Creepy #59 (1974)

This issue has two, count ’em, two stories written by my man Don McGregor. McGregor was the master of taking standard story topics and making very interesting tales out of them through his introspective and poetic use of language, along with his sometimes very unique takes on life. That’s a nice way of saying that while there’s some logic holes in these stories (some pretty big logic holes, in fact), the passion and energy that McGregor customarily brings to his stories helps make them immensely readable and addictive.
 
The first of the pieces, "A Dark and Violent Place," is a police procedural that takes place at a big theatre showing blaxploitation movies in New York. It turns out the killer is some phantom of the opera type masked villain, out to take revenge because he was scarred. Yeah, it’s a silly plot (this is from very early on in McGregor’s professional career), but it has one of his characteristic soliloquies from a main character:
When I was a kid, movie houses like these were dark and quiet places. An escape from the outside world. I hear that’s frowned upon now. Imagination is out, no room for it anymore. Anyhow, they’re still dark… but the quiet is gone. People don’t understand the difference between an action flick and violence. And instead of quiet, we have shouting! I think I’m getting old before my time, mama.
Yeah, ikt’s a bit corny, but in a twist-ending type of comic like Creepy, this was excitingly different stuff.
 
The second piece, "Not a Creature Was Stirring," boasts wonderfully intense Tom Sutton art for the story of a serial killer out to kill Salvation Army Santas on Christmas Eve in New York. Two cops – not the ones from the other story – track down the serial killer. This story actually does a nice job of being kind of a parallel biography of several people’s lives. We see the past of the serial killer and get a feel for what drives him to murder. More interesting, We get insight into a crazy woman who screams at people on the street, meet Detective Dave Turner and his depressed girlfriend, even see why a homeless man dresses up sa Santa each year.
 
It’s an odd piece, veering around between different stories, but the power of the writing and the marvelous art really carry it off. McGregor makes this simple serial killer story into something more about the power of despair in the city of New York, providing a portrait of people in decline.
 
Okay, so you want a quote, as I seem to do for every Dandy Don story? How about a dialogue between Detectives O’Brien and Turner?
Turner: Why can’t the myths and the fairy tales be true for just one day, O’Brien? Why can’t the ideals be reality for just one night?
O’Brien: Hey, you’ve changed, Dave. You know that?
Turner: Changed? What do you mean?
O’Brien: Last year you talked like one of the grade school kids.
Turner: You mean I’m cynical now?
O’Brien: What the hell kinda word is cynical? You’re turning out to be a sour old goat like me.
Turner: I guess it hits us slowly, Mr. O’Brien. We never realize what we’re losing because we never see the steps in our evolution. Until one day you stop, someone reveals some insight into yourself, and you wonder how you became the person you now are.
O’Brien: Hey, Dave, you mind telling me one thing?
Turner: What’s that?
O’Brien: How come you never speak English?

Very nice, Mr. McGregor. Very nice.

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