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The Weird World of Eerie Publications: Comic Gore That Warped Millions of Young Minds Hardcover – November 30, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
And Mike Howlett's tribute to them, "The Weird World of Eerie Publications" is an awesome book.
I was 11 years old when the first issue of Weird hit the stands in the fall of 1965. I looked through it- it was the first time I'd ever seen "Weird", but it said Volume 1 Number 10, so I thought it must have been around for awhile. I wound up buying it, probably because of the promise of hearing the Frankenstein story told from "for the first time, the Monster's story", i.e. from his viewpoint, but when I got it home and read it I realized I'd made a mistake. The Frankenstein story was fine, but the rest was way too scary for me. I was no stranger to monster stuff- I was a pretty hard core monster guy- I watched The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, I bought FM and Castle of Frankenstein, had all the Aurora monster models, and I'd recently discovered Warren's Creepy magazine with #6, which was scary enough, but this Weird mag was different. It was drawn in a crude, old-fashioned way, which made it seem even scarier, it was cheaply made (It almost looked home-made- it had no ads and the last story continued onto the back cover- did some loony write and draw these comic tales in his back yard with no Comics Code Approval???) and in a way actually seemed rather godless. I mean, Good Lord, bad things were happening to innocent people, with no justice. For example, in "Coward's Curse", the main character's innocent wife winds up being tried, sentenced, and excecuted by living-dead Medieval monks. She gets put into an Iron Maiden, and the poor husband gets blamed by the police for the crime and commits suicide. The end. Very bleak. And don't get me started on "Creatures From the Deep." It was even scarier than an Outer Limits TV show.
I hid that Weird mag under my bed for awhile. But I couldn't hardly sleep at night. The only way I can describe the feeling- remember, we're talking about the sheltered "Leave It To Beaver" and "Father Knows Best" generation, was that it was like having a live tarantula tied up down there that might bust loose and crawl out as soon as I went to sleep and bite my face off. So I finally tore that troublesome mag up and crammed it into the garbage can in our kitchen. At long last I could sleep peacefully, and that first Weird descended into the forgetful depths of my subconscious while I discovered happier comics featuring Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and Captain America and the Red Skull...
I don't remember ever seeing any more Weird or other Eerie Publications mags at our pharmacy or at the Drug Fair in Falls Church, Virginia. Twenty years went by, I rediscovered comics, and monster mags, and sometime in the early 1990s, I began to wonder, "What WAS that book that scared the living crap out of me when I was in 5th grade?" I knew it wasn't a Warren mag. Occasionally when I'd visit local comic stores I'd look for it or ask about it. "Was there any non-Warren horror comic mag being published around 1965/66? The counter guy would point me to old Skywald, Stanley and even Marvel black and white horror books that I'd never heard of, since I stopped collecting comics in 1969, but the volume numbers and dates indicated that none of them were around when I was in 5th grade. Nor was the art the old-fashioned kind I remembered. As far as I could tell, only Warren was publishing b&w horror mags in 1965. I was beginning to think I was imagining things, that this scary mag never existed.
It wasn't a priority, so even with the advent of the internet, I never thought to try to track it down by searching "1960s b&w horror magazines." But in the late winter of 2010, I happened to buy a nice laptop, and figured out how to download pulp magazine cover files and create folders of the images. My first project was to compile a complete set of Weird Tales pulp magazine cover files. In the process, I accidentally discovered, of all things, some Weird magazine covers from 1966 and 1967. Very interesting. Not only were the garish covers absolutely mind-boggling, but the dates and volume numbers showed me that here was a likely candidate for my recollection of a non-Warren horror comic mag being published in the `60s. I did the math- if Weird volume 1 number 12 was October, 1966, then a Weird magazine could've come out in the fall of 1965. I started attempting to assemble a complete folder of early Weird covers.
Searching for more info, I Googled "Weird Magazine", turned up Eerie Publications, Terror Tales, Horror Tales, etc, discovered enjolrasworld, an invaluable website and companion to this book, which contains a complete index and story summaries of Eerie Pubs mags, and realized that I was definitely on the right track. Thus I (re)discovered Eerie Publications. And I was somewhat heartbroken to realize that the very magazine I had tossed was probably the first-ever Eerie Pub. By the grace of the Almighty, I located a copy of the first Weird online, and grabbed it up. It arrived about a week later. This was indeed the very magazine that I'd torn up and thrown away over 40 years ago. I was amazed as I read it again. After all of these years, it still gave me a scare.
That was the Winter/Spring of 2010. I've been an Eerie Pubs collector ever since.
Regarding this book- it is a masterpiece. When I saw it among my recommendations on Amazon, and saw that the list price was only $32.95, and Amazon's price was something incredible like $22, I thought, "Well, it will probably be a little paperback book with tiny b&w pictures, but even so it will be better than nothing." Then I read the description, which included "hardback", color pictures and the book's measurements and page count, and I thought, "They've made a mistake. No way can the book be what they say at this price." I read somewhere online that the pictures would include the covers of the first 10 issues of Weird. No small feat. At that time, I still hadn't found all 10 of them on the internet comic cover sites, partly due to numbering confusion. Little did I know that the WWoEP book would actually contain color photos of virtually ALL (I haven't actually counted, but there certainly aren't many covers missing) of Eerie's output.
Needless to say, I was absolutely bowled over when I got the book. It is big, hardbound, printed on quality paper and crammed not only with obscure information, but with beautiful cover repros and other artwork. By the time the book came out, I had already compiled (and read) a fairly complete collection of Eerie mags, via eBay, various comic/monster mag-cons and numerous friends and book dealers, so I wasn't looking for stories. I wanted INFO- to know who did what, what twisted rock did they crawl out from under, etc. This marvelous book delivers! Every page is full not only of color cover repros, interior art, cross-references to Charlton and other publishers, not to mention foreign Eerie-clone covers like "Jacula" that I never would've known of, but intimate knowledge of the whole Eerie crew. I was amazed to find that Chic Stone, whose art I despised when he was at Marvel, was the artist responsible for most of my favorite Eerie covers (Weird May '69, Witches' Tales July '69, Terror Tales Mar. and May '69). Something must have happened to him when Myron Fass got ahold of him! I was astounded that Bob Powell painted one of my favorite Eerie covers, which is the Frankenbabe "Weird" Oct. '66 cover. I loved learning about Eerie's "Bullpen" of artists, especially Bill Alexander and Ezra Jackson. And best of all, I really enjoyed learning about and getting a whole new appreciation for "Mr. Human Torch" Carl Burgos. Not to mention the story of the Eerie cover prints, gun-toting Myron's origins and adventures as a comic artist turned publisher, etc etc.
I had to buy a 2nd copy, because I want to keep one copy bagged and boarded while I wear out my first copy reading it over and over.
I've never seen a better book written on any comic publisher, even Warren. This book is a labor of love, a gift from Mike Howlett to the rest of us mere mortals who don't have the encyclopedic knowledge of comics and patience to track down obscure information that he does. Amazing. Well done, Mike!
Heroically going where no other horror comic historian has dared go before, Howlett pieces together the story of this scurrilous publisher - no mean feat given the paucity of information to be found in the actual magazines themselves. What emerges is far stranger than anything you might imagine and finally explains to awestruck fans such as myself how these ghastly magazines came to be: how the stories and artwork were 'stolen' from earlier publications and doctored with additional gore and sex, then redrawn again and again and again by different artists; how the bizarre non-numerical sequencing of the various magazines worked; how these infamous comics were just the tip of an exploitative magazine empire that left no stone unturned in the search for cheap titlllation and a quick buck, run by a trigger-happy, penny-pinching publisher who had no compunction about pulling a gun on any contributor who came in search of payment. Truly: you could not make up this story.
And then there's the illustrations... Well, the superb selection of covers and panels are just as absurd and gloriously disgusting as you remember them.
Even someone with just passing interest in horror comics will be fascinated. And if you actually own any copies of the magazines in question, it's essential reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There's nice interviews and rare insights. The material is beautifully reproduced.Read more