Superstar artist Dani and myself have resurrected an ancient comic-book heroine, one that’s obscure even by standards of vintage British comic books!
Black Beth first appeared in the Scream! Holiday Special back in 1988, four years after the comic itself had ceased publication. Unusually for a Scream! story, Black Beth wasn’t actually a horror strip, but a 23-page sword opera set in a brooding medieval world.
With beautifully sinuous art by veteran Spanish illustrator Blas Gallego (link NSFW), the strip was a mashup of Red Sonja and The Punisher with shades of MacBeth, in which our vengeful young heroine becomes a knight with a unbreakable vendetta against evildoers.
The identity of Black Beth’s original writer has unfortunately been lost in the mists of time.
The original strip was created in the mid 1970s for another IPC title (also called Scream), but the comic was cancelled before issue one saw print. Beth was left discarded in a drawer somewhere in the IPC offices until she was exhumed over a decade later by editors looking for material to fill up the specials.
I picked up that 1988 Holiday Special at an age when I was beginning to fall so very deeply in love with Warhammer, Fighting Fantasy, Dragon Warriors, Conan, Hawk the Slayer, etc. and would obsess over any scrap of sword and sorcery I could get my hands on.
So when I heard Rebellion were publishing a second Scream/Misty annual, I begged editor Keith Richardson to let me and Dani pitch him a Black Beth tale.
We wanted to tap into that vintage Scream! magic, as well as the kind of unabashed pulp vibe that pervaded Creepy, Eerie, and Savage Sword of Conan.
We dared to be unhip!
Driven by her crusade to punish the unjust, Black Beth must save a group of sacrifices from a warlock intent upon unleashing evil upon the world. But the witch Moldred has given Beth a dire warning: to undertake this mission will have terrible consequences! Will Beth heed Moldred’s advice? Or is her homicidal thirst for vengeance all that matters to her?
The 2018 Scream and Misty Special is available from all good newsagents and comic shops, as well as the 2000 AD webstore and in North America from Midtown Comics.