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The History of Warren Publishing

Meet Vampirella, Errie, Creepy, and 1984 graphic novels.

By Edward GermanPublished 7 years ago 4 min read
Cover artwork by Frank Frazetta  

Warren Publishing ran from 1957 to 1983, it was founded by James Warren in Philadelphia PA. He later moved his company to New York in 1965. Warren specialized in Horror, Fantasy, and Science Fiction magazines. Warren published other genre magazines focusing on different subject matter such as teen romance or adult humor. There were two things that set Warren apart from other comics. First they were sold in a larger format than regular comics thus classifying them as magazines. Second, Warren exempted his publications from the now defect Comic Code Authority. This allowed the writers and artist to inject more mature content into the stories. This included some coarse language, violence, sexual situations and nudity. These two factors helped Warren reach an adult audience.

The magazines had successful runs from their beginnings in the 1960's to the early 1980's. However, other factors started affecting the magazine by 1980. James Warren was in bad heath, readership tastes were changing, and the company faced a lawsuit over copyright infringement. This lead to Warren filing for bankruptcy in 1983. Afterward, the assets were sold off to other media companies and the same series republished under different publishers.

Introduction to Creepy

Cover by Ken Barr

Creepy magazine was first published in 1964 and ceased in 1983 when Warren Publishing went bankrupt. The series was a sci-fi and horror anthology in a black and while format. The comic was hosted by a reccurring character Uncle Creepy.

I love the cover of this issue, reminds me of the bat monster from the 50's sci-fi movie "Angry Red Planet". This issues had a fan summited story called In the Subway by Rubin Ried. He won the first prize in the writing competition know as the Cauldron Contest. The story is about a creature lurking around a subway tunnel set in the future and what it does to its victims.

Meet Vampi

The August 1972 issues of Vampirella. cover art by Enrich

Vampirella first premiered in Sept. of 1969. Vampirlella was created by the legendary Forest J. Ackerman. The comic is blend of supernatural horror and science fiction. The comic had adventures that involved Vampirella fighting off evil forces. Vampirella was a part of a vampire-like race from the planet Drakulon. The planet was in the process of dying. When a spaceship from Earth crash lands on Drakulon, Vampirella is sent to investigate and then is attacked by the crew; after defending herself she takes control of the ship and pilots it back to Earth. Once on Earth, her adventures began.

This issue has the origin story of Vampirella. The rest of the issue has other anthology style stories. In the other stories, Vampirella acts as host in the way of her sister publications. It is also intresting to note that in the first story, the downed spaceship is named the Arthur Clarke as in the famous science fiction writer.

I love the cover art on this issue. The spaceship looks so cool. This issue also has a retelling of the origin story. The rest of the magazine has the best of Vampirella stories, including one in color.

My favorite magazine from Warren.

cover by Jim Laurier

This is my favorite publication from Warren. This magazine contained mostly sci-fi stories mixed with fantasy. The mag reminds me of the anthology comic Heavy Meatal Magazine. 1984's first issue was the June 1978 issue and the last was in February 1983 with 29 issues printed. Later in 1980, the name of the magazine was changed to 1994 at the request of the estate of George Orwell.

The first issue of 1984 contained ten stories. One of which was Mutant World, one of six reoccurring series published in the comic. The five other series would come later. Mutant World was printed in color while the rest of the stories were in black and white. Mutant World was set in an alien world that was post-apocalyptic in nature. The plot was about a mutant name Dimento and his daily struggle to survive until he meets a normal human female. The story is written and drawn by Richard Corban.

This issue contained a story that created some problems for Warren Publishing, a story entitled "Mondo Megillah". This story was based upon the sci-fi story "A Boy and his Dog" written by Harlan Ellison. The editors had given the go ahead for this version of the story to be written and drawn for the magazine. However, they did not have the permission of the author. Harlan Ellison sued Warren publishing for copyright infringement and won the case. There was also another story that appeared in issue #3. A story called the Harvest in which Whites hunt Blacks for sport and then eat the dead bodies in a dystopian future.

Eerie Magazine was first printed in September of 1966 and it is much like its sister publications. It was a horror magazine hosted by Cousin Eerie. It was in both black and white panels with some panels in color and exempt from the CCA as well.

Why I love the Warren magazines.

I love the Warren Magazines for many reasons. They were gritty, mature, and just some cool story telling. I love the cover art as well. Warren employed many fine artists, such as Frank Frazetta, Alex Toth, and Neal Adams. I liked that fact the magazine was designed for mature readers and mature subject matter doesn't bother me, I prefer to read adult oriented stories.

Where I found the titles.

I first starting reading Warren magazines via where there is a section devoted to Warren Magazines. There you can read and download dozens of issues of the comics for free. If you want to know more about Warren publishing, you can read more thru Wikipedia.


About the Creator

Edward German

A long-time sci-fi fan who loves the internet. I am also writing on subjects other than sci-fi.

you can follow me on "X" @EdwardGerman3 Listen to my podcast The 1950s Science Fiction Podcast on Spotify for Podcasters.

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