Issue #10 of this black-and-white horror comic is dedicated to H. P. Lovecraft, and the tales within range from serio-comic to downright frightening and disturbing. By sticking to a central theme (Lovecraft lore) the folks at www.creepyuniverse.com have produced one of the best issues of the Creepy revival so far. (Creepy and Eerie magazines were the pioneer titles of high-quality horror comics in the 1960’s and 1970’s).
Between 48 pages of lurking dread are found three new illustrated short stories, a classic reprint from the ghastly old days and five one-page features. There is also an illuminating text interview with Editor Ellen Datlow that sheds light on the Lovecraft Unbound anthology.
The best story in the bunch is “The Illuminations of Charity Wallis” by scripter John Arcudi and artist Richard Corben. Three years after locating his family to 1890’s Wyoming to mine gold, the vein dries up but prospector Booth Wallis discovers something else = a curiously decorated book still tightly held by a buried corpse. He brings it to his wife, Charity, in the hopes that her knowledge of Latin and ancient languages will help to translate the text. As Charity (the narrator of this tale) relates in the captions, Booth hopes it is something of great value. The horrific events uncovered in the text begin to plague and infest her dreams. Tragedy visits the Wallis family and leads to a chilling end to the narrative. The primitive hairy humanoids that serve as the catalyst for catastrophe are wonderful creations of the very creative Corben.
Even more imaginative and wondrous images inhabit the opening story, “The Lurking Fate That Came To Lovecraft” with art by Kelley Jones and script by Doug Moench. It’s the final act in a three-part story that began in CREEPY #8 and is the closest to evoking the presence of Lovecraft’s Elder Gods of everything contained in this issue. The main character here is H P Lovecraft himself, who is forced into confrontation with these creatures of mythology, many beyond even his imagination. There are some clever twists and turns within this story within a story. It’s a must read, especially for the images of Lovecraft wandering through an M. S. Escher staircase to find the Miskatonic University telescope on a rooftop, where he finds his friends on the Moon staring back.
With a morbid humorous tone, “Mint In Package” by writer Matt Weinhold and artists Darick Robertson & Richard P. Clark finds a collector of action figures making an incredible find at Cliff’s Comic Cave = the rare Dark Godz set in unopened original packaging. An anxious observer of his purchase later confronts the buyer in his home, beseeching him to never open the packages for inspection. You know where this is going and it’s quite fulfilling.
The reprint story is an adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Rats In The Walls” with script and art by Bob Jenney. It’s a mostly faithful and rather slower paced telling of an ancestral English property, past confrontations between Romans and Druids, and horrible family secrets.
Artist/writer Peter Bagge provides some frighteningly funny one-page shorts to allow a break between the grimmer stories and the team of Jim and Ruth Keegan share some interesting factoids from the life of H. P. Lovecraft in their one-page features “Runes of Ec’H-Pi-El”.
All Lovecraft aficionados should seek out this issue, as well as anyone who enjoys the blend of mythos and horror. There are more than enough visual frights inside to satisfy all.