Sunday, February 18, 2018

Favorites :: Mags and Slicks :: Uncle Creepy, Cousin Eerie, and the Murderball Quintet.

Seems back in 1964, editor and illustrator Russ Jones approached Jim Warren, head of Warren Publishing -- most noted for printing Famous Monsters of Filmland, with an idea to resurrect the horror comics of the 1950s, specifically the fabled tales of EC Comics (Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror, The Haunt of Fear), in an illustrated magazine format. And, being a magazine, they could skirt around the recently established self-censorship of the Comics Code Authority, meaning they could be as dire and gruesome as they wanted to be.

Warren was eventually persuaded, and so, the first issue of Creepy Magazine hit the stands in late 1964, which followed the anthology format, where a main character, Uncle Creepy, connected several tales of the macabre through each bi-monthly issue. And while the mag wasn’t necessarily a rousing success, it was successful enough to launch two more sister series in the same severed vein: Eerie, with your host, Cousin Eerie, and Vampirella, with your host and star, Vampirella. All three publications would last until 1983 when Warren Publishing folded, selling off to Harris Publications, who initially tried to keep them going but eventually stopped due to some lingering copyright issues.

Anyhoo, I bring all of this up because, in an effort to finally bring some semblance of order to my Nerdly Rumpus Room by making it more of a Rumpus Room and less of a glorified storage closet, I have been efforting to get things organized, including bagging and boarding a bunch of magazines collected over the years, including a chunk of Creepy (about a dozen) and Eerie magazines (around 20). Now, these I had bought as part of a deal struck with a long gone LCS back in the 1990s, who had bought a collection, picked it clean, meaning, at the time, pulling everything with an “X” in the title and weren’t all that interested in anything else. Good luck and good timing had me there the day they had finished ransacking it. And after filling me in, I offered to buy what was left, seeing there was still a ton of cool stuff in those three to four boxes of mags and comics -- all of them beaters and readers, mind you.

Unfortunately, my interest caused them to quickly go through it again, and they yanked the half dozen Vampirella mags and a near full run of Alpha Flight before they’d sell it to me. (Later, when the store closed, and they tried to auction those very same mags off, I think they would have made more money if they’d left them in the box. Sad.) Still, there remained a lot of cool stuff, and as I was sorting and bagging yesterday, I stumbled upon what I like to call ... The Murderball Quintet:

CREEPY #84 (November, 1976)
Artist: Ken Kelly

CREEPY #93 (November, 1977)
Artist: Dan Maitz

EERIE #79 (November, 1976)
Artist: Ken Kelly

EERIE #88 (November, 1977)
Artist: Dan Maitz

EERIE #92 (May, 1978)
Artist: Kevin McQuiate

I own four out of the five issues there, discovering the Creepy #84 through a friend, who asked if I had it when I posted pics of the other mags as I bagged them up, and am currently eye-balling the purchase of a used copy to complete the set. And as I continue to get the Rumpus Room in order, I will try to keep you all updated on whatever else I happen to find in there. So, stay tuned, Boils and Ghouls! 

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