March 25, 2013

Eerie Greatest Hits [1994]

The companion volume to CREEPY THE CLASSIC YEARS [1991], Harris comics reprinted this selection of stories from the first few years of Warren's EERIE magazine, mostly written by Archie Goodwin. It's not as good as the prior book. The choice of stories is fine, but overall the book is just cheaper looking, with thinner paper, weaker reproduction of the art and less relevant editorial material. There were two Godwin/Ditko stories.

"Room With A View" is a 6-page story from EERIE #3 [1966], the first Ditko story for Warren. It's a haunted hotel room story, where a traveler insists on taking the only empty room in a hotel, despite the desk clerks warnings that no one is ever happy there. Turns out to be a haunted mirror, which give progressively more terrifying visions. The story isn't one of Goodwin's better ones, but Ditko does a pretty good job with his imaginative renderings of the visions in the mirror. This one is drawn closer to the more common Ditko style, although more detailed than most of his colour comics.

The 6-page "Deep Ruby" is from EERIE #6 [1966], although the host framing sequences have Uncle Creepy instead of Cousin Eerie, so it seems to be taken from the prior reprint in CREEPY #25 [1969]. It's a quick little story about a jeweler approached by a decrepit homeless man, and being surprised by the red ruby the man shows him. His desire for the stone leads him into a horrific nightmare dimension, and of course Ditko's detailed renderings of that dimension are the heart of the story. He'd drawn some comics that evoked that kind of imagery before, but it's in some of these Warren stories that those concepts appear fully-formed. The combination of the lack of Comics Code restrictions and the freedom that comes with drawing for black and white, so the art that leaves the drawing board is the art that people see, really seems to have brought something out. This story uses the inkwash style that the majority of Ditko's Warren work was done in, and even in this lackluster reprint the attention to detail is impressive.


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