Panels From Beyond the Grave #2

CREEPY (#5, March 2011)

I had intended to use this column to review older comic books, but that was before I bought a coffinload of brand new comic books. Ever since I read that Dark Horse would be publishing a relaunch of Creepy, "the finest in illustrated horror," I wanted to procure an issue. I finally did just that, even if it took me a few eons. I'm late to the game. Immemorial fanboys have been enjoying Creepy (and Eerie, its sister publication) for decades, but I was always more of an EC guy. I own piles of issues of Tales From the Crypt, The Vault of Horror and Weird Science. Hey, if I can drink both Coke and Pepsi, then I can hang out with Uncle Creepy while I'm shooting the shit with The Cryptkeeper.

A fair warning to casual comic readers...Creepy is a black-and-white periodical. I know that some people are turned off by such things. As a kid, I would put a comic back on the shelf if it wasn't dripping with color. I still consider myself to be a casual comic reader, but the lack of prismatic intensity doesn't bother me anymore. There are moments where this comic could use a little variegation, though. Color serves as a plot device in the first story, "Blood in the Sky." A character points to the heavens and exclaims, "Look, the sky is red!" I looked. The sky was white. See what I mean?

That's the only unflattering comment that I can make about the fifth issue of Creepy. Each yarn is fun to flip through, and there is a nice variety of baddies. We get a sword-wielding monster, a carnivorous sunflower, a crazed cult and a scheming ghost. This title isn't as dialogue-heavy as the EC fright rags. As a result, you can knock one out in a relatively short amount of time. Most of the artwork is adequate, although "The Field" becomes busy and congested within the larger panels. It's hard to spot all of the detail.

It occurred to me that I might need to create a rating system for this column (ditto for my music reviews). The Z'Dar scale wouldn't be appropriate for this art medium. Once I figure something out, I'll go back and insert ratings into the first two issues of Panels From Beyond the Grave. Honestly, I don't know how I would score this particular comic. It's definitely worth buying. I heard that Eerie will be relaunched soon, but don't quote me on that. Let's hope I'm right.

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