by Mike Howlett
IDW / Yeo Publishing,September, 2014
In late November 2010, just in time for Christmas, Mike Howlett's The Weird World of Eerie Publications: Comic Gore That Warped Millions of Young Minds hit the store shelves and brought instant nostalgia and pleasure to Baby Boomers, aficionados of pop culture, and horror fans.
Weird World, lavishly produced but affordably priced, was the equivalent of a coffee table book.......albeit a coffee table book devoted with unstinting enthusiasm to the gruesome, degenerate black and white horror magazines published in the 60s and 70s by schlock magazine magnate Myron Fass.
While Howlett's book was a great homage to the Eerie comics, the fact that old copies of those black and white magazines are selling for $10 and up an issue, means that getting one's hands on the material is difficult, if not impossible.
In a kind and sensible world, the entire lineage of the Eerie comics would be issued in black and white trade paperback compilations, similar to the Marvel Essentials and DC Showcase volumes. Unfortunately, this hasn't happened.
If you are among those who have yet to have procured a copy of Weird World, and thus are unaware of the story of Eerie comics, in The Worst Of, Howlett provides an Introduction about Countrywide Publishing and its owner, the eccentric Myron Fass; Eerie Publications editor Carl Burgos, the creator of The Human Torch; and the artists - Dick Ayers, Chic Stone, Ezra Jackson, and Oscar Fraga, among others - who did the spectacularly gruesome full color covers, and interior comics, for Horror Tales, Tales of Voodoo, Witches Tales, Tales from the Tomb, etc.
The 21 stories showcased in The Worst of Eerie were selected by Howlett to represent the different graphic art styles of above-mentioned artists, ranging from the 'clean' linework of Chic Stone, to the darker, heavily colored style of Ruben Marchionne.
And, of course, Howlett also selected the stories that epitomized the gleeful, unapologetic devotion to gore and grue that made the Eerie line stand out from the more sedate presentations of the Warren, Skywald, and Marvel black and white horror magazines.
If you have the good fortune to have read those cheap, offensive, and tasteless comics back in the 60s and 70s, and consequently were warped for life, then you're obviously going to have no choice but to get a copy of The Worst of Eerie Publications. It's a quality hardbound book, with nice color separations, as well as reasonably priced, and it's available at your usual online retailers.
And while you're at it....pick up an extra copy, and pass it off to some grade-school kids at the local playground.......after all, it's never too late to warp another generation of impressionable young minds......
Happy Christmas 2014 !