Creepy is Dark Horse Comic’s alternative for those horror comic fans that want a break from the overpopulated zombie story market. Surprisingly, the anthology features great, unique stories that pack the two-fisted punch of eerie plots concluded with a satisfyingly macabre twist.
The artwork harkens back perfectly to the vintage EC comics that disgusted Frederick Wertham to the point of action against the industry. Done in beautiful black and white, the illustrations vary in styling from photorealistic to cartoonish; but each style fits its respective story perfectly. I kept thinking of Gene Colan’s work on Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula. (In my opinion, the collected volumes in black and white that Marvel released had far more artistry than the color versions of the comics.) Creepy’s black and white emphasizes shadowing and textures that often get lost in the modern world of colors. The suggestion of gore and splatter in the two tones does more to shock than seeing a page doused in red.
The stories, as mentioned, provide a breather from the zombie saturated horror comic market. “Mud” is a revenge story about a bullied teen. “The Shroud” follows a couple who purchase a storage unit at auction and find a cursed item hidden within. A Florida town is overrun with vampires in “Bloodsuckers”. “The Ultimate High” is a cautionary tale like the little comics Baptists hand out in bowling alleys. And “Deep Ruby” shows why homeless people offering rare gems can’t be trusted. The stories are short and, for the most part, fun. “Mud” stands out as one of the best, but that’s typical Joe Lansdale. Comic books are the best medium for horror because comics give readers condensed stories without superfluous details and a visual element. Books may drag on too long, and movies may flounder in melodramatic musings or conventional gimmicks like spring-loaded cats. Comic books like Creepy are like hilarious-one liners: direct, succinct, and satisfying.
Now you may ask why I would speak so favorably about a comic and give it only a 3 out of a possible 5. This is because the horror comic is such a niche genre. The cape and tights reader would not find this book as interesting as a horror devotee. For you horror fans, I rate the book a 4 out of 5.
But I don’t think I could see horror comics in the same category as other books. They’re too different. And way too Creepy.
Writers: Lansdale, Braun, Morrison, Salvador, Goodwin Artists: Floor, Reynolds, Torres, Skeates, Ditko Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $4.99 Release Date: 1/25/12