Reviewing Creepy Archives Volume One
As a four-color fear connoisseur, I wasn’t sure I’d like reading an entire volume in stark black and white. What drove me to purchase was to collect the incredible Frank Frazetta covers and, in this volume, Frazetta’s Werewolf story. From the first story, though, I was hooked and my concerns about the black and white artwork quickly alleviated!
The writing was much better than I thought it would be! Each story has in-depth characterization and, while these tales have the tongue-in-cheek narrator framing, similar to EC, they don’t rely on a gory climax to hook the reader, as EC did increasingly later in their run. Genuine suspense is the focus. In some, the ending is telegraphed a bit, but several times, I was surprised by the ending.
Even more to my surprise was just how strong I found the artwork to be. Reed Crandall and Gray Morrow have some excellent artwork in here, and, with this volume, I’ve become a huge fan of Angelo Torres. Each one of his six stories instantly pops off the page with incredibly strong blacks and patterns.
“Vampires Fly at Dusk”, “The Success Story”, “The Damned Thing”, “Blood and Orchids”, and “The Judge’s House” are all strong stories with great artwork and excellent endings.
There are terrific and fresh lycanthropy stories in this volume: “Werewolf”,”Curse of the Full Moon”, “Howling Success”, “Spawn of the Cat People”, and “Revenge of the Beast”. In my opinion, these are some of the best werewolf stories ever done, all in a single collection.
After enjoying this volume so much, I’ve hunted down the next three volumes and the first two Eerie volumes in quick succession.
The early volumes of Creepy and Eerie are examples of Silver Age horror at its best. These are some of my family’s favorite stories. We have comic reading time each night at our house, just before lights out. Sometimes, the stories are scary enough to keep the lights on a little longer than usual.