Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Scream #2

Jose Miralles provides the cover for this issue of Scream, featuring the character Lady Satan. It is cover dated October 1973.

First is Lady Satan in "The Macabre Beginning" by Al Hewetson (story) and Ricardo Villamonte (art). A young woman, Anne Jason, is brought by friends to a tourist attraction in Salem, but is then grabbed by some Satanists, who claim she's the Black Queen of Salem Witches, returned from the dead. Anne shocks them by revealing that she is in possessed by her. The Satanists reveal it was all an act, but she considers things real and calls forth for Satan, to marry him. Around this time Anne is able to repossess her body and not wanting to be married to Satan, flees and jumps off a cliff to her death. This is a bit of a confusing origin story, and VIllamonte's art is rather mediocre

Next is "I Was a Vampire for Hire" by Al Hewetson (story) and Felipe Dela Rosa (art). A man named Watson comes across an advertisement for Stanley, a pretend vampire for hire! Watson hires him to dress up as a vampire and smash through a window at an upcoming party he is holding. Stanley does as he was hired, but it has horrendous results as people freak out and Watson's father in law dies of a heart attack! Stanley finds out that it was all a plot schemed by Watson though, as he is set to inherit money due to his father in law's death. Stanley decides to get revenge, putting on a mask of the father in law and pretending to be him at the funeral, then reveals himself to be alive during it. This causes Watson to blab out that this was all a scheme both he and his father in law cooked up to enable them to easily transfer some holdings. Watson and the others demand to know where the father in law is, as he was only unconscious. Stanley reveals that he hid him in a frozen body compartment in the morgue, and he's now dead for real. Some pretty good twists in this story, A rare Skywald story that ends up not having any actual supernatural element to it.

"I Was a Vampire for Hire"
Next is "Gothic Fairy Tales: The Thing in the Black Dress" by Al Hewetson (story) and Jesus Suso Rego (art). This may be the first in a series, perhaps modeled after EC Comic's Grim Fairy Tales? We get another brief feature in this series at the end of the issue. In this story, an aging woman, angry that she can no longer compete with younger women decides to move to the village of Garg in Transylvania, hoping there she can regain a powerful position in society. She gets a bit of attention, but not as much as another, far younger and more attractive woman. Our protagonist decides she wants to get rid of her and starts telling everyone her rival is a vampire, including showing everyone a dead body with bite marks. A mob forms, and grabs the rival, then pulls her outside, where our protagonist is shocked to find the rival is in fact a vampire and is killed due to exposure to sunlight. Upon her death she calls out our protagonist as a witch. The mob quickly changes their focus, believing it, and our protagonist ends the story bound in a public stock in the middle of town. How volatile the mob was in this story was pretty ridiculous, but Suso's art is quite strong.

Fourth is an Edgar Allen Poe adaption, "The Pit and the Pendulum" with adaption by Al Hewetson and art by Ricardo Villamonte. This classic Poe story features a man who is sentenced to death and is jailed in a cell which contains a large pit in the middle. He avoids the pit, but drinks a drugged cup and later awakens bound on a board, with a pendulum swinging above him and slowly lowering. Our protagonist is able to escape by rubbing food on the ropes binding him, causing rats to bite at them until he is loose. Our protagonist is once again faced with the pit, but now the walls are moving in, forcing him closer and closer to it. But suddenly he hears voices and is freed by a friend. This is a fairly decent story, but I'll admit that Villamonte can't really hold a candle to Jose Ortiz, who also drew an adaption of this story for Warren.

A "Gothic Fairy Tale"
Fifth is "The Phantom of the Opera", a two page feature from Al Hewetson (story) and Maro Nava (art). The first page of this features us seeing how Lon Chaney put on his makeup for the titular role. The second page features a short scene from the movie, of his unmasking. Makes me wonder if this was originally intended for the "Scream Scene" feature we recently saw in some other Skywald issues.

Next is the one page "The Vampire Hunters" by Al Hewetson (story) and Domingo Gomez (art). It features, what else, but some vampire hunters, who come across a crypt with 8 open coffins and stake all the bodies within.

Seventh is "The Vampire Letters" by Al Hewetson (story) and Emilio Bernardo (art). An editor as a newspaper (Howie Anderson, a pseudonym for Al Hewetson, for whom the character is modeled after) publishes a classified ad from a vampiress wanting to meet up with a male vampire. Some bizarre vampire photos start coming into the paper and after he publishes them some actual vampire killings start occurring. Howie investigates and finds the source of the ad, and meets up with the vampiress, the beautiful Anne, who claims it was all a joke. As they embrace and start to kiss he realizes he really is a vampire though. Anne is in love with Howie for real, but he leaves. She chases after him, outside, and the sunlight starts immediately decaying her body. Howie changes his mind, turns around, bites her on the neck and changes into a vampire himself... then instantly dies as well. A somewhat decent story, its always fun to see Hewetson involved in the story in some fashion. Bernardo's art is just okay, but he at least provides a rather gruesome final page.

Another one pager is next, "The Thing That Left No Fingerprints" by Al Hewetson (story) and Ferran Sostres (art). This story features a rabid dog that was shot by its owner come back to life and kill him!

Ninth is "The Fetid Belle of the Mississippi" by Al Hewetson (story) and Jesus Suso Rego (art). This story is told in interesting fashion; the caption show lines from a screenplay while the word balloons include narration. A steamboat, the Robert E. Lee travels down the Mississippi river in Tennessee. Things are initially calm, but then chaos ensues. The body of a woman is found in the wheel of the boat. Then another boat, occupied by corpses bears down on the Robert E. Lee, crashing into it. Then a giant Loch Ness Monster type beats rises from the sea and attacks! It is here where the captain of the Robert E. Lee loses it, shouting out that the script is all wrong. He beats the monster into submission, then grabs an ax and starts chopping away at the captions and says he will rewrite the screenplay. Another one of those crazy, break the fourth wall Skywald stories, which helps what may have otherwise been a rather dull story.

"The Vampire Letters"
Tenth is another entry in the Nosferatu series, "The Name is Sinner Cane... And the Name Means Evil!" by Al Hewetson (story) and Zesar Lopez (art). Similar in fashion to the prior story in this series, the titular Nosferatu has summoned various hooded fiends to eat dinner with him. He calls upon one of them, Sinner Cane, who was a voodoo priest in Haiti. We flash back to his conflict with a man named Papa General, and how he would curse him with unexplained pain. The general starts having Cane's followers murdered, but Cane rises them up as zombies and comes to the General's home. The general is revealed to be holding a doll through which he is able to control Cane's actions, and causes him to burn and mutilate his own body. Cane eventually jumps out of a window and the general causes him to shoot himself in the head. We return to the present and Cane removes his hood, revealing his mutilated corpse body. Zesar's art and atmosphere is quite strong, helping hold up an only slightly better than average story.

The issue concludes with the one page "A Gothic Fairy Tale: A Tale of 2 Macabre Snakes" by Al Hewetson (story) and Felipe Dela Rosa (art). Despite being credited to Dela Rosa, this doesn't really look like his artwork. This is a very simple feature, two snakes attack and eat each other.

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