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CREEPS #1 - 2001
Writer: Dan Mishkin - Artist: Tom Mandrake
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
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.
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.
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
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.
copyright 2001 E.C.McMullen Jr.