Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rockabilly, Psychobilly, Retro-Cool

If the idea of Elvis donning super-hero armor to fight invading zombies from Planet X (echs echs echs echs...ECHO EFFECT) while Vincent Price attempts to take over the local sock hop is your idea of cool and fun...welcome to my brain 87% of the time.
I dig on that weird, retro vibe and I'm not the only person who does, otherwise I would not have comics to read and music to listen to while I read those comics.  I mean, isn't that what horror punk is all about, really?

Several years ago there were a few comics that came out, small press stuff always, but still good quality work by either a single creator doing all the work or the bulk of it.  I'd like to present one of those comics today:

The name alone says this comic is cool and retro, with its beatnik style lingo and, man, it does not disappoint in that area.  Created, written and drawn by Frank Kurtz and first published in 1991, Creepsville is a comic that reads like a tribute to Creature Feature and Sci-Fi cinema, which is exactly what it is.  Each issue featured a plot that was a tribute to (read: loosely ripped from) a classic of Creature Feature genre, such as I Was A Teenage Werewolf or Robot Monster and plays it for laughs.  Kurtz's art is vaguely reminiscent of the style of the classic Archie comics, which adds to the nostalgic kitsch.  Kurtz produced 5 issues of the initial Creepsville run before switching publishers and starting over with a new #1.  The second series lasted only 3 issues and was more a fan magazine with comics in it.  The original 5 issues are all comic, however, and I think superior to the second series, although those are good as well.
Issue 1 trading cards featuring the Malones from Top Left: Mom, Betty, Percy (not a Malone), Professor Malone, Specs, Stanley "Rat" Malone
The cast of Creepsville is made up of the Malone family and their friends, including the obvious Ro-Man Percy and the aptly named "Rugface".  The time period of the comics is not specified but is most likely the early 60's given the cars shown and the general Sci-Fi/Monster Mash feel.

The sample page above provides a look at the art and the type of simple, but enjoyable storytelling Kurtz provided.  Each issue had one or more stories, amusing adverts and the occasional single page comic strip and was absolutely loaded beyond the borders with pop culture references and tributes.  These are prized members of my comic collection here and they are absolutely the sort of retro-cool that any monster fan would enjoy.  Modern monster movies just don't have the cool rock-n-roll style of the old 60's stuff (the era of the Munsters and the Addams Family), so this comic made for a nice throwback.
The issues are available at internet comics dealers and probably at your local brick and mortar comic shop.  Seek them out and enjoy them, they are a righteous read.


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