Episode 50: Eerie #78 Issue Features Six Mummy Stories
Il-wey! This past weekend I visited Santa Monica's comic book store, Hi De Ho for a book signing event that I was helping out by taking photographs. The shop was large and spacious, balancing new releases, older issues, and collectibles. Amongst the long boxes, there were old magazines including issues of Eerie (Warren Publishing), and there was two copies of issue #78. I purchased a very fine/near mint condition of the issue that was published in October 1976. Billed as a "Fantastic Spectacular Special Issue," I focused in on the smaller text mentioning "The Mummy book-length saga electrifying color!" Inside the cover, Cousin Eerie promises "six full-length, fantasy-filled adventures tell[ing] of the exploits of a two thousand year old mummy! A mummy who lives...and walks....to haunt the streets of Cairo!"
First, the cover artist was created by Jaime Brocal with color by Bill DuBay. The top panel features three views of the menacing mummy, while the smaller panel focuses on the mummy when he was alive in ancient Egypt. It was a wonderful surprise that Brocal was also the artist for the six stories, which provided continuity between the cover and the interior art. The colors by DuBay are interesting choices, especially on the portrait of the mummy's face. The rainbow of colors highlight and define the age of the mummy, who is portrayed with more flesh than is realistic. The use of green and yellow in the smaller panel is reminiscent of the color palette of the late 1960s/early 1970s.
The six mummy stories are listed first in the contents (see photo above) and were written by American comic book writer, Steve Skeates, who also wrote under the pseudonyms, Chester P. Hazel and Warren Savin. He is the multi-award winner of the Shazam Award (1972, 1973) and Warren Award (1973). At San Diego Comic Con International, Skeates was honored with the Bill Finger Award in 2012. This prestigious industry award acknowledged his writing excellence. In 1965, Skeates got his start in comics as Stan Lee's assistant editor, but it was not a good fit and Lee moved Skeates over to writing westerns. He has worked for the Big Two on numerous titles and his writing credits also include 72 stories for Eerie.
As mentioned above, Brocal was the cover and interior artist. Originally from Spain, he was one of the first Spanish artists to work for Warren Publishing. According to a Heavy Metal article from 2015 (see article HERE), "Brocal drew 16 stories for Warren from 1971 through 1974." "The Mummy" series of stories was one of the characters he worked on. Personally, I was immediately drawn to his art style because his art reminded me of Bernie Wrightson as well as Boris Vallejo.
Only the sixth story is in color; the previous five are black and white, which showcases brilliantly Brocal's work. DuBay was a writer/artist who also worked under the pseudonyms Will Richardson and Dube. Early inspirations were Herge's global-trotting adventurer Tintin. Sadly, both Brocal and DuBay have passed away.
I have already begun reading the stories and I am looking forward to reviewing them in an upcoming episode. For now, I'll leave you with a few examples of Brocal's incredible art:
All photos by author.