On this day, 24 March 1984: Scream!
On this day, 24 March 1984 … This is what we want! Or wanted, back in 1984. Actually no, this is what we want now: a brand new horror comic, the blood-curdling Scream!, cloaked in the mists of Hammer camp and 2000AD darkness. It does seem surprising that it took IPC so long to launch a full-on horror comic aimed at a general readership, beyond Misty for girls and Monster Fun and Shiver and Shake for the humour readers, but time presumably operated on a different dimensional plane for undead editor Ghastly McNasty in his lair 29 floors below ground-level of King’s Reach Tower. I wonder whether Tharg in his shiny penthouse Nerve Centre knew what stirred so far beneath.
There’s some classic work in here: Eric Bradbury on The Dracula File, Alan Moore on Monster (to be published in a collected edition in July by Rebellion), Max the super-computer (who would go on to become an editor himself, of Eagle, which picked up Scream! after it failed to return as a comic in its own right following a printers’ strike) of The Thirteenth Floor, and The Terror of the Cats in which an electrical storm causes the moggies of the globe to turn feral and hunt in packs. For me though the standout story in this first issue is the one-off Library of Death story At Death’s Door by Barrie Tomlinson. Artist Cam Kennedy’s artwork on a tale of a lad whose parents won’t let him visit the fairground ghost house, but who is taken there in a dream by a terrible key-bearer, is truly bleak and haunting – as disturbing as pretty much anything else I’ve seen in IPC comics up to this date.