"Creepy" returns for summer fun! Well, maybe 'fun' is stretching it a bit, but the horror anthology from yesteryear creeps its way to the new comics rack this week under a magnificent Eric Powell cover featuring the Hell Hound. For those of you Robert Johnson fans reading this review, yes, that Hell Hound. Not a Robert Johnson fan? That's still a wicked cool cover.
"Wicked cool" appears to be the theme of this revived collection of deteriorating sequentials. This issue clocks in at 48 pages long and features pin-up work from the godfather of gruesome art, Bernie Wrightson. The new "Creepy" kicks off with a tale from Joe Harris, featuring painted black & white artwork from Jason Shawn Alexander. "The Curse" is a disturbing tale that gives a little wink and a nod to anyone who has ever worked in the printing industry and hated it. It starts off as any bad day at a printshop might and it only gets more disturbing.
"Hell Hound Blues" takes the image from the cover and delivers some depth to the image on the front. Those familiar with the legend of Robert Johnson's alleged deal will find this story to be somewhat enlightening -– er, well, maybe endarkening. Featuring art from original "Creepy" artist Angelo Torres, this Dan Braun-written story feels like a segment ripped from the original run of the magazine, stapled right here into this new quarterly comic. The language and situations could be considered offensive, but as the saying goes, paybacks are a bitch. The bitch in this case happens to be a Hell Hound.
As if Nazi gas chambers weren't creepy enough, "Chemical 13" from Michael Woods with hauntingly beautiful haunting wash artwork by Saskia Gutenkunst finds a way to make the terror camps of World War II just a little more terrifying. "All the Help You Need" follows with a "Creepy" tale set in a "Biggest Loser"-esque scene. This story was the weakest of the bunch to me, but re-reading it and imagining Jillian Michaels in the role of Sue made it just a little more creepy. The issue is rounded out with "Loathsome Lore" featuring an inferred connection between some of the biggest stars of yesteryear in the creepiest way imaginable.
The new "Creepy" ends with a nod and a reprint from the old "Creepy", as well as a few other spots. This issue reprints "Daddy and the Pie" a tale about a young boy from Stillwater Maine and his two heroes –- his father and an alien named Pie. Featuring timeless Alex Toth artwork (even more enjoyable in black and white), this tale by Bill DuBay is the least creepy of the bunch. I'm not sure why this specific tale was chosen for inclusion in this issue, but I am glad it was. Alex Toth art alone is a plus one in the star rating any time.
All in all, this is quite an eclectic mix of stories. Undoubtedly aimed at a readership in their 20s-40s, this title should do well with that group. It is a solid offering from Dark Horse and a good way for them to jumpstart their horror titles once more. Given the quarterly nature of the expected publishing schedule for "Creepy Comics," the next issue should be out shortly before Halloween. Trick or treat and "Creepy" too.