Eerie and Creepy were those kind of books that you find in a box full of random comics from the 60’s and 70’s at a garage sale. They didn’t have the same kind of name recognition that Tales From the Crypt or Vault of Horror had. They weren’t quite like those EC titles that ended up spawning a whole revival of horror comics in the 80’s and 90’s. If you saw them though, you would snap them up. Because there was something awesome about the red-headed stop child of EC that Eerie just seemed to be.
Originally release in the 60’s this black and white anthology was actually produced as a magazine to circumvent having to get the comics code seal. Though it was in magazine form the guts of it were still anthology style black and white comics, hosted by the leering Cousin Eerie. A quip wielding Crypt Keeper style host, in turn of the century garb and a leering visage that honestly always freaked me out a little bit, but as an adult I now realize he is just plain silly.
First story of the bunch is “Our Friend, The Ant,” like most tales in this book it is a cautionary tale of greed. A scientist is working on how to communicate with ants, and while his relationship with the ants is more meditative and communal his assistant sees dollar signs behind the technology. So naturally the assistant traps his boss in his chamber with fire ants who consume the good doctor. Assistant gets rich quick, but no matter where he goes he is stalked by insects, until they enact their revenge upon him.
A tale called “Signaling the End,” is up next. Again two scientists argue about the validity of an experiment. One scientist is working on a SETI like project, scanning the universe for communication from other planets. His contemporary wants him to turn that technology to some other use that might make him a living instead of a living crackpot. But then all the work is justified when a communication comes through. A little song plays through the universe and right into the minds of humanity. Taking over their feeble minds. Not the invasion that humanity was expecting but an invasion none the less.
Finally, “Experiment in Fear,” which is the most Twilight Zone-esque of the issue. A Nazi scientist is trying to prove that the Aryan race is superior to those they are executing by putting them through an experiment where he terrorizes them. The fact that they show fear proves that Jews are of inferior stock. Naturally the scientist gets trapped in his own chamber of horror and displays the same kind of fear that he had been arousing in his Jewish subjects. His superiors don’t see this as a failure in his experiment, but as an indicator that the now former Nazi scientist is Jewish. Soon he is behind the barbwire fence of the concentration camp, trapped with those he once tortured. My favorite little revenge through science story I have read in a while.
So the issue seems to have a science gone wrong theme, which is something that I love in my horror comics. The glorious black and white pages, the letters with responses that mock the writer more than answer their questions, all of the tropes of the old school horror comics are just spot on. With Dark Horse picking this old title up and giving it new life, I hope to see the same kind of treatment that they gave to Conan (I can’t tell you how much I would love to have a collection of all the old Eeries in TPB collections). I’ve got to hunt down issue #1, and I’m really looking forward to July when issue #3 comes out.