Tag Archives: John Agee

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)

 

 

 

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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.