This was one of those stories, that when I saw the preview for it, I imagined something very different. I thought there was some mysterious story about the characters, that they were based on actual people. Instead this is the story of fictional characters coming to life.
Carly Bell’s mother is an artist and writer of picture stories for basically Bunty type comics. The fake publication they name here is “Jenni”. She discusses her new idea with Carly; a family called the Swifts, begin to have falling outs after winning the pools. Carly thinks the characters aren’t realistic, they are too good to begin with, to suddenly have fights over money. The mum is really not one to take constructive critiscism well and decides to bin the entire idea. She gives Carly the drawings she has already done as she has no use for them. While I know some ideas may not work and writers/artists may like to start new, but she gives up on the idea very quickly. I mean she scraps the idea without even trying to improve it and I think even if she didn’t use that story or exact characters a lot of artists and story writers use elements of disregarded ideas.
Also I don’t know if it was intentional dig at picture stories that were commonly seen in Bunty, or else it was a good-natured acknowledgement of the flaws. Criticising characters for being overly good and also reusing story-lines is mentioned. I would think its just a self awareness of the type of stories that were often published and I’d take more as a bit of poking fun then actual malice behind it.
Back with Carly, she is putting away the disregarded pictures when there is a nice subtle hint at troubles about to begin.
The happy drawings of the characters, look sinisterly at Carly. It’s a good panel setting up the creepy atmosphere. While Carly’s gone the Swifts express their anger at Carly for getting their series scrapped, they decide to teach her a lesson. First, the girl Swift ruins a night out at the disco when she causes Carly to spill a drink all over her friend’s new dress. Though really the friend overreacts a lot. Each of the Swifts take a turn at playing tricks on her, including the dog. These tricks seem to be done with real malice at time, so there is reason to actually worry about what will happen to Carly. The grandad setting up Carly to look like a thief, seems quite tense.
Carly tries to tell her mother what’s happening, of course mother laughs it off as an overactive imagination. After every Swift has played a trick on Carly, she thinks they’ve gotten their revenge so they will leave her alone now. Instead they all get together to gang up on her.
They chase her into barn. As it is dark Grandpa lights some matches, Carly escapes out of a hole. Grandpa drops the matches and the barn goes on fire. Firemen arrive and are informed that there is people inside, but all they find are burnt up pieces of paper. Carly is delighted to hear this.
I know they were terrorising her but she maybe looking a bit too gleeful about their deaths. Even if they were just fictional characters that were chasing this innocent girl, being burnt to death seems quite a dark ending for them. Although the ending is still a bit vague did they just disappear or burn to death and turn to paper?
The Swifts motivation seems a little arbitrary as well. You would think if they were so powerful to live outside their frames, they’d want to just get on with a life rather than torturing some girl.
Other than the vague ending of the Swifts and the questionable motives I quite liked this story. The idea of picture characters coming to life is always fun to play around with. The art is solid, the Swifts could look mischievousness and then suddenly turn quite menacing. The threat to Carly seemed like it was genuinely dangerous at times, it made the atmosphere tense leading up to the climax.