Captain America 601, 2009 “Red, White, and Blue-Blood”

In 2009, the world was treated to one more story drawn by Gene “The Dean” Colan. This was his swan song in mainstream comics (all of comics unless I’m mistaken), and it was fittingly a war/horror story! Yes, this is #warcomicsmonth and you do get some WWII action, but you also get some bloodthirsty vampires as well! A fantastic send off for one of the industry’s greats (R.I.P. Gene). Written by Ed Brubaker, with colors by Dean White.

The story starts out in Bastogne, France in 1945, with Cap, Bucky, and their unit, as they’ve discovered some other soldiers that were killed, but there’s something different about the way in which they were killed. Cap and Bucky wait and eventually see that the soldiers rise and are now part of a vampire legion! Cap and Bucky must now battle against men that served by their side, and not only that, but townspeople as well, including children!

This book is one that holds a high place in my pantheon of comics. Gene Colan is my all time favorite artist, and there is no finer example of why than this book. You get some very good scenes with dialogue with Cap and Bucky, but the action scenes, especially the ones that involve the undead, are simply incredible. Even on his last pro job, Gene delivered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eerie 50, 1973 “And the Mummy Walks”

As we close out September, what better way to do this than with a mummy. Starting out a comic with a mummy murdering someone, actually! As we know, Mummies can be fickle, as can werewolves, demons, mad clergymen, aliens and so on. In this special issue of Eerie, you’ll get all of those, plus more, and all started off with an incredible cover by Sanjulian (nice Christopher Lee/Dracula/Hammer homage)!

The first story “The Mind Within” (The Mummy Walks), is a continuing story from previous issues. Mind transference, a funeral, and a mummy wreaking complete havoc! Written by Steve Skeates, art by Jaime Brocal. The story and art are both good, and the mummy especially looks great!

This Evil Must Die” is the next installment (Curse of the Werewolf) in this mag, and hearkens back to the Universal film with Lon Chaney Jr. More so in just the action, but also a bit like the The Wolfman (2010,Benicio del Toro ). A wild chase of the werewolf in the forest leads to a man getting beaten, and nearly killed (they think he’s a sorcerer). Story by Al Milgrom, art by Martin Salvador. Another cool story with artwork to match.

This next one is very interesting. Not only because of the story, but because the name of the story is “Genesis of Depravity” starring Satanna, Daughter of Satan! This book was on the stands less than a month before Marvel comics debuted Satana, the Devil’s Daughter, in Vampire Tales 2. Fascinating bit of information. A woman needs medical help, but the regular methods can’t help. She calls upon the devil himself for help! A story that sounds vaguely familiar, not to unlike Marvel Spotlight 5, with the first appearance of the Ghost Rider! Written by Doug Moench, with art by Ramon Torrents.

A young archaeology student gets more than he bargained for in “Monarch’s Return.” He finds some relics and something alive as well! Story by John Jacobson, and art by Aldoma. A theme that’s been used many times in books, films, and comics, but a good one nonetheless.

Another tale called “Lord’s Wrath” is in this mag, and it involves an awful Baron of a German village, circa 1650. The Baron is cruel and punishes all those that get in his way. But, there is a priest in the village that opposes him, and he’ll go to any length to stop him. Written by John Jacobson and art by Paul Neary. Some good, thought-provoking material in this one.

To keep the action going, we get “The Disciple.” There is some kind of unseen force, and it’s taking over the mind’s of the inhabitants of a city. One man finds out exactly what this thing looks like, and he’s shaken to the bone! Written by Steve Skeates and art by Munes. Interesting story by Skeates, and well worth the read.

Finally, another chapter in the saga of Dax the Warrior called “The Secret of Pursiahz.” Dax is shown something unbelievable by an old wizard. A golden colored man, with the wings of an angel. Story and art by Esteban Maroto! Maroto is quickly becoming one of my favorite horror artists of all time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EERIE 46, 1972 “The Bloodlust of Dracula Rises Again”

After recently visiting a small show in New Jersey, I came home with twenty new magazines from the Bronze Age! These new mags are the very first I’ve ever read from Warren publishing! It took a long time to get some of these fantastic issues, but it was worth the wait! This first one I’m going to spotlight is a cracker, and it has some incredible artwork inside, and an unbelievable cover by Manuel Sanjulian!

Inside the front cover and back cover, you get a quick look at some of the backstory of Vlad the Impaler, A.K.A. Dracula! Cool little tale with great illustrations. Fred Ott (script) and Aureleon on art.

The first story of the actual issue is “And an Immortal Died” by writer Bill DuBay and artist Tom Sutton! We see the immortal Count Dracula, Vampirella, and more! Twelve pages of Sutton artistic brilliance, along with an interesting story! Definitely the gem of the book!

Next up, we get one of the craziest stories I’ve ever read (“The Things in the Dark“). You see, there is a local ghost story about a certain graveyard, and three boys are about to find out if there is any truth to it! After one of them does find out the hard way, there is an old man that recruits a local psychic investigator to help with the matter. But he might end up as worm food as well! Written by Fred Ott, with art by Jimmy Janes.

The third story is “Garganza,” and cerrtainly the weakest of the book. Basically a Kaiju story without any real substance that doesn’t pull you in. Bill Warren writer, and Paul Neary artwork.

“The Root of Evil” is a story that reminds me of something Amicus studios would’ve put out in the 1970s. A twisted tale about a woman who takes in an alcoholic as a renter. He soon becomes a victim of an insidious scientist. Written by Mike Jennings, with art by Martin Salvador.

The penultimate entry in this book is called “Planet of the Werewolves” and it (ahem) slightly mirrors the movie Planet of the Vampires by Mario Bava.  We look in on a spaceship with scientists that crash-landed on a distant planet that has been beleaguered by Werewolves! Story by Gerry Boudreau, and art by EC comics stalwart, Reed Crandall!

Finally, we get an entry into an ongoing story “Dax the Warrior.” A story with a Conan-esque character, Dax, as he must free his captive mate, and slay the Giant! Story and art by Esteban Maroto!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncanny Tales 2, 1973 “Out of the Swamp…”

It has been too long since I last blogged about a horror comic! Last week’s awesome post aside (click here for my contribution to Super Blog Team Up), lately I’ve been all over the spectrum on my posts, as in, whatever hits me as worthy at that very moment. Some would say they’re ridiculous and not top tier like certain books that have beloved runs even 40+ years or more later. But I feel like all comics have worth, obviously some more than others, and there’s nothing wrong with liking or not liking any comic. So even when I blog about some lesser known comic, rest assured its got at least some redeeming value. Now, let the horror commence!

This week’s post is solid, and has some really good material from the Golden Age. Some pre-code even! Five stories of madness are inside this one, and solid creators are behind them. The first story (“The Graves that Moved“) starts out in a graveyard as we see caskets popping out of the ground and killing an old guy! Very eerie and sets a good tone for the rest of the book. Art by Jim Mooney (no other credits given).

The second story is called “Out of the Swamps!” This one has a scientist, gangsters, and talking Lemurs…yep. A very bizarre story indeed, but with very good art by Dick Ayers!

Next, we get “Dead End” and we see a man telling the readers that he’s killed himself and doesn’t really exist anymore. It seems like they were going for a real nutty vibe in this one as well, and they achieved that with flying colors. script by Burt Frohman, Art by Tom Gill.

The fourth tale is called “Last Seen Climbing a Ladder!” The story revolves around a scientist that thinks he can build a ladder from Earth to an asteroid. Yes, you read that correctly. He actually succeeds but has plans of his own afterward! Art by Vic Carrabotta.

Last but not least, we get “Superstition.” It shows a penal colony on Guiana, and how the prisoners have escaped. They were helped by some of the natives, but when the prisoners demand to be taken off of the island, things get dicey. You see, the natives have a superstition and don’t want to leave the island. They have a good reason, and the prisoners find out why, but it’s too late! Art by Syd Shores!

All of these stories are kicked off by a cover by none other than Golden Age artist, Carl Burgos (you may have heard of him), but with heavy alterations by John Romita.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marvel Team-Up 68, 1978 “The Measure of a Man!”

It has been too long since the Man-Thing was spotlighted on this blog! Not to mention the awesome title Marvel Team-Up and Spidey! Of course the overwhelming majority of issues featured the web-slinger (some had the Human Torch), and he was the franchise at that point without a doubt. The creatives behind this one, were names that are synonymous with Bronze Age comics, but specifically the X-Men, and the greatest run that title has ever known (let’s be honest, will ever know).

But back to Manny and Spidey- in this issue, we see these two heroes that couldn’t be more different, working together to achieve a greater good. These two must put an end to the fearful villain known as D’Spayre, and to vanquish him, is to conquer your own fears. This is obviously a very challenging thing to do for anyone, even a superhero. We know that Man-Thing can sense and exploit fear, but what happens when he must face an adversary that can instill fear in his opponent? And we all know Spidey has doubts and fears even without any prodding, so an easy fight this will not be!

Now, onto this great creative team! We all know Chris Claremont (writer) is “Mr. X-Men” and rightfully so, as he crafted so many of the personalities we love(d) for a very long time. He also created a few new characters that have stood the test of time. His frequent collaborator, was John Byrne (pencils, cover and interiors). His pencils and creativity helped the duo raise the bar for all the titles at Marvel, but specifically the X-Men. But, don’t sleep on this material, because both men were at the top of their game on this run of Marvel Team-Up as well! Inks by Bob Wiacek (cover inks by Josef Rubinstein), colors by Phil Rachelson, letters by Bruce Patterson, and edited by Archie Goodwin!