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Creepy Archives Vol. 6
Dark Horse

Comic Books

‘Creepy Archives’ Vol. 6 review

Another great archive from Dark Horse, with nearly 300 pages of tales from classic Creepy issues from 1969 to 1970.

Dark Horse delivers another treasure trove of horror classics this week in Creepy Archives Vol. 6, collecting issues #26-32 of Creepy Magazine originally published in 1969 and 1970, complete with all the original letter columns and ads (“Hey kids, now you can own your own Human Skeleton!”). The REAL horror here is seeing that you could get a deluxe Ant Farm set for $2.98 back then when you’d have to drop 20 bucks today to get the same thing. Oh, the bone-chilling terror of inflation!

I was amazed by the variety of horror stories throughout this nearly 300 page tome. I was expecting most of the stories to be gothic horror, but the horror here ranges from modern Twilight Zone-style stories with twist endings to Universal/Hammer horror chillers to Galaxy of Terror-style sci-fi stories with a horrific bent. We even get a dash of heroic fantasy with a story featuring Thane, a barbarian warrior akin to Conan who battles a titanic lightning god.
There’s a deep pool of great writers and artists throughout, including talent like Archie Goodwin, Nicola Cuti, Frank Frazetta, Tom Sutton, Neal Adams, and Ernie Colón.

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The legendary Harlan Ellison writes a story (illustrated by Neal Adams) titled “Rock God” that’s the highlight of the book.  Harlan took one look at a Frank Frazetta cover, with a massive creature carved from stone looming over a dark city, and wrote the short story in his usual quick masterful way.  The tale appears late in the volume and feels like enjoying a decadent delicious dessert after a satisfying dinner.

Other highlights of the book are the stories “Grub!” (by Nicola Cuti and Tom Sutton) about a group of Star Trek-like space explorers who come across an ancient beast living on an abandoned spaceship, “The Summer House” (by Barbara Gelman and Ernie Colón) about a husband and wife wanting to own a cursed Summer House that the husband’s wealthy mother refuses to give them, and “Telephoto Troll” (by R. Michael Rosen and Roger Brand) featuring an astronomer who’s obsessed with having his assistant take photos of everything he sees through his telescope, with disastrous consequences.

The artwork is great in the book from beginning to end, with Ernie Colón’s work especially beautiful and dynamic.  His art has the confidence and exquisite detail of Neal Adams, but where Ernie really shines is in his panel layouts. In the aforementioned “The Summer House” story, he inserts ghostly figures in the background and even in the main character’s long hair at times, making the story incredibly creepy (no pun intended). It reminded me of the Netflix show The Haunting of Hill House, where random ghosts popped up in the background from time to time, amping up the dread atmosphere of the story.

In the story “The Mind of the Monster!”, Colón has panels merge and weave into each other. One page has a man horrifically hung by a rope with a diagonal panel where he’s being pulled onto an autopsy slab by a rope, making it all seem intertwined and throwing all sense of time and space off-kilter.  In other stories, Colon uses a framing device where the panels are surrounded by a border filled with creatures of various expressions and shapes, almost as if the creatures are serving as a Greek chorus for the story unfolding within the frame. It really made me want to seek out more of Colón’s work.  I imagine Todd McFarlane must have perused a few Ernie Colón books as a kid, because McFarlane’s early DC and Marvel work seemed very inspired by him, especially in the way McFarlane did his panel layouts.

I’m sure many of these stories have lost their impact because horror films, shows and books have gotten more mature, and in some cases more vicious and explicit, in the 50 years since these tales debuted.  Still, I enjoyed the book and the stories I enjoyed outnumbered those I didn’t, and there’s a wonderfully cozy feeling to cracking open the book (or popping it up on your Kindle or iPad) and getting a few shivers from these stories that may be old but far from musty.

Creepy Archives Vol. 6
‘Creepy Archives’ Vol. 6 review
Creepy Archives Vol. 6
Creepy Archives Vol. 6 delivers a ton of great stories, with very few weak ones in the bunch. It's a great snapshot of a bygone error in horror.
Reader Rating1 Votes
The book has work by several great classic writers and artists.
There's a great variety of horror tales here, extending over many sub-genres.
The old ads in the book will give you a chill and a chuckle.
Some of the tales have predictable endings and can be a chore to slog through.
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