If you’re like me, you love horror stuff from any generation. The ’30s, the ’50s, ’70s, presentd day…it doesn’t matter. It’s in the genre and I dig it. But there’s something about vintage horror stuff that’s appealing. I know when I see old movie posters I want them because they simply don’t make posters like that anymore. There’s just something charming about things from an era that I didn’t come from.
I’ve spoken previously about the resurgence of horror in comics, but Dark Horse is now trying to bring back the old horror comics for the new era. In the hardcover collection of Eerie Archives Volume 9 we get reprints of five classic issues of Eerie magazine. This publication is easily before my time, but I’m familiar with the idea of these types of books (thanks to my love for Tales from the Crypt and Creepshow). Using horror host “Cousin Eerie” throughout the comic to introduce segments is cute. He’s the typical hunchback looking narrator, but be warned, he says the absolute corniest stuff. Corny, but charming.
Although I have never read any of these old horror comics before, I have read comics from this era so some of the problems I was expecting were present. If you haven’t been subjected to comics from the ’70s into the ’90s you’ll notice one HUGE difference over present day comics, the amount of words. There was something about writing comics then that they felt the words should help move the story along, instead of the art pushing the narrative forward, which is what they do here. I’m not a fan of this style of writing within comic books, it’s distracting and makes the comic seem more like a novella.
Another very distracting element in the writing of these comics is many of them are written within the 2nd person, like they want the reader to feel like they’re in the story. This doesn’t work, it feels tacky and forced. I’m more likely to connect with the character in a story if it is told from their perspective and it’s written well enough that I can connect to them. The art is great though. It has that very fantastical and grotesque feel that ’70s comics are known for it. It’s never used to it’s full potential though. Going back to my complaint of the writing style, because it takes away so much of what could be the art’s job, that the comics (while quirky and fun to read) are not very appealing.
The things that I did enjoy very much within the reprints though are the inclusion of the ads, letters to the editor and short stories. The advertisements in the story are awesome. They make me feel bad because they’re for products from 1972 and the likelihood for finding any of these things is slim to none. One can take pride in just staring and lusting after them. The letters to the editor are as corny as old Cousin Eerie but they make you want to read older issues of the magazine based on the amount of “That comic was gross! It was so gory!” comments, and because the present definition of gory is a lot more relaxed than 40 years ago.
Eerie is a cool coffee table type book, or something awesome to display on your shelf, if you’re a fan. It will be hard for anyone not familiar with the old horror comic style and not a fan of them either to get into or truly enjoy this book.