October 19, 2015

Eerie #135 [1982]

Until recently, EERIE #135 [1982] was the best quick source for Ditko's 1966/1967 work at Warren, reprinting ten of the sixteen stories that Ditko drew for the publisher's two magazines. All of the ten were written by Archie Goodwin.

CREEPY #9 [1966]  - "The Spirit Of The Thing"
CREEPY #10 [1966]  - "Collector's Edition"
CREEPY #11 [1966]  - "Beast Man"
CREEPY #12 [1966]  - "Blood Of The Werewolf"
CREEPY #13 [1967]  - "Second Chance"
CREEPY #14 [1967]  - "Where Sorcery Lives"
CREEPY #15 [1967]  - "City Of Doom"
EERIE #4 [1966]  - "Shrieking Man"
EERIE #7 [1967]  - "Fly"
EERIE #8 [1967]  - "Demon Sword"

There are a lot of minor alterations in the stories, such as changing the host from Uncle Creepy to Cousin Eerie as needed, and altering the title lettering and story introductions (sometimes omitted entirely). The reproduction also isn't great, with the grey wash tones sometimes coming out a bit darker than they should. And the cover by Sanjulian is a bit incongruous for an all-Ditko issue in style, though it fits in subject matter.

All of the stories are pretty good, some are spectacular. Of special note is "City Of Doom", since as far as I know it was the only one of the stories which hadn't been reprinted by Warren prior to this. It features a barely dressed barbarian warrior named Thane. I'm not sure if Thane appeared before this, but there is at least one more story with the character (by Goodwin and artist Jeff Jones) in the following issue of its original publication. I'm also not up on the history of barbarian warriors in comics, but I do know this is well before Marvel licensed Conan for their comics.

Anyway, Thane opens the story betrayed and left to be eaten by some great looking vultures at the beginning of the story, but manages to escape and make short work of the vultures. He then encounters Livia, the also barely dressed high priestess of the ancient city of Kadith in the middle of the desert, and follows her there in hopes of both revenge on his betrayers and some treasure. As you'd expect, what follows is a mix of monsters, betrayal and death amidst the mazelike interior of the Kadith.

Overall not one of the best of the Ditko/Goodwin collaborations at Warren, but pretty decent, and a few great visual moments from Ditko.

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