The New CREEPY #2--My Review

This is the second of my reviews for the first four issues of the new CREEPY title that is a collaborative effort between New Comic Company (who currently owns all the Warren copyrights outside of Vampirella and Pantha, along with their joint supporting cast, who are now owned by Dynamite Entertainment as of March, 2010) and Dark Horse Comics (whom New Comic leases the characters to, and who publishes the book).

The second issue of the new CREEPY is a marked improvement over the first issue, which was a pretty good effort in itself. In fact, the second issue of CREEPY was more than worth its $4.99 price tag IMO, and if the title keeps up this level of quality, I believe it has the potential to not only do the original Warren edition of CREEPY extremely proud, but also to once again take its place as one of the best horror anthologies in the comic book medium.

The second issue of CREEPY, like the first, had four original stories, one classic story from the Warren titles of yesteryear, a new addition of "Creepy's Loathsome Lore," and the back page devoted to an interview--this time the subject is veteran returning artist Angelo Torres, who is interviewed by none other than Uncle Creepy himself.

The first original story in the book, "Human Nature," is terrific, and I must say that the ending had quite an impact on me. I don't want to give too many spoilers here, but the tale is basically about a man who sets out to test his theory of human nature--are most people good or bad? The consequences of this man's quest made for a great tale, and I would actually like to see this story become the focus of a series, perhaps in a future revival of EERIE.

The second new tale, "Muscle Car," is a thoroughly disburbing story about a new type of car that utilizes organic meat as its fuel source. The results of such a car going on the market has some horrific effects on society when some of these vehicles end up in the possession of the wrong people. Let's just say that the least of the problems caused by these cars is when certain individuals begin deliberately hitting animals who wander into the road in order to use the roadkill as a cheap fuel source for their vehicles. When two deranged criminals decide to use such a vehicle as their getaway car when they go on the lam from the law in a desperate way, things get truly horrifying and tragic.

The third original tale, "Drawn Out," is another great and completely disturbing story about a man who always had good luck in his life, which he uses as an excuse to commit less than savory deeds--until his karma catches up with him in a big and truly horrifying way. After he pushes his luck by taking brutal revenge on his wife and her lover when the former cheats on him, this guy attempts to stay out of jail by committing suicide. He does this via attempting to drown himself by jumping off a bridge and into a body of water. Unfortunately, he did this in the dark of night and was unable to see that all the water has dried up during a draught period during the summer. As a result, instead of hitting the water, he hits solid concrete, receiving a severely broken neck that leaves him totally paralyzed...but alive and very much conscious and aware of his surroundings. This horrific situation only goes downhill from there, as the rest of the story deals explicitely with what this man goes through as a result of spending the next few days laying there paralyzed, as various scavengers--both human and otherwise--take full advantage of his incredibly unfortunate situation. This man's last few days of life prove to be enough punishment for his past misdeeds that one may conclude that he doesn't actually need to spend any time in Hell.

The fourth and final original story in this issue is the second part of "The Curse," a story about a young man named Jude who discovers that he has a wonderful gift that actually turns out to be a curse for him and many other individuals in his life: he can order people to do anything he asks and they are compelled to obey, but they invariably end up hurting themselves in an extremely painful manner in the process of carrying out the young man's orders. In the second of this three part story, Jude decides to cash in on the "gift" by selling his wish-granting ability to anyone who pays him a large sum of money. Of course, he neglects to tell them of the consequences of gaining their wish. When one of his customers decides to live out a violent fantasy to deal with his constant frustrations by literally murdering his wife and two kids and then asking for Jude to bring them back to life as if nothing had happened, this customer finds out that he has gotten much more than he bargained for. The character of Jude is quite interesting, and with this story, one actually wishes the series would run longer than three parts. I am truly hoping that after me and other creative mythographers see all three parts of "The Curse" we can find a way to tie this series into the Wold Newton Universe [WNU]. I am not yet sure if Jude will survive the third and final part of the story, but if he does, it would be interesting to see more stories featuring him and the various uses he finds for his "gift."

The fifth and final tale of this issue is another classic from Uncle Creepy's archives, this time a really cool tale entitled, "The Shadow of the Axe." In a story that seems to take place sometime late in the 19th century, a young boy who lives in a small town discovers that his father appears to carry on a secret life as a notorious serial killer who uses an axe as his weapon of choice for his victims. How the boy deals with this apparent discovery is the plot of a very decent blast from the past that I never read before, and if you haven't read it either, you will find it an interesting tale with the usual shock ending that we expect from such a story.

This issue's entry in "Creepy's Loathsome Lore" features Uncle Creepy giving us a lesson in some various painful and brutal methods of torture used on hapless victims throughout history during less civilized times. These methods would have people who were unfortunate enough to run afoul of the law back in those times to pray for someting as "mild" as waterboarding.

In terms of the woldability of any of the tales in CREEPY #2, as I noted above, I am hoping that eventually we can find a good reason to bring "The Curse" into the WNU. Further, it would be nice if a way was found to bring "Human Nature" into the WNU.

In the meantime, my further observations of Uncle Creepy and the rest of the Creepy Family back up an observation I made about horror hosts in my last review--when horror hosts who belong to the same "family" are not busy collecting and telling horrifying yarns or working in concert with each other to bedevil other individuals for who knows what reason (as occurred in VAMPIRELLA'S SUMMER NIGHTS when Uncle Creepy and Cousin Eerie teamed up to terrorize Vampi), they seem to display a terrible rivalry with each other, and in some cases they do their best to terrorize and harm each other in very nasty ways. Such behavior was seen before with horror hosts who belong to the same "family," as occurred with DC's Cain and Abel of HOUSE OF MYSTERY and HOUSE OF SECRETS respectively, when Cain would constantly be seen playing sadistic and temporarily fatal games with his poor "brother" Abel. And we saw this type of behavior with Uncle Creepy's "family" as early as the 1960s in a tale found in the original CREEPY entitled, "Where Satan Dwells," when Cousin Eerie planned diabolical schemes on Uncle Creepy during what passed for the latter's leisure time. The rivalry between Uncle Creepy and Cousin Eerie appears to be particularly pronounced in their "family," as the two not only do horrible things to each other when they aren't required to work together for various purposes, but they also talk smack about each other whenever comments are made by either on the letter's page or in interviews. In this particular issue (courtesy of a fan artist), Uncle Creepy is even seen doing something truly horrible to one of the two animal members of his horror host "family," the Creepy Cat (this time "Cat" is spelled with the proper "C" rather than with a "K," unlike the first issue). These observations of mine that occur during the first year of the new CREEPY are going to be recorded in the forthcoming update to my article on Horror Hosts that is up on The Secret History of the Wold Newton Universe site (brought to us courtesy of Dennis E. Power).

CREEPY #3 should be on sale by now, so I will write a review for it as soon as I buy a copy and read it. Stay tuned.

Chris N

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