Catching up with Uncle Creepy – The Forgotten Grandfather of Modern Horror
As September begins to cast a shadow over everything, signaling the imminent arrival of Fall, I can’t help but start thinking about Halloween and all of the fantastically frightening festivities that come with it. Already, black and orange are starting to fill store shelves and you can sense the pending excitement by fellow “cryptkeepers” like myself, just waiting for the chance to share this year’s Halloween haul.
Speaking of cryptkeepers, I recently stumbled up a copy of Dark Horse Comics’ Creepy Archives series, which reprints many of the old comics from the old horror magazine, Creepy, and it got me thinking… whatever happened to ole Uncle Creepy? With a notoriety that perhaps even rivals the sinister stench of EC’s graven-faced ghoul, The Cryptkeeper, Uncle Creepy is a bonafide American horror-comics legend (he’s appeared in over 250 issues!).
Sadly, Creepy has never seemed to grasp commercial success in the way that Tales from the Crypt did in the 90s. It hasn’t been from a lack of trying, though. Some of you may remember a big push for Uncle Creepy back in the summer of 2009 when New Comic Co. (basically a holding group for intellectual properties) teamed with Dark Horse Comics to release a brand new Creepy series.
That series is apparently still ongoing, at infrequent intervals, and while Creepy has haunted a few different corners of pop culture (mostly through merchandise deals with Dark Horse, Fright Rags and Trick or Treat Studios, he still doesn’t quite share the notoriety of his horror culture counterparts. Despite this obscurity, I recently “re-discovered” my appreciation for Uncle Creepy thanks to a trio of completely unrelated videos – just in time for Fall!
UNCLE CREEPY RETURNS – PROMO
The New Comic Co. commissioned this rather kick-*ss stop motion promo courtesy of the Chiodo Bros (sculpted, produced, directed and composited by Stephen Chiodo with animation by Justin Kohn & Kent Burton) back in 2009 for the official “relaunch” of the franchise. Believe it or not, there were actually plans for “a series of 3-minute shorts for web and mobile featuring the Creepy family which will then lead into a Creepy television series,” according to this article over at Animation World Network! Sadly, there’s been no news of any additional shorts or TV series since.
CREEPY – A CINEMATIC TRIBUTE
The closest thing we’ll probably ever get to seeing Uncle Creepy in the Cryptkeeper-type role, this fan-made short film debuted around the same time as the Chiodo Bros.’ stop motion promo (Monsterpalooza 2009). Initiated simply as a make-up experiment, the project spun into a short film that was written and directed by FX artist John Wrightson (son of comic artist Bernie Wrightson) and co-produced by Wrightson and Neal Kennemore (son of The Thing‘s Jeff Kennemore). I have a feeling if someone could pair up the Chiodos’ version with the FX of this short we’d be seeing a regular series a lot sooner!
STUSSY X CREEPY MAGAZINE
Finally, last Halloween, Creepy teamed up with Stussy to not only create a special series of tee shirts and hats, they also cut this mini-documentary with Creepy Magazine owner Dan Braun. The doc covers an abridged history of the publication, including how James Warren used the magazine format to work outside of the Comics Code Authority in the 50s and some of the legendary artists that contributed to Creepy’s beginnings.
This article is part of the Countdown to Halloween blogathon, a month-long blogging marathon dedicated to honoring the Halloween season. For more information and a full list of participating sites, please visit www.countdowntohalloween.com.