SCREAM! & MISTY SPECIAL: Decomposition Jones
3 months ago
The most spooktacular time of the year is nearly upon us again, which means it's time for the Halloween Horrors of two of Britain's best-loved comics of the '80s to return to haunt us - it's the SCREAM! & MISTY SPECIAL 2018!
Featuring a petrifyingly perfect cover by Kyle Hotz and a 2000 AD webshop exclusive creeptacular cover by Lenka Šimecková, the comic is out now in print and digiral!
Inside you'll find tales to terrify and stories to scare you stiff, including the return of The Thirteenth Floor by Guy Adams, John Stokes, and Frazer Irving, undead WWI pilot Black Max by Kek-W and Simon Coleby, Black Beth by Alec Worley and DaNi, and Best Friends Forever by Lizzie Boyle and Yishan Li.
Decomposition Jones is a new horrific mash-up of zombie/vampire DNA by Richard McAuliffe and Steve Mannion. But what's it all about? Richard Bruton braves the horrors to save you the scares!
So far, all I've heard of this one is that Decomposition Jones is a horror mash-up of zombie and vampire DNA...
Richard McAuliffe: I know! How awesome is that? What more do you want out of a comic? Sex and violence? We got that too.
Steve Mannion: Yep... A Zombie Vampire!!
Ok then, aside from the whole zombie vampire thing, what's Decomposition Jones all about?
RM: Well as I mentioned earlier, this six-pager is basically the character's secret origin showing how he went from being a smooth talking, ass kicking '70s cop to something even more badass and, as you'd expect from this comic, horrific. It's a fun character and the whole '70s movie world was an awesome playground so I for one would love the chance to tell at least one of his adventures now we've established who and what he is. I already know who I'd like to have him take down first so fingers crossed we get the chance at some point down the line. Failing that I'll just be the first person to ever sit at home writing fan fiction for one of his own stories.
SM: Basically, it's Decomposition Jones' origin story real quick-like. It's got a great '70s vibe with all the cop show influences that I grew up with.
What brought the pair of you together to work on this one?
RM: I’m guessing in a previous life I did something really, really good! (It wasn’t in this life that’s for sure). This was all written and locked down before Mr Mannion was brought onboard by the all-powerful Ghastly McNasty and for me it was just a kickass bonus when I found out he’d be drawing this. Actually it was probably for the best I was unaware he’d be involved as I’m a HUGE fan of Steve’s Fearless Dawn comic. If I’d known he was gonna do it I probably would have crumbled under performance anxiety pressure.
The editor, Ghastly, apparently read and enjoyed story I'd done for a recent Zarjaz. Off the back of that he told me about a character he had in mind for the Scream! & Misty Special and gave me a shot at writing an origin story. I sent in a submission expecting to get a "nice try but we're gonna go with something else" reply but somehow what I sent seemed to match what they were looking for and here we are. Most of the stuff I've done before has either been full on horror or comedy so this and my love of VHS era B-movies worked out as a good fit as they wanted something a bit different.
SM: [Editor] Keith [Richardson] just got a hold of me and sent over the script after I said..."Heck Yeah! I'll draw this thing!!!. I didn't know it was Richard who wrote it. Just started drawing it, you know?
Do either of you have any memories of either Scream! or Misty from the first time around?
RM: I had the entire Scream! run back in the day but as this was prior to my discovery of alcohol my memory of it is more than a little fuzzy. I remember being a big fan and being gutted that it ended so quickly and, from memory, without any notice. I was and still am a big 2000 AD fan but to be honest I've always been more horror than sci-fi so this felt more like it was being made just for me.
Despite being a girls comic so therefore "icky" and to be avoided as a young boy in the '70s I do actually have a vivid Misty memory. I was staying with an aunt and uncle who had daughters and out of boredom I pulled a Misty annual off the bookshelf and read it. I remember being surprised it had cool ghost stories and wasn't just about ballerinas and ponies and immediately grabbed another annual off the shelf. Sadly this one was about ponies and ballerinas and crushing depression (seriously, read some '70s girls comics, they’re brutal) so my childhood flirtation with girls comics came to a sudden end. Did read the recent Misty reprints though and loved them.
SM: I'm an old yank. I didn't hear nothing!
What is it about both comics that fills both readers and creators with both nostalgia and a desire to see both new versions of the classic strips from the comics and new strips with a Misty/Scream! vibe?
RM: I can't really speak for Misty but with Scream! the fact it was a proper horror comic when nobody else was doing one made it seem very cool and almost like you were getting away with something by reading it. It only had a short run but now looking back that kinda makes it even cooler as it's nice to imagine it was SO awesome and horrific they had to take it off the shelves. I like to think Mary Whitehouse hated it and parents were outraged their kids were being exposed to such horrors. For me at least if a comic isn't slightly offending the old farts, of which I'm now sadly one, then it's doing something wrong so I was really happy to see the Scream! & Misty Special appear last year and am, as you’d expect, even more excited about this one. I don’t know what it is about nostalgia that gives you such a warm and fuzzy but as I’m typing this with Kings of the Wild Frontier playing in the background I will say it works.
SM: I wasn't familiar with Scream! and Misty but I can say that I googled it when I found out I got the drawing job. It seems as though folks are psyched to see Scream! and Misty again... and that's cool!
What is it that makes something a Scream! or Misty strip, as opposed to, say, a 2000 AD Terror Tale? And would you say Decomposition Jones is more Scream! or Misty?
RM: Terror Tales tend to have a bit of sci-fi to them and would work in any modern comic anthology. For me, Scream! and Misty stories have to feel a bit like you should adjust the video tracking to read them properly and I thought last year’s edition really managed to capture that '70s/'80s feel brilliantly. I'd say Decomposition Jones is definitely more Scream! than Misty with a bit of '70s Marvel Comics horror and a dash of grindhouse cinema thrown in for good measure. Misty stories seem to me to be a bit more subtle and this is anything but subtle!
With Rebellion now having access to the entire Egmont and IPC archive, are there any strips, whether Scream!, Misty, or anything else in the archives that you’d absolutely love to have a go at in future?
RM: My first comic love as a kid was Monster Fun so I'd absolutely love the chance to play with some of those characters either as straight kids’ stories or to take the premise of a something like Creature Teacher or Martha's Monster Makeup and go really dark and nasty with them. Make a Monster Fun comic aimed at the age the original readers are now as if the original stories were the watered down fairy tale versions for kids. Can you imagine what an artist like Leigh Gallagher could do with that type of story?
For both of you, this is your first 2000 AD related work. What does that mean to you?
SM: Yes, Decomposition Jones was my first work with 2000 AD. Honestly, it was a joy to get the call because years ago, probably 1996, I had sent some stuff in and got rejected. It was a nice rejection though! Anytime this type of thing happens to an artist, you know...it feels good. Got accepted!
RM: I was a '70s kid who grew up on this stuff. As such it's a total bucket list situation and being paired up with one of my favourite comic creators has been an absolute dream come true. If this does turn out to be my only mainstream comic work I couldn't have asked for anything cooler. It's the type of fun story I love in the actual, official Scream! comic with Steve Mannion! This is my first go in the big leagues. Prior to this I did an original graphic novel of horror stories for Markosia called Damaged Goods and a load of small press stuff.