Skeleton Corner

  • Skeleton Corner – Judy: (?) – #1635 (11 May 1991)
  • Skeleton Corner –  M&J: #11 (27 July 1991) – #41 (22 February 1992)
  • Skeleton Corner  – M&J:  #48 (11 April 1992) – #194 (28 Jan. 1995) [not in every issue]
  • Artist: Oliver Passingham (M&J: 11-41, 48, 50, 52, 61-63, 65-66, 69, 72, 77, 91-92, 98)
  • Artist 2:  Unknown (M&J: 129-141, 143, 150, 163, 171, 173, 191-194)

Plot

There wasn’t an ongoing plot, instead a skeleton, named Bones, introduces short scary stories, sometimes with a moral attached. It was usually 2 to 3 pages long. The stories varied from greedy girls getting what they deserved to innocent people being hassled by gremlins! A few stories focused on Bones and also had him interact with characters and influence outcomes.

Thoughts

As it is nearly Halloween time I thought this would be appropriate to write about. Comics like Misty and Jinty were better known for their spooky stories, but there was still room for these kind of stories in other comics too.  Skeleton Corner  was a bit of a softer approach, to the IPC comics but there were still some gems of stories featured. The storytelling skeleton, Bones, while he may appear scary he didn’t have a creepy personality, he was presented as a more as a friendly person who just happened to be a skeleton. He did set the tone well for the stories, as being a supernatural character that was possibly creepy but not overly disturbing!

The art was done be  a few different artists, though one that popped up a lot was Oliver Passingham:

I particularly like this, where a girl is unknowingly talking  to a poltergeist, the poltergeist looks very pretty with some other-world qualities as well. The supernatural being wasn’t seen always depicted as a scary, hideous character.

The stories themselves varied and of course being short stories they were sometimes they were limited with the space to work with. Often the stories had a girl who was greedy, selfish or ignored the rules getting a fitting punishment. Other times the main character could be a nice person, who just had the bad luck to move into the wrong house or meet the wrong person.

Here’s a selection of some of the stories:

Aladdin’s Cave Story (M&J: #108)

Jo Johnson and her friend Emma are stuck waiting at a bus stop, so the begin playing a prize giving arcade game called Aladdin’s Cave. They win a brooch at first and are surprised when their money is also returned. They continue doing this for a while, but Emma begins to get nervous she worries that something is wrong that the goods might be stolen and that something’s not right with the game and leaves. Jo continues but then the machine starts to shake and all the prizes help form an unfriendly genie

           

The Gate Story (M&J:  #140)

Sally Townsand is a late comer to her new boarding school, so she is given a single room that isn’t normally used. Sally doesn’t like an old faded picture of gates hanging up and is going to take it down, but the housekeeper insists it must always stay there.

Sally takes it down later anyway, she notices a crack in the wall but figures her poster can hide it just as well. That night she is woken up by knocking and tearing noises coming from the wall. Bits of plaster start to fall off. She runs to get the housekeeper who place the picture back up and tells her as long as its there nothing can get through. Bones ends the story by explaining that gates are used to keep things in as well as out.

     

Disappear Story (issue:141)

Rachel Gunn and her family move into a new house, they are quite happy and she settles in quickly at her new school. Her younger brother tells her how the previous family disappeared  Soon after Gary starts disappearing and reappearing.

Rachel thinks its Gary playing tricks on her, until it happens with her parents as well. She wakes up one morning and there is no trace of her family, though the car is still in the driveway. Feeling scared she rings the police. The police arrive but there is no sign of Rachel and they discuss how its strange that the same thing happened to the previous family, but its not like people vanish into thin air! This has a nice bit of a build up for a short story and it’s made even creepier when these things are left unexplained.

There was of course many stories in its long run, others I liked included;  a girl goes to a party at the department store she works at, only to discover that she was with mannequins all night. Another has a girl being turned into a tree. There were some spooky and interesting stories,  though like I said they were quite constrained with fitting the story into 2/3 pages, familiar twists appeared such as a person talking to a ghost while thinking another person is really the ghost. Sometimes the ending is left ambiguous with Bones only hinting at what may have happened.The art was done be a few different artists, but whoever was on drawing duties always did a good job. It was not a new concept to have a spooky storyteller telling stories, The Man in Black (Diana), Damian Darke (Spellbound) and Gipsy Rose (Jinty) all scared readers and taught them lessons weekly. Skeleton Corner continues this tradition and was successful in continuing to have an enjoyable run of stories.

The next page has a list of stories that appeared.

3 thoughts on “Skeleton Corner

  1. I still think it was pretty daring to have a skeleton as a host in a girls’ comic. That’s what I like about Skeleton Corner.

    One story I remember was one where a girl tastes honey for the first time. She becomes addicted to honey and eats everything with honey. But you know what happens when people eat too much of one kind of food, don’t you?

    And there was another where two girls who wish every day was Friday. An old lady overhears and tells them to be grateful for each day as it is, but they just sneer at her. Soon they find themselves repeating Friday over and over – including the same old classroom test over and over – and realise Friday is no good without Saturday to follow. The old lady must be behind it and the girls set off to find her. Bones says it is a pity they didn’t ask for Thursday so they could read M&J every day. Yes, but the same M&J over and over, Bones?

  2. A few more Skeleton Corner stories I remember:

    Janie wishes to fly and a robin grants her wish. At first it is exhilarating – until it comes to the matter of stopping. The robin doesn’t know how to do that and Janie never asked about stopping anyway. Janie is left to fly forever. Bones leaves us with the warning to be sure that what we wish for is what we really want.

    Welcome to the ghost tour where the guides are the ghosts themselves! But be warned – only those with the strongest nerves of steel can get through this tour!

    A strange crone gives a girl a horse on the condition that she give the horse back when asked. At a gymkhana a rival’s horse goes lame and asks to borrow the girl’s, but the girl refuses. She doesn’t want the competition. But the rival turns out to be the crone in disguise. And as the girl didn’t keep her end of the bargain, she loses her horse. Bones tells us that we mustn’t just take – we must give as well.

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