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Creepy Magazine #87 (Warren Publishing, 1977)

Creepy Magazine #87 (1977). Click for larger image.

Warren magazines are not comic books, and that's official, because that's how the publisher circumnavigated the Comics Code Authority restrictions at the time and was able to produce a series of highly influential and adult themed comic strips. The most famous is probably Vampirella, whose titular character (there's a pun in there) has outlasted the demise of the Warren Magazine business, which was at its height in the 1970s.

Creepy magazine ran for 145 issues and featured a wide range of horror themed stories. Its 87th issue was a "Planet Mars Special" and featured a cover which included an excellent depiction of a Martian Tripod and Martians. Alas those expecting a War of the Worlds comic strip inside would be disappointed. The closest it comes is a rather strained parody of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars. Original stories The 'Orrible Passions and The Last have a flavour reminiscent of Bradbury's Martian Chronicles. The Last, telling of a human built robot and a Martian eking out their days as the only "living" things remaining on Mars could fit right in.

The rest of the issue is of variable quality, and most certainly the gratuitous nature of the nudity does nothing to enhance or advance the stories. I am basing this opinion on a single issue, but if it is representative of the whole, then the veneer of sophistication in the art and stories only thinly disguises the truth that these magazines were primarily in the business of catering to pubescent teenage boys. Personally, I find the adverts of most interest, a huge variety of pre internet science fiction memorabilia and old Super 8 films, largely of the B movie variety, makes for fascinating browsing.

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