Creepshow #2 leans into the vibe of delightfully gruesome comeuppance that was a hallmark of the movie series, and its inspiration, the EC Comics titles Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror and The Haunt of Fear. That is, short, punchy stories that quickly build atmosphere before the inevitable painful ending.
The Man With No Eyes kicks Creepshow #2 in fine style. Young boy Dan, left much to his own devices by his night shift working father (after his mother has done a midnight run and left the men of the house to foul things up themselves) watches late night television. The youngsters reading this review might not know what late night television is, what with their Tik Tok and their streaming services and their chillin’ and Netflix’n but back in the day, before the world went to hell in a handbasket (again) you could stay up late (after your parents went to bed to err…sleep) and watch all sorts of delightful nonsense late after the midnight hour. Usually it was horror, and usually of a cheap and cheerful sort, much like what is presented here. Because The Man With No Eyes leans heavily into the late night horror vibe – a young, lonely boy, eager for some illicit fun, finds himself trapped in a nightmare that has only one conclusion – and having read it, you’ll rub your eyeballs tenderly to make sure everything is okay with them!
Michael Walsh does triple duty in The Man With No Eyes, as writer, artist and colourist. The story itself is a little slight, but given the limited page count, that’s perfectly understandable. In any event, that enables him to distil the story down to its essentials, which is all that we really need. Latch key kid watches movies well into the morning while daddy dearest is either working the late night shift, or killing his liver at some late night dive. The fine fellow in the tuxedo who directly addresses Dan from the television may at first be a fever dream, but in Walsh’s hands, it soon becomes a hideous nightmare. The washed out colour palette Walsh chooses really evokes the cathode ray tube television era, and his use of shadow adds a nice touch of menace. Creepshow #2 kicks off in fine style with this story.
Second up in Creepshow #2 is Keep It Down. I had mixed thoughts about this story, written by Dan Watters and beautifully illustrated and coloured by Abigail Larson. If The Man With No Eyes was slight, then the story for Keep It Down is truly wafer thin. Not only that, it is a little confusing in the world and setting that Watters has created. To try to explain it will spoil the fun, but if you do have a read of it, try and disentangle the world that Watters has created.
Either way, if slight, Keep It Down is still entertaining. Amy has inherited the family ability to hear the dead. While echoing The Sixth Sense, Amy’s predicament is less horrifying than poor young Cole Sear, it is equally as annoying. Because it turns out the spirits that visit her like nothing more than to chat about life, the afterlife, and everything in between. At first Amy is quite accommodating, happy to hear these tales as she goes about her daily life. But as with anything bright and shiny new, it swiftly becomes a grinding, exhausting process that sends her over the edge. Scissors and ears come to a disgusting intersection, and soon Amy discovers that not being able to hear anything at all isn’t the best place for her to find herself. To say more would be to ruin the ending, but the final line is one of the funniest (if corniest) things I’ve read all year and helps make Creepshow #2 a winner.
So, Creepshow #2 is something of a mixed bag, but overall, a winner. Great artwork in both stories carries the reader smoothly over any plotting issues that present themselves. The stories move along at a great clip, and there are some truly spooky visuals and horrifying imagery that linger in the mind. It’s interesting that both stories rely on a person’s senses as being their downfall. No doubt in future issues there will be stories featuring rogue tongues or nerve endings that jangle excruciatingly painfully in the night!