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Fanboy of Fear Chris Gage Review by
Chris Gage
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CREEPS #1 - 2001
Writer: Dan Mishkin - Artist: Tom Mandrake
Image Comics
$2.95

Image Comics' CREEPS, by Dan Mishkin and Tom Mandrake, is a comic that walks the line between super-heroes and horror, but at the end of the day definitely makes its home in Feo Amante land. Set in a major metropolitan city in an alternate, darker version of our world, the premise appears to be that homeless people, the severely disabled, and other outcasts of society (aka Creeps) are being mutated into twisted reflections of humanity by the Genesys Corporation's illegal genetic experiments. The process leaves some of them with superhuman powers, and a team of these individuals has banded together to find out who's behind it all and get revenge. The characters introduced in the first issue (apparently there are more to come) include the massive Gelulite; Breaker, half of whose body is withered and weak, the other half superhumanly strong; Debs, a two-headed woman; Mrs. Skank, whose body odor is a deadly weapon; Booger, who embodies the truism "It's not how you pick your nose, it's where you flick the boogers." and Eyeball, a blind, eyeless man with the power to show people the darkness in their own souls. Okay, they have powers, but these guys aren't going to be hanging out with Superman and Wonder Woman any time soon; the more disgusting they are, the more at home they are in this book.

And that's the strength of the concept: it's unlike anything else on the stands, that's for sure. Another plus is the art. I've always felt Tom Mandrak's moody, atmospheric work was best suited to the horror genre (as he proved on DC's THE SPECTRE), and he really seems to be having fun with this one. Twisted limbs, gases, fluids, and other nasty substances are portrayed with glorious abandon, and there are some truly horrifying pages that recall Steve Bissette and John Totleben's art on the classic Alan Moore SWAMP THING.

Storywise, this book definitely revels in its undercurrent of dark humor. It's less pronounced than in Kelley Jones' THE HAMMER, let's say, but definitely a major part of the book (I mean, a main character is named Booger!). Writer Mishkin pulls it off, enjoying the humor without turning it into parody or taking away from the chills. He and Mandrake also create a well-conceived world, which is not easy to do. However, it's in the writing that I had my biggest problems with the book.

The first issue raises far more questions than it answers, which is not a problem in itself, but there are too many mysterious sub-plots being introduced at once (for instance, the mention of Debs' missing boyfriend) and the result is more confusing than it has to be. This is common to first issues in which the creators must introduce multiple characters and create an entire world in 22 pages, but there's a fine line between intriguing the reader and confusing him, and I felt that CREEPS crossed the line a time or two. The dialogue is also a bit expository and on the nose. These things would do more harm in a book that didn't have anything else interesting to offer, but the creators of CREEPS have succeeded in creating a bizarrely fascinating world and characters that I'd like to know more about. Given that the rating is based only on the first issue and thus incomplete, I give CREEPS three rabid fanboys, and look forward to reevaluating it when the first story arc is done.


This review copyright 2001 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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Dan Mishkin
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Tom Mandrake

 

 

 
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