Monday, 17 June 2013

Warren Comics - Creepy, Eerie and, Hubba, Hubba, Hubba, Vampirella.




My dad was a printer. Thanks to him I had a constant supply of paper but also comics. Mum too ensured I was never without something to read. I can’t for the life of me remember who it was bought me that first, Carmine Infantino pencilled, DC Flash comic. I think it was dad. I know it was 1961 and that I was seven. To this day, that first American comic book was one of the defining moments of my life. It led me to eventually desert DC comics and race, as everyone else was back then, to read Stan Lee’s Marvel comics. 
The world would suggest that Marvel was all Stan Lee's idea. That he created the whole shebang. He didn't.  Oh, he was the man, the engine room behind the whole ‘Marvel Universe’ but it was Jack Kirby, Don Heck, Dick Ayers and that virtual genius of comic book art, Steve Ditko that made my juvenile life, much of it spent in hospital, not only bearable but flipping wonderful.



DC and Marvel weren’t the only ones, though. James Warren incorporated Warren Publishing in 1957 as an homage, in many ways, to those victims of the ‘Comics Code Authority, E.C. Comics. The first magazines published had little or no effect upon me; I can’t even recall their names. It was with Creepy in 1964, Eerie in 1966 but, and for very obvious reasons now, Vampirella in 1969 (well I was only fifteen and semi-clad females, even fictional ones were part of my pubescent stirrings) was the other, the one for me as it were.

Looking back it is with a genuine fondness for Uncle Creepy and Cousin Eerie, the two characters, hosts even, who often fronted their respective comics, that remains. I liked the way those two sinister gents, much like something from ‘The Adam’s Family’ or ‘The Munsters,’ were the guys who welcomed you into the macabre worlds they inhabited and of which we read with such enthusiasm.
 James Warren said this about Uncle Creepy and Cousin Eerie: “We launched Eerie because we thought Creepy ought to have an adversary. The Laurel and Hardy syndrome always appealed to me. Creepy and Eerie are like Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre.” Or perhaps Cane and Able?
The two comics were anthologies and, unlike Marvel or DC, always in black and white much like the many of the UK’s comics. I liked that gritty, grainy quality. It somehow seemed to fit the subject matter.
Vampirella fitted into my juvenile world like a soft, rubber doll. Not that we had things like that then and even if we did my mum would have killed me had I secreted one away under my bed. Vampy was sexy. At least I thought she was them but seeing a girl in her gym knickers had the desired effect at fifteen. Seeing her now, and with all due respects to her age, she is rather obvious; a little too tarty for my mature tastes. But boy did she do it back then

"Boy does the string cut up your ass!"
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Yes, there were other comic book publishers like Archie and Charlton but Warren, along with the big two, were my favourite of the American bunch. It was a sad day indeed when Warren went bust. Vampy is back, with a new publisher and a new deal no doubt, but the glory days have gone. I think I will go and dig my red G-string out of the attic. On second thoughts perhaps I won't. It does rather cut a chap in half if you know what I mean.



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all words and art are copyright © of Russell 'C.J' Duffy.

2 comments:

Russell Norman Murray said...

Yes, I collect comics too...

Not much though.

DC and Marvel and other such as you mentioned have quite the value if bagged and boarded, especially bagged.

Not the actual books, but I have versions of...

kingpinned

Russell C.J. Duffy said...

I have bought and sold comics and yes, they go, if you have the right ones, for quite a sum.