‘Creepshow’ graphic novel revived in a deluxe format

Erik Henriksen
Erik Henriksen

Based on the 1982 horror anthology and a cult classic film directed by George Romero comes the graphic novel adaptation reprint of Stephen King’s ‘Creepshow.’ The original print was released as a very limited edition when the movie opened in theatres in 1982. It features stunning illustrations by the legendary and recently departed Bernie Wrightson and cover art by the acclaimed Jack Kamen. Not to mention some wicked and eerie narratives.

This beautiful sixty-four-page oversized graphic novelization of the movie filled with killer art was published in July of 1982 by Plume Comic. This unavailable gem has now attained the level of a prized collectible, with Near Mint copies fetching upwards of $178.00 EUR on eBay and at pop culture conventions.

‘Creepshow’ was in fact, one of the first horror anthology films that I can remember watching, and while I was a little too young at the time to be directly familiar with fifties and sixties horror comic books that inspired it the film wore its influences on its grave-shrouded sleeves.

From the prologue and epilogue sequences featuring a young Joe Hill being reprimanded by his father for reading a ‘Creepshow’ comic book to the comic book-style intros to each of the film’s five stories, the film was a love note to the comic books of screenwriter Stephen King — who also stars in the film as the luckless country bumpkin Jody Verrill — and director George Andrew Romero. The film found a receptive audience when it hit theatres in 1982. It was a fine year for horror, with ‘Poltergeist’, ‘The Thing,’ ‘The Entity’ and ‘Amityville II: The Possession’ among other grisly offerings available to theater-goers with morbid tastes.

I was only nine at the time, so I missed ‘Creepshow’ during its initial theatrical run. Nonetheless, descriptions of the movie’s most shocking scenes soon became the stuff of schoolyard whispers. ‘I got my cake!,’ the line uttered by the revenant in the ‘Father’s Day’ segment of the film became a sort of proto-meme in a time before the Internet. Years later, I finally caught the movie for myself — on VHS.

Shortly after the film premiered, publisher Plume Comic released a graphic novel adaptation of the movie illustrated by legendary artist Bernie Wrightson. Like the movie itself, the comic book was clearly a labour of endearment. Rendered in a style reminiscent of the old EC Comics books, the graphic novel was both a souvenir of the film and part of its canon. After all, little Joe Hill can be seen reading the same comic book in the movie.

Unfortunately, I learned about the comic book far too late, and never got a copy. I would have adored it if I had succeeded in doing so. Some of my favourite comic books were pretty spooky. Where most youngsters gravitated toward Batman and Spider-man, my tastes drew me to the likes of ‘Werewolf by Night,’ and the swamp monster ‘Man-Thing.’ ‘Creepshow’ would have fit into the mixture in a perfect manner, even if I had never seen the movie.

Now, grateful to the gods of comic books and Gallery 13 Contemporary Arts, ‘Creepshow’ is back in print, thirty-five years later. It is a completely faithful adaptation of the film and a very high-quality reproduction of the original book. The colours pop, and the paper is going to be a lot more durable than the original newsprint one.

The entire anthology has not only aged well but should be enjoyed by fans of classic horror, Stephen King in general, and comic books. The vintage style is refreshingly beautiful and the masterful artwork and colors by Wrightson pop off the page and, a new prestige reissue of the out-of-print ‘Creepshow’ comic is planned by the original publisher this spring, finally restoring this horror treasure in all its gruesome glory just in time for its thirty fifth anniversary.

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