From Hey Kids Comics
Creepy #1 (late 1964), edited by Russ Jones
Cover art by Jack Davis
|Publisher||Warren Publishing, Dark Horse Comics|
|Schedule||Bimonthly (later nine times a year)|
|Publication date||Late 1964 to February 1983, 2009 till Present|
|Number of issues||145|
|Editor(s)||Russ Jones, Archie Goodwin, Bill Parente, Billy Graham, J.R. Cochran, William DuBay, Louise Jones, Chris Adames, Timothy Moriarty, Shawna Gore, Dave Land, Dan Braun, Sierra Hahn, Brendan Wright|
Creepy was an American horror-comics magazine launched by Warren Publishing in 1964. Like Mad, it was a black-and-white newsstand publication in a magazine format and thus did not require the approval or seal of the Comics Code Authority. The anthology magazine was initially published quarterly but later went bimonthly. Each issue's stories were introduced by the host character, Uncle Creepy. Its sister publications were Eerie and Vampirella.
The Creepy launch
Russ Jones, the founding editor of Creepy in 1964, detailed the magazine's origins and his lengthy negotiations with Warren in his memoir, "Creepy & Eerie," at his website. While doing covers, illustrated stories and photo stories for Warren, Jones continued to pitch the idea of doing a comics magazine, and eventually Warren agreed:
- Originally it was to be a 64-page magazine. Jim cut it back to 48... I made a sketch of my host for the mag and sent it off to Jack Davis to work up a cover. Still no title. Titles are tough. Ask anyone who ever had to come up with one. One night I was sitting in the studio alone, looking at Woody's tear-sheets from the ECs, when Warren called. He was furious and demanded a name for Project D. I was looking at a balloon over an Ingels Old Witch, and in her narrative, the word "creepy" grabbed out at me. I muttered the name to Jim... We now had a title for our mag.
Joe Orlando was not only an illustrator for Creepy but also a behind-the-scenes story editor on early issues. His credit on the first issue masthead read: "Story Ideas: Joe Orlando." Bill Pearson also worked on the first issue.
This publication and later companion Eerie, were inspired by legendary EC Comics' line of horror and suspense publications, from story content and host storyteller Uncle Creepy (similar to EC's GhouLunatics) to Warren's use of many former EC artists. The EC tone for Warren was furthered with the addition of Blazing Combat, a gritty war comic that recalled EC's war titles, Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat. On those merits alone, the earlier efforts of the Warren line were relatively well regarded by the small cadre of organized comics fandom of the era.
The Archie Goodwin era
In 1965, Russ Jones had a falling out with publisher Jim Warren and departed. Archie Goodwin, having already been writing most of the stories and working with most of the regular artists, succeeded him as editor. Goodwin, who became one of comics' foremost writers, helped to establish the company as a prominent force in the field of black-and-white comics magazines.
Artists during this era included Neal Adams, Dan Adkins, Reed Crandall, Johnny Craig, Steve Ditko, Frank Frazetta, Gray Morrow, John Severin, Angelo Torres, Alex Toth, Al Williamson and Wally Wood. Originally published quarterly, Creepy switched to bi-monthly by the end of 1965.
To help draw the best possible performance out of the artists working on the series, prior to writing a story Goodwin would ask the artist what type of story or setting he would like to work in; this also served to narrow Goodwin's thinking, making it easier for him to come up a story idea. He also wrote a considerable number of adaptations of public domain works for Creepy. Initially, out of a feeling that the original works were over-familiar, he would change either the ending or the beginning of the story when doing these adaptations. Eventually he concluded that this was presumptuous, and began adhering more closely to the original stories.
Goodwin resigned as the editor of Creepy after issue 17 (October 1967). Due to a lack of funds, the majority of the magazine's leading artists left, and Warren was forced to rely on reprints, which would be prevalent in the magazine until issue 32 in April 1970. A variety of editors ran the magazine during this period, including Bill Parente, Nicola Cuti and Warren himself. Things would pick up starting in 1969 with the premiere of Vampirella magazine. Some of Creepy's original artists, including Frazetta, Crandall and Wood, would return, as did Goodwin, who was associate editor for issues 35 through 39.
Editors and artists
A variety of editors continued to manage Creepy after Goodwin's second departure, including Billy Graham and J. R. Cochran. William Dubay, who had started at Warren as an artist with issue 32 in 1970 would become editor of the magazine for issues 50 through 78, except for a short period of time in 1974 where Goodwin returned for issues 61 through 64. During this period the frequency of Creepy and Warren's other magazines was upped to nine issues per year.
Another major development occurred in late 1971 when artists from the Barcelona Studio of Spanish agency Selecciones Illustrada started appearing in Creepy and other Warren magazines. Artists from Spain would go on to dominate Creepy and the other Warren magazines throughout the 1970s. These artists included Esteban Maroto, Jaime Brocal, Rafael Aura León, Martin Salvador, Luis García, Fernando Fernández, José González, José Bea, Isidro Monés, Sanjulián, and Enrich Torres. Additional artists from S.I.'s Valencia Studio joined Warren in 1974 including José Ortiz, Luis Bermejo, and Leopold Sánchez. Notable writers during Dubay's era as editor included Gerry Boudreau, Budd Lewis, Jim Stenstrum, Steve Skeates and Doug Moench.
Themed specials dominated Dubay's era as editor, and included two Edgar Allan Poe issues (69 and 70), three Christmas issues (59, 68 and 77), three issues dedicated to a single artist (71, 72 and 74), a science fiction issue (73) and an issue where every story was based on the cover painting (64). This era also featured stories that were printed in color, many of which were done by Richard Corben. Towards the end of his period as editor, many artists from Creepy's first golden era returned, including Alex Toth and John Severin.
Dubay resigned after issue 78 and was replaced by Louise Jones, his former assistant. Jones would edit the magazine until issue 116 in March 1980. Former DC Comics publisher Carmine Infantino joined Warren shortly after she became editor and did pencils for over 50 stories. Much like the wave of Spanish artists that dominated Creepy throughout the mid-1970s, a number of artists from the Philippines joined Warren during her period as editor, including Alex Niño, Alfredo Alcala and Rudy Nebres, remaining with Creepy until its end in 1983. While he had resigned as editor, Dubay remained with Warren and became their dominant writer during this period. Other dominant writers during this period included Bruce Jones, Bob Toomey and Roger McKenzie.
After Louise Jones resigned as editor following issue 116, Dubay returned to edit the magazine using the alias "Will Richardson" until issue 126. After Dubay's departure, various editors including Chris Adames and Timothy Moriarty held the position. Reprints once again began in the magazine with many reprint issues being dedicated to a single artist. Warren's last Creepy (#145) was published February 1983, and then he went bankrupt. Harris Publications bought rights after Warren's bankruptcy and published a single issue (#146) in 1985.
In 2000, after a protracted legal dispute with Harris Publications, Jim Warren and Warren Publishing finally regained sole ownership of all rights to his two iconic and flagship comic book franchises Creepy and Eerie.
Archives and the relaunch
In February 2007, New Comic Company, LLC completed a total rights acquisition from Warren and his entity for all rights to Creepy and Eerie, after seven years of effort. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. All copyright renewals and trademarks have been re-established in the name of New Comic Company LLC.
Shortly after that rights acquisition deal, in June 2007, New Comic Company LLC principals Dan Braun, Craig Haffner, Josh Braun and Rick Brookwell completed a partnership agreement with Dark Horse Comics and its CEO Mike Richardson to republish in archival hardcover form all 285 total issues of the original Creepy and Eerie. The first Creepy archival volume was published in August 2008, with additional releases available every four months. The first Eerie archival volume was released in March 2009, with subsequent archives available every four months.
In July 2009, Dark Horse Comics and New Comic Company LLC released the new Creepy magazine. Edited by Shawna Gore and Dan Braun with Craig Haffner, it displayed the work of artists Bernie Wrightson, Angelo Torres, Saskia Gutekunst and Jason Shawn Alexander illustrating scripts by Michael Woods, Dan Braun, Joe Harris and Bill Dubay.
Creepy is currently up to issue #7 which includes the work of Keith and Joe Lansdale, Bill Morrison, Dan Braun, Guus Floor, Patric Reynolds and Wilfredo Torres. Creepy #8 was released April 5, 2012. The Creepy Archives are currently up to #12, collecting Creepy issues #55-59. The Eerie Archives are currently up to #10, collecting Eerie #47-51. The new Eerie comic book is relaunched July 2012, featuring creators David Lapham and Christopher Taylor with editors Sierra Hahn, Brendan Wright and Dan Braun.
In 2009, Dan Braun and Shawna Gore won the Eisner Award for best archival project for Creepy Archive #1.
- Jones, Russ. "Creepy and Eerie".
- Zimmerman, Dwight Jon (July 1986). "Archie Goodwin". Comics Interview (36). Fictioneer Books. pp. 24–39.
- Spurgeon, Tom. "News Watch: Warren Case Moves Forward: Publisher Claims Numerous Violations in Case Against Harris Publications," The Comics Journal #210 (Feb. 1999), pp. 11-13.
- "News Watch: Jim Warren Sues Harris Publications" The Comics Journal #211 (Apr. 1999), p. 8.
- Doctorow, Cory. "Creepy horror comic rises from the grave and is terrifyingly good", Boing Boing, October 13, 2009.
- "2009 Eisner Award Wrap Up". Comic Book Bin. August 29, 2009
- Arndt, Richard J. (September 22, 2008). "The Warren Magazines". Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved January 27, 2013. Additional Webcitation archive.
- Arndt, Richard J. (February 3, 2010). "The Warren Magazines: Interviews". Archived from the original on March 13, 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2010. Additional Webcitation archive.
- "Jim Warren Meets Vampirella", Philadelphia City Paper, Jan. 6-12, 2005
- The Comics Journal #253: "The Vampirella Wars"
- Creepy and Eerie
- "Russ Jones' Monstermania"
- The Warren Companion, July 2001, TwoMorrows Publishing. ISBN 978-1-893905-08-5