I spent a pleasant couple of nights last week immersed in Creepy Archives Vol. 1, the new hardcover collection from Dark Horse Comics. This super-slick volume collects issues one through five of the black-and-white horror mag, including every story in its gory glory PLUS complete letter columns and those fantastic ads (“Own A Giant Fly!” and “Miniature Germanium Radio” and “Own A Real Mystery-Man Mask!”) that used to grace its pages. It’s even published at the same over-sized scale of the original magazine, which is the ideal presentation for the detailed black-and-white art that became Creepy‘s trademark.
As a matter of fact, about the only thing this volume didn’t capture for me was the smell. You know what I’m talking about – the smell that only comes from ink, cheap newsprint, and age. The smell that digs up nostalgic feelings just as quickly as the words and drawings. But that’s a minor quibble. If I want the smell, I’ll rummage around the library and bring out the handful of original issues I still have, set ’em to the side while I read the shiny hardcover.
A word about the words – most of the stories don’t hold up well. They are what they are: short, often cheesy tales with twist endings. Dialogue that wouldn’t pass a single self-respecting editor today. (Twice in just this volume I saw the words “Good Lord! *Choke*”) But it all has its charm, its place, and let’s be honest – it wouldn’t be Creepy without it.
I’m sure I’m not the only one hoping Dark Horse keeps making these until they’ve reprinted every zombie, vampire, werewolf, ghost and revenge tale in the archives.