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Friday, 23 September 2016

The Paranormals: What Might Have Been And What Was -oooh.

What "The Paranormals" is about.

In the mid 1980s Fleetway had a comic featuring the toys from ACTION FORCE -the comic title being BATTLE ACTION FORCE in case you didn't know. But things went awry when Marvel purchased the comic rights and Fleetway had to rush to get a replacement feature.

On 13th November,1987,Fleetway launched No.1 of THE SUPERNATURALS,again based on a set of toys from Tonka. But by issue no.6 there was talk of Marvel UK going for a deal with Tonka Toys
that would leave Fleetway in a deep hole again.

I was working on scripts and project ideas and was asked if I had anything that could fill the gap IF the worst happened? Well,I was working on a series of toy designs that had led to nothing and the
games manufacturer who had shown interest in a game based on the idea also opted out to produce yet another TV show oriented game.

My project was "The Supernaturals I:The Spectral Realm".

In short,I said "yes!".

Having travelled on the London Underground system on trips to London I was struck by how eery some of the stations were -probably brought on by recollections of the film "Deathline" with Donald Pleasance,Christopher Lee and others [basically,Alan Moore -well, it looks like Alan Moore- is a psychotic underground dweller killing people in a gorey way while shouting out "Mind the doors!"]. I got
into looking at the history of the system and soon found out about the haunted areas and even claims of real derelicts living in abandoned areas.

The Underground is,after all,the oldest in the World;opening in 1863;so many burial pits and graveyards have been cut through that the possibilities are endless. The deepest tube line is,I believe,300 feet? But there are others,some unmapped...perhaps even deeper below London?

I had the idea that,rather as in The Supernaturals comic,there was this power or force,neither good nor evil but maintaining some kind of balance of the two. This power chose warriors or people and
placed them in The Spectral realm where they were given various powers/abilities. There was no returning to "Mortal World". These people were stranded in Spectral Realm until the end of time or
until they died.

There would be Realm Dwellers,ghosts and the like to assist one side or the other. There would be the occasional enigmatic figure able to bridge both worlds. And I thought why not have one of the
deepest,abandoned [around 1900]stations as the breach between Spectral Realm and Mortal World?

Then I was asked for some character designs...but to bear in mind the toy market possibilities. A friend suggested a games manufacturer that was looking for a Role Playing Game [RPG].

Although received enthusiastically,the scripts and much more vanished along with the idea -about a month after The Supernaturals had ceased publication. What happened? No idea but I'd guess the
legacy of Robert Maxwell had something to do with it,Fleetway was later taken over by Egmont.

The gaming people jumped ship.

Briefly,around 1993,I thought the idea was going to be picked up by an animation company but no.

I was looking for a project from my dusty old files to revive the hefty box with The Paranormals material in fell on my head. I could not refuse what was obviously a decree from the Great Power!!

Which leads me on to this...

The Paranormals: My Non-Existent Pencilling and Paul Brown's Inking and Retirement From Comics

 As I mentioned The Paranormals, that should have replaced Fleetway's The Supernaturals, in the last post I checked the Spectralrealm yahoo group on which there are a lot of old and cranky character sketches.  Awful in fact.

However, The Paranormals first story was finally published in Tales Of Terror III in 2013.  My pencils are hardly "existing" as I tend to do a rough sketch  panel, ink and move on.  However, I was asked whether I could show what my rough pencils looked like so I scanned pages 1-5 and compared to my usual pencils these are detailed!

Corrections and additions are made as I ink.

So I nabbed these and then saw another file: "Paul A. Brown decided to ink pages 1-7 of the strip --what do you think?"

I could not resist these.

Once he completed his inks, Mr Brown looked at me all humble and said: "Terry, I cannot compete.  You are THE master. I shall no more draw comics. Good day to you, Sir"  and...he never has....well, he did some "great" stuff like Donald Hamilton, Defective Comics, Browner Knowle and...mumble mumble

Lesson to be learnt: if you work with me you will NEVER want to work in comics again.

That...doesn't sound....quite right... 

Anyway, it is odd but these pages -the story- fit right in with the whole Return Of The Gods but I never realised!

But if you want to see the full Paranormals strip....
Price: £8.00 (excl. VAT)
Prints in 3-5 business days
Black & white
62 Pages

Each year Black Tower likes to bring you a little bit of extra horror/ghostly goodness in Tales of Terror.

In the third volume there are contributions by Ben R. Dilworth -Krakos and Merriwether. While Paul Ashley Brown brings us the tales of The Worlds Best Mom and revisits his fear of trees!

Darron Northall and Danny Jenkins bring us the horrific tale of Bud and Lou Go To Hell while George McQueens The Bat deals out justice and Art Wetherell's one pager is designed to make men wince! And, preparing for a big 2012 event, Terry Hooper-Scharf finally includes issue 1 of The Paranormals to make this a true horror/ghost fest book!

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