"So much for a peaceful society your majesty" - Daniel Barlow
If it's at all possible Jason Paulos has gone even more retro with Issue 5 of the outstandingly good Eeek! comic book than he normally aspires to. The dude sure can conjure up the past for those taking time out of their busy schedules to read the book. This Issue you get three stories and one single page Eeeky Education piece. I'm going to clean the scope on my sniper rifle, zombie survival requirement y'all, and see what Paulos has sent shambling in our direction.
For those collectors of Downunder comic book lore, Issue 5 marks Black House Comics over taking the previous incarnation of Eeek! that seeped mist like under the doors of online publication. Nice to see a print comic having a longer life span than the electronic equivalent, proof positive for mine that not everyone has succumbed to the technology fashion accessory known as an e-Reader. Doing the happy dance here kids, okay not pleasant, I'm sans clothes and naughty bits are flopping about all over the place!
Okay ripping open the comic getting past the excellent retro cover by Mr Paulos, real Tales of the Crypt feel there, the first story has been scripted by the awesomely good SCAR team, with of course all pen work by Jason Paulos. For those who may not be immersed in the Aussie comic book scene SCAR are the combined talents of Antoinette Rydyr and Steve Carter, who have this whole 1960s Sci-Fi thing going down that tends to wander into the horror woods. Here we're talking a nice morality play called The Emissary. Seems a 100 year war has left Earth shattered and broken with pretty much everything destroyed, the technically advanced Countries naturally enough sent colonists to neighbouring planets to avoid total annihilation. In 2514 AD Earth is united and sending out Ambassadors to bring the off world Colonies back under Earth central rule. The Colonies aren't so keen to sign up and for Ambassador Daniel Barlow the local customs may prove to be slightly more extreme than what he expected.
The whole tale simply gives a retro vibe that gets Issue 5 underway in pretty good fashion. I was more than happy to run across another SCAR story, with Jason Paulos' artwork naturally giving the script that authentic feel of last century. There's a whole bunch of detail going down in the panels that doesn't intrude on what you are reading, but which will have you high fiving that fat guy down your local corner comic emporium.
The Heist, story by Dillon Naylor art by Jason Paulos, is a throwback to the sort of morality that Creepy magazine used to pump out issue by issue. No one gets away with anything in horror comic-dom folks, the genre is as conservative as a Liberal party Adelaide Parliamentarian. Horror comics aren't the JDs down the street corner, nope their more like the middle class civilian keeping their lawns neat and tidy and reporting the mutant as soon as it appears to the authorities. Dillon Naylor is across the concept and sends a vampire tale our way with a nice twist and it has to be said one of the worst punch lines ever conceived in the final panel. Here at the review bunker we salute Naylor for having the balls to go with a real bad joke that could have been given birth screaming from the pages of any number of 1960s fright mags. Jason Paulos has some luscious artwork going down that should have comic fans foaming at the mouth to get more of the dude's work.
In a first for Eeek! Dan Cox lays down a one page shaggy dog story called strangely Cousin Eeeks Eeeky Education, which besides having a pretty unwieldy title delivers upon the suffering reader a real groaner in the final panel. If you thought Dillon Naylor was hitting new lows with the jokes then you haven't seen anything yet as Cox will have you face palming and smiling at the same time. Jason Paulos seems to have had a lot of fun with the strip, especially drawing ladies in flimsy attire. I'm sure I've seen the dude hanging around outside Victoria's Secret on a Friday night, not that I make a regular habit of loitering near the store, no sirreee Bob. Well okay not since they took out that restraining order that has forced me to hide behind the rubbish bins over at the Kentucky Fried stand.
The final story in Issue 5 sees Jason Crawley tackling one of those seminal yarns that seems to get tackled repeatedly in horror, namely the "boy who cried wolf" schlock. Yes I know it's a story with a message etc, but the point here is that horror tends to have a number of archetypical storylines, in a Jungian sense, that crop up in the strangest places from time to time. Be careful what you wish for would be another of the storylines. Crawley spins his tale around Brit Arthur Atkins who has strangely retired to the backwoods of the United States and who is simply lonely. Naturally his solution is to call emergency services on the slimest of reasons to get some company happening, hence the crying wolf thing. Naturally this is going to bite him in the arse eventually, hey its horror what exactly were you expecting, but to Crawley's credit he takes it in a new direction that leaves you wondering just what Arthur Atkins eventual fate might have been. I actually really dug this story as it does enough to leave you wondering as the final panel goes down.
For mine this story really does illustrate, see what I did there, Jason Paulos' retro influences. The artwork is excellent in that Creepy or Eerie fashion, it had me at least rushing to order some volumes of those magazines from Amazon.
Eeek! Issue 5 is delivered in U.S standard format with colour covers and excellent paper quality throughout. Another quality publication from the presses of Black House Comics, who continue to excel in production values. The magazine has a listed price of $3 AUD, which is pretty decent value for money given you get a high quality comic with original content. For those after a copy, and you can score the previous four issues at the same time, either check your local comic place if in Oz, or hit the web and browse on over to Black Boox and place an order. Before you ask, yes they do ship overseas, though check the P&H costs if on a strict budget before hitting the final purchase button.