I got an advanced reading copy of this book through NetGalley.com. I had seen Berni's artwork before and was anxious to read some of his stories. I really enjoyed this and now I wonder why I never read anything by him before!
This collection of Bernie Wrightson's work is broken into three parts. The first contains Bernie's independent works: The Black Cat, Jenifer, Clarice, Country Pie, Dick Swift and His Electric Power Ring, Martian Saga, and the Laughing Man. The second part contains stories that were featured in the Creepy Stories series of comics: The Pepper Lake Monster, Nightfall, Cool Air, Reuben Youngblood-Private Eye, and The Muck Monster. The third part features Bernie's covers from both Creepy Stories and Eerie Stories comic book collections.
There are some wonderful stories in here and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It made me want to go out and by more things by Berni. His stories have a very HP Lovecraft or Eager Allen Poe feeling to them; in fact some are retellings of stories by those writers. Some highlights for me were Black Cat (a wonderful creepy story about a black cat that drives a man insane), Jenifer(super creepy but strangely ironic story about what happens to men who find Jenifer in the woods), Martian Saga (a hilarious poem about a man landing on Mars), The Pepper Lake Monsters (about a man fighting a sea monster, again very darkly funny), and The Muck Monster (only color story of the bunch, Frankenstein-like story with a twist).
These stories are pretty much all horror stories/poems. They are very dark and many of them have a very morbid sense of humor about them. Lots of irony in these and I was definitely laughing out loud a few times. I guess if you have a bit of a twisted sense of humor you will really enjoy these.
The artwork is creepy and absolutely amazing. So much detail and such beautiful drawing. The mood of the drawing fits the stories perfectly.
Overall a wonderful collection for both fans of Berni's art and for people interested in the horror end or fantasy or urban fantasy. The artwork is fantastic and the stories are dark yet ironic and humorous in turns. Definitely worth checking out. See below for brief summaries of each story included in this collection.
The Black Cat - Wonderfully done. Creepy story about a black cat that drives a man insane. (5/5)
Jenifer - A super creepy and ironic story worthy of Edger Allen Poe himself :-) (5/5)
Clarice - Creepy poem about a husband who asks his wife's forgiveness for the atrocious deeds he's committed. (4/5)
Country Pie - a psychic tracks down two seemingly innocent killers. Ironic in how the typical killer and victim stereotypes are switched. (4/5)
Dick Swift and His Electric Power Ring - About a chronically sick boy and how he deals with his disability (4/5)
Martian Saga - Poem about a man crashing on mars. Very funny and ironic. (5/5)
The Laughing Man - A hysterical man who wanders into a small village and tells a gruesome and ironic story (4/5)
- Creepy Stories
The Pepper Lake Monster - Starts with a tale of a young man who tries to capture a sea monster. Loved it, absolutely hilarious ending...in a dark way. (5/5)
Nightfall - About a young boy who is tormented by monsters in his bedroom at night (3/5)
Cool Air - A young man takes up boarding beneath a doctor who needs cool air to keep himself alive. (4/5)
Reuben Youngblood - Private Eye! - A young private investigator gets drawn into a blood smuggling mystery and fights vampires on a German zeppelin. (4/5)
The Muck Monster - A Frankenstein-like story where the monster comes alive in a different way, beautifully done in color. (5/5)