Friday, April 15, 2011

Coincidentally, I got Eerie Archives Volume Two today

Yes, strangely enough on the very same day I learned Dark Horse had laid off editor Shawna Gore, I received a copy of one of the very books she shepherded to market, Eerie Archives Volume Two. These books are big, heavy and, with a suggested retail price of 49.99, kinda expensive. But listen, kids, I didn't pay full retail for it. No, I ordered it from an Amazon seller for a mere 22.24 plus 3.99 shipping.

Unfortunately, it took almost 2 weeks to get here and the dust jacket looked like someone carried it around in his or her back pocket for a few days before slipping it back on the book. I'm disappointed. Next time I order one of these, I'll just pay a little more and get it straight from Amazon. They shrinkwrap books and ship them in sturdy boxes.

The book itself, however, is beautiful. The cover image isn't one of my favorite Frazetta paintings, but everything else about this book says, "Treasure me, you fool!" Okay, so it's kind of a rude book with a haughty attitude and doesn't seem to like me much. But it's so very pretty! The book reprints the covers in color-- and they're painted by Frazetta and Gray Morrow, along with a truly bizarre one by Dan Adkins. Artists contributing to the interiors include Adkins, Angelo Torres, Gene Colan, Steve Ditko, Neal Adams, John Severin, Johnny Craig (as both himself and Jay Taycee again), Jerry Grandenetti, Roy G. Krenkel and Reed Crandall just knocking himself out with drybrush.

You also get a Frazetta interview from 1985 where he discusses turning down "upwards of $100,000" for certain paintings, working with Ralph Bakshi and why an Austrian bodybuilder made a poor choice for a certain barbarian role and painting Clint Eastwood looking like a barbarian in front of a bus for The Gauntlet. Frazetta seems like he was a prickly sort of guy, by the way. Also included are letter pages and house ads that will probably make you want to send in money for products that are no longer available. Towards the end of the book there are a few stories that hint at a coming emphasis on weird sci-fi and sword and sorcery rather than horror. To differentiate the magazine from Creepy, I suppose.

The only things missing are stories by Alex Toth and Al Williamson. Not that Dark Horse dropped any material. Neither artist appears to have illustrated anything in these issues, although Toth and Williamson (Wally Wood, too) remain listed on the masthead. The next few archive books don't seem to be worth the money-- Warren suffered some kind of financial/aesthetic crisis around this time and I don't want to pay big bucks for lesser efforts. I'll continue collecting these when the good stuff rolls around again. In fact, I can't wait!

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