Pick Of The Week: ‘Creepy’ #7

I’m so f*cking sick of hearing “horror is dead”. Do people honestly believe this? I know not everyone is quite so querulous, but to those people who believe that horror is a dying breed, you are either completely ignorant, or you have some impossibly high standards set for creators, and you should probably just write something yourself. Do you even pay attention to the books/movies that are being released? Every week I am overwhelmed by the incredible amount of horror stories out there, and to choose only one for my Pick of the Week becomes more and more difficult. I’m not saying that every horror title written is worth a read that would be a lie. Some are unintelligible, trite, nonsensical, but maybe instead of whining you should expose yourself to the incredible modern horror works that are out there. Rant over. Here is my pick of the week.

creepy7cover WRITTEN BY: Joe R. Lansdale, Keith Lansdale, Bill Morrison, Dan Braun
ILLUSTRATED BY: Sanjulian
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse
PRICE: $4.99

“Hope your New Year’s resolution was to be terrified, because Creepy is back to start 2012 with a scream! Featuring the latest from bone-chilling scribes Joe and Keith Lansdale, Christopher Taylor, and Dan Braun, this installment of the abominable anthology is sure to leave you shivering in the corner until next year.”

To put it simply, if you’re not reading Creepy, you’re not reading horror comics properly. The team has the anthology recipe down, and each issue of this books keeps getting better and better. The nice thing about it being a non-continuous story is that you can jump into any of the tales without having prior background knowledge of previous issues. Unfortunately, Creepy is only released on a quarterly basis, and there is an extreme lack of great horror anthologies today.

Sometimes anthologies suffer due to the bad stories that pop up in between the good ones, as the saying goes, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. However, Creepy is able to rise above the cliché. While some stories are worse than others, they all have their own charm when taken for what they are, tributes to the past. The wide variety of subgenres included in the anthology offers something for everyone. You never get the feeling with this series that writers are using it as a platform to promote other books they have, or to launch a new series. Every writer seems to really care about horror comics, they are all true fans of the genre and they write the stories they want to read. No story feels forced, they are all genuine, and even the “bad” ones have some great concepts beneath the surface.

What is absolutely best about this book is the mix between classic horror and new horror. If I knew nothing about this book and somebody handed Creepy to me telling me it was from the mid 60s, I would believe them without question. On the other hand, after reading over the stories a few times, it’s easy to see that the creators also want to bring their own unique touch in order to captivate the modern horror crowd.

The best story in this issue follows a young couple who are down in the dumps, but their luck begins to change as they stumble upon an ancient tapestry with a demonic face stained onto it. Though the stories are only 8-14 pages long, it’s incredible how much the writers are able to develop the characters. Alongside the new stories are two re-prints of classic horror tales, “The Ultimate High” from Creepy #44 and “Deep Ruby” from Eerie #6. Both are essential reads for any horror fan. Not only does Creepy provide new terror, but it also pays it’s respects to the past, and by including these stories it encourages readers to seek out the original source material.

The black and white artwork in Creepy could not be better. It’s scary, it’s simple, it’s dark, and really allows you to focus your attention on the details without being distracted by all sorts of flashy colors. Some of the pages are just awe inducing in every sense of the term. The crisp quality and the simple black and white contrast is just not something you get in most modern books, and it’s a pleasure to see that Dark Horse has the guts to leave this book in the hands of the artists. Since this book only comes out every few months, it’s able to completely avoid the rushed art look. Every single story is perfectly drawn.

Though it would be nice to have a book like Creepy come out every month, it may result in “too much of a good thing”. The nostalgia this book evokes is incredible, especially considering I wasn’t even alive during the era it evokes. Dark Horse has something wonderful on their hands, and every single one of you should be reading this book.