*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magiks mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap.
Not sure what “Comics Lust” is about? Take a look at the Introduction to “Comics Lust” post or take a look at the static “Comics Lust Table of Contents” page to jump to a topic.
The Twisted Worlds of Bruce Jones (Part 1)
As a kid, my mom would park my brother and me in the magazine and book section of the local Click store (later to become Acme) while she shopped—hey, it was the ‘70s, a different time…although Jeffrey Dahmer did two miles away from us, but whatever. Our routine was to entertain ourselves with the magazines, then head to the toy department, before hitting the upstairs pet section to check out the lizards, tarantulas, the occasional scorpion, and to stare at a large bag of “monkey chow” and wonder who the hell in Akron, Ohio actually owned a monkey and why. The important thing was what we found in the L-shaped magazine aisle.
Famous Monsters of Filmland and Starlog about movies and characters we adored, and also found Fangoria which revealed the movies and characters we absolutely were not allowed to see. Being huge comic book fans, we also gravitated to the comic magazines, the ones that were risqué and magical and terrifying all at the same time. How could I resist not sneaking a peek at the ever-scantily-clad vampiress in Vampirella or stare wide-eyed at the sci-fi wonder—and R-rated nudity—found in Heavy Metal? But the magazines we gravitated toward the most were Eerie, and Creepy which featured phenomenal artists like my favorite Bernie Wrightson. It was at Click that I first discovered Richard Corben’s art, but it was also there that I unknowingly, at the time, experienced my first Bruce Jones stories.
My exposure to Jones’s work didn’t stop there.
From the moment I walked into my first comic book specialty shop and all the way through to today, I not only found Jones’s stories in Eerie and Creepy but in actual comic books from publishers like Pacific and Eclipse and even in various Marvel and DC titles. But the stories that thrill me the most are the ones that you read at night when you’re home alone when the wind drags a branch across the roof, and the house creaks in a way that can’t be someone walking upstairs but must be the house settling. Or is it?
When I bought this book a few years back, it is what got me thinking about Jones after I was completely creeped out by his story “Jenifer.” It doesn’t hurt to have a master of illustration who also happens to be the person made me a fan of comic book art as the focus on the collection. As the title suggests, this slim but must-own hardcover focuses on the late Bernie Wrightson's work from Creepy and also from Eerie. Jones writes three additional spooky stories: “Clarice,” “Country Pie,” and “The Laughing Man.” Now, if the idea of picking up the numerous hardcover Creepy reprint collections fills your wallet and your bursting bookshelf with horror, and since there is unfortunately not yet a Creepy Presents...The Stories of Bruce Jones (you listening, Dark Horse!), then a quick, easy, no-risk way to gain exposure to Jones is in this beautiful collection.
I could not not own this book, which is about two and a half times the length of the beautiful Creepy Presents…Bernie Wrightson hardcover. Corben’s work—especially when it came to women—was one of the main draws to the Click magazine aisle in the first place, and although there are some truly amazing stories in the volume, Jones’s tales rank among the best. If you want weird science, dinosaurs, scantily-clad/naked people, and strange worlds, then you’ve come to the right place with the stories “Within You…Without You Part 1,” “Within You…Without You Part 2,” “You’re a Big Girl Now,” “Within You…Without You Part 3,” and “A Woman Scorned.” Again, we definitely need an “Eerie Presents…The Stories of Bruce Jones” collection as I believe he wrote enough stories to warrant a book for each magazine. This book needs to be on your favorite bookshelf.
If you are thinking, didn’t you recently talk about this series already? then you are indeed correct. I did (see here). The cool thing about horror stories is that they don’t have to have werewolves or aliens or dinosaurs, but they can actually accompany a grand mystery based in reality where people are the true monsters. Such is the case with Somerset Holmes. When a woman wakes up on the side of a desolate country road with no recollection of who she is or how she got there, she quickly learns someone is out to kill her and all who cross her path and the only clue as to what is going on rests on what she finds hidden on her belt. A slow build, creepy as heck story that I will be rereading starting tonight. Unfortunately, this one is out of print, but you can hit the bargain bins or the online stores for the issues, the trade, or the hardcover and soon be settling in for a most unnerving evening.
It should be apparent from the first two books that I am a HUGE fan of the horror anthology format, but when you add sci-fi to the equation and the occasional dash of dark humor along with Bruce Jones handling both story and art, then you have a must-read series. Having just acquired and read these books over the past year, I’m happy to say they are well worth the effort to track down.
I have a couple of these issues, but like Pokemon, I gotta catch them all…eventually! If any book title was screaming hardcover collected collection, Twisted Tales is it! You also get some amazing artists on these pull-the-covers-over-your-head tales.
It bugs me that I don’t have this solitary issue that features Jones on writing with a different artist on each story. I will find this. I will own this. When is someone going to reprint these amazing Pacific and Eclipse comics? The world needs them!
Another horror anthology, but one I have not yet had a chance to read. Jones’s work appears in roughly a third of the series, but given the names attached to some of the stories, this is one I will be looking to get ahold of in the near future in its entirety.
You know what? I’m also a sucker for the weird science anthologies as well, and here we have a short-lived series that I remember seeing on the shelves and checking out, but ultimately never bought because of the dreaded “out of allowance money” syndrome. We need this reprinted, by golly!
This revival also only made it one issue over the transition from Pacific to Eclipse, but that doesn’t make this any less necessary to everyone’s collection.
I have this sitting right next to me. It’s up after I finish rereading Somerset Holmes.
I just found out about this one and need to get it! Looks to be another sci-fi anthology comic. All Jones, all the time!
Okay, I have issues one through three of the comics, but no fourth issue ever came out. There is, however, a trade and a hardcover that collects the three issues and that contains the never-before-printed conclusion. That…I do not have. I’ve mentioned a few times that I am in love with Scott Hampton‘s graphic novella The Upturned Stone, so when you mix his art with Jones’s story, you have something I must own. Now, if only I could find out how it all ends. The brutal part is that I remember seeing the trade on the shelf at my LCS back in the day; I should have picked it up then.
I want this. I want this. I want this! I love Jones’s story with Richard Corben in the Creepy Presents…Richard Corben titled “Within You…Without You Part 1, 2, and 3.” That story deals with time travel, nudity, and dinosaurs. Rip in Time deals with time travel, dinosaurs, and possibly nudity–I will know for sure on the nudity front when my order of this series gets here. The main difference is that a cop, a robber, and their girlfriends are the ones traveling through time. I prefer to see Corben’s mind-bending colors, but even in black and white, this series is certain to be magic.
Okay, an inexpensive collection of this amazing series needs to be released and I am 100% fine with it being done on cheap newsprint; that’s how it was done back in the day, and it is perfectly fine for today. Growing up, I had the odd issue or twenty of House of Mystery and its sister book House of Secrets floating around my collection and I simply adored them. Jones looks to have appeared in roughly 15 issues and it’s safe to say we need them.
To wrap up the Jones spooky-love-fest, I give you a treasure from the Marvel Graphic Novel line that ran from 1982–1992 and is a comic that I would NEVER expect Marvel to even consider publishing today or even in the last twenty years, for that matter. I just read this fantastic 64-page graphic novel a couple of days ago, and have to say I was completely riveted by the story which…I cannot tell you about without spoiling the completely out-there premise. What I can tell you is that it deals with a mother and daughter at odds with each other and their coming across some not-so-nice country folk. Brrrrr...I still get a case of the willies thinking about this fun, unnerving comic, and it is still very much on my mind days after putting it down. This one from back when Marvel was willing to take a risk is well worth seeking out.
Over the past year and a half, I have specifically been seeking out and rereading Jones’s work and falling in love with it all over again. Hopefully, whether you remember this writer-artist’s work as fondly as I do, or if you have never been exposed to him before today, you will start to hunt down some of his spine-tingling goodness; you owe it to yourself to do so.