Tuesday 30 October 2012

1984: SCREAM! ISSUE 15 (IPC)

Fifteen. And out.  Regular SCREAM! readers would have had no idea that this issue would be the last. There's no "Great News Inside!" type cover flash.  No positive-spin message from Ghastly inside.  No hasty attempt to wrap-up the strips that didn't make the merger.  It looked like business-as-usual.

Except... issue 16 never appeared.

IPC, the vast British publishing house (of which comics were a small - and diminishing - division) was about to succumb to one of its periodic industrial disputes... and SCREAM was one of a number of comics and magazines that - without warning - vanished from sale.

When the strike finished, Scream didn't return with the other titles.  Conspiracy theories abound: some suspect that IPC, after the ACTION debacle of the previous decade, suddenly became nervous about the possible consequences of a horror comic (although IPC's own MISTY and Marvel's DRACULA LIVES seemed to have avoided the watchful eye of the moral majority ).  Others say that the publisher had come under pressure to discontinue the title.  Some say that the weekly had been sacrificed by management in the fallout from the strike for internal political reasons.  Others - and this is frankly more likely - just think that the sales of the early issues (in an industry already well into decline) just didn't justify continuing.

The real reason - despite a gap of nearly thirty years - is still frustratingly unclear.

But, during the summer of 1984, Scream reigned supreme.

Taking everyone by surprise, the long-delayed return of Ghastly never happened and - instead - a low-key merger with EAGLE took place later in the year.  Presumably, no-one in management thought the addition of such a short-lived title was worth making much of a song-and-dance about compared with some of the other longer-established weeklies that merged with Eagle, notably TIGER the following year.

IPC, typically, kept the Scream name alive in a series of holiday specials over the next few years.

Reprints of The Thirteenth Floor were subsequently collected in an issue of THE BEST OF EAGLE.  

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