Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: Eerie Archives Volume 11 Hard Cover

Eerie Archives Volume 11 continues Dark Horse's trend of collecting and printing Warren Publishing's horror anthology. Set in an impressive deluxe hard cover edition, this volume contains issues #52-55 of the original Eerie magazine. The book features 248 pages of black and white comics (besides two Will Eisner comics colored by the master Richard Corben), which is currently being sold for a little under $30 now at Amazon.

As far as artwork goes, this Eerie volume features roller coaster highs and lows of artistic talent: Neal Adams, Vicente Alcazar, Aldoma, Jaime Brocal, Rich Buckler, Richard Corben, Bill DuBay, Will Eisner, Ken Kelly, Esteban Maroto, Isidro Mones, Paul Neary, Martin Salvador, Sanjulian, and Tom Sutton. Although each artist is different in their own ways, they all demonstrate classic comic art that evokes the tone and atmosphere of Eerie comics. Gently haunting, unexpectedly gruesome, and creatively inspiring--always a pleasure to behold.  My personal favorite artist goes to Tom Sutton, whose short Fathom Haunt tale "Spawn of the Dead Thing" strangely reminds me of Rick Veitch and Steve Bisette's bizarre art and layouts in Saga of Swamp Thing. Also strange how Sutton's Fathom Haunt character is strangely reminiscent of John Contantine (I smell a conspiracy).

Story is where this book is mostly lacking. Many of the comics that appear in this volume are Warren's attempt to create on-going characters, like the Mummy, the Werewolf, and Dax the Warrior. Most of these characters are blatant ripoffs of classics and show Warren's attempt to cash-in on famous but unregistered Universal and Hammer monsters. Personally, I was afraid my generation leap from the original readers of Eerie magazine might have caused this objective attitude. But according to letters from readers that are reprinted in these volumes, I am not the only ones who was put off. One reader writes: "What the $#%(& do you think you're doing to EERIE? These series of yours are terrible...It's like having one long, boring story instead of ten short, good stories. Enough!" This letter made me laugh and nod in agreement. Strange how the years may pass but like minded individuals remain the same.

 One particular on-going story that stood out was written by Doug Moench and illustrated by Vincente Alcazar called "Schreck." Undeniably similar to Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, the first "Schreck" story is a brilliantly narrated account of a man struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world filled with "loonies"--an infected group of lunatic people caused by radioactive testing on the moon. The first Schreck story, "First Night of Terror" is a brilliantly narrated account that switches from past to present causing a perfect amount of tension for the series to take off. 
All together, this Eerie Archives Volume makes for some perfect lazy Sunday reading. Although some of the stories are not too original by today's standards, the art work is sure to please fans of horror and emits a desire to stroll through all of the Warren Publications yesteryear.

Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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