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Warren Publishing

Entry updated 27 May 2024. Tagged: Comics, Publisher.

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US magazine publisher founded in 1957, named after its founder James Warren (1930-    ) and active for several decades. Warren launched Forrest J Ackerman's monster/sf/Monster Movies film magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland in 1958; this had many imitators in the 1960s and 1970s, most short-lived. Ackerman also produced Spacemen magazine for Warren from 1961 to 1965, ten issues overall including a final Annual issue. This was the first dedicated sf film magazine, foreshadowing many others to come in the 1970s.

Warren was best known for the black-and-white Horror anthology Comics-format magazines Creepy and Eerie, which proved lasting successes. The company briefly issued the war comics magazine Blazing Combat (1965-1966), controversial for its anti-war themes during this stage of the Vietnam War. With artist Trina Robbins, Ackerman co-created the title character of Vampirella in 1969, an Alien Vampire superheroine which helped revive Warren's fortunes after a period of declining sales in the late 1960s. Effectively visualized by Robbins as a scantily-dressed, extremely sexy character (though Robbins repudiated later, more naked versions), Vampirella proved enduringly popular; six novel Ties were written by Ron Goulart, beginning with Bloodstalk (1975; vt Vampirella: Bloodstalk 1976).

Many important artists and writers worked for Warren over the years. Artists include Richard Corben, Frank Frazetta, Basil Gogos, Roy G Krenkel and Boris Vallejo (his first genre appearances), among many others. Writers included Archie Goodwin (1937-1998), Doug Moenich, Don McGregor and Steve Skeates, again among many others.

Creepy and Eerie both featured sf stories among their horror tales. In the late 1970s Warren launched the sf anthology title 1984 (later 1994) and The Rook (1979), the latter's title character being a hero who engaged in regular Time Travel. For various reasons – principally James Warren's declining health from the late 1970s, which rendered him increasingly unable to cope with business pressures – the company declined in the early 1980s and ceased altogether in 1983. Reprints of Creepy and Eerie are appearing from Dark Horse Comics, often in Archive format, while Vampirella has been revived by other publishers: Harrison Publications (1991-2010) and Dynamite Entertainment (2010-current). Warren Publishing left a substantial legacy in several genres. [GSt/DRL]

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