by Gavin Johnston on November 28, 2018

Artist: Ken Reid
Publisher: Rebellion

In the early '70s, British kid’s comic Shiver & Shake ran a competition. Young readers were encouraged to submit their drawings of an original, cartoonish monsters. Each week the chosen submission would not only win its creator a whole British pound, but would be redrawn by legendary artist Ken Reid and published in the comic, in a page intended to be cut out and kept.


Ken Reid’s Creepy Creations collects each of these illustrations together for the first time. It isn’t a story, or even really a comic. It’s a series of almost a hundred funny pictures of comedy monsters.


Beneath possibly the most horribly coloured cover ever, lurks a selection of beautifully hideous nightmares. Take a look at The Gruesome Granny of Grantham, or the Three-Legged Eyeball, or my personal favourite, the Vampire Banana (it’s a banana...that’s also a vampire).


This is the sort of thing I would have loved as a little kid. It’s colourful, and funny, and on the safe side of scary. It’s the sort of heft volume you could lift down from a shelf and pore over the pages, finding your favourite hideous beast, making up stories for them, and drawing your own version, revelling in the silliness of it all.


How that works in the internet age, I don’t know. Most kid’s comics now exist just to sell a product, sold for the plastic attached to the cover rather than anything original inside. Do kids still revel in silliness? They should. Put away the Fortnite, kids! Do some revelling! Books smell nice, and you’re missing out.


If you’re Ken Reid fan, or you grew up with these, then Creepy Creations is a nice collection to have, and possibly share with a young person who enjoys silliness.  It's a collection built upon a lovely, uncynical nostalgia, summed up with a nice introduction from Ken's son, who shares a funny story about his dad.   If you’re not familiar with the sort of art that was popular in British comics of the era, take a little look. At £17.99, its an expensive flight of whimsy, and it’s unlikely you’d want to make that purchase, but it’s probably quite different from anything else you’ve seen.


Our Score:


A Look Inside