Thursday, December 30, 2010

BEST OF 2010 (part 10)

"The shit they call "horror" in the comic store, nobody's got that style anymore!" ~Impetigo

Volumes 1-8
(Dark Horse Books)

A lot of my pals got married or bought houses or renovated their homes in 2010. My smartest investment this year, on the other hand, was trading a dude at the Dark Horse Comics warehouse an original drawing for a complete collection of hard bound Creepy Archives. It was a win/win trade and someone should've photographed our faces as we exchanged the goods like giddy schoolgirls trading scratch & sniff sticker books. Unfortunately, this insanely beautiful collection has quickly destroyed any semblance of a life I once had. Now I sit awake at 3am like a speed freak, rationalizing how I can read story and still get 3 hours of sleep before work. For those of you cretins that just crawled out from under a goddamn rock, Creepy was a hugely influential horror comic anthology that had a solid run from 1964-1983. Warren Publishing used the magazine format to evade the Comics Code Authority restrictions on violence and targeted a more mature (cough) readership than most other monster comics of the era. The writing was notably more sophisticated and the art was simply brilliant (Frank Frazetta himself provided most of the cover art for the first 20 issues of the series). Of course Creepy also featured a charismatic horror "host" that directly connected with readers in the tradition of earlier EC comics and was eventually immortalized by Impetigo on Ultimo Mondo Cannibale. Sure, there's some quaint filler to be found in the initial 145 issue run but for the most part this stuff is top notch. Marvel at the seemingly effortless work of masters such as Angelo Torres, Reed Crandall, John Severin, Gray Morrow, Alex Toth and the always uncanny Steve Ditko at the top of their drawing game. The Dark Horse Archives series aspires to reprint every issue in their entirety, including the awesome ads (can I still order a mail order baby squirrel monkey with "live delivery guaranteed"???), reader letters and fan club art. Don't miss a young Berni Wrightson's fan club drawing in issue #9! And for yet another stunning example of the historic cross-pollination of horror, art and heavy metal, check out issue #27 for a young Ken Kelly's demonic fan club drawing. Yes, the very same Ken Kelly who would go on to provide album cover art for Kiss, Rainbow and Manowar. Hail to Creepy! Now I wonder if my landlord will let me trade a drawing for the rent this month...

Honorable Mention:
Edited by Zack Carlson & Bryan Connolly
(Fantagraphics Books)
The premise is very simple: a bunch of obsessive compulsive nerds set out to chronicle every film ever made that features a punk rocker. Genius in its simplicity and exhausting in its scope. It's the kind of asinine idea you have at 4:12am when the beer is gone but you can't sleep. Well, they pulled it off and my life is a happier place thanks to their herculean effort. What a fun read! My litmus test was Mother's Day. If their hot pink tome failed to favorably mention my favorite rape revenge flick of the 80's I was prepared to immediately cast it upon the poser pyre. I flipped straight to the 'm' section and there it was, properly represented and with a punky graphic to boot (though I'm surprised they didn't mention the film's wry commentary on class and consumerism). Well done, gentlemen. Well done. When it comes to book design I tend to prefer a conservative aesthetic so I would've played the layout straight with lots of movie poster art instead of this wacky neon D.I.Y. style but it has actually grown on me and is true to the spirit of the work. The writing is hilarious and I salute these dudes for watching some of this crap so I don't ever have to. More books like this in 2011!

Dennis Dread looking pleased to have wrapped up his 2010 list.


Lucio H. said...

YES! Did you see Eric Powell's "Creepy Family" portrait? VERY cool!

Anonymous said...

Holy shit dude! Thank you sooo much for this post! Pierced Arrows is the fuken SHIT! I have been lurking on your blog for about a year and I never would have found the magic that is Pierced Arrows if I had not been here!!

I love these guys thanks to YOU!

Oh and yeah you are a one of a kind artist! Keep DOING IT!! I love it!!