SCREAM! & MISTY SPECIAL: Alec Worley on The Fate Of The Fairy Hunter

Writer on all-new Misty-inspired story talks about his inspirations and working with artist DaNi

10 months ago

It's Halloween and what better way to commune with worlds sinister and dark than picking up a copy of the Scream! & Misty Special - out now from all good newsagents and comic book stores!

The 2000 AD blog's Richard Bruton sat down for a chat with writer Alec Worley, who gets to tell an all-new Misty inspired tale with artist DaNi: The Fate Of The Fairy Hunter.

The Scream! and Misty Special brings back some fantastic old favourites from British comics past. Do you remember the originals?

Alec: Misty was a tiny bit before my time, but I had the entire run of Scream! Loved it! I re-read it recently and it’s a cracker of a comic with consistently atmospheric art. The fact that it’s for younger readers, and so couldn’t resort to gore and violence for effect, forced the creators – whether the realised it or not – to find more imaginative ways of spooking the reader, I think. The Library of Death stories were probably my favourite.

Can you tell us a little about your strip, an all-new thing created for this special?

Alec: It’s an original Misty four-pager called Fate of the Fairy Hunter. It’s about Wanda Hannigan, a stressed-out publishing intern visited by a vengeful Faerie Queen, who needs Wanda’s help... I read a stack of back issues to get a feel for Misty and get an idea about how I might preserve that refined gothic atmosphere. I had to tell a traditional Misty tale but with contemporary storytelling and for a generation of readers that will only know Misty as a character from Pokemon! There’s easter eggs in our story for old-timers who may have read Misty first time around, but this story had to be for younger readers.

Your artistic collaborator on this one is DaNi, a spectacular young artist from Greece. She’s relatively new to comics, and was possibly first seen by 2000 AD readers in the 2000 AD Free Comic Book 2016 comic. What has she brought to the strip? Looking at her work online I can certainly see why she’s a good fit for a dark tale of fairies!

Alec: DaNi’s amazing! Her pencils are beautiful and her storytelling is absolutely on point. There wasn’t a whole lot we could do with this story in terms of visuals, given that it’s set in present-day London, but I gave her complete license to do whatever she wanted with the Fairy Queen character. When I was writing, I pictured some kind of fancy Regency lady and Dani came up with an ‘owl shroom lady’. Mental! We worked really well together and I’d love to write else for her again soon.

Did you get a chance to select and pitch the strips you fancied bringing back or were they assigned to you?

Alec: We didn’t get to choose, I’m afraid. The strips all got assigned by the editor Keith Richardson, who gave me a two-word brief: ‘evil fairies’.

Have any of you got any strips from Scream! or Misty that you’d absolutely love to have a go at in future if we get another Special? Or more generally, given that Rebellion have access to the entire Egmont and IPC archive, If you could bring back something (strip, character, comic) what would it be and why?

Alec: There’s a lot you could do with Misty and Scream!, I think. Though you’d have to do a lot of work in terms of marketing if you’re aiming any new material at younger readers. A series of ‘Misty/Scream! Presents...’ original graphic novels, would work, I think. I’d love to work on one of those. I’d LOVE to take a swing at Hookjaw. I’ve got a crazy mythological take on the concept that I’d love to do, if anyone in Rebellion’s editorial department is reading this... Just saying...

What hopes do you have for comics like Scream! and Misty acting as that all important gateway drug to getting teens into comics?

Alec: I’ve worked quite a bit in comics for younger readers now and can firmly say that your intended readership dictates everything! For someone like Rebellion it’s not hard to create an amazing, fresh, reader-friendly comic. 2000 AD does this all the time! The challenge is getting those comics under the noses of the people who will love them and want more. I’ve not yet read any of the other strips in this anthology, but I’ve no doubt they’ll be amazing. There’s too much talent in there for them not to be! But whether those stories will reach their target audience will depend on good marketing and ton of luck. If comics as a medium is to be considered a serious art form comparable to literature, cinema, theatre, etc, then creators need the freedom to experiment, to explore ideas, express ambiguities and complexities, break rules, find new ways in which to adapt the form, and – yes – even offend. I’m sure Misty and Ghastly McNasty would agree!

You can read Alec and DaNi’s all new fairy tale with a Misty-inspired twist in The Scream! & Misty Special, out now!