Title: Creepy Archives Volume Eleven
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writers: Doug Moench, John Warner, Martin Pasko, Esteban Maroto ,Kevin Pagan, Greg Potter, George Henderson, Steve Skeates, Bill DuBay, Fred Ott, Tom Sutton, Don McGregor, Jack Butterworth, R. Michael Rosen, Richard Margopoulos
Artists: Sanjulian, Esteban Maroto, Ramon Torrents, Adolfo Abellan, José Bea, Auraleon, Felix Mas, Reed Crandall, Tom Sutton, Richard Corben, Martin Salvador
Release Date: October 2011
Price: $49.99 US
This is a hardback archive of Creepy editions 51 through 54. Being the eleventh such archive from Uncle Creepy, there are no surprises here as to the quality of the binding and reproduction quality, so let’s just jump right inside.
Just in case you have been living under a rock, or in a coffin, Creepy was the premier horror comic (sometimes disputed by fans of Eerie) of the 1970s. The macabre stories brought to us by the Crypt-Keeper-like Uncle Creepy are described as being “titanic tales of revenge, reincarnation, murderous fiends, indescribable monstrosities, misunderstood mutants, cannibals, and the living dead—to tickle your fancy and keep you up all night!”. Creepy Archive Eleven has all of this, and much, much more.
The art work is classic and reflects the style of the times in stark black, with the occasional multi-page color promotional insert. Some of the details like peace signs and pop-art clothing let the culture of the early seventies seep through some of the pages or “current day” stories, while others, set in the old west or Victorian times, are timeless.
The stories themselves have held up over time and are still both horrifying and thought provoking. A couple of them stand out to me as particularly good.
Them Thar Flyin’ Things (P. 115)
Anytime you combine flying saucers and hillbillies, it’s going to be funny, and this story is no exception. While trying to win the attention of the uninterested Ronald down at the pond, Betty-Ann comes across a landed alien craft and its inhabitants. Running to Ronald for help just comes off as another attempt for attention, but eventually, through much persuasion, she talks Ronald into taking a look. When Betty-Ann doesn’t come home that night, her cop brother questions Ronald about the disappearance. Ronald tells them a far-fetched, sarcastic story about aliens taking her to use her bones for rocket fuel. The story earns him a whack in the jaw for disrespecting Betty-Ann, and Ronald is dismissed as knowing nothing about Betty-Ann’s whereabouts… but not everything turns out to be what, or who, it seems to be.
Freedom Is Just Another Word (P. 162)
The thing about this story that makes it particularly disturbing is the amount of historical truth depicted in it. This post-slavery story is told from the point of view of Rosie, a young white lady, with a monstrously racist father. When Rosie welcomes a new black family to town, and is seen talking to Charles, the new family’s hard working, strapping son, her father uses his influence in the town to plant seeds of suspicion and hatred. Everything bad that happens, from illness to crop failure is blamed on the “black witches” until the town grows into an angry mob. When Rosie tells Charles of the growing anger in town, he decides there is only one way to handle the situation; to confront it head on and talk to the townspeople. Charles goes into town to ease tensions but gets badly beaten and is only able to make it back home with Rosie’s help. Charles’ family is outraged over the beating, including his grandmother who is paralyzed, but shows her outrage in her eyes. The situation grows worse, ending with the mob coming to Charles’ home and killing the entire family, save the paralyzed grandmother. That night a storm comes through town, killing all who were in the mob. It is left to us to decide who the real witch is; Rosie’s father, or Charles’ grandmother.
***End of Spoilers***
Just as enjoyable as the stories are the advertisements for fan clubs, 8mm monster films and other mail-order fodder, many of which I remember seeing as a child; yes I was 7 years old and a huge monster movie fan when these issues of Creepy originally hit newsstands. In the forward by John Landis, he shares his childhood experiences with these ads, having never received the items he ordered.
Overall, Creepy Archives Volume Eleven proves that these stories are still an enjoyable read nearly forty years later, but at fifty dollars, this volume will likely only be of interest to diehard fans and collectors.
Rating: 8 out of 10