Creepy Volume Seventeen

Collecting Creepy #78-83 (Mar-Oct 76)

Artists & writers: Various

Dark Horse, B&W and color, $49.99, 304 pages

This volume continues the previous one in terms of strong content, albeit a shade less so (see review of Creepy Volume Sixteen).

Bill Dubay and Budd Lewis dominate as writers, but are joined by some new names like Doug Moench, who went on to a stellar career, and some other guys, who didn’t. The new kids aren’t bad, but aren’t terribly memorable, either.

One such newcomer is memorable: Bruce Jones. He shows up for one story – and it’s a corker. I didn’t realize until after I’d read “As You Sow” that it was a twist on the old traveling salesman-meets-farmer’s daughter joke, only there’s nothing at all funny in this world, where a plague has turned most people into vampires, who are all slowly starving to death. The ending shocked me so much that I wordlessly handed the book to my wife to read. (Full disclosure: She was less impressed.)

On the flip side, there’s a DuBay story set vaguely in the Age of Chivalry, with men-at-arms and castles and princes in poofy shirts. It’s in these kinds of Ye Olde stories where DuBay’s penchant for bad spelling and malapropisms becomes overwhelming, as he tries to write in a florid, elegant style that just comes off as painfully clumsy. I generally like DuBay, but when he lets his lack of vocabulary and spelling prowess display itself, my copy editor sense goes nuts and I want to throw the book across the room. “NO!” I shout at the book. “Darksome is NOT a synonym for terrible, and one does NOT say ‘I am woebegone’ to indicate sadness. BUY A DICTIONARY!” On every page I hear the immortal words of Inego Montoya ringing in my head: “That word does not mean what you think it means.”

The art, too, is slightly less mind-boggling than the previous volume, with the competent but unspectacular Martin Salvador and Luis Bermejo racking up the most stories. Esteban Maroto, John Severin and Alex Toth turn in multiple stories as well, buttressed by appearances of such luminaries as Vicente Alcazar, Rich Corben, Russ Heath, Paul Neary, Luis Oritz, Al Williamson, Wally Wood and some kid named Joe Quesada.

The covers here, like last the volume, are mostly by Sanjulian and Ken Kelly, and are excellent.

And just like the previous volume, this is as good as anything on the stands today – and sometimes better.

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