We’ve been spoiled for choice this October for creepy comics both old and new, so I thought I should look at a few of them.
Rebellion of course have been leading the charge releasing the third volume of Misty and the first volume of The Thirteenth Floor from Scream! as well as the second Scream!/ Misty Halloween Special. Elsewhere we also got the independent Bite Me Comic , and while not out in time for Halloween Comic Scene the Uk comic Magazine will have their Magic & Horror issue out in 2 weeks.
Starting with Misty Vol 3: Wolf Girl & Other Stories, this makes a change from the first two volumes, instead of printing two serials, it prints one and a collection of related short stories. This isn’t a bad format considering Misty had far more short stories than serials. I think it is a bit weaker than the first two volumes, but they are hard act to follow as they had some of the strongest and fan-favourite stories. This is also the first volume where not all the credits are known, while the writer of Wolf Girl remains a mystery the art of Eduardo Feito is captivating. The story is about Lona, who is rescued and raised by a wolf after her parents were killed in an accident. She is found when she is two and adopted and brought up with no knowledge of her past. But her past catches up and hitting puberty she starts acting out in a feral way, eventually she runs away from home and tries to embrace her other nature. It story moves along quickly,maybe too quickly particularly the ending is a bit sudden. I do like that Lona has been very “civilised” until this point and her struggle between her two upbringings is well done, it contrasts with something like The Taming of Teresa, where her bestial nature is slowly made more civilised.
The short stories follow the Wolf theme; Poor Jenny, (a personal favourite that made it into my top short stories list here),The Curse of the Wolf, Twin Catastrophes and Wolfsbane. Along with a few other extras these fill out the book nicely. I’d be happy enough if they decide to keep with this format printing some short stories with a serial and I like they’ve kept an overall theme. There are still some Misty stories I would have preferred to see, but I’m sure there will be plenty of other Misty volumes in future that will cover them.
Scream! an even sorter lived publication, has also had 3 volumes of stories reprinted, Monster, The Dracula File and The Thirteenth Floor, while I haven’t had a chance to pick up the latest book, I did pick up The Dracula File not so long ago. I really enjoyed the book, the art is amazing and the story captures the Dracula myth and places it perfectly in a “modern” day Britain. The biggest flaw is the story was clearly taking it’s time building to something (although it is not a slow read, it’s quite a page turner!). Stakis (the ex KGB agent hunting Dracula) doesn’t arrive in Britain till about halfways through the story and then in, what would have been the last issues of Scream!, we are shown a flashback to Dracula’s past. It leaves quite a lot unresolved which is a pity. Still it is an excellent Count Dracula story, which I would recommend. Certainly it encourages me to pick up the other Scream! books in the future, I’ve read a little of The Thirteenth Floor and have liked what I’ve seen. easy to see why it’s being picked up for new stories in the specials.
Speaking of the special.. Scream!/ Misty picks up from the previous year’s book with continuing stories for The Thirteenth Floor and Black Max. They are joined by other potential ongoings Decomposition Jones and Black Beth. On the more Misty side of things are some short stories Best Friends (new for the book), Mint Condition (a reprint of a limited seen fanzine) and Boookworm (reprint from Misty). I think overall this issue is stronger than last year, it does still have the problem of some stories being more set up for ongoing, but most felt satisfying on their own. The art throughout is great too, my favourite is probably Black Beth, gorgeous work. I enjoyed Decomposition Jones, though it highlights that this book is aimed at an older audience than the original books and Mint Condition about girl trying to keep her inheritance of Misty Comic Collection in pristine condition. The Thirteenth Floor is darker than usual as we see someone not deserving of such treatment, take a trip. Best Friends is a fun cautionary tale and Bookworm is still good on a reread. I also appreciate the release of two alternative covers again this year, which are both stunning.
Bite Me comic in someways is more what I expected of the Scream/Misty special. As I mentioned above, the special seems more aimed at an older audience (the grown up readers), this however feels more similar to the old comics I used to read while still being new. They are all short stories but I could see at least two stories that could have potential for ongoings, The Moonlight Girls and Clarabelle and the Ghostly Locket. The Moonlight Girls I especially liked, as girls with names of Diana, Tammy, Judy and Mandy gather around a fire to tell a spooky story of The Countess. The Doll Sitter and Night Light are both creepy stories and then rounding out the comic is two Misty reprints Who Killed Teacher? and oddly enough Twin Catastrophes which as mentioned above was also reprinted in the Misty Volume 3 book. There’s a few vampire related features to round the comic out. From what I have gathered Bite Me is a vampire based magazine that comes out bi-annually, with this being a special switch to comic, I don’t know what the future plans, if this is just a once off, but I would certainly be happy to see more of it. I will also say delivery service was fast and even came with thank you note from the editor. (http://www.bitememagazine.com/buy-bite-me-comic)
Finally I wanted to give a mention to Comic Scene Magazine, it is full of great articles looking back at the old UK comics and what is currently on the scene. It’s approach of having a theme for each issue (humour, war, sport etc.) is an interesting one, also if money is tight it makes it easier for reader’s to choose the issues that interest them most. I of course picked up issue 1 which was focused on Women and Girl Comics, and looked at things such as Misty, Supercats, Valda and Cat Girl (the IPC character not the DCT one). The upcoming fourth issue will look at Scream & Misty, Girls Comics Spooky storytellers, New Doctor Who and Sandman among other things. The magazine seems to be going well, so it will be a good resource. (https://comicscene.tictail.com/)
While I haven’t done a very in depth review of these books, I think its good to highlight what’s available these days and I’ve certainly enjoyed the range of books we’re getting.