Talk us through itbr>
Issue one of Eeek delivers five original stories written and illustrated by Jason Paulos, with an assist from the improbably named Bodine Amerikah for the final tale. The strong moralistic stance of the magazine continues with the majority of the stories concerning themself with an antagonist reaping what they have sown. The final story however is kind of a shaggy dog tale with the punch line sneaking up on you. I've got some associates who will certainly get a kick out of that one.
Eeek seems to be still finding its 1950's EC feet with some stories introduced by a narrator and others going solo. There's a definite Tales of the Crypt vibe going down, and end of day that's why I'm still on the honeymoon with the comic.
"I won't let you ruin my only chance at success!" - Randolph
After weighing up the pros and cons for approximately five seconds I dialled into the complete back catalogue of Eeek magazine, which wasn't much of a hardship considering there had only been four issues at the time. Regular readers will remember I started my Eeek experience with issue three due to it being a free download. Between Eeek reviews I managed to have a couple of email exchanges with Jason Paulos, which proved worthwhile as Jason could tell me Issues five and six of Eeek are coming in 2010 from Asylum Press. We haven't been abandoned fellow travellers of the dark path, there's even more gruesome gravy on its way. Let's check out the very first Issue of Eeek and see what might be lurking.
Eeek Issue 1 launches into festivities with a marvellous morality play entitled Deadline of Death that harkens back to very early Tales of the Crypt story telling, and dare I say it, Creepy fare. There's the same almost Twilight Zone feel to things with the central focus being on the antagonist who gets his fate stitched up in a suitably apt fashion. I actually got all nostalgic after reading the opening story and cracked open my archive issues of the U.S comics. Jason Paulos has simply latched onto what made the early mass market comics successful and given it a well needed dust off. The language, ideas, and artwork are all 1950s style in this story and the yarn is simply breathtaking in its construction. There's certainly a degree of synchronicity working for the first story with Paulos managing to drive to the very heart of what made the early EC dark genre comics great.
Having lowered our shields, dear god that isn't a Trek reference is it? - Paulos delivers the best story for mine of the issue with the fantastic Lights! Camera! Murder!. The story focuses on Egon, a film maker who specialises in "slasher" movies, and his libido. Naturally, Eeek being a modern update to older style horror comic tropes, Egon is going to meet his demise in appropriate gory fashion. What's outstanding about the story is the focus on one of slasherdom's pillars, namely exploitation. Jason Paulos simply goes for broke with splashing the claret around in a fashion that would have William Castle nodding his head in approval, and the mint sauce on this particular roast lamb dinner is enough nudity to put a Friday the 13th epic to shame. Paulos mixes in some of that Tales of the Crypt goodness with lashings of 1980s style slasher fare. It works like a brought one and I was onboard the good ship Eeek immediately. I should also mention there are some sensational panels included just in case I forget to underline the high standard of art maintained throughout Issue one.
Proving Jason Paulos is also adept at keeping the reader on their toes our third offering is one for animal lovers, Stuffed see's an old Lady taking care of business on both sides of the grave proving that cats probably don't have nine lives after all. I was really digging Harold's haircut in this one, talk about your bad hair day, I wonder if that was meant to conjure up the faint hint of brimstone there or not in terms of the character's relation to the story? Just Desserts sees us visiting a pretty standard horror yarn, yeah you have probably fallen across the idea before, but Jason Paulos gives it a new spin and I challenge anyone not to have a faint smile on their face by the final panel. Of course that faint smile might not be so apparent if reading around dinner time folks, and that is as close as I'm going to come to giving anyone a warning over here.
Rounding out our fine selection of camp fire stories in Issue One is the excellent Witness To Evil, Jason Paulos' stab at a shaggy dog story. Think Supernatural's Winchester Bros crossed with those seventh day Adventists dudes that have no doubt woken you up at some stage hung over and not ready to face o-dark-early Saturday morning. I didn't see the twist in the tale coming with this one and was giving it a standing ovation. Wonder if Jason has been listening to Reverend Fred Nile and his pack of Holy Roller fanatics?
Overall Issue One has solid plot development with each story getting to where it's going without detouring from the straight and narrow. Jason Paulos really should consider of scripting a whole graphic novel based around a horror theme.
I guess if you had to apply a tag to the art style in Issue One it would be "naive". Before anyone gets upset and starts typing an email full of venom, "naive" is a legitimate art form in the same way as cubism or any other Artistic movement is defined by style. "Naive" denotes a very simple true representation of an object or scene without applying any metaphysical symbolism to detract from the obvious subject. The style was in heavy use by early EC comic artists, and Jason Paulos has captured the whole look and feel without missing a step. Eeek is a pleasure to read for both the text and artwork.
The other element that I had a lot of fun with was the heavy use of puns by the various Narrators, once again harkening back to Uncle Creepy et al. I'm something of a collector of bad puns and Jason Paulos pulled some cats out of the bag in this direction. It should be pointed out that the attention to detail and delivering on the whole retro horror comic feeling is outstandingly recognised in this comic.
Clearly I had a lot of fun with Eeek Issue One and was rocking on with it. I'm just simply going to state that you shouldn't muck around, get your browser pointed at Jason Paulos' page over at lulu, Click Through, and dial into the magazine. Mr Paulos has some additional projects on his page that are well worth having a look at as well.
Summary Execution ...br> br> I'm starting to think buying on into the whole back catalogue of Eeek was, as our friends in high finance say, a prudent investment. Issue One delivered exactly what I wanted from the comic without cutting any corners. You really are getting a smart return on your money with Eeek.
As stated somewhere above there's two more issues of Eeek scheduled for 2010 and with four issues already available that makes for a fairly good immersion in Jason Paulos' vision of what a horror comic can achieve. I'll keep you all up to date with publishing dates etc.
Over the summer, that's when I took a grand total of three days off from the site, a couple of people were asking about investing in some of the EC archives currently available at Amazon.com. Naturally I think they are a great buy but given the cost of importing etc I can understand why some readers are hesitant to lay down the hard earns. My advice is hit lulu.com, buy every issue of Eeek available and use this as a basis for your decision. Eeek nails that early EC feeling and is a great introduction to this style of horror comic.
ScaryMinds Rates this read as ...br> br> Simply an excellent comic that is going to have you screaming for more.