Creepy was an American horror-comics magazine launched by Warren Publishing in 1964. Like Mad, it was a black-and-white newsstand publication in a magazine format and thus did not require the approval or seal of the Comics Code Authority. The anthology magazine was initially published quarterly but later went bimonthly. Each issue's stories were introduced by the host character, Uncle Creepy. Its sister publications were Eerie and Vampirella.
Founding and first Golden Age
Russ Jones, the founding editor of Creepy in 1964, detailed the magazine's origins and his lengthy negotiations with Warren in the memoir "Creepy & Eerie" at his website. While doing covers, illustrated stories and photo stories for Warren, Jones continued trying to sell him on the idea of doing a comics magazine, and eventually Warren agreed: Originally it was to be a 64-page magazine. Jim cut it back to 48... I made a sketch of my host for the mag and sent it off to Jack Davis to work up a cover. Still no title. Titles are tough. Ask anyone who ever had to come up with one. One night I was sitting in the studio alone, looking at Woody's tear-sheets from the ECs, when Warren called. He was furious and demanded a name for Project D. I was looking at a balloon over an Ingels Old Witch, and in her narrative, the word "creepy" grabbed out at me. I muttered the name to Jim... We now had a title for our mag.Joe Orlando was not only an illustrator for Creepy but also a behind-the-scenes story editor on early issues. His credit on the first issue masthead read: "Story Ideas: Joe Orlando." Russ Jones soon departed, and in 1965, Archie Goodwin became the editor of Creepy. Goodwin, who became one of comics' foremost and most influential writers, helped to establish the company as a major force in its field. Artists during this era included Neal Adams, Dan Adkins, Reed Crandall, Johnny Craig, Steve Ditko, Frank Frazetta, Gray Morrow, John Severin, Angelo Torres, Alex Toth, Al Williamson and Wally Wood. Originally published quarterly, Creepy switched to bi-monthly by the end of 1965.
The Dark Age
Goodwin resigned as the editor of Creepy after issue 17 (October 1967). Due to a lack of funds, the majority of the magazine's leading artists left, and Warren was forced to rely on reprints, which would be prevalent in the magazine until issue 32 in April 1970. A variety of editors ran the magazine during this period, including Bill Parente, Nicola Cuti and Warren himself. Things would pick up starting in 1969 with the premiere of Vampirella magazine. Some of Creepy's original artists including Frazetta, Crandall and Wood would return, as would Goodwin, as Associate Editor for issues 35 through 39.
Second Golden Age
A variety of editors would continue to manage Creepy after Goodwin's second departure including Billy Graham and J. R. Cochran. William Dubay, who had started at Warren as an artist with issue 32 in 1970 would become editor of the magazine for issues 50 through 78, except for a short period of time in 1974 where Goodwin returned for issues 61 through 64. During this period the frequency of Creepy and Warren's other magazines was upped to nine issues per year. Another major development occurred in late 1971 when artists from the Barcelona Studio of Spanish agency Selecciones Illustrada started appearing in Creepy and other Warren magazines. Artists from Spain would go on to dominate Creepy and the other Warren magazines throughout the 1970s. These artists included Esteban Maroto, Jaime Brocal, Rafael Aura León, Martin Salvador, Luis García, Fernando Fernández, José González, José Bea, Isidro Monés, Manuel Sanjulián and Enrich Torres. Additional artists from S.I.'s Valencia Studio joined Warren in 1974 including José Ortiz, Luis Bermejo, and Leopold Sánchez. Notable writers during Dubay's era as editor included Gerry Boudreau, Budd Lewis, Jim Stenstrum, Steve Skeates and Doug Moench.
Themed specials dominated Dubay's era as editor, and included two Edgar Allan Poe issues (69 and 70), three Christmas issues (59, 68 and 77), three issues dedicated to a single artist (71, 72 and 74), a science fiction issue (73) and an issue where every story was based on the cover painting (64). This era also featured stories that were printed in color, many of which were done by Richard Corben. Towards the end of his period as editor many artists from Creepy's first golden era returned including Alex Toth and John Severin.
Dubay would resign after issue 78 and was replaced by Louise Jones, his former assistant. Jones would edit the magazine until issue 116 in March 1980. Former DC Comics publisher Carmine Infantino joined Warren shortly after she became editor and did pencils for over 50 stories. Much like the wave of Spanish artists that dominated Creepy throughout the mid-1970s, a number of artists from the Philippines would join Warren during Jones's period as editor, including Alex Niño, Alfredo Alcala, and Rudy Nebres, and would remain at Creepy until its end in 1983. While he had resigned as editor, Dubay remained with Warren and became their dominant writer during this period. Other dominant writers during this period included Bruce Jones, Bob Toomey, and Roger McKenzie.
After Louise Jones resigned as editor following issue 116, Dubay returned to edit the magazine using the alias "Will Richardson" until issue 126. After Dubay's departure various editors including Chris Adames and Timothy Moriarty held the position. Reprints would once again start predominantly appearing in the magazine, with many reprint issues being dedicated to a single artist. Creepy's last issue published would be issue 145 in February 1983 when Warren went bankrupt.
Harris Publications, which had bought the rights after Warren's bankruptcy, published a single issue, #146, in 1985.
A new beginning
In 2000, after a protracted legal dispute with Harris Publications, Jim Warren and Warren Publishing finally regained sole ownership of all rights to his two iconic and flagship comic book franchises Creepy and Eerie.
In February 2007, a new player appeared on the scene: New Comic Company, LLC, which after seven years of effort, completed a total rights acquisition from Warren and his entity for all rights in perpetuity to Creepy and Eerie. Terms of the deal were never disclosed although it has been rumored it was a complete buyout and all copyright renewals and trademarks have been re-established in the name of New Comic Company LLC.
Shortly after that rights acquisition deal, in June of 2007, New Comic Company LLC principals Dan Braun, Craig Haffner, Josh Braun, and Rick Brookwell completed a partnership agreement with Dark Horse Comics and its CEO Mike Richardson to republish in archival hardcover form all 285 total issues of the original Creepy and Eerie.The first archival volume release date was July 2008. In addition, Dark Horse Comics together with New Comic Company LLC will launch the new Creepy comic magazine in March 2009.