• Eerie Archives Volume 18

    Published by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: Jan. 28, 2015
    Writers: various
    Artists: various
    Cover: Richard Corben
    Purchase at Amazon

    Click HERE for the write-up on the previous volume.

    Volume 18 of Dark Horse’s Eerie Archives series reprints issues 86 through 89 of the classic Warren Publications magazine. This collection has a forward by artist José Villarrubia which is mostly a new interview with the amazing Richard Corben, which is a great piece and a wonderful way to start off the book. The interview stays on the topic of his work at Warren and is must-read stuff for fans of the maestro’s work. It’s a quick read, but when Corben talks, we must listen. His painting graces the book’s cover, taken from issue 86.

    The last installment in the Archive series featured the introduction of Warren’s long-running character, The Rook, and this installment has plenty more. The first comic mag reprinted (number 86) is an ALL-CORBEN issue, putting up some of his works from Warren’s sister title Creepy up to that point (1977). Besides the interview, José Villarrubia also does restoration on two stories, Poe/Corben tale “Shadow”, as well as “Change…Into Something Comfortable” and they look great in color. They were not originally in color in either the actual issue #86, or the issues the stories were first published (Creepy #70 and Creepy #58, respectfully) and he does a really nice job with them. Almost looks like Mr. Corben himself could have worked on them as Jose captures the look of Corben’s color work quite effectively.

    Issue #87 has a cover by Frank Frazetta and boasts that the issue is the “most exciting issue ever!” While that may or may not be the case, it certainly is a good one. The Rook continues, with Dane being lost somewhere in time, and Bishop and the robot Manners take things into their own hands to try to make things right. Corben and Bruce Jones finish their time trilogy in “Years & Mind Forever”, and the awesome tale “Gaffer” moves onto to his second wish, of which he obtained three after defeating the devil.

    For #88, Don Maitz pits human against alien in a game of hoops in his lovely painted cover…uh-oh is this an all-sports issue? No? GOOD. There is the basketball story on the inside, with some bold pencils and inks by Dick Giordano, but other than that no sports. The Rook continues, and Gat Hawkins makes his return to the pages as does Restin Dane, the Rook himself. They’ve been absent the last couple chapters and it’s been the Bishop and Manners show. Dane who has to deal with a slice of mean-spirited artificial intelligence and Bishop takes one for the team. A new Bruce Jones tale starts up called “Boiling Point”, with some very dark artwork from Leopold Sanchez. Most of the story takes place in the subway and his shadow work gives the feeling of being closed in.

    Last issue in the book is #89, with an evil cover by Malcolm McNeill. His spider-queen has her own story by Bill DuBay and illustrated by Leo Duranona and if you hate spiders it’s up there on the cold shivers scale. The Rook gets himself back to the present in time to battle alongside his grandfather. Manners gets himself blown up, but Dane can fix him. Bruce Jones starts another story with part one of “Francesca”, drawn with magnificence by the amazing Gonzalo Mayo and featuring his sexy as hell 70s chicks. And the Jones/Sanchez story “Boiling Point” continues too, which results in a flat ending. There is a pun in there, yes there is.

    This is another great edition of course, with the Corben special and The Rook chapters being the cream on top. It would be great to get the Rook collected into one volume, but for now we’ll have to take the segments as they come. He teams up with Vampirella somewhere down the road (actually pretty soon), and since Dynamite owns her rights they may not include those stories. Hopefully that is a false assumption. At any rate, Dark Horse’s attention to these very important comic magazines continues to delight, and although eventually the well will go dry there’re still about 40 issues left of Eerie to showcase. And with the likes of the regular Warren artists like Jose Ortiz, Luis Bermejo, and Leo Duranona to look forward to, there’s plenty more enjoyment down the road.