By Nick Durham
In 1982, George Romero and Stephen King collaborated on the horror anthology film Creepshow, and the rest as they say, is history. Beloved and revered in the decades since its release, Creepshow is a horror classic that was inspired by both creator’s love for the classic horror comics of the EC days; helping them craft an incredibly entertaining horror film that’s still ever bit as good today as it was in 1982. Around the time of the film’s release, there was a comic book adaptation of King’s screenplay that ended up being just as beloved as the film. Sadly, it’s been out of print for a while…until now.
Creepshow the comic features all five segments of the film in glorious comic form, drawn to horrific life by the late, great Bernie Wrightson (famous for co-creating Swamp Thing and drawing a huge number of horror titles throughout the decades) and featuring a cover drawn by legendary EC Comics illustrator Jack Kamen. The five stories: Father’s Day, The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill, Something to Tide You Over, The Crate, and They’re Creeping Up on You are adapted to perfection here. Wrightson’s artwork manages to illicit the horrific chills, thrills, and dark humor of the film, while also managing to perfectly capture the throwback atmosphere of the horror comics of yesterday.
Published by Gallery 13, Creepshow the comic doesn’t seem to feature any restoration done to the artwork itself, which is perfectly fine to be totally honest. These days, modern day reprints of older comics feature some sort of digital restoration, and it’s actually refreshing to see that this is not such the case here. Wrightson’s artwork is just that damn perfect that it doesn’t need any kind of modern touches done to it. The comic is also presented in a deluxe large frame format, which makes the total package be even more perfect.
If you’re a fan of George Romero and Stephen King’s Creepshow, it goes without saying that this comic adaptation deserves to have a spot on your shelf. Much like the film, the comic has aged wonderfully, and it’s a super fun and enjoyable horror ride that you can’t help but love. You need to get your hands on this as soon as you possibly can, you won’t regret it.
By Nick Durham
Wait, what? A superhero comic? The fuck is going on here you may be asking yourself. Well, let me stop you right there. In the early 90s, DC Comics had a long-running imprint called Elseworlds. Elseworlds gave creators the ability to craft stories starring DC characters that weren’t bound to traditional continuities. A sort of alternate universe take on your favorite DC heroes and villains, with a few notable examples being comics like Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (which put Batman in Victorian London) and Superman: Red Son (which envisioned what the world would be like if Superman’s ship crash landed in Soviet Russia instead of Smallville, Kansas). Another example are the stories collected here in Batman: Vampire. As you may guess by the title, it involves Batman contending with vamps in Gotham City, including Dracula himself, and then things take a much, much darker turn.
Batman: Vampire collects what’s known as the Batman VS Dracula Trilogy, consisting of Red Rain (published in 1991), Bloodstorm (published in 1994), and Crimson Mist (published in 1999). All three titles are written by long time Batman writer Doug Moench and drawn by Sandman artist Kelley Jones. The story begins simply enough, with Batman investigating a series of grisly murders, eventually discovering they are perpetrated by a group of vampires led by Dracula himself. In order to combat the threat, Batman ends up sacrificing his humanity in order to take down the legendary vampire king, but the story doesn’t end there. Eventually, many familiar Batman characters end up making appearances as allies and adversaries, as Batman continues a downward spiral of blood drinking and destruction.
The stories here in Batman: Vampire would be highly acclaimed, and would thankfully be reprinted in the mid-2000s with a Tales From the Multiverse label slapped on the cover. I myself am thankful for this, as I never got to read the Batman VS Dracula Trilogy as a whole in my youth. Moench was one of the best Batman writers around in the 90s, and his take on a desperate and degenerating Dark Knight is harrowing to say it lightly. Kelley Jones’ pencil work is wonderful and downright creepy and revolting, and I can’t get enough of it to this day. Even though Bloodstorm and Crimson Mist never reach that perfect pitch that the opening Red Rain manages to do, as a whole, this is one of the best Elseworlds tales, and maybe even Batman stories as a whole, you’ll come across.
Even if superhero stuff isn’t your thing, I encourage you to check out Batman: Vampire. Go into it with little expectations and you’ll come out shockingly surprised. I wish mainstream comics were ballsy like this today, maybe I’d still be reading them. Go pick this up while you can, you’ll be glad that you did.