Sometime during the twilight hours on an unremarkable day last month, I stumbled across a website entitled “Back from the Depths” (…the website seems to have been abandoned or may possibly be dead… but the content still remains in all its grotesque splendour).
“Back from the Depths” is a tribute site for the old ’80s comic, “Scream!”. Back in 1984, this was one of the comics that had me dashing down to the nearest newsagent to hand over my hard-earned silver. It was one of those old paper comics, like “Eagle” or “2000 AD”, that left ink stains on your fingers or became a faded yellow whenever you left it, dog-eared, on the back seat of the car. While it had a colour cover, the interior was generally black and white. Every now and then you were treated to a full-colour interior spread or even a few interspersed colour pages whenever you picked up the extra-large holiday specials.
“Scream!” was sadly short-lived and only ever made it to issue #15 before it was cancelled. Stories circulated as to the reasons for its demise, with some suggesting that it had been pulled because of the macabre nature of the comic. There were also stories bandied about of strange disappearances during the night of those children that read the comic…
It’s more likely that strikes and plummeting comic sales in the UK were the reason behind its quick death. Needless to say, I was terribly disappointed by the news at the time.
This series, as short lived as it was, has always stuck with me. It’s one of those fragments from my past that I feel inspired me creatively. It’s not just the stories (“The Thirteenth Floor” being a firm favourite), but also the fragrant memory of print and the delightful chill you got when you read them under the covers by torchlight. Perhaps there really was something in that ink…
I still have all 15 issues (and the holiday specials) stuffed away in an old tea chest somewhere. I haven’t seen them in years and can only hope that mice have not decided to take up home amongst their pages. It was curiosity of the old comic that led to me stumbling upon “Back from the Depths” and it was there that I found the entire 15-issue series and one holiday special available to view. For those interested, you can find the link here.
Each page is presented separately as a JPG. It’s not perfect (there is a page missing here and there), but it is free and you can’t really ask for anymore than that.
For those that would rather read this truly fangtastic comic in a PDF format, I have taken the time to assemble each individually. Each cover below will link to the PDF in question. For quality and ease of reading, the issues are quite large in size, but feel free to either read them online or download as you wish.
Enjoy, but please remember, the stories contained within are “not for the nervous…”
Final Note: Should anyone consider the placement of these old issues a copyright infringement, please feel free to contact me and I will remove them immediately. My intention is not to claim the work as my own, but to share with others something that was very nearly lost and forgotten.