By: Gilbert Hernandez, J. Torres, Dan Braun, Peter Bagge, Alisa Kwitney, Archie Goodwin & Jamie S. Rich (writers), Hernandez, Amy Reeder, Bagge, Zullo, Johnny Craig and Joelle Jones (art), Hernandez, Reeder, Bagge & Nate Piekos (letters)

The Story: What do you want me to say?  You know what Creepy is!  It’s a black and white anthology horror comic.

Review: If you had to draw up a checklist for a great issue of Creepy it would look like this: (a) zero stories that suck, (b) great black and white art, (c) “Oh, Henry!” endings galore and (d) one stellar story.

The only place this issue stumbles a little is that it doesn’t have that ONE story that really sticks out.  Everything is very, very good, but nothing quite rises to that level of awesomeness that it can carry the entire $4.99 issue by itself.

However, that’s the only failing of the issue.  All of the stories are very strong and feature wonderful black and white artwork from a diverse group of artists.  I mean, how can you go wrong when the main stories are illustrated by Gilbert Hernandez, Amy Reeder, Chrissie Zullo and Joelle Jones?  These stories all look great.  You know how sometimes B&W art just looks like someone forgot to color it?  Well, that isn’t a problem here; this just looks like good B&W art.  Probably my favorite was the story by Joelle Jones just because I already knew how much I enjoyed Zullo and Reeder whereas Jones was a surprise.  She was enough of a surprise that I paused during this review to inquire about buying a page of her original art from this story (the 4th page with the guy bringing different women back to his home).  So there’s that.

I think one thing that makes the art in this issue work is the romance theme (or “love lost” themed), and a big key to those stories is drawing believably pretty women.  All the artists come up aces in that regard.  To do a good romance/horror story, you can’t have all the women looking like Power Girl with ginormous breasts.  The women need to look like regular, attractive ladies.  Nice job artists!

This issue also does a great job with the endings to the stories. Creepy stories need to end on that panel that twists the story inside out and turns it on its ear.  For example……[SPOILER]…….there is one story by J. Torres and Amy Reeder that shows a man mourning on the sea shore for his wife.  We learn that his wife and previously drown in those same waters.  Wait!  Is that a mermaid he sees?  Could it have something to do with his dead wife?  Suddenly, a helpful local fisherman shows up and tells a story of how sometimes the king of the sea kidnaps a princess and turns her into a mermaid–and only that woman’s true love can steal her back!  They hop in a boat and head to “rescue” the missing wife.  They see the mermaid in the water!  Just as the man points to the mermaid, the fisherman tosses a net over him and kicks him overboard.  The mermaid swims up, but instead of saving him, she has huge teeth and eats him alive.  From shore, a couple of other fishermen remark that it’ll be safe to go fishing again since they fed the monster!  THE END!  Hahahaha….

How can you not love a story like that?  That’s what Creepy is all about.

Conclusion: A very strong issue of Creepy.  Because this series only comes out quarterly, a couple of mediocre issues will leave a pretty bad taste in our mouths.  THIS issue really hit the ball out of the park.  It kinda refilled the heath bar for the series.  The stories were all in that A- range and it’s rare for an anthology to avoid having a single stinker.

Grade: A-

– Dean Stell