Tag Archives: Jim Watson

Scream #9, 19 May 1984

Scream 9 cover

  • The Dracula File (artist Eric Bradbury, writer Simon Furman)
  • Library of Death: Ghost Town (artist Steve Dillon, writer Simon Furman)
  • The Thirteenth Floor (artist José Ortiz, writer Ian Holland)
  • Tales from the Grave: A Fatal Extraction – first episode (artist Jim Watson, writer R. Hunter)
  • A Ghastly Tale – The Summoning (artist Tony Coleman)
  • Monster (artist Jesus Redondo, writer Rick Clark)
  • Fiends and Neighbours – cartoon (artist Graham Allen)
  • The Nightcomers (artist John Richardson, writer Tom Tully)

The cover for Scream #9 is one of Scream’s gorgeous wrap around covers, so both back and front cover are produced here. In addition to the regulars on the cover we see some familiar faces from complete stories in previous issues (The Punch and Judy Horror Show, The Drowning Pond and Beware the Werewolf!). No attempts at Ghastly’s face are published in this issue. Ghastly launches a second creepy captions competition because the first was so popular.

Scream 9 From the Depths

The writing credits for The Dracula File change again. Was Gerry Finley-Day writing under pseudonyms for this or were some of the episodes farmed out to other writers?

In the story, Drac’s a bit put out to find his servants have housed his home soil in the (hee, hee!) bathtub because there is no coffin in his new hideout. Waahh! Wanna coffin! While his servants scramble to find one Drac is off in search of more victims to feed on. Meanwhile, Stakis arrives in Britain to hunt the vampire down, and he’s assembled a full vampire-hunting kit.

The Library of Death story is about an American ghost town, which is haunted by skeletal ghosts. The ghosts constantly set a deadly trap – which includes lynching – for unsuspecting motorists. It’s their revenge for a motorcar causing a catastrophe that destroyed their town years before, albeit accidentally.

Max demonstrates a new power – the power to hypnotise people. He uses it to get a tenant to take the latest victim of his Thirteenth Floor back home because he can’t risk any more Thirteenth Floor victims, dead or otherwise, to be found in that lift.

We know going to the dentist in the 19th century must have been murder, but this is ridiculous. In the new Tales from the Grave story, dentist Thomas Thorpe isn’t “too particular” in how he treats his patients, but for the rich ones he has an extra-special treatment – murdering them Sweeney Todd-style in order to rob them. However, Thorpe’s latest victim, George Makepiece, is rising up from the river swearing revenge, and he looks kind of ghostly…

This week’s Ghastly Tale has some dark magic practitioners in a graveyard trying to summon a demon. Instead, they get one angry corpse telling them to stop making such a racket.

Ken and Uncle Terry went on the run without any place to run to. But in this week’s episode of “Monster” they finally find a destination from a newspaper – a doctor who could help with Uncle Terry’s temper problems that can cause him to kill. The trouble is, the doctor is in Scotland, which means a long trek to get there. They manage to sneak aboard a lorry, but while Ken is buying food the lorry takes off – with Uncle Terry on board. Oops!

In “The Nightcomers”, Raven’s Meet is making the Amityville Horror look like a G-rated film. First, the Rogans meet an enormous demon. It is obvious that this demon is what is haunting the house, and Beth’s psychic powers tell her it killed their parents too. Next, blood comes pouring down the front steps of the house!

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Scream! #8, 12 May 1984

Scream 8 cover

  • The Dracula File (artist Eric Bradbury, writer Ken Noble)
  • The Nightcomers (artist John Richardson, writer Tom Tully)
  • A Ghastly Tale – The Pharaoh’s Curse (artist Tony Coleman)
  • The Thirteenth Floor (artist José Ortiz, writer Ian Holland)
  • Library of Death: Beware the Werewolf! (artist Steve Dillon, writer Simon Furman)
  • Tales from the Grave: The Cabbie and the Hanging Judge – final episode (artist Jim Watson, writer Ian Rimmer)
  • Fiends and Neighbours – cartoon (artist Graham Allen)
  • Monster (artist Jesus Redondo, writer Rick Clark)

Dogs, wolves and werewolves are cropping up a lot in this issue, starting with the cover. Even our vampire in “The Dracula File” takes his wolf form. He rescues his servants, claims a couple more victims, and sets up shop in London. Meanwhile, Stakis is on his way to stop the vampire, but at the cost of defecting from the KGB, becoming a fugitive, and getting out of the Eastern bloc without paying the price of a Soviet gulag or something.

From the DepthsGhastly Faces

The Nightcomers arrive at Raven’s Meet. They are quick to realise that whatever is in there wants them dead. Simon Cutler, who definitely knows something about it, escaped by the skin of his teeth after the evil of Raven’s Meet possessed his dog and nearly killed him. At least the blurb for next week will tell us what the horror actually is.

A dog also attacks and frightens a man to death during a visit to King Tut’s tomb. The twist is the hieroglyphics on the door aren’t about a pharaoh’s curse – they say “Beware of the dog”.

In “The Thirteenth Floor” Max manages to squirm his way out of the cloud of suspicion. How very prudent of the policeman to tip him off about the error that aroused his suspicions, which enabled Max to cover it up quickly. Back to business, which Max resolves must be conducted with more care in future. The next victim at the Thirteenth Floor arrives in response to Max’s call about knocking down a girl’s dog and not stopping. He finds himself in the middle of a road filled with cars threatening to knock him down.

In “Tales from the Grave” we learn how the wheels of justice turned for “The Cabbie and the Hanging Judge”. There is a final twist that has the Leper laughing, but might have someone turning in his grave…

Cabbie and the Hanging Judge 1aCabbie and the Hanging Judge 2aCabbie and the Hanging Judge 3a

The Library of Death story is of the werewolf that appears on the cover. The hunter on his tail looks a bit like a fascist in the way he is dressed and is the werewolf’s own father.

In “Monster” the police hunt for Ken and Uncle Terry intensifies now they have a very good lead – a man who almost got killed by Uncle Terry and got a very terry-fying look at what looks like a monster. And they’re bringing in tracker dogs. Dogs again…

Scream! #7, 5 May 1984

Scream 7 cover 5 May 1984

  • The Nightcomers – first episode (artist John Richardson, writer Tom Tully)
  • The Thirteenth Floor (artist José Ortiz, writer Ian Holland)
  • Library of Death: The Punch and Judy Horror Show (artist B. McCarthy, writer James Nicholas)
  • Tales from the Grave: The Cabbie and the Hanging Judge – first episode (artist Jim Watson, writer Ian Rimmer)
  • Monster (artist Jesus Redondo, writer Rick Clark)
  • A Ghastly Tale – Young at Heart! (artist Tony Coleman)
  • Fiends and Neighbours (artist Graham Allen)
  • The Dracula File (artist Eric Bradbury, writer Gerry Finley-Day)

J.R. Ewing from Dallas is in the London Dungeon this week. Best place for him, eh?

Scream 7 From the Depths

The Dracula File has been pushed from its usual spot by new serial “The Nightcomers”. Rick and Beth Rogan take up the mantle of their deceased parents. Ostensibly stage magicians, they were also psychic investigators. Unfortunately they met their deaths in their latest case, a house called Raven’s Meet. The evil in that house was too strong for them and killed them. The junior Rogans take on the case in their parents’ name.

Another thing the Rogans need to investigate is Simon Cutler, who hired the parents to investigate Raven’s Meet. The parents suspect he knew more than he was telling. Sure enough, Cutler is telling the evil forces that he gave them the Rogans. But all he’s getting in return is a spectral dog on his tail.

Another man dies in the lift after visiting Max’s “The Thirteenth Floor”. That’s one too many and the authorities are getting suspicious of Max. Moreover, Max made a mistake in his faked footage of the Fogerty criminals shooting each other to death (in fact they are shooting at computer-induced terrors on the Thirteenth Floor), and the police have found it. Is someone about to pull the plug on Max and his Thirteenth Floor?

In The Library of Death Fred Fresco hates being Punch and Judy man. Yet he kills his manager for closing his Punch and Judy pitch. Anyway, as Fred soon finds out, Punch and Judy don’t relish sharing their basket with a murdered corpse. The rest is…well, talk about judge, jury and executioner.

Speaking of which, the new Tales from the Grave story (below) is about justice for an innocent man who suffered injustice at the hands of one of those notorious hanging judges of the 19th century (throwbacks of which you can still sometimes encounter today, unfortunately).

Cabbie and the Hanging Judge 1Cabbie and the Hanging Judge 2Cabbie and the Hanging Judge 3

In “Monster”, the sight of those murdered corpses resurfacing in the garden cements Ken’s decision to go on the run with Uncle Terry, with no place to run to and Uncle Terry having only just stepped out of his attic prison. After a good start, disaster strikes when Uncle Terry looks set to kill for the third time. Meanwhile, the hunt for him and Ken has started because those two corpses have led the police to find out everything.

This week’s Ghastly Tale is about two Victorian scientists who discover a youth potion. One kills the other because he does not want to share the profits. Retribution comes when the potion backfires on him. It makes him way too young to use the antidote that would restore him.

Finally, we get to The Dracula File. The vampire escapes the M15 agents. His servants are arrested but the agents don’t realise what happened to them. They just think they are crazy or something. The vampire assumes the form of a wolf to intercept their vehicle and rescue them. Meanwhile, KGB agent Stakis has to go on the run from the KGB in order to get to Britain and stop the vampire because they won’t let him use official channels.

Scream! #6, 28 April 1984

 

Scream 6 cover

  • The Dracula File (artist Eric Bradbury, writer Gerry Finley-Day)
  • Monster (artist Jesus Redondo, writer Rick Clark)
  • The Thirteenth Floor (artist José Ortiz, writer Ian Holland)
  • Tales from the Grave: R.I.P. Willard Giovanna – final episode (artist Jim Watson, writer Ian Rimmer)
  • The Library of Death: Death Road! (artist J. Cooper, writer Barrie Tomlinson)
  • Fiends and Neighbours – cartoon (artist Graham Allen)
  • A Ghastly Tale! – That Sinking Feeling
  • The Terror of the Cats – final episode (artist John Richardson, writer Simon Furman)

Ghastly posts a whole page of attempts to capture his likeness this week. But still nobody has nailed it.

(Click thru)

 

The killings the Rumanian vampire has made in Britain have made such news that it prompts an unlikely hero to emerge – a KGB agent named Colonel Stakis, who knows the defector is a vampire and has more conscience than you might expect for a KGB agent. Meanwhile, the British agents are after the nurse and agent whom they suspect have changed sides. They don’t know how right they are – the vampire has hypnotised them into becoming his servants. They corner the two servants guarding the vampire’s coffin, and the servants look like they’re about to bare their fangs.

In “Monster”, Ken is having horrible nightmares of the corpses of the two horrible men in the garden rising up and taking their revenge. It’s not far wrong, because flooding dislodges the bodies from their graves and now they’re sticking up in the mud. When Ken sees, he thinks those two corpses really have risen from the dead. Arghh!

A mean bailiff strips some tenants of everything they have, even worn out stuff. This guy is totally heartless all right. Hence the inspiration for his punishment on “The Thirteenth Floor” – meeting the Bailiff of Death and skeletal hospital staff who tell him he’s got no heart and needs treatment for it.

Monthly payments from a ghost? That’s what Finley ends up receiving in the conclusion of this week’s “Tales from the Grave story” – monthly instalments to keep Willard Giovanna’s grave tidy – plus no further visits from Giovanna’s ghost about his grave being neglected. The latter is the real incentive for Finley to keep that grave maintained.

We’ve all heard stories about phantom hitchhikers who mysteriously disappear from the vehicle of whoever picks them up. But in this week’s Library of Death story we meet one who takes it to a whole new – and deadly level. Incidentally, that demon in the last panel must be from the Continent or something because his steering wheel is for right hand driving.

(Click thru)

 

It’s Titanic justice in this week’s Ghastly Tale. Slippery Sid Smith thinks he has gotten away with his latest jewel heist thanks to his “unsinkable” alibi. Unsinkable? Funny – that’s what they said about a certain ill-fated ship Sid tries to make his getaway on…

“Terror of the Cats” is the first serial from the original Scream lineup to be ejected. Kruhl finds the beast he created (the superior intellect he created to control cats) has gotten beyond his control and now has its own agenda. Surprise, surprise! Anyway, in a tussle between Woodward and Kruhl, Kruhl ends up falling into the brain and they horribly destroy each other, and the lab blows up. And what is Woodward’s reward for stopping the terror of the cats? A kitten. Hee, hee, we’re so glad you can see the funny side, Woodward. Its replacement next week is “The Nightcomers”.

Terror of the Cats

Scream! #5, 21 April 1984

Scream 5 cover

  • The Dracula File (artist Eric Bradbury, writer Gerry Finley-Day)
  • Monster (artist Jesus Redondo, writer Rick Clark)
  • The Thirteenth Floor (artist Ortiz, writer Ian Holland)
  • Tales from the Grave: R.I.P. Willard Giovanna – first episode (artist Jim Watson, writer Ian Rimmer)
  • Fiends and Neighbours – cartoon (artist Graham Allen)
  • The Library of Death: A Break in the Country (artist Tony Coleman, writer Malcolm Shaw)
  • A Ghastly Tale! – The Nightmare (artist J. Cooper)
  • Terror of the Cats (artist John Richardson, writer Simon Furman)

From the Depths

Our entries on “Scream!” resume in celebration of Halloween, with the most famous vampire in history leading off the cover.

No attempts at Ghastly’s face are published in this issue, but there is a new victim in the London Dungeon.

In “The Dracula File” our Rumanian vampire is really going to town in this episode (below), and raising some laughs from readers as well as lots of screams. He’s got people running from the cinema, he’s crashed a fancy dress party in search of more victims, and now he’s picked up a very nice, unsuspecting lady.

(Click thru)

Uncle Terry has been introduced to television (below) and is turning into a television addict in one of my favourite moments from “Monster”. Unfortunately he’s also turned into a double killer with the second body Kenny’s had to bury in the garden, and Kenny knows it’s only a matter of time before someone finds out.

Then a narrow squeak with a social worker is having Kenny thinking of going on the run with Uncle Terry. Er, Uncle Terry go on the run, Kenny, when he’s only just stepped out of the attic he’s been locked in all his life, knows nothing of the outside world, and can barely function mentally? Besides, a fugitive who looks like a dead ringer for the Hunchback of Notre Dame would be spotted a mile off! Are you serious, Kenny? Oh heck, something tells us you really are…

Monster telly

The punishment for the criminals on “The Thirteenth Floor” is a graveyard for thieves, and their rotting corpses are rising up and striking them with terror. This has them mistakenly shooting each other to death. The police assume it was the criminals just falling out over the loot.

The Leper writes a bit of himself into his new “Tales from the Grave” story. He watches as his fellow gravedigger Finley gets a request from a gentleman in surprisingly dated clothing to dig up a badly neglected grave belonging to one Willard Giovanna. Finley agrees once the gentleman flashes him a good sum of money, but then gets second thoughts when he realises that the gentleman is also named Willard Giovanna and is digging up his own grave! How can this be? Well, the Leper did say he hoped the people he buried would stay buried, but the story he’s telling hints this is not always the case…

In the Library of Death a meteor show strikes Britain. Or so it seems. Two days later Tony Crabtree is on his way to stay with his aunt and is surprised to see everyone is wearing a bandage or plaster cast on their legs, arms, heads, and even all over. He discovers too late that these are just to conceal the insect invaders who arrived with the “meteor shower”….

In this week’s Ghastly tale, Ghastly talks about the fear of falling. The psychiatrist listening to his client talking about his fear of falling is not sympathetic, though it turns out the client has a very good reason to fear it.

Ghastly Tale Nightmare

Dr Kruhl captures Woodward and reveals the secret behind “Terror of the Cats” that gives him the power to control all felines. It is an enormous brain(?!) that he calls “the living brain of the cats”.

Scream! #4, 14 April 1984

Scream 4 cover

  • The Dracula File (artist Eric Bradbury, writer Gerry Finley-Day)
  • The Library of Death: All Done with Wires (artist Cam Kennedy, writer J.H. Teed)
  • The Thirteenth Floor (artist Ortiz, writer Ian Holland)
  • Tales from the Grave: “The Undertaker” – final episode (artist Jim Watson, writer Tom Tully)
  • Terror of the Cats (artist John Richardson, writer Simon Furman)
  • Fiends and Neighbours – cartoon (artist Graham Allen)
  • A Ghastly Tale! – Mirror, Mirror
  • Monster (artist Jesus Redondo, writer Rick Clark)

Ghastly introduces another competition. Meanwhile, he publishes another failed attempt to capture his likeness.

Scream 4 from the Depths

The vampire from Rumania has turned the agent who was on his tail into another servant to do his bidding. Then he’s off to the cinema in pursuit of more victims. And they would just happen to be watching a movie called “Dracula’s Death”. Dracula, of all things!

In the Library of Death a fraudulent medium gets his punishment-fitting-the-crime comeuppance, and it’s all done with wires. And in the Ghastly Tale “Mirror, Mirror”, the mirrors in the Hall of Mirrors are, shall we say, producing some unusual effects on people.

Scream 4 A Ghastly Tale

As shown below, the punks out to beat up a tenant emerge from The Thirteenth Floor as nervous wrecks. They won’t be in any condition to beat up anyone for a long time. But another transgressor is always coming along to the Thirteenth Floor, and this time it’s a gang of actual criminals.

(Click thru)

It’s the last episode of the Tales from the Grave story, “The Undertaker”. Murder plotters Sleeth and Emily discover too late that Emily’s fiancé Clive had committed the murder himself, for the same reason as Emily. The wires of the two murder plots got crossed, causing everything to backfire on all the plotters. Clive kills Sleeth and goes down for double murder. Emily tries to feign innocence with the police, but Sleeth’s apprentice Smyte is a witness to the truth, so she ends up in prison. And whose coffin on the cover is the Leper burying? Sleeth, the undertaker he was talking about the whole time, of course.

It is finally revealed why “The Terror of the Cats” is attacking the hospital. The cats are after a male nurse, Jim Wardon. Wardon helped Dr Kruhl with his diabolical experiments that are making the cats go crazy, and now he’s regretting it. Wardon’s making a run for it, not realising Kruhl’s cats are watching. Meanwhile, Woodward makes his way into Kruhl’s lair surprisingly unmolested by the killer cats. But then he bumps into a killer cat of a different sort – a tiger!

Scream 4 competition

“Monster” Uncle Terry is out of his attic prison for the very first time in his life. It’s in response to one of Dad’s dodgy creditors, Joe Thacker, attacking Kenny and robbing him of money in order to reclaim his debt. Unfortunately Uncle Terry ends up killing Thacker. Oh, no, that’s the second time he’s killed someone, and it’s another corpse for the garden.

 

 

Scream! #3, 7 April 1984

Scream 3 cover

  • The Dracula File (artist Eric Bradbury, writer Gerry Finley-Day)
  • Terror of the Cats (artist John Richardson, writer Simon Furman)
  • The Thirteenth Floor (artist Ortiz, writer Ian Holland)
  • Tales from the Grave: “The Undertaker” (artist Jim Watson, writer Tom Tully)
  • The Library of Death: The Drowning Pond! (artist Julian Vivas, writer B. Burrell)
  • Fiends and Neighbours – cartoon (artist Graham Allen)
  • A Ghastly Tale! – Green Fingers (artist John Richardson)
  • Monster (artist Jesus Redondo, writer Rick Clark)
  • Ghastly’s Creepy Creature Quiz!

No free gift came with the third issue of Scream!, which goes against the tradition of a free gift with the first three issues of a new IPC title. However, the first attempt at Ghastly’s face is in, as is the second person to spend the week in the London Dungeon.

Scream 3 From the Depths

A British agent is on the trail of the Rumanian defector who’s a vampire and the nurse he’s hypnotised into becoming his servant. But the vampire escapes him. In the preview for next week there’s a panel of the vampire going to the cinema, and it looks like he’s going to make a Dracula film more realistic than usual…

Last week “Monster” changed credits completely. This week it is “Terror of the Cats”, with new artist John Richardson and writer Simon Furman. In the story, the cats have the hospital under siege now. The man in charge of the cat victims tells Woodward he suspects Dr Kruhl is behind the crazy cat attacks. So Woodward is off to check out Kruhl – and finds the killer cats waiting outside. How can he get past them?

The second round of transgressors arrives for Max’s special treatment on “The Thirteenth Floor”. A tattoo one of them has provides the inspiration for their punishment, as seen below.

(click thru)

In “Tales from the Grave”, Sleeth the Undertaker thinks he’s got the murder he was contracted to commit all sewn up and his victim is now at the bottom of the river, eaten up by rats. But his client Emily has a nasty surprise for him – she has just found that same victim (her uncle) poisoned. So who the heck was Sleeth killing just now? Er, it looks like that horribly injured, but still alive and very angry man who’s now barging in through your door, Sleeth. What’s more, he’s saying, “I have survived to wreak the vengeance of death on your foul and treacherous soul!”

The story in this week’s “Library of Death” is the one that readers request the most on Ghastly’s “Back from the Depths” site. It appears below for the benefit of any curious readers.

(Click thru)

 

It’s back to the one-page format in this week’s Ghastly Tale, and the moral is never to touch strange meteors. A boy does and it gives him the power to make plant life grow out of everything and everyone he touches – including his mum, and now’s she’s a horrible plant freak. He’s worried about what will happen when his father comes home. Never mind that, laddie – how are you going to eat when everything you touch turns into these freaks?

This week we learn more about Uncle Terry from the note Kenny’s mother left behind. As we do, we are more horrified by how Uncle Terry has been treated all his life than his appearance. Poor Uncle Terry has spent the whole 32 years of his life locked in the attic, in neglect and squalor, because his parents couldn’t stand his appearance. As a result, he is retarded, clearly brain damaged, and can barely string a few words together, but he is dangerous if provoked and can kill. Terry’s treatment improved somewhat under Kenny’s kindly mother, but she could not help him fully because of her abusive husband (why the heck did you marry him, lady?). After she died, cruelty towards Terry resumed under the husband. Now Kenny has inherited the task of minding Uncle Terry, and he’s only 12, but the note says Mum was dead against the idea of institutionalisation for Uncle Terry. As if an institution could be any worse than that squalid attic.

Scream! #2, 31 March 1984

Scream 2 cover

  • The Dracula File (artist Eric Bradbury, writer Gerry Finley-Day)
  • Monster (artist Jesus Redondo, writer Rick Clark)
  • The Thirteenth Floor (artist Ortiz, writer Ian Holland)
  • Tales from the Grave: “The Undertaker” (artist Jim Watson, writer Tom Tully)
  • The Library of Death: Spiders Can’t Scream! (artist Ron Smith, writer John Agee)
  • Fiends and Neighbours – cartoon (artist Graham Allen)
  • Terror of the Cats (artist Gonzales, later John Richardson, writer John Agee)
  • A Ghastly Tale! – a complete story (artist José Casanovas)

The free gift that came with Scream #2 was a big, black, spooky spider, so it’s little wonder that spiders are big in this issue, beginning with the cover (front and back) profiling what horror awaits in this week’s Library of Death story. We are also told that Max will unleash spider terror as his next punishment in issue three.

Meantime, Max forces the harsh debt collector to enter a debt collector computer game – where the computer always wins, of course. The concept might almost be funny if the debt collector had not died of a heart attack because The Thirteenth Floor frightened him to death.

More ghoulies get added to the “From the Depths” letters page. It’s the “grislies”, and you are invited to draw your own.

From the Depths

In “The Dracula File”, the East is confident the Rumanian vampire defector they allowed to escape to the West will not unleash a reign of vampire terror there because he cannot live without his home soil. They don’t realise he has found the answer to that problem – the home soil left behind from previous Rumanian vampires who got to Britain. So his reign of terror has started.

The plot between “The Undertaker” and Emily Carlisle to kill her uncle looks simple and foolproof (and gruesome!). All it needs to kill him is a sudden shock, so the Undertaker takes him to the river and unleashes some rats in his carriage to not only frighten him but also eat him alive. And it would look like he just drove too close to the river and the river rats got him. What could possibly go wrong? Well, the blurb for next week does say “A fatal mistake…”.

The credits for “Monster” change to Jesus Redondo (artist) and Rick Clark (writer). Strangely, the reprint volume gives the change of writer as John Wagner. Was Wagner writing under a pseudonym here? Anyway, Kenneth has now seen what’s in the attic and it’s…the Hunchback of Notre Dame?! Something tells us Kenneth is now lumbered with the role of Esmeralda. Too right. Kenneth finds a letter from his late mother explaining that the, um, “monster” as the family dubbed him is in fact his Uncle Terry. Terry’s parents (Kenneth’s grandparents) kept him locked in the attic because of his appearance, and Mum says it’s now Kenneth’s job to look after him. Whoopee…

Uncle Terry

Allen Woodward tried to stop “The Terror of the Cats” striking the hospital, but all it’s done for him is get him into trouble with the police and on the run. But that’s nothing compared to what he finds when he hides in a cupboard – another crazy killer cat!

A Ghastly Tale is longer than the one-page spread last week. It’s also a tale of nature striking back at the abuses of humanity in the 21st century. How far ahead of its time was this story? It has been posted here for your judgement. Besides, it’s drawn by José Casanovas, and who doesn’t like his artwork?

(Click thru)

 

 

 

Scream! No. 1, 24 March 1984

Scream 1 cover

  • The Dracula File – first episode (artist Eric Bradbury, writer Gerry Finley-Day)
  • Monster – first episode (artist Heinzl, later Jesus Redondo, writer Alan Moore)
  • The Thirteenth Floor – first episode (artist Ortiz, writer Ian Holland)
  • Tales from the Grave: “The Undertaker” – first episode (artist Jim Watson, writer Tom Tully, later John Wagner)
  • A Ghastly Tale! (complete story)
  • Fiends and Neighbours – humour cartoon reprinted from Cor!! (artist Graham Allen)
  • Library of Death: At Death’s Door… – complete story (artist Cam Kennedy, writer Barrie Tomlinson)
  • Terror of the Cats – first episode (artist Gonzales, later John Richardson, writer John Agee)

Our Halloween theme continues with Scream! This was a short-lived publication, lasting only 15 issues before it disappeared during the same strike that brought down Tammy (though opinions from former IPC staff differ as to just what killed it off). Nevertheless, Scream achieved a cult status that has made its issues collectors’ items, spawned fanzines and websites, and now it is enjoying a revival with the Misty & Scream Halloween specials and volume reprints of its strips.

The gift that came with the first issue of Scream was a set of Dracula fangs, approved by the famous vampire himself, who leads off with his very own strip inside, “The Dracula File”. A Rumanian defector has escaped to the West. However, his Eastern bloc pursuers have realised that he is a vampire and decide the West can have him: “He is their problem now!” The poor RAF pilots flying the defector into Britain don’t realise the horror they are about to unleash…

Scream 1 Dracula

Before the strips begin, however, the host of the comic, Ghastly McNasty, sets things up with the letters page and the special features it offers. There is “The Dracula Spectacular”, where Ghastly has fun turning someone into something hideous. To make it even more fun for readers, he wants them to provide the victims (teachers, family members, themselves, etc) and the reason why. Ghastly also invites readers to nominate someone for appearing in “The London Dungeon” for the week and the reason for this punishment, and the comeuppances would be drawn accordingly. Who would you like to see in the London Dungeon for the week? How about the Tammy editor for leaving us dangling on the final episode of “Cora Can’t Lose”? Or how about Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin?

Scream 1 letters page

Of course a new comic would not be complete without a competition, and this is one that really tests deductive, artistic and maybe even clairvoyant skills. The challenge is to draw Ghastly McNasty’s face absolutely right. This is no easy task as the face is hidden in complete darkness under his hood with only lights shining where his eyes are. Clues include him being extremely ugly, too much tree root in the beauty treatment he tried that backfired, and other clues that would be dropped as the competition progressed. An actual likeness of Ghastly had been drawn and was being kept secure. The best but still-failed attempts would be printed, comments were made about any clues the pictures had hit upon, and the winner would get £5. The one to hit the absolute mark would win £50. The top prize was still unclaimed when Scream abruptly disappeared.

Scream 1 Monster

“Monster” is one of the Scream stories that would continue and finish in Eagle. It is the “something monstrous hidden in the attic” story. It’s so secret that Kenneth Corman’s abusive father gives him yet another walloping for even saying he heard something up there in the locked attic room. The father goes up to the attic to get rid of it, only to get horribly murdered, with deep claw marks on his body. Kenneth opts for secretly burying his father in the garden instead of calling in the police, and now he’s heading for the attic himself to deal with whatever is up there.

Scream 1 13th Floor

“The Thirteenth Floor” was another Scream strip to continue in Eagle, and now it has its own reprint volume and return appearances in the Scream & Misty Halloween special. Max is the computerised superintendent of council-run Maxwell Towers. Max takes his duty of looking after his tenants very seriously. In fact, it’s so seriously that anyone who threatens the safety and well-being of Max’s tenants is sent on a trip to his secret Thirteenth Floor through the lift, where Max wreaks a computerised, holographic punishment upon them that he deems the most fit for their crime. The first transgressor to pay a trip to the Thirteenth Floor is a merciless debt collector. On the Thirteenth Floor he meets the Grim Reaper, who says, “Welcome…to your death.” Erk! Is Max really going to go as far as murder? We find out next week.

Scream 1 Leper

The Leper (so named because of his medical condition, appearance and lack of social acceptance) is a 19thcentury gravedigger and host of “Tales from the Grave”. Not surprisingly, these tales are associated with death, the Victorian fascination with it (murders, executions, body snatching, Goth etc) and the stories behind the graves in the cemetery. The Leper’s first story is “The Undertaker”, about a Burke and Hare-type undertaker named Joshua Sleeth: “If you wanted someone buried, ole Sleeth was the man to do it, no questions asked […] Sleeth was an evil beggar all right. If yer needed a helpin’ hand into the next world, so to speak, he was always ready to give it…”. Sleeth’s reputation has reached the ears of Emily Carlisle, who wants a helping hand in getting her Uncle Henry into the next world so she can inherit.

Scream 1 Cats

The final serial is “The Terror of the Cats”. All the cats in the neighbourhood are going crazy and attacking people for no apparent reason. Reporter Allen Woodward is on the story and also that of Dr Kruhl (nicknamed “Cruel” because of his reputation), the Director of the Government Research Institute. It’s soon obvious to the readers that the two stories are linked somehow, though Woodward hasn’t clicked yet.

Scream 1 Library

As with Misty, Scream has complete stories, though less prolific. One format is uncredited one-page one-shot stories, some of which end with a dash of humour. The other format is the “Library of Death” (yes, more death tales), which has more pages. The first tale is about a boy who gets strange, frightening visitations in his bedroom after his parents deny him his request to go into the Ghost House at the fair.

For the resident funny cartoon, Scream is reprinting Fiends and Neighbours from Cor!! An ordinary couple are looking forward to meeting their new neighbours – only to get the shock of their lives when they find the newcomers are a regular Addams family.