When most think about Warren Publishing they think about their three core titles, Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella. While Warren published other lesser known books like Rook, 1984, and Blazing Combat they didn’t last long. The big three books for Warren all had covers that drew you into the story with gorgeous art through fear, intrigue or sexuality. Frank Frazetta’s masterful work dominated the early covers, (Top 10 Frank Frazetta Covers) then artists like Enrich Torres, Jeff Jones, Ken Kelly, and Basil Gogos splashed some paint around. One of the most prolific and amazing artists for Warren Publishing was the Spanish artist Manuel Sanjulian. Maybe you know Sanjulian and maybe you don’t, either way, this post is a good reminder or introduction to this talented artist.
In a future post, I’ll compile a full list of Sanjulian covers to show the depth of this work but for today let’s look at some of his most frightening covers. As always, all books are linked to Comics Price Guide so that you can see the values, creators, and members selling those books.
Creepy #46 – July 1972 – Sanjulian frames this wild-eyed long-haired vampire in an orange opening. Below her, Flavian is rising from the grave. Notice that his face and the tombstone behind him match perfectly. It’s like he’s been in the crypt so long that they match now.
Creepy #49 – November 1972 – This Creepy cover is all about tone, the sky is a dirty white, the guillotine is grey, his clothes are grey, and the shadows sneak into a pale green. The hamlet which is mostly bland is deserted of people. Not quite centered in the scene is an angry headless beast of a man who doesn’t want to picnic with the inhabitants.
Creepy #51 – March 1973 – A stunning blonde is flailing against the chains as the fires that seek her life burn her feet and dress. A somber man is watching from a distance with a small clone of the captive woman clings to him. The little one cannot watch the horror that is happening to her mother. Because of the angle used by Sanjulian, it looks as though the town is burning as well, foreshadowing maybe.
Creepy #56 – September 1973 – Sanjulian helps our imagination with this spectacular transformation cover. If you only look at the man you’ll see that his feet blend into the white background. As you go upward you’ll notice whitewashed tones shifting into more normal colors. The same kind of shift happens with the half man and half wolf. Finally, the beast is in darker colors with a black background. The point is that Sanjulian transformed colors along with the transformation process.
Creepy #59 – January 1974 – Yes, those are the words to “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. No, you can never detach this frightening image and those words again. Sanjulian is the demented and talented creator of this bloody battleax wielding St. Nick. Sleep well kids.
Creepy #76 – January 1976 – This book was released during the United States Bicentennial in 1976. To commemorate this event Sanjulian made someone from that time into a Grim Reaper. The horse is fabulous and fearsome with wild eyes and a gaping mouth. One of the most unique things is that Sanjulian centered the Grim Reaper in the scene, usually, he offset the focal point to the left.
Creepy #77 – February 1976 – How about another horrifying Christmas cover? A cute, innocent baby set in the middle of a throng of demons with axes. I’m trying to imagine the dialogue that went on at grocery store checkouts between a kid trying to buy this book and their parent. “But mom, it’s a Christmas Classic. And it’s in color.”
Eerie #40 – June 1972 – A couple gravediggers exhumed a corpse only to find a zombie-like creature without a jaw. This terrifying image is warped with the sides squeezed in by the fog or by Sanjulian trying to focus our attention on the action. One gravedigger is fear stricken and in mortal danger while the other hasn’t quite figured things out yet.
Eerie #41 – August 1972 – Remember at the beginning of this post when I mentioned that artist drew you in with “fear, intrigue or sexuality”? This is a prime example. The queen vampire with her unnaturally pale skin and the sparse outfit is sexual and fearful. The myriad of creatures, skeletons, and gargoyles lead to intrigue and fear. It’s still an enchanting cover.
Eerie #48 – June 1973 – Based on this list of ghastly covers it’s obvious that Sanjulian loved using kids as a tool to shock and scare us. An adorable little girl is enjoying a quiet moment with a book when a Wolfman breaks into her house. The elongated claws, the blood on the werewolf’s chin and the eerie lighting make us believe that another reader is gone.
Because of the large images used, I’ve broken this into two parts. For those of you with older computers or weaker internet connections, you’re welcome. Be warned, there is a little more female skin showing in the second part if you’re offended by that. On to part 2. Top Sanjulian Covers – Part 2
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