Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Uncommon Tales - Inspirations

cover by Andy Lee
Our winter comic for this year is Uncommon Tales, in which Sir Glen Douglas Rhodes travels around various commonwealth countries, encountering creatures and monsters. The really horrible ones we left out of the 13 Commonwealth Tales book. As such, we're celebrating a grand tradition not only of storytelling, but of international monster hunting...

In our house, Scooby Doo is on near constant repeat. And it has been for over ten years now, each of the kids loving it in their own way, but especially loving the monsters. If you don't have kids under 8, or are not attempting to forlornly recapture your childhood, its unlikely you are watching Scooby Doo on a regular basis. But you should. From Owl Men, Ogopogo, Baba Yaga and Tikki monsters, via Yeti, alien abductions pirate ghosts and Goatsuckers, Scooby Doo and the gang have pretty much explored every popular folk legend there is. The programme moves from the early days of "science versus superstition" where all the bad guys turn out to be people in masks, through to the newer series, where the monsters are entirely real. A high watermark is the recent Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated series, a 52 episode arc of horror, conspiracy and self referential cleverness which riffs on everything from the Saw films and the Velvet Underground to Twin Peaks and Cthulhu...and is still suitable for children!

Needless to say, any worldwide monster hunt owes a tip of the hat to Scooby Doo. Here's a topical clip from Mystery Incorporated..

Another, much more direct inspiration was from Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing. In a storyline called "American Gothic", Moore has the titular Swamp Thing trudging around America encountering creatures and objects from American folklore and mythology, including Native American ghost shirts, boogeymen and South American cultists. It's a classic, and initially I wanted to call Sir Glen's adventures Commonwealth Gothic in the flimsy hope it would make it just as cool. But we went with Uncommon Tales instead. You can get copies of the American Gothic storyline online. The storyline's other claim to fame, is that it is the comic which introduced the British occultist John's hoping the new TV series, starting this week, features some of those stateside horrors...

Remember of course, you can still enjoy last years Tales of the Oak comic on scribd below, or if you are lucky enough to live in Greenock, by popping into the Dutch Gable House to be furnished with an actual real copy.

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