Scream! was a British weekly comic anthology with a horror theme, running from March 24, 1984 until 30 June 1984, published by IPC Magazines.
With a tagline of “not for the nervous”, Scream! was supposedly edited by the fictional Ghastly McNasty, similar to other British comics of the time which laid claim to fictional editors—such as 2000 AD’s Tharg the Mighty, Tornado’s Big E, and Starlord from the magazine of the same name. Ghastly’s face was concealed by a hood, and a regular feature of the comic involved readers sending in drawings of what they believed he looked like. The editor was, in fact, Ian Rimmer who went on to work for Marvel comics
Fifteen issues were published before the title was cancelled due to a combination of controversy over its horror content, and production strikes at IPC. The cancellation was at such short notice that the final issue’s strips contained previews for the next instalment of the never printed issue #16.
Scream! was absorbed by Eagle, with the two most popular strips continuing in that publication. There were also five Summer Specials released, mostly consisting of reprints of horror-themed stories from IPC’s back catalogue.
- The Dracula File – the lead strip, about Dracula hunting in 1980’s England and occasionally written by Simon Furman (famous for writing Transformers).
- Fiends and Neighbours – a reprint from a more mainstream IPC comic Cor!!, about a family of monsters living next door to an ordinary couple.
- A Ghastly Tale – one-off strips introduced by Ghastly himself.
- Library of Death – one-off morality tales.
- Monster – serial about a deformed man (‘Uncle Terry’) who grew up locked in an attic, similar to the Monster of Glamis. The strip borrowed from the ‘gentle monster on the run’ archetype as espoused by the Hulk, as Terry inevitably escaped, tending to murder people he didn’t like due to his inhuman strength and lack of social restraint. Notably the script for the first instalment was credited to Alan Moore, with subsequent scripts credited to “Rick Clark,” a pseudonym of John Wagner. After Scream! closed Monster continued in Eagle for some years.
- The Nightcomers – about a haunted house which killed a husband-and-wife investigator team – their children were drawn to the house to continue the investigation.
- Tales from the Grave – short stories illustrating the depravity of Victorian era London.
- Terror of the Cats – an ill-fated experiment to harness the psychic energy of cats resulted in local cats becoming enraged and attacking people in a small town. This too was written by Simon Furman.
- The Thirteenth Floor – Scream!’s most popular strip, concerning “Max” a crazed computer, in charge of an elevator in an apartment building – when someone bad or evil steps inside, “Max” would take them to The Thirteenth Floor as punishment. It continued in Eagle for several years after the demise of Scream!. The first 11 episodes were reprinted in Hibernia Books’ 2007 collection, ‘The Thirteenth Floor’.
It is commonly believed that Scream! fell foul of the anti-horror hysteria in the UK at the time of publication, which coincided with the ‘Video Nasty‘ scare.
Read all fifteen editions of Scream! online at www.backfromthedepths.co.uk