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 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).
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.
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.
Along with great interviews, background and previously unpublished art, the highlight of the Archive is a complete 16 page “The Nightcomers” tale that was due to start probably in issue 18 of Scream but lay unpublished until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.
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