Comic Book Review – Creepy #16

Creepy16Creepy #16
Written by: Ted Naifeh, Rachel Deering, Dan Braun, Peter Bagge, Bill Warren, Jack L. Butterworth
Art by: Ted Naifeh, Vanesa R. Del Rey, Peter Bagge, Mike Royer, Luis Garcia

Oh Uncle Creepy. I really enjoy your crusty face greeting me at the beginning of each issue of Creepy. But you know, you never really had the charisma of that other guy, the Crypt Keeper. That skinny dried up husk sure was a witty little bastard. When I was a kid his stupid puns and dumb innuendos really cracked me up. But you know, I was like 13 at the time, and mostly watched the show in the hopes of seeing a boob or two before the token bimbo was killed, so perhaps my memories are tainted. Well then my good Uncle, I’ll give you another chance to regale me with a few tales of the murderous and the macabre. And if you slip in a boob or two I won’t complain.

Horror anthologies are great. I love a good short story, it gives me a quick taste of an author’s idea, maybe just a sketch of a bigger story or a concept played in fast forward. Love it or hate it, you’ve got about ten pages to soak up the tale and then you can move onto the next bite-sized chunk ‘o storytelling. It’s just fun, and every story leaves you wondering “what else could have happened if this was bigger?” This brings us to Creepy #16. I haven’t read Creepy in a long time other than to sample Amy Reeder’s story back in issue #11. ‘Cause she’s awesome. But this current issue features pretty sweet cover art that really reminded me of “The Raft” segment from Creepshow 2. There’s really no better criteria for choosing comics than basing it off of the cover art right??

Our first tale is “Do Not Click!!!” by Ted Naifeh. I really liked this first offering, the black and white newsprint style artwork was great. The story tells of a website, that when you click on it causes the viewer to only be able to communicate by whistling and then they promptly die. It’s definitely got a “The Ring” vibe to it, and even if it’s not wholly original it’s a fun twist on the story. And, like “The Ring” we have a terrible supernatural villain that comes calling when you visit the website, The Whisperer. He’s pretty creepy too. I really loved the second to last page of this story, such a freaky sequence of panels. I can’t give away the ending, but I can verify someone does die at the end from viewing the site. This was was a cool update on the tale for the internet age. Thumbs up!

The second yarn is the spooky short “Like Clockwork” by Rachel Deering and Vanessa Del Rey. This delightful short revolves around a lonely young man, who, unable to find love finally grows tired of being rejected by the fairer sex and turns to his one true passion, the one that has never let him down: clocks. He’s a tinkerer and knows that no matter what, the mechanical world has never disappointed him as much as his interactions with women. So, what better to do than to craft his own clockwork mate? Obvious right? He goes to work, Dr. Frankenstein style, on a beautiful corpse he presumably abducted from the mortuary and finally creates the perfect woman. Perfectly predictable, perfect disposition, perfect companionship for the man that prefers the interaction of a machine to the messy problems of the real thing. But as with all things, even this true love cannot last, as his clockwork bride begins to whither and decay until she’s no more than gears and bones. Unable to withstand the loss of his lover, he comes to the conclusion that he must make himself better in order to spend eternity with his perfect mate. His humanity is the one flaw holding him back. His solution is… less than elegant. Let’s just say that he got all those pesky human parts out alright! While not the creepiest tale in the book I really liked this one for it’s overall atmosphere. Perhaps a little bit of Poe in its execution? Coming from Rachel “Mistress of Horror” Deering, who will also be releasing the gigantic horror anthology “In the Dark” soon, I had high expectations, and I think they’ve been met handsomely. It’s classic horror and I think I’d have liked to see it prolonged about 10 pages, to really get to the meat of our protagonist if you will. But, even with what we have on the page, this is another solid story. Tossing another thumb up!

Next we have The Creepy Family in “The Cats of Ulthar” by Dan Braun & Peter Bagge. Admittedly, I don’t read a lot of Creepy, so I’m assuming The Creepy Family is their Mad Magazine take on classic horror stories. “The Cats of Ulthar” is an extremely short story by H.P. Lovecraft, telling of the legend how the men of Ulthar may not kill cats. This is simply an abridged version of the already short story in goofy cartoon style. Personally, I’m not down with ANY place that won’t let you kill cats, as they are living demonspawn on our earthly plain. Based on this simple fact I’m unable to give any thumbs up to this story. Sorry.

The last full length tale of the book is “I Hate You” Bill Warren & Mike Royer. This one was a lot of fun. We join the story of Dale Curry, a young boy filled with rage against his abusive and distant father. His father hates him for reasons Dale can’t fathom or deduce, and as a result he spends his entire life dedicated to the thought of killing his father. After the death of his mother, he’s finally had enough of ol’ dad and rigs his car to blow up with him in it. However, even the death of his father in the here in now isn’t enough to quell his rage. He continues with his obsession, eventually creating a time machine that will allow him to go back in time to kill his father before he’s born, ending the cycle of hatred once and for all. He’s determined to follow through even if it means the end to his own existence as well. He proceeds to make his way into the past and finds his father, and indeed kills him, but he does not get blinked out of existence! Time won’t allow a paradox, but apparently its got a great sense of humor, as he discovers the true nature of his relationship with his father. I really can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed this little story. It’s done in true 1950’s comicstrip style, down to the artwork and dialog. It’s pulled off extremely well. And the story, while a tad predictable, is truly entertaining even in its brevity. Since I have no more thumbs left I’m just gonna leap into the air and click my heels together to signify my approval of this story.

Our journey through horror and mayhem ends with “The Undertaker’s Model” by Jack L. Butterworth & Luis Garcia. It’s a recounting of the true story of Charles Genung, the first man to invent modern embalming, and the corpse he performed the procedure on. Amazingly, his process works so well that this first corpse was on display, perfectly intact for 72 years before his grandson finally decided it was time to give the poor fella a proper burial. This was a fun ending to the book, and was very reminiscent of “Ripley’s: Believe it or Not.” More heel clacking commenced.

Anthologies are typically hit or miss. It’s pretty rare to come across an issue where every story hits it on almost all cylinders. And, much to my chagrin, this book accomplishes just that. It’s singlehandedly restored my faith in the horror anthology. Well, except for the part where you can’t kill cats, I just can’t get on board with that one Mr. Lovecraft. I’ll probably continue to sample Creepy because of this book and will be looking forward to receiving my copy of In the Dark with great anticipation. Kudos Uncle Creepy, your slobbering countenance has won me over for the day.

Score: 6 (out of 7) The original Creepshow scared my little brother so badly he jumped behind our couch and puked when it was over. I’ve never forgiven him for acting like such a pussy.

What did you think about this issue? Let me know in the comments or shoot me a Tweet (@lanzajr26)

Frank Lanza

The old man around these parts. X-Fan, indie-fan, lover of pretty much all things geek.

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