Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bret Easton Ellis: The Warren Years

It is in some ways an homage to Stephen King and the comics I loved as a kid. Especially the EC Comics, like Vault of Horror and Tales from the Crypt. And the Warren Comics of the '70s that I was a huge fan of. They had titles like Creepy and Eerie and Vamperilla [sic]. These were all influences on Lunar Park. That was the impetus to write the book. To write a book that was similar to the books that gave me pleasure as a boy and as an adolescent. I was really into the horror genre and the supernatural genre when I was a teenager and certainly I came of age, along with a lot of men of my generation, with the first book that Stephen King published and onward.

-From an interview with Bret Easton Ellis, about the influences behind his novel Lunar Park.

What follow are letters published in Warren magazines during the 1970's, written by Ellis when he was between 12 and 14 years old, along with samples of the stories he commented on at the time. Click on the scans to see at large size.

From Creepy #84, cover-dated November 1976.

Ken Kelly's cover to Creepy #81
Splash page to "Battle Rot", by Bill DuBay and John Severin.
Another page from "Battle Rot"

From Creepy #96, cover-dated March 1978.
Splash page to "Ada", by Bill Pearson and Alfredo Alcalá
First page of "Sacrifice", by Roger McKenzie and Luis Bermejo
Another page from "Sacrifice"
More from "Sacrifice". Probably a coincidence, but the tied girl reminded of a sequence from Ellis's Less Than Zero.

From Creepy #99, cover-dated July 1978.
Splash page to "Black Death" ("one of the best stories ever to appear in a Warren magazine"), by Bruce Jones and Leopoldo Sánchez
Another page from "Black Death"

From Creepy #100, cover-dated August 1978
Splash page to "Helen Horror Hollywood" by Gerry Boudreau and Leopoldo Durañona

The above were all the "Bret Ellis" (Sherman Oaks, CA) letters I could find, after an exhaustive search through scans of CreepyEerieVampirella, and other Warren titles. There's still a slight chance more Ellis letters were published, though, in case anyone wants to keep on looking.


Mike Rhode said...

Nice bit of research, Rodrigo. Neither are favorites of mine, but it's always interesting to see how influences play out.

Rodrigo Baeza said...

Thanks Mike. I haven't (yet) read many of the Warren comics from this period, but they seem to have been publishing some good work back then, with an interesting mix of artists from around the world (Durañona is from Argentina, Sánchez is Spanish, Alcalá is from the Philippines, etc.)

I've been slowly catching up with the current Dark Horse reprints, which are very nicely done.