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Horror comics / horror stories in British weekly comics 
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Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 4:41 pm
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A question for folks to chew on... the (person behind the) Femorabilia twitter account has said she wants to look at 'the way Spellbound & Misty negotiated horror stories for girls'. Which got me thinking - what comics other than those two included horror stories, as such? Of course there are lots of spooky and creepy stories, but do they count as horror? What do you folks count as horror - does it have to have gore and death (in which case there are probably a lot fewer kids comics that include horror stories), or the potential to give you nightmares (in which case there are likely to be a lot more examples we could cite)?

What do you think counts as a horror story, and what is a near miss? What titles (for boys and for girls) did horror stories appear in, that you can think of?

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Wed May 18, 2016 10:59 am
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There's a popular notion that while boys are inclined to bully their victims physically, girls have a natural facility for words and mental torture that can be far crueller in the long run (giving the lie to the old saying about 'sticks and stones'). Though I suspect that this is a gross over-generalization like most gender stereotypes I do think that it can be reflected in the different types of 'horror stories' that tended to appear in boys' and girls' comics, with the former being commonly populated by grotesque monsters with a taste for human flesh while the latter concentrated on less tangible and more psychological fears (as a result of which they were far more inclined to produce lasting nightmares).


Wed May 18, 2016 12:00 pm
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The obvious title that springs to mind for me is Scream! from 1984


Wed May 18, 2016 12:04 pm
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Mandy also seemed to have a high percentage of horror-type stories - especially in the annuals.


Wed May 18, 2016 12:37 pm
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Adam Eterno wrote:
The obvious title that springs to mind for me is Scream! from 1984

Scream, indeed. What would you say the stories consisted of, how did they count as horror - did they have lots of gore and death? I suspect so but haven't really read it myself. From what I've seen, Max from The Thirteenth Floor was quite kill-happy, is that right?

But just being kill-happy is surely not enough to make it count as horror, otherwise Judge Dredd would have a more horror feel to it than it usually does (though of course it does stray into that area with the 4 dark judges storylines, if nothing else).

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Wed May 18, 2016 1:09 pm
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Phil, the truism you mention about psychological horror vs gore is broadly true I agree. Misty had a lot of girls coming to nasty ends - eaten by spiders or targeted by demonic forces - so there could be gore as well as bullying or social ostracism. But I don't think in Misty you get axe-wielding maniacs or zombies tearing you limb from limb. You do get some vampires and werewolves and even misshapen monsters though.

Tammyfan has recently sent me a scan of a Misty story called "Danse Macabre" which had a nasty girl rival being punished for stealing her teacher's ballet shoes by having to dance in them until she dies. At which point her nice rival gets to dance the leading part, of course.

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Wed May 18, 2016 1:16 pm
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Lots of witches, crones, and sorceresses in girls comics of course, often with pretty nightmarish sequences involved. Loki's daughter Hel swops bodies with the protagonist in "When Statues Walk", leaving the girl in an ancient body that will crumble to dust within hours, guarded by living Viking warrior statues who think she is still the original prisoner. Or, the evil witch Miss Marvell in "Golden Dolly, Death Dust!" is trying to wipe out all life on earth, and has a very spooky African mask that does her bidding. (Both stories are in Jinty.)

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Wed May 18, 2016 1:37 pm
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Was the ec stuff like eerie or creepy etc reprinted in uk would they count as im sure they are horror only ones i really know is scream or the USA comics of friday the 13th nihhtmare on elm st etc from a few years ago,


Wed May 18, 2016 7:16 pm
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Here's a story from the 1984 Mandy Annual that still gives me nightmares (so goodness knows what effect it had on sensitive 12-year-old girls!). While the physical transformation at the end is pretty horrific it seems to me that the really disturbing part is the psychological shock as Margaret realizes that with her altered voice nobody will be able to recognize her at all - leading to the prospect of her spending the rest of her days as a non-person, cast out by family and friends alike. I could be wrong but the artist looks like Andy Tew to me.

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Last edited by philcom55 on Wed May 18, 2016 10:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed May 18, 2016 7:18 pm
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philcom55 wrote:
Here's a story from the 1984 Mandy Annual that still gives me nightmares (so goodness knows what effect it had on sensitive 12-year-old girls!). While the physical transformation at the end is pretty horrific it seems to me that the really disturbing part is the pschological shock as Margaret realizes that with her altered voice nobody will be able to recognize her at all - leading to the prospect of her spending the rest of her days as a non-person, cast out by family and friends alike. I could be wrong but the artist looks like Andy Tew to me.

Blimey Phil! You're right, it is pretty horrific - despite the pretty-pretty art and all the picking of bluebells and so on! It struck me when thinking about this question earlier today that part of the reason why horror counts as horror is because the outcome isn't about fairness or a proportional punishment, it's something outrageous and unfair, and that's really why it's scary. So Margaret is selfish and silly, but there's no way she deserves this sort of outcome - likewise people who are attacked by axe murderers and the like in the EC comics. They may have done bad things themselves, they may be foolish or just unlucky, but what actually happens to them - dismemberment, being murdered in their bed by their little knife-wielding baby, being turned into a monster - is way more than they could ever expect in a just world. So the world is visibly shown as being unfair, and it could happen to any of us that we could get on the wrong side of the wrong person.

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Wed May 18, 2016 9:26 pm
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big bad bri wrote:
Was the ec stuff like eerie or creepy etc reprinted in uk would they count as im sure they are horror only ones i really know is scream or the USA comics of friday the 13th nihhtmare on elm st etc from a few years ago,

I guess I'm particularly interested in the home-grown stuff Bri, so Scream would count, more than the EC comics.

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Wed May 18, 2016 9:28 pm
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comixminx wrote:
Adam Eterno wrote:
The obvious title that springs to mind for me is Scream! from 1984

Scream, indeed. What would you say the stories consisted of, how did they count as horror - did they have lots of gore and death?


There's no gore in any of these things.

It was technically still illegal to produce a horror comic in Britain (possibly still is) so anything that steered in the direction of this genre had to tread very carefully.


Wed May 18, 2016 10:31 pm
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With vampires, werewolves, zombies (which all used to fall under the horror banner)and the like becoming more popular. Plus the fact that Rebellion is reprinting Misty stories, I wonder if the UK market is ripe for a horror themed comic.

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Wed May 18, 2016 11:07 pm
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There was House of Hammer (later retitled Halls of Horror) in 1977, a monthly comic mag edited by Dez Skinn. It was mainly feature based content but did feature a few strips every issue, either adaptations of Hammer horror movies or new horror short stories.

Around the same time, there was also Legend Horror Classics, a poster mag that featured a horror strip by Kev O'Neill on the reverse side of the poster. See here:
http://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2009/ ... -days.html


Image

I would guess that both of those were able to get around the law forbidding the publication of horror comics for children on the grounds that they were intended for adults (even though there was no rating or 'Adults only' advisory on the covers and kids could buy them).

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Wed May 18, 2016 11:48 pm
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Buster comic circa 1960-66 (I think) ran "Maxwell Hawke" which dealt with `Hauntings` I think it veered slightly towards horror!

The post March 1969 I.P.C produced `Smash` comic ran "Cursitor Doom" for a year or so!

`Champ` comic 1984-5 had a horror strip called "Pendragon" quite horrific!

Even good old `Sparky` in 1976 ran a one off horror tale "North Sea Oyl" this `Blob` like stuff; sucked the fleash off every organism it touched! What was a tale like this doing in a comic like Sparky?

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Thu May 19, 2016 11:10 am
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