It is no longer enough to simply publish a magazine. Rather than solely providing material for monthly print consumption, magazines must also offer a brand that can be slapped on movies, television shows, and a variety of other consumer items. This makes sense, I guess, as electronic media consumes an old business model.
In the Thursday evening Comic-Con panel, Uncle Creepy Presents, brothers Dan and Josh Braun discussed their plans for the Creepy and Eerie brands. Monster kids will remember these magazines as newsstand staples when they were growing up. Creepy was first published in 1964 in the vein of the EC horror comics. Eerie soon followed, and offered more of a science fiction slant. Now, both have been resurrected by Dark Horse Comics, first as deluxe archival collections of the original magazines, and now as two new quarterly comic book series.
It must be difficult to balance maintaining the spirit of the original magazines while offering fresh stories for a new generation. Dan Braun hopes that people reading it won’t be able to make the distinction between “old and new”.
Josh Braun has been developing movie and television projects for the brand. In fact, it was announced in this panel that 1492 Productions (Chris Columbus) will be making a Creepy movie, with Columbus himself directing one of the segments in the big-screen anthology. The stories for the movie have not yet been chosen, but there is a list of potentials from the pages of the original Creepy.
Is the Creepy brand really that recognizable for such a high-profile project? The Brauns claim yes, stating that they discovered a lot of Creepy and Eerie fans in Hollywood. Special effects icon Stan Winston was apparently “one of the first to crawl out of the woodwork”, but unfortunately died before his ideas for a movie could be realized.
Also sitting on the panel were Angelo Torres, legendary artist from both Mad Magazine and the original Creepy, and Christopher A. Taylor, writer for the new Creepy from Dark Horse. Reflecting old vs. new, Torres, who returned to illustrate a story in the first issue of the new Creepy, said he always enjoyed drawing something gross and enjoyed getting back into horror after all these years. Taylor demonstrated how the times have changed. His first story for Creepy was about a serial killer who targets people who may be child molesters.
Finally, contemplating the question, “Do comics still have the ability to scare you?”, both the panelists and audience members related their favorite stories from Creepy and Eerie. To Dan Braun, a good horror story occurs when a character does something, realizes he should “go back” but doesn’t due to greed. The example given was the story “Hell Hound Blues” by Braun and Torres. Dan’s favorite Creepy story, though, is “Monster Rally” from the original Creepy #4. Apparently, not many people realize it, but it is the origin story of the character, Uncle Creepy.