with those wonderful ads we all know and love!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creepy 56, 1973 “Summer Special Bonus”

The Warren magazine love continues! In this issue of Creepy, there are some really wild stories! Six stories, to be exact, that will make you absolutely cringe. You’ll see a cat used as a light chain, Satan get arrested (sort of), and a Cthulhu worshiping cult that demands a sacrifice! All of this waits inside with another phenomenal cover by Sanjulian!

Leading off, we have “In My father’s House.” A caretaker at a cemetery makes a grisly discovery, as a corpse is tied to a tombstone! The police investigation starts out slow, but picks up steam when one of the cops comes face to face with the devil! Written by Doug Moench, art by Auraleon!

“Innsmouth Festival” is next, and this one is straight out of the mind of H.P. Lovecraft! As we know, Innsmouth is a familiar setting for his stories, and also for this one as well! A reporter is sent to a small New England town to investigate and interview two ladies that say the town has a secret! It doesn’t take the skeptic long to figure out that they’re on the level! Written by John Jacobson, with art by Adolfo Abellan.

The third story, “Consumed by Ambition,” and this one tells a how a vampire vacations! It not only makes friends, but drinks their blood as well. There will be a finish like no other in this story! Writer, Jack Butterworth, and art by Martin Salvador.

The following story is in full color! yes, that’s right, you get a full color story (whether or not it’s a good thing) about a werewolf by none other than Richard Corben (story and art)! “LycanKlutz,” displays some incredible artwork, but the story is, well…ridiculous.

The Ways of all Flesh” gives another look at a story with a religious backdrop. A woman is murdered along with many others, and the town has lost their faith. In the end, we see that the vicar has his own, special congregation. Story by Doug Moench, with art by Jose Bea.

Lastly, we see “The Bell of Kuang Sai.” An ancient bell, ordered to be built by the powerful leader Kublai Khan! The metal workers from his kingdom are told the greatest bell of all time must be built in his honor. The metal worker tries repeatedly to make one, but it always cracks. He then summons the spirits of the gods, to aid him. The result is not what he had hoped for! Written by George Henderson and art by Munes!