Scream! in the spotlight: a wonderfully ghastly new Comic Archive from Hibernia Comics!

It's Ghastly! - Cover

We’ll be running a fuller review of this cracking new title from Hibernia Comics soon, but I couldn’t not give an early plug to their latest brilliant ‘Comic Archive’, It’s Ghastly, the untimely demise of Scream!, on sale now.

The cast of "The Thirteenth Floor", a strip that survived Scream!'s demise and ended up in New Eagle
The cast of “The Thirteenth Floor”, a strip that survived Scream!’s demise and ended up in New Eagle

The third in the ‘Comic Archive’ series takes a detailed look at the dark underside of British comics – and we’re not just talking about Scream!‘s content, such as the recently re-published “Monster”, but its sudden cancellation and management interference that put paid to the weekly horror comic far too soon for its fans.

Scream! comic – now owned by 2000AD publisher Rebellion, who recently reprinted one of its best strips, Monster, created by Alan Moore – appeared on the newsagents shelves for just 15 issues in 1984 but managed to leave a fearsome reputation behind.

I have to confess that back in the day, I was one of the comic’s readers who was a bit derisory about the title – it was the focus of some playful barbs in my only ever comics fanzine – but looking at the art now and reading the story of the comic’s troubled short life, it’s clear the creative side involved worked really hard to do their best with a title that was very much in the spotlight of a senior management still stinging, years on, from the debacle of the furore over Action, and aware of media concerns about 1980s “Video Nasties” with which Scream! might have been unfavourably compared. (Although not by its readership, who loved it).

Scream Zombie

Scream! Terror of the Cats
Terror of the Cats

Featuring the work of, to name a few, John Wagner, Alan Grant, Simon Furman, Alan Moore, José Ortiz, Eric Bradbury and Brendan McCarthy, Scream has built up a cult following over the years, with back issues and Holiday specials now highly collectable.

Its sudden disappearance from the newsagents led to rumours of it being removed because of parents complaints, or being the victim of a strike – but, as the Hibernia team discovered from its key editorial staff – Barrie Tomlinson, Ian Rimmer and Simon Furman – the exact circumstances are as murky as fictional editor Ghastly McNasty‘s morning cuppa.

Scream's fictional editor, Ghastly McNasty
Scream’s fictional editor, Ghastly McNasty
Scream Holiday Special 1984. Cover by Keith Page
Scream Holiday Special 1984. Cover by Keith Page

It’s Ghastly delves into the murky world of Scream to uncover the truth of its demise; the six Holiday Specials come under scrutiny and uncovers the origins of such stories as “Black Beth” and Dave Gibbons “The Nightcomer” and also included is a cover recreation to issue 16, and the actual covers to 17, 18 and 19, the work of Michael Carroll.

One of Michael Carroll's "Might Have Been" Scream! covers
One of Michael Carroll’s “Might Have Been” Scream! covers
"Black Beth" was a strip shoehorned into a Scream! special, probably intended for a more adult title that never got off the ground. Art by Blas Gallego
“Black Beth” was a strip shoehorned into a Scream! special, probably intended for a more adult title that never got off the ground. Art by Blas Gallego

Along with great interviews, background and previously unpublished art, the highlight of the Archive is a complete 16 page “The Nightcomers” tale that was due to start probably in issue 18 of Scream but lay unpublished until now. Join Rick and Beth for one last supernatural adventure by Simon Furman and José Gonzales and much more in ‘Its Ghastly’, the ultimate Scream companion.

Panels from the re-discovered episode of "The Nightcomers" featured in Hiberna's third Scream-dedicated Comic Archive. Script by Simon Furman, art by José Gonzales
Panels from the re-discovered episode of “The Nightcomers” featured in Hiberna’s third Scream-dedicated Comic Archive. Script by Simon Furman, art by José Gonzales

These Comic Archive titles have a limited print run and sell fast, so if you have fond memories of Scream! (Or even nightmares), you should order a copy now… it’s spooktacular!

(Sorry, couldn’t resist…Ghastly made me say it!)

It’s Ghastly, the untimely demise of Scream! is available now from www.comicsy.co.uk/hibernia | 64 pages (10 in colour)

Scream TM and © Rebellion Publishing Limited

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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