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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bizarre Adventures 34, 1982 “Special Hate-The-Holidays Issue!”

In this, the final holiday post of 2019, I give to you one of the weirdest books ever! These strange stories all revolve around the holidays, but each one with a different cast of characters. The awesome cover is by Joe Jusko!

In the first odd tale (“Son of Santa“), we see a little person who convinces a total stranger to come with him on a flight to Tokyo. He agrees, but half way through the flight, the little guy hijacks the plane, and then forces the kid to jump out of the plane with him (using parachutes). They descend, and find an unusual building. It’s the HQ of none other than Santa Claus himself! The jolly old guy has been killed, frozen solid by someone called…the Anti-Claus! Written by Mark Gruenwald and art by Alan Kupperberg.

The second story is a bit of a parody of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring Howard the Duck (“Howard the Duck’s Christmas“)! As usual, it’s a crazy story, but not the best of the book for sure. Written by Steven Grant, art by Paul Smith.

Next is “Dr. Deth, Not to Mention Kip and Morty.” This one is by Larry Hama (script and layouts) and Bob Camp (pencils and inks). This one is very weird, and really not about Christmas except in a  very ancillary way.

In “Slay Bells,” we see what looks like a deranged, small man, acting like a boy to get close to Santa Claus’s around town so he can kill them! This one is super crazy, and violent. Story and art by Mike Carlin.

The next to last story is called “Santa Bites the Big Apple!” Santa arrives to give out presents in Manhattan, but finds out it isn’t easy doing anything in NYC! He gets thrown in the slammer, then must improvise on how to distribute his presents. Writing and art by Al Milgrom.

Lastly, we get a chapter in the life of Bucky Bizarre! An alien character that appeared in previous issues. He’s a humorous character comes upon a girl selling matches on a street corner. The story takes place in the times of Charles Dickens, but this girl is not what you’d think! Written by Steve Skeates, art by Steve Smallwood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marvel Team-Up 91, 1980 “Carnival of Souls!”

As December rolls on, I wanted to spotlight more team up books. This one is very kooky, and features one of the weirdest villains from the pages of Marvel Team-Up! Moondark is very bizarre, and in his first appearance (MTU 12), he was shown controlling Jack Russell, in an attempt to murder Spidey! In this issue, he’s using his vast magical powers to control the Ghost Rider! And for a time he does, and makes him part of a sideshow attraction!

The issue starts out with Peter and Glory Grant on a date at the carnival It’s here that he sees the Ghost Rider. He then comes back later at night to investigate and then the real action begins! We get to see some Spidey vs Ghost Rider action, plus both of them against Moondark!

The story was written by Steven Grant, with art by Pat Broderick (pencils) and Bruce D. Patterson (inks). The letters by Jim Novak, colors by George Roussous, and edited by Denny O’Neil! The cover is by Rich Buckler (pencils) and Al Milgrom (inks)! Definitely a fun little one issue story that fits perfectly in the Bronze Age of goodness!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!