REVIEW: ‘Creepy’ Issue #5

The cover for the fifth issue of Creepy is a bit deceiving. The medieval priest dressed in satanic red robes and lugging an ornament of skulls, along with the devilish smirk on the face of narrator “Uncle Creepy” in the background, might make a reader perusing his comic book store think that hard-core horror and gore await on the inside of the issue, but that’s not quite the case. Actually, most of the short stories presented in Creepy contain the thrills and engaging storytelling more akin to The Twilight Zone than, say, The Evil Dead. Read on for the full review!

“Creepy is presented as a series of short stories all by different writers and artists which are tied together by introductions and narrations by “Uncle Creepy”, the decrepit creepster that plays essentially the same part as the Cryptkeeper from Tales from the Crypt, or Rod Serling from The Twilight Zone. The entire comic is in black and white which might, unfortunately, be a drawback for some readers but which I find to be charming in a stoic sort of way. For the most part, the artists use the monochromatic color scheme effectively to their advantage. Only one of the stories seemed as though it could have been “adapted” for shades of gray.

Issue number five starts out with a bang, and then unfortunately tapers off a bit. That’s not to say that the last story isn’t worth reading—just that the first one, in my opinion, is so good that it far overshadows the rest. This is probably the best tactic to get readers into the book, though, and luckily the first story is also the longest. Ironically, this story, “Blood of the Sky” by Benjamin and Timothy Truman, is the least scary in the book and could be classified as more of an action or adventure tale than a piece of horror. The art by Timothy Truman is gorgeously shaded and detailed—the type of pencil drawings seen in a lot of fantasy art but rarely in a comic. “Blood of the Sky” tells of the leader of a northern Indian tribe who must travel to the underworld to save her son. There are numerous surprises and plot twists, but what makes this story such a great read is the actual wording of the dialogue and narration. Reading it, I felt as though I might be reading a piece of classic literature or mythology.

As I said before, the other stories, in my opinion, didn’t quite live up to what was delivered in the first one, but they are still decent thrillers. “The Field” and “Murdicide” are what most reminded me of an episode of The Twilight Zone (albeit a bit more gruesome), the former being the generic horror-author-who’s-latest-story-comes-true scenario. While this story structure is nothing new, the writing was again better than most and really felt like a short horror story instead of a comic book trying to be a horror story. “Murdicide” was again a decent thriller somewhat in the same vain but was not quite as enticing.

The story I had the biggest problem with was “Loathsome Lore” which actually wasn’t a story at all but was merely Uncle Creepy describing real-world cultists such as Jim Jones and Charles Manson. While it was interesting to see a horror comic discuss evil men who actually lived, the mocking or even sarcastic nature by which this bit was presented seemed inappropriate. Perhaps I read it too seriously or was being a little too sensitive or politically correct, but something about it just didn’t sit well. Also, this “story” ends with a rather harsh jab at Christianity, and regardless of what your beliefs might be, I personally like my comics to be nothing more than entertainment.

There might a dud or two in this issue, but there’s still a good amount of excellent writing. Even if you don’t care for half of the book, the first story alone is more than enough reason to pick it up.”

“CREEPY” Issue #5 Is Available NOW From Dark Horse Comics! (MSRP-$4.99)

WRITTEN BY: David Lapham and Benjamin Truman
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: David Lapham and Timothy Truman

“The newest, gnarliest, and ickiest incarnation of the classic horror anthology Creepy is clawing its way onto your must-read list for 2011! Don’t miss the demented debut of Creepy #5 this March, which features strange and stunning offerings by David Lapham (Stray Bullets), Timothy Truman (Conan), classic Creepy cover artist Sanjulian, and much, much gore. Whether you prefer your horror tales bloody and bold, or supernatural and subtle, Uncle Creepy and his maleficent minions are sure to satisfy your lust for scary stories!”