"Creepshow #1" Comic Review
Written by Ricardo Serrano Denis
Published by Image Comics
Published by Image Comics
Written by Chris Burnham and Paul Dini & Stephen Langford
Illustrated by Chris Burnham and John McCrea
Colored by Adriano Lucas and Mike Spicer
Lettered by Pat Brosseau
2022, 32 pages
It's a strange feeling reading a Creepshow comic not written by Stephen King or illustrated by Bernie Wrightson. They’re just so deeply rooted in the comic’s identity and the influences they pulled from to turn the adaptation of the big screen version into an even more obvious love letter to EC Horror comics, along with the other grisly floppies of the pre-Comics Code era.
Thankfully, Image Comics’ new five-issue Creepshow series carries the torch quite convincingly, starting off with a familiar yet refreshingly modern take on the horror classic that doubles down on gore with the intent of making sure readers have the most fun getting scared reading a horror comic.
Issue #1 starts off with two inventively gruesome stories, one titled “Take One” (written and illustrated by Chris Burnham) and the other “Shingo” (written by Paul Dini & Stephen Langford and illustrated by John McCrea). Each follows in the footsteps of the original anthology by offering quick and ‘to the point’ morality plays where the ghouls and ghosts in them act as metaphors for naughty behavior. Like the EC comics of old, a bloody end awaits those who venture down the path of self-interest and pettiness, usually by the hand of a vengeful spirit or a creature with a hunger for human flesh.
Burnham’s “Take One,” for instance, is the type of story Fredric Wertham himself would’ve alluded to in arguing for the banning of comics due to violent imagery (something Burnham should be proud of). It sees three trick-or-treaters take an entire bowl of candy from a dead man’s porch fully aware of the sign that said to only take one. What ensues is a supernaturally cruel series of events that ponder how bad behavior goes from idea to reality and how harshly punished should those who incur in them be.
It sets the tone well on the lengths the comic will go to honor the legacy of the original while adding its own flavoring to the mix. Burnham produces some truly shocking imagery and it’s all made even more disturbing considering the victims in the story are all kids.
Dini, Langford, and McCrea’s tale, “Shingo,” adds a kind of fairytale-like sensibility to the formula to create a creature feature that also sticks the landing in terms of capturing that EC feel. A girl is having a birthday party and her parents, who are separated, are missing a clown. The mom finds a lonely card on her doorstep for a guy in a furry monster costume that does parties. She calls and Shingo arrives, only it’s not a guy in a suit but a man-eating monster that looks like a yeti drawn by Maurice Sendak. Before long, the party becomes a mad dash to make sure the birthday girl has a nice time despite other kids disappearing into the creature’s belly.
It's darkly slapstick in parts, but it still carries a message about the struggles of being a parent in a broken marriage and how having kid in the middle of it makes it doubly complicated. McCrea’s art in particular lends itself beautifully to the playful violence Shingo subjects the kids to and his character work showcases dynamic poses that could've easily been ripped out of a Sunday cartoon.
Pat Brosseau does the lettering for both stories and he does a good job of keeping longer bits of text from detracting from the violent imagery, making sure nothing comes off as obtrusive or distracting. Thankfully, it’s not lettered like an old EC Comic where blocks of text would shrink the panel art and often come off as too dense or clunky. Dialogue and narration flow well and it keeps the story moving at a brisk and punchy pace.
Creepshow #1 makes a strong case for it being a worthy successor to the original movie, the recent Shudder series, and the King and Wrightson graphic novel adaptation. It has its influences in place, but it isn’t hindered by them. The stories feel like EC-style versions of modern horror and it helps keep the comic balanced quite well between legacy and inventiveness. It’s fun, disturbing, and indulgent and it more than earns your eyes on its pages, regardless of whether they’re attached to your head or not.
This page includes affiliate links where Horror DNA may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.