Alec Worley, Kek-W, Guy Adams, Jordi Badia Romero, Rich McAuliffe, Lizzie Boyle and Smuzz
Frazer Irving, John Stokes, Leigh Gallagher, Simon Coleby, Dani, Steve Mannion, Jordi Badia Romero,Smuzz and Yishan Li
Len O’Grady and Barbara Nosenzo
Annie Parkhouse, Jim Campbell and Simon Bowland
Kyle Hotz and Lenka Šimečková
The Comic: Following the success of last year’s fright-filled outing, the Scream and Misty Special returns this Hallowe’en!
With a creepy cover by Kyle Hotz and a 2000AD webshop exclusive cover by Lenka Šimečková, two of Britain’s best loved comics reunite for an anthology of brand new tales – guaranteed to terrify and entertain you!
The Review: Mixing both old and new characters, this year’s Scream and Misty Special from Rebellion is very definitely a Hallowe’en treat, offering great stories and art that will, well, leave you screaming for a more regular publication.
Because that’s definitely how some of the strips make you feel, particularly “The Thirteenth Floor” by Guy Adams, John Stokes and Frazer Irving (and smashing mash up of ‘traditional’ British weekly comic art with scary scissor-filled pages from Frazer); and “Black Max” by Kek-W and Simon Coleby, picking up where last year’s Special left off, as young tortured soul Maxine is transported to a hellish dreamland, encountering Doctor Rat (from Cor! comic’s popular “Rat Trap” strip along the way). Once again, of course, crazy World War One pilot Black Max and his giant bats is behind her nightmare – and it doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon.
This Special also gives us a new story featuring “Black Beth“, a character shoe-horned into a Scream special way back in the 1980s, originally drawn by Blas Gallego. Writer Alec Worley reintroduces the character, with terrific art from and DaNi, setting the scene for new stories (hopefully).
We also get an entirely new character on the Rebellion block – “Decomposition Jones” by Richard McAuliffe and Steve Mannion, which like the one-shot alligator-laced story with a macabre twist, “Best Friends Forever“, deftly scripted by by Lizzie Boyle with beguiling art from Yishan Li and “Mint Condition” by Smuzz, provides plenty of dark to this new publication.
I’m of course a bit biased, having worked with Smuzz on our own SF tale Crucible, but “Mint Condition”, first published in an authorised fan tribute to Misty a few years back, is beautifully drawn and great fun – an SF tale with bite.
The Special rounds off with a nicely coloured re-representation of a Misty tale, “Bookworm”, first presented in Misty Issue 99, with art by Jordi Badia Romero. Joanie wants a life like Lady Agatha character in book, finds a spell book to fulfil her desires – but things go horribly wrong. It’s a great choice of “classic” tale and the new colour work complements Romero’s art nicely, I think. (Let’s hope positive reaction to this prompts a collection of these short stories from Misty at some point).
Overall, I really enjoyed this year’s Scream and Misty Special – not just for the strips, but the homage to the original material, that includes a Misty problem page and faux film posters featuring Doctor Sin and a gruesome “Cackle” pin up evoking Ken Reid’s “World Wide Weirdies”. I just wish it was more than an annual event. It’s also lovely that artist John Armstrong, who helped shape so much of Misty (and other girls comics), who died earlier this year, is also honoured in the Special.
It’s a shame the horrors of modern comic and magazine distribution in the British news trade, and the attendant costs, make this well-nigh impossible.