Tag Archives: Simon Furman

Scream! #10, 26 May 1984

Scream cover 10

 

  • The Dracula File (artist Eric Bradbury, writer Simon Furman)
  • The Nightcomers (artist John Richardson, writer Tom Tully)
  • The Thirteenth Floor (artist José Ortiz, writer Ian Holland)
  • Tales from the Grave: A Fatal Extraction – (artist Jim Watson, writer R. Hunter)
  • Library of Death: Night of the Cobra! (artist Julian Vivas, writer Angus Allan)
  • Monster (artist Jesus Redondo, writer Rick Clark)
  • Fiends and Neighbours – cartoon (artist Graham Allen)
  • A Ghastly Tale – Goodbye Uncle George!

The latest attempt at Ghastly’s face is more successful than most so far because it actually hits on something about Ghastly’s face. Reckon the entrant should have been given extra money for that?

Scream 10 From the Depths

Dracula’s latest feedings are in the headlines as murders, but only Stakis realises their true nature. Unfortunately, Dracula has realised there is a vampire hunter on his tail after Stakis has a close encounter with Dracula’s new servant. Dracula does a runner while setting a trap for Stakis in his abandoned hideout. And Stakis walks straight into it!

The Rogans finally make their way into Raven’s Meet. While disposing of Cutler’s dead dog, Rick gets knocked out by Cutler and his flunky – who looks like Frankenstein’s Monster, minus the bolts on his neck.

This week’s Thirteenth Floor story is one that everyone who has been hit by a dodgy repairman should love. Two sleazy plumbers, who did shoddy work that actually hurt someone, find themselves on the Thirteenth Floor where pipes burst and threaten to drown them. Then they are trapped by raging fire.

In part two of the Leper’s story, the ghost of George Makepiece is out for revenge against dentist Thomas Thorpe, who murdered him Sweeney Todd-style. Too bad for Thorpe Makepiece was an occultist, as he and his assistant Grimes discover when they try to rob Makepiece’s house. Makepiece uses his powers to kill Grimes with a Sweeney Todd stunt of his own and sends him to the bottom of the river!

In the Library of Death, a laboratory in Malaysia is home to every species of snake. A newcomer on the science team is an unpleasant type who is only in it for the money that will get him out of debt. He is warned never to underestimate a snake. He would also be well advised not to underestimate a place that is nicknamed “the house of death”. But of course he doesn’t heed those warnings.

Scream 10 Dungeon

Oh dear, Uncle Terry’s done it again. He’s trashed a café with that horrible temper of his. At least he didn’t kill anyone this time. But now there are enough eyewitnesses for the police to get an identikit of Uncle Terry. And it’s one that will stick in anyone’s mind, because he looks just like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Meanwhile, Uncle Terry and Ken continue on their way to Scotland to find the doctor who could help.

In the Ghastly Tale, the Jordans aren’t shedding a tear at Uncle George’s funeral. They think they are well rid of their kooky scientist relative and those crazy experiments of his. They throw the last one he made, labelled “life potion”, down into his grave as he is being buried – er, life potion?!

Advertisements

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!

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! #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.

It’s Ghastly! – review

its-ghastly-cover

I have just received a copy of “It’s Ghastly” – Hibernia Comics’ latest addition to their Comic Archive. This 64-page publication spells out the reasons for the demise of IPC’s short-lived horror title Scream! and exhumes lost material intended for the abandoned weekly issues.

It’s a handsome glossy publication, mostly in black and white but with a handful of colour pages in the middle. My particular interest wasn’t so much in the information about Scream! itself (as I never read that title) as about what it might reveal about comics publishing of the time, or any as-yet-unknown information about who did what.

It features a lot of interviews and information from people involved in creating the title: Barrie Tomlinson (Group Editor at the time), Gil Page (Managing Editor of the title), Ian Rimmer (editor), Simon Furman (sub-editor). Some of them are reprints of interviews originally published some years previously, but bringing them together in one magazine is a definite service to fans of the title and those interested in this slice of history.

I was interested to note how the various memories of what happened at that time were all slightly different: David McDonald was clearly trying to get an answer to the key question of why Scream! folded so quickly. Barrie Tomlinson had a number of possible answers – the strike, the content, the sales figures… while Gil Page put the blame fairly squarely on the overall sales figures. Ian Rimmer puts it down to a staffing problem and to management interference and second-guessing, which put a real crimp in the process of just getting on with creating as good a title as possible. He ultimately blames management timidity. So even from people who were there at the time, it’s possible to get as many answers as there are people answering – at least for the tricky questions. Something for any of us interviewers or comics historians to be aware of in terms of the dangers of drawing firm conclusions!

As with MacManus’ “The Mighty One”, I was struck once again by the sheer amount of writing that was done in house. There is also a lot of interesting discussion about artwork: not so much the process of creating it or how much was done by the art editor, but about how it was reused in subsequent publications, even if that meant cutting up a page of art or reusing some cover artwork by José Casanovas in a Holiday Special – but removing the central human character which was part of the whole point of the original story.

There’s lots of solid material in here – interviews, re-creations of three unused covers that could have been printed in issues 16, 17, and 18 (the title stopped at 15), scripts, and a whole unpublished story of “The Nightcomers”! The artwork is the original from the time, but as it was unlettered and only half the script could be found, the other half was rescripted by Simon Furman, who was the original writer. Those of us who are fans of other titles can only feel a mixture of jealousy that David was able to come across this treasure trove, and hopefulness that maybe such a miracle could happen to our own favourite title some day.

“It’s Ghastly”; Hibernia, 2016: available on Comicsy for £7.50 plus postage