Tag Archives: scream

Halloween 2019 Roundup

A day late I know, but still worth talking about what Halloween goodies I got this year.  As with previous years most come from Rebellion’s Treasury of British Comics line. For new editions this year, we have a fourth Misty book, this time focused on the artist Jordi Badia Romero and it is their most gorgeous book yet, complete with glossy hardcover. The introduction gives some insight into Jordi Badia Romero and also the work of his brother Enrique (which can sometimes get confused as they worked closely together). Then the book itself consist of mainly short stories (nineteen in total) and one 5 episode serial Screaming Point, as well as some Misty covers. There are many great stories here such as personal favourite of mine Hunt the Ripper which concludes in a fight between Dracula and Jack the Ripper, Darkness at Noon where a woman in ancient times has premonitions of great disaster and The Power of Young Melissa where a young woman appears to have the power to bring the dead back to life. The longer serial Screaming Point where an orphan, Lucy, goes to stay with her uncle, a public hangman is very atmospheric and one of Misty’s creepier serials.

Now in it’s 3rd year the Scream! & Misty special changes direction as it focuses on just one story –The Thirteenth Floor,  which continues its story from the previous 2 specials. Slightly disappointing is that Misty is dropped from the cover so the title is just Scream! Presents. But worries have been subsided with news of next years specials, as not only are we getting a Scream! & Misty Special in October there is also scheduled to be a Misty Presents Special in December. The amount of specials announced for next year  (including another Tammy & Jinty issue) is exciting, especially as they seem to going well enough to expand the amount of titles. So I guess going forward we can expect both combined anthology specials and focused “presents” specials.  As for  The Thirteenth Floor, it really does have room to breathe in this longer format, sometimes the story doesn’t flow to well and needs a second read to get everything, but overall works fine.  Like in the previous specials there are different artists for the real world and Max’s world. This can be a bit jarring at times but also quite effective, a lot of great artists here. The story like I said picks up from the previous special as Officer Hester’s memory wipe hasn’t been completely effective and she is closing in on Max and Sam, meanwhile Sam’s home situation isn’t a pleasant one and helping Max isn’t bringing out the best in him. There is some very creepy imagery throughout, so perfect for Halloween scares!  As well as this story there is a short stand alone story and the first episode from the original series.

While I have not got my copy yet i should also mention Julia Round’s book Gothic for Girls: Misty and British Comics is now available on Amazon. This book gives an in-depth analysis of Misty, so I must for fans.  I look forward to receiving my copy soon.

Meanwhile on the DC Thomson side of things, there is a bit of a Halloween mystery. At the start of the month DC Heritage department opened a Damian Darke twitter account hinting at the return of Spellbound. Then it was announced that they were releasing a digital edition of Spellbound with reprint of serial “I Don’t Want to be a Witch!” and a collection of Damian Darke stories to be released on the 30th October. Then when that date came around all information has suddenly disappeared without explanation and Damian Darke’s twitter account has been deleted! I’ve been trying to make enquiries about this so I will update when I know what has happened as I know many people were eager at the news of the release. Myself being super eager when I checked on twitter and saw the information was gone, I checked on comixology (digital comics website) and saw it was available there, so I bought it. But now I see it has also disappeared from the comixology shop so not available for anyone else. So I won’t post any information about it, until I know further details about why it was pulled (I’m half expecting the copy I bought to be recalled!), but I will say I hope whatever has gone wrong can be resolved because it is quite a nice collection.

So even though Halloween is officially over, still some good reading and a mystery to solve!

UPDATE – So apparently DC Thomson have been doing a bit of clean up of their social media, but the Spellbound issue will be released again in the new year – a further upate is this never materialized and this Spellbound issue seems will never see the light of day which is a shame, particulary for those who contributed and put together the issue.

Halloween 2018 Round up

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.

Rebellion – Scream! Misty Special … and More!

Just a little over a year there was great excitement when Rebellion acquired Egmont/IPC’s classic archives. There was speculation on potential reprints, possible new stories and products, many hoping that their favourite characters would get a revival. Has Rebellion lived up to that promise so far? I would say a definite yes.

On the girl’s comic side of things, soon after the acquirement, they released the first Misty book, reprinting Moonchild and The Four Faces of Eve. While there were some minor quibbles, like Moonchild being reprinted from an annual, rather than the original issues, and some were not keen on the new Misty logo (although everyone was happy to see Shirley Bellwood’s gorgeous artwork of Misty), overall it seemed to be well received. So it is no surprise to see that a second volume, reprinting popular story The Sentinels and End of the Line, is on it’s way. Showing that they are willing to listen to feedback, this cover has the original Misty logo back in it’s proper place. Another example of them listening to people’s views has been shown with the Scream! Misty cover controversy. Many people including Pat Mills, were not happy to see the Misty logo, reduced to the side and obscured by a selfie stick. So it was a pleasant surprise to see that they released a variant cover by Fabry, which reverses the logos. This is the comic that I got, and while the prominent Misty logo is a bonus, I just prefer the cover –  the style, the  trick or treaters, and the horrors behind Misty and Ghastly. That’s not to say the other cover is bad, in fact I was tempted to get both versions, and I think there will be other people who will do that, which should give the special an extra sales boost. The sales of this special should be interesting to follow, as this is new material and if it does well, it could open the door to a more regular thing. Although Keith Richardson (editor of the Treasury line) doubts there will ever be another weekly anthology comic like 2000AD, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for mini series, regular specials or perhaps if it does really well, maybe even a monthly series would be possible.

The Scream! Misty special has a lot of good content and should hopefully reach a new audience, who should then be interested in picking up related content, (i.e. The Dracula File, Monster and Misty books), something which of course they advertise in this comic. The thing I was most excited to see was the sequel to The Sentinels (no coincidence that this popular story was chosen to get a sequel, just before it’s reprint came out). It was strange to see a new art style  and the present day setting, with mobiles and such (reminding me that the original is nearly 40 years old now!) but it still captures the essence of the original and it is quite exciting to see new interpretations of characters and stories. It’s good at showing how these stories can be updated to appeal to a newer generation. The Return of the Sentinels (by Berry, Willsher and Parkhouse) follows a new character Jennifer, as she finds the portal to the Nazi world, and we see how things have changed and developed there too. We see the Nazi symbols and the world have evolved and their main targets for persecution are fitting for these times. It would be interesting to see this new version and new characters developed more, an ongoing or mini series, could even get a chance to tell us what happened to the Richards family (and their alternate counterparts). But for the limited space of 7 pages they make a compelling read, and it’s only flaw really is wanting to see more (and maybe have some questions answered). Willsher’s art is great too, things like Jennifer’s brother building tower blocks out of Lego, the abandoned Sentinel and updated parallel world are all visually interesting.

The other Misty story,  Fate of the Fairy Hunter, is fitting of the short stories Misty used to do and the rest of the issue is also solid stuff. I hadn’t read any of Scream! before, but I am certainly interested in checking out the reprints now (Volume 1 of “The 13th Floor” is promised in 2018). The 13th Floor was the most popular story of Scream! and it is easy to see why, it is an interesting concept, with sci-fi and fantastical elements and the unsettling Max at the centre of it. Again with all these stories, they have done good at modernising it, acknowledging time has passed and at the same time keeping it accessible to new readers. Another highlight is Death-Man: The Gathering in which many other familiar characters make an appearance. Nicely rounding out the comic are The Dracula File and The Return of Black Max: Blood Moon (originally a Thunder strip) which are also fun reads. The book is well produced and I appreciate additions such as the glossary of characters that appear in Death-Man and the welcome/contents page at the beginning. It should be a satisfying read for both new readers and fans of the original comics.

While I have a special interest in “girls” comics, I should note that of course girls can read any comics, even those not directly marketed at them. Rebellion have been good at releasing a variety of stuff for their Treasury line that has a wide appeal, including Hookjaw, Faceache, One-Eyed Jack, The Leopard from Lime Street and Marney the Fox. The latter two books I have already purchased.  I had read some of The Leopard from Lime Street in Buster years ago, but at that time I wasn’t familiar with Spiderman comics, so it wasn’t until I got the new book, that I realised how much the story draws on that. Still it somehow remains fresh and its differences help shape the character of Billy Farmer in another way (such as instead of having a supportive uncle to live up to like Peter Parker has, Billy has a thugish uncle to overcome) and the art is great throughout. Marney the Fox is a comic strip I hadn’t read before but it was a compelling read, that kept me turning the pages so I could find out what happens to Marney, helped also by the gorgeous art by Stokes. Stories centering on the trials of a wildlife protagonist are an enduring genre, such as books like Watership Down, Run with the Wind and Tarka the Otter, I think Marney the Fox would be a good addition to the collection of fans of those books. Again I feel Rebellion are being smart by not reprinting everything in the same model. While all the comics they’ve come out with are well produced, Marney the Fox is particularly attractive as it is presented in a lovely hardback. With it being a complete story and gorgeous art it is sure to appeal to people who may not be familiar with the comics.

It is quite an impressive collection that Rebellion has already built, in not that much time and there is still so much potential for more growth. I am happy with what we have gotten so far and I am looking forward to what the next few years brings.