Just in time for Christmas, Hibernia Comics , publishers of collections such as The Tower King and Thirteenth Floor, has released two terrific collections – one from the short-lived horror comic Scream! and the other from the perhaps lesser well-known title, Speed – a war comic featuring stunning art by the late Mike Western.
Scream ran for just 15 weekly issues in 1984, but as editor Ian Rimmer notes in his introduction to The Very Best of Library of Death, which features the best “Library of Death”, “Ghastly Tales” and other short stories from cult classic it’s is fondly remembered by many to this day. Among its spooky stories and twisted tales were a couple of classic long running comic-strips, such as “The Thirteenth Floor” and “Monster”.
“Yet perhaps part of the title’s enduring interest and appeal is the fact that interspersed with the regular on-going stories there were a number of complete, one-off ‘spine-chillers’ as [editor] Ghastly McNasty liked to label them,” Ian argues.
“The meatier, more gruesome tales appeared under the collective title of “Library of Death”. Usually running to a minimum of five pages in length, subject matter ranged from flesh-creeper creatures like spiders and snakes, to traditional horror staples such mummified remains and werewolves. The aim was always to provide the reader with a solid, chunky story, if possible with an unnerving, twisted ending.”
The one-off nature of “Library of Death” stories meant that Scream! was able to commission a variety of writers and artists to tell those tales, including Cam Kennedy, Ron Smith, Brendan McCarthy, Steve Parkhouse, Steve Dillon, all from the UK, plus Vivas and Casanovas from abroad.
“Ghastly Tales”, also featured in this 96-page collection, were shorter, snappier stand-alone stories, sometimes only a single page in length, sometimes a little longer, and were generally quirky concoctions, often laced with off-beat dark humour, both verbally and visually and the script work in the main of the inhouse staff.
This limited edition is on sale now.
The Complete Bakers Half Dozen is collected from the pages of Speed, a weekly comic published in 1980 which eventually merged into Tiger. Drawn by Mike Western, this is a World War Two tale set in North Africa, a cross between “Darkies Mob” and “The Sarge” from Battle, boasting some of Western’s very best artwork, gritty storytelling.
This glorious limited edition 70-page collection, introduced by artist Rufus Dayglo (who also provides a cracking interior pin-up) tells the complete tale of Sarge Baker and his motley crew and their desperate dash to get to Allied lines across the unforgiving Sahara Desert. The collection also includes a short and a little seen text story from the Speed annual.
Both collections feature great covers designed by Richard Pearce.
There’s more great news from Hibernia Comics, too. Coming soon will be another Comic Archive called It’s Ghastly, devoted to Scream! to celebrate the comics’ 30th anniversary. It’s packed with contributions from many involved in the title, including Barrie Tomlinson, Ian Rimmer, Simon Furman, Gil Page and many more.
This special Archive will include a complete “The Nightcomers” story by Simon Furman that was never printed and a cover recreation of Issue 16 and 17 put together with Ian Rimmer’s recollections and Mike Carroll’s amazing computer wizadry.
As Back From the Depths notes of The Nightcomers” the ghost hunting business brother and sister Beth and Rick inherited off their deceased parents would have led to some wicked adventures, but was cut short by the comics untimely closure. The story began with the unnatural murder of David and Anne Rogan, ‘The Amazing Rogans’ who were investigating supernatural goings on at ‘Raven’s Meet’, a haunted house with an evil spirit inside. Their two children Rick and Beth are mysteriously drawn together and head off to the creepy house to discover exactly what happened to their parents.
The young Rogans stumbled upon a terrifying tale of black magic and devil worshipping which they defeated with courage, teamwork — and the special powers they also inherited from their mother and father…
• Both Library of Death and Baker’s Half Dozen are available to buy on Comicsy: www.comicsy.co.uk/hibernia