• Worst Of Eerie Publications

    Worst Of Eerie Publications
    Released by: IDW Publishing/Yoe! Books
    Released on: November 18th, 2014.
    Edited by: Mike Howlett
    Illustrated by: Various
    Purchase From Amazon

    A few years ago, a guy named Mike Howlett wrote a book called The Weird World of Eerie Publications: Comic Gore That Warped Millions of Young Minds. It was published by Feral House and it was a ridiculously entertaining and interesting look back at Myron Fass’ Eerie Publications. Those not in the know may not realize what Eerie Publications were all about but to sum it up, they were the ugly, bastard siblings of the black and white magazine sized publications being put out by Warren in the late sixties. Those Warren magazines, Creepy and Eerie being the two big ones, have since gone on to become legendary thanks in no small part to the involvement of a lot of the classic E.C. comics horror artists and to work from then up and comers like Bernie Wrightson, Jeff Jones and Richard Corben. The Eerie Publications stable? Not quite as prestigious – Fass and his crew recycled a lot of obscure fifties pre-code horror comics published by defunct outfits like Atlas and had blood and gore added in to attract eyeballs and in turn dollars. Gory covers made sure that there was no way you were going to miss these cheap newsprint rags on the magazine stand and the few ‘new/exclusive’ stories that did appear were done fast and cheap by artists like Chic Stone and Carl Burgos, artists who don’t draw nearly the acclaim that some of the guys from the Warren stable did and still do.

    Serving as a fantastic companion piece to Howlett’s tome on Fass and his empire of dirty newsprint rags is Yoe! Books’ The Worst Of Eerie Publications, a 158-page hardcover book that really gives those without an Eerie Publications archive of their own (and that’d be most of us) a taste of what makes these trashy little red-headed stepchildren of the horror comic universe so unappealingly appealing. An introduction from Yoe! Books’ head honcho Craig Yoe sets things up and then Howlett spends a few pages basically condensing what he wrote about in the Feral House book – this is a quick crash course in the history of the line, if you want the real nitty-gritty though, get the book – and then we’re off into a land of trashy gore, perky breasts and wonderfully deranged black and white depravity.

    The Claw – The first story is a quick little ditty about a would be surgeon overlooked for a promotion because his co-worker has better hands for the job. He cuts that guy’s hand off to ensure himself the job, but of course, as this story is called ‘The Claw’, that severed hand comes back to get him. Ezra Jackson does the redrawn art. This originally appeared in Weird Mysteries #13 from 1953.

    Blood Bath – This is one of the most infamous Eerie stories, a tale about a man who takes LSD at a party and then has horribly gory hallucinations of death and dismemberment. It’s completely over the top and the art by Chic Stones shows a weird Steve Ditko influence in spots.

    Doomed – A big city reporter shows up at a prison island hoping for a scoop and hears the story of a prisoner who took a job working the guillotine only to find out that he’s going to reap what he sows. Also, collecting severed heads is probably a really bad idea. The art is by The Iger Shop, this story originally appeared in Voodoo #15 in 1954.

    I Chopped Her Head Off - Features art by Dick Ayers redrawn from a story called I Killed Mary that originally appeared in Weird Mysteries #8 in 1954. It tells the sordid tale of a loser in love with ‘it girl’ with a crush on a girl named Susan. When she rejects his advances, decapitation ensues but he’s such a nerd that when he confesses the crime, no one believes him!

    Tombstone For A Ghoul – The art in this story is by Antonio Reynoso and it’s a redraw of a story called Guest Of The Ghouls from Beware #7, published in 1954. It details the exploits of a weird named Javitt Rodman who steals weird headstones from cemeteries only to learn that the dead are none too keen on his activities.

    Horror Club – This story features art by Oscar Fraga, redrawn from a story called Kiss And Kill from Witches Tales #20 published in 1953. Here a man named Dave Robbins becomes obsessed with a woman who he follows to a club only to learn the real reason that this dish, such a catch she is, is still single!

    Green Horror – This story features art by the Iger Shop with added gore courtesy of Ezra Jackson and was originally published in issue #8 of Fantastic Fears #8 from 1954. Ever wonder what would happen if a cactus became romantically attached to a human woman? Well, this story will satiate your curiosity and give you some quality carnage in the process. Seriously though… what????

    The Skin-Rippers – Hey now, we’ve got art by Martha Barnes in a story that was redrawn from Black Death, which originally appeared in Fantastic Fears #4 way back in 1953. Here a couple of lovebirds, Pat and Lorna, wind up on a desert island after their cruise ship wrecks. What awaits them there? Giant flesh eating ants!!!!!

    Vengeance – Next up is this one with art by Walter Casadei, redrawn from a story called Revenge from Witches Tales #21, published in 1953 (a good year for Eerie Pubs source material pilfering it would seem!). Here we meet a couple, Ron and the bombshell Melissa, who on the surface appear to be the toast of the town… until she meets ‘the town dandy!’ Before you know it, it’s Hammer Time!

    Gruesome Shock – This was redrawn by Larry Woromay from a story called Dead End that was born in Witches Tales #21, again from 1953. Jimmy Trent is a millionaire CEO whose staff wishes him well when he splits for vacation. He’s rushed out the door only to then receive similar treatment from his kids only to find out later that his limo driver, Parkins, is in cahoots with some mobsters from his past!

    The Skin Crawlers – This story was redrawn by Cirilo Muñoz from a story called Curse Of The Caterpillar originally published in Witches Tales #5 from. 1951. Here two business men wind up at an inn for the night where one of them is drawn into ‘a world of horror’ involving a lot of scary bugs. But is it real or all in his imagination?

    Food For Ghouls - Oscar Stepancich redraws a story called Chef’s Delight from 1954’s Mysterious Adventures #20. Here Francois Nicole rules his fancy kitchen with an iron fist, much to the dismay of his employees. But no one seems to know about the woman he sees on this side while mistreating his real wife and kids. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned…

    House Of Blood – This one began life as Night Of Terror in Voodoo #16 in 1954 but was redrawn for Eerie by Domingo Mandrafina. A married couple named Sue and John Trent squabble all the time and when John hits his wits end, he decides to teach his bride a lesson… on that involves a haunted house and the ghouls he doesn’t realize still reside there.

    Fatal Scalpel - The Iger Shop originally unleashed this on in Haunted Thrills #5 back in 1953. Doctor Alex Harding is a wealthy and famous plastic surgeon who hires a PI to confirm that his wife really is screwing around on him. Of course, the PI is in cahoots with the much younger wife… neither of them suspect what Harding will do once they wind up on his table.

    The Corpse Macabre – Check out the great art by Chic Stone, redrawn from a story called Shadows On The Tomb from a 1952 issue of Black Cat Mystery. Here Mr. Dunn stares at his wife as she lies in a coma, not but not really alive – he wants her money and is willing to cut off her head to get it, but as is so often the case in horror comics from the fifties, death is not the end…

    The Hanged - Alberto Macagno redraws a story called The Choker from Mysterious Adventures #21, published in 1954. Neat Johnny Craig style art in this story about a man named Paul who pulls a diamond heirloom out of the vault to give to his new bride, unaware that she’s getting some on the side from a guy named Bart! Of course, their plan to take Paul out of the equation backfires in a big, big way.

    Heads Of Horror - The Iger Shop once again donates a story from 195, originally published in Voodoo #14. Brainy physicist Mark Cummins is married to a hottie named Lisbeth – she’s ‘all woman!’ When he ignores her to focus on his work, she finds comfort elsewhere leading Mark to go to some pretty extreme measures to get revenge.

    Stage Of Horror – This story has art by Rubén Marchionne that was redrawn from Designer Of Doom from a 1952 issue of Witches Tales. Jean De Carval learned witchcraft when the French ‘gained domination over the savages’ during their time in the West Indies. Now he uses it in his New York City stage show where he drives his cast and crew crazy – but his skills are legit, even if the evil he unleashes goes about its business in the most unexpected of ways.

    The Witches House Is Haunted - Dick Ayers redraws The Haunter from a 1952 issue of Weird Horrors. A great splash page for this one with a hung corpse, his eyeball hanging out of its socked, just sort of dangling there looking gross! It turns out he’s Sam Bolton and that he made the mistake of letting his own greed trample over various warning when it came to, yeah, an old house that a witch lived in. Duh. Of course it’s haunted.

    Until Death Do Us Part – This one features art by Oscar Fraga who redraws Robot Woman from a 1952 issue of Weird Mysteries. A brilliant scientist named Georgo hides his hideous face from the world and as such, does not now the glory of love. To ease his loneliness his builds himself a hot robot chick that will obey only his commands! How could this possibly go wrong…?

    Demons And Vampires – Pat Carter, ace girl reporter, learns about supernatural beings while investigating a rash of murders in a small New England town, the victims drained of blood. Larry Woromay redraws Portrait Of Death from 1952’s Weird Terror #1 in a strange, almost cartoonish style.

    Along the way we get a full color cover art gallery featuring Weird Vol. 3 #5 by Bill Alexander, Horror Tales Vol. 2 #3 by Alexander, Witches Tales Vol. 1 #7 by Chic Stone, Tales From The Tomb Vol. 2 #1 by Alexander, Tales From The Tomb Vol. 2 #6 by Alexander again, Weird Vol. 2 #1 by Johnny Bruck and Carl Burgos, Tales From The Tomb Vol. 6 #2 also by Burgos, a great werewolf piece by Alexander from Terror Tales Vol. 5 #1, a boobtastic piece by Carl Burgos from Tales Of Voodoo Vol. 3 #3 that rips off his own work from the cover of Weird V3 #1 published two years prior

    Some of these stories work better than others but they all serve as a fun reminder of just how trashy the Eerie horror stories could and would get during the publisher’s run. There’s a LOT of gore here, the stories definitely do go further than the Warren Publications they we’re competing at in this regard (even if they brush aside the nudity Warren was using in favor of… scantily clad woman in dresses so tight that they might as well not exist). As a lot of this stuff is ‘redrawn’ from fifties era horror material, it’s not surprising to see that in and amongst all of the torture and dismemberment there is often times a moral to the story. The fact that the moral often gets buried or at least marginally muddied up alongside the undead bodies, monsters, vampires and mass murderers that populate these pages is irrelevant!

    The art is all over the place but you can’t really expect consistency from Eerie Publications, their business model almost forbids it. That said, a lot of the art that does appear in these pages (all cleaned up from high resolution scans to give you, dear reader, the best reading experience possible without tracking down all those hard to find back issues) is actually pretty neat. Again, the emphasis does tend to be on the gore more than anything else but the guys who drew it drew it well and did seem to have fun doing it. There is a hard to miss E.C. Comics influence in here too, you’d see this in the Warren stuff as well, and that’s never a bad thing. Fans of vintage horror, pre-code nastiness and publications of dubious morality should find a lot to love about this collection. Each story is entertaining, and a few of them are still shocking even by modern standards. Snatch this volume up post haste and pray to the gods that rule over reprints of fly by night horror comics that a second volume graces your comic store sooner rather than later.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Mike Howlett's Avatar
      Mike Howlett -
      Many thanks for the kind words, Señor Jane!!