Tag Archives: Nightmare

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”.

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Spellbound No. 1, 25 September 1976

Spellbound cover 25 September 1976

  • When the Mummy Walks… – first episode (artist Norman Lee)
  • Spectre from the Flame – Damian Darke story
  • The Secret of Silver Star – first episode (artist Edmond Ripoll)
  • Nightmare (text story)
  • Supercats: Meet the Sun God (artist Jorge B. Galvez (possibly with help from Enrique Badía Romero))
  • The Haunting of Laura Lee – first episode
  • I Don’t Want to be a Witch – first episode (artist Norman Lee)
  • Lonely Lucy – first episode (artist Jordi Franch)

Spellbound Supercats

The DCT title Spellbound is best remembered today as the proto-Misty, the first girls’ title to be the first to be a horror/Goth title. Spellbound lasted for just 69 issues and merged into Debbie. Ironically, Spellbound folded in the same month Misty started. In the wake of the lingering affection for Misty, Spellbound is being rediscovered and her issues are becoming serious collectors’ items.

Spellbound is unusual for not having a girl’s name as her title, a la Bunty, Debbie, or even Misty. Because of this, no female host acts as the female the comic is named after or appears as a cover girl. This role is covered by The Supercats, regular characters in Spellbound who originally appeared in Diana as “The Fabulous Four”, and were resurrected in Spellbound to the point of dominating it. The comic’s club is named after the Supercats, they are the fictional writers of the letters page, and the weekly horoscope, the Zodiacat, is Supercat-themed. And when Spellbound merged into Debbie, the Supercats were the ones who carried on in the merger.

The theme of ancient Egypt is running high in the first issue, beginning with its first gift: the mystic sun pendant. It continues with the first Spellbound story, “When the Mummy Walks…”. The gorgeous artwork in its splash page hits you right in the eye and draws your attention straight into the comic the moment you open it. A Victorian museum featuring an exhibition on ancient Egypt incurs the curse of the mummy, which has broken out of its sarcophagus. No, it isn’t King Tut – it’s an Egyptian priestess.

Spellbound Mummy

Next is the other Spellbound regular character, Damian Darke. He hosted the weekly complete stories, which were of course spooky. In his first story, “Spectre from the Flame”, Jane Armitage senses something strange about the latest arrival in the antique shop where she works, an old candlestick. A burglar trying to steal the candlestick finds out too late what it is – the candlestick belonged to none other than the infamous Judge Jeffries! But for once we are rooting for Jeffries when his spectre appears to show the burglar the justice he was famous for. All the same, Jane is relieved when the candlestick gets sold. After Spellbound folded, Damian Darke carried on his stories in Debbie and Mandy.

Damian Darke 1

Spellbound Judge Jeffries

The second serial is “The Secret of Silver Star”. It feels a bit out of place in this spooky-themed comic as there is no supernatural theme about it, not even the titular horse being a spectre or something. Instead it’s about a horse that has to be put into hiding when it is to be destroyed. Perhaps the story’s mystery theme – an unknown saboteur trying to destroy the stables – is what is supposed to tie it into the comic. All the same, it does not feel like it really belongs in this type of comic and would be better off in a more traditional DCT title like Mandy or Judy.

After the text story “Nightmare” (which turns out to be a false alarm for the protagonist), we meet the Supercats in person. They are a group of intergalactic super-heroes: Helen Miller the leader despite her lack of superpowers; Hercula, who is super-strong; Electra, who can generate electricity; and Fauna, who can change colour. Their first adventure in Spellbound carries on the ancient Egypt theme. They land on a planet that looks like ancient Egypt and the Egyptian Sun God wants Helen as his bride. But it isn’t a wedding to make her so – it’s being sacrificed on his altar!

(Click thru)

It would not be complete without a story regarding an evil force of some kind taking possession of the protagonist, and this we get with “The Haunting of Laura Lee”. Laura Lee had only played the piano for fun. But that changes when she acquires a mysterious ring that won’t come off. All of a sudden she can play brilliantly, but she senses it wasn’t her playing. What’s more, she’s playing until she’s exhausted. She doesn’t like it one bit.

In “I Don’t Want to be a Witch”, Celia Winters does not want to follow the family tradition of becoming a witch and insists on going to an ordinary school. However, her Aunt Armida is out to change her mind, which means the story will follow the pattern of who will win the argument.

Finally, we come to “Lonely Lucy”. There is no outright supernatural theme, but it still blends into Spellbound better than Silver Star because it is a dark story, has a period setting, highwaymen, and persecution that stems from ignorance and superstition. Lucy Pilgrim has been dumped in an orphanage, which, as you might expect, is a cruel one. But for Lucy it’s even crueller as the children call her a witch because she’s left handed. She runs away, but runs slap bang into the highwayman himself! Has she jumped from the frying pan and into the fire? And will the branding of Lucy as a witch just because she’s left handed continue?

Spellbound Lonely Lucy

There are no humorous cartoon strips in the first issue to lighten things up a bit, as Miss T did in Misty.