THIS WEEK IN COMICS! (1/12/11 – Not too much of interest, so I’m gonna post a bunch of gross pictures.)
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Above we see last weekend’s reading material, Mike Howlett’s The Weird World of Eerie Publications, a 2010 Feral House release focused on the one of the shadiest corners of the b&w horror magazine scene of 1965-83. It’s a breezy piece of fandom enthusiasm, heavily illustrated; the meat of the book, for me, comes in a single 85-page chapter toward the end that walks you person-by-person through every artist that ever worked on Weird or Witches’ Tales or Tales of Voodoo or any of the rest, doling our their backgrounds and explaining their approaches.
The vast majority of the Eerie Pubs stories were either retouched, gored-up reprints of pre-Code comics or remakes of pre-Code comics — ‘scripted’ by handing the artists photocopies of the original stories and asking them to accommodate the same narration and dialogue — which isn’t exactly a recipe for critical adulation, so I suspect a bunch of Howlett’s information will be new, particularly concerning the large contingent of Argentinian artists on the payroll. But even more interesting to me was the information on the all-important Eerie Pubs cover art, which was my first exposure to the stuff, via a gallery included on one of Something Weird’s dvds a few years back.
Indeed, Howlett’s interest in the material is not unlike that of a dedicated exploitation movie enthusiast, thrilled by the shameless money-making antics of bullshit magnate Myron Fass (NSFW – and boy, who would ever name a magazine FLICK, as if it’d look like “FUCK” on the newsstands, gosh that’s silly!) while working through the actual magazines’ tendencies to fail to credit artists or ruthlessly slice ‘n dice and recycle material. Like a low-budget movie crew happening upon a prime, cheap location, the acquisition of a big cache of Johnny Bruck cover art from German sci-fi paperbacks would prompt the Eerie crew, in 1971, to not only launch a pair of similarly cheap sci-fi comics magazines but make over the existing horror lineup in sci-fi style, perhaps until the stash ran low. Sizzle before steak, etc.
Yet the lingering style (by which I mean the cover style) of the Eerie Pubs didn’t come from Bruck, or moonlighting Selecciones Ilustradas artist and Warren contributor Fernando Fernández, or Argentine artist Oscar Antonio Novelle, whose work is detailed for the cover seen up top – no, I agree with Howlett that the ‘face’ of Eerie was one Bill Alexander, perhaps the most prominent black artist of the b&w horror magazines, albeit in terms of works displayed rather than credit given, which really made him nearly invisible.