1987. A new toy line had recently appeared called SuperNaturals. They were like Visionaires, in that they were action figures whose main gimmick was that they used holograms. But these were better than Visionaires because they were more monstrous! I had an evil knight called Burnheart - his 'normal form' (when you turned the hologram one way) was a really ugly man. A scarily ugly man, in fact. Turn him the other way and his 'true form' revealed itself - a hideous fire demon-thing. His shield had a similar scary face in it. I thought it was ace, of course. So when a comic came out all about the SuperNaturals I had to get it!
However, what I did not count on was the truly terrifying story hidden inside entitled THE DOLL. The gist of the first part went like this: a young boy moves in with foster parents. They're still recovering from the death of one of their own children. The new boy stays in the dead son's bedroom. He finds an old trunk on top of the wardrobe, manages to open it, and finds a really ugly ventriloquist doll. Upon showing it to his foster parents, they freak out because it belonged to their dead son. The dad forcefully takes the doll from the young boy and chucks it in the bin. The last two panels have been branded upon my memory ever since: dad comes back inside holding his hands, which are visibly marked. His wife asks if he's okay. He replies, something along the lines of, "It's the strangest thing, but I could have sworn the doll scratched me as I threw it in the bin." The final panel shows the top of the doll's head as it starts to clamber out the bin.
That's creepy, right? And this was in a comic for kids my age (8, at the time)! For a while now, I've been trying to find out more about this comic, ideally to get hold of a copy, because it's one of those things that absolutely, definitely sent me down the horror path. And every time I've remembered THE DOLL it still gives me shivers so it has to be as freaky as I remember...hasn't it?
The thing is, try googling 'THE DOLL SUPERNATURALS COMIC' and it's slim pickings indeed. But, after much searching, I've finally picked up a copy of the SuperNaturals comic! Issue 4, to be precise. The weird thing is, there's no mention in the comic itself of who wrote/drew any of the artwork/segments. Some, bizarrely, were "written" by readers (I don't know if this was a piece of genius marketing or commonplace back then, asking your audience to write the very product they're buying). You do have to wonder about quality control, if this was the case. And just how old these kids were who were sending the ideas in. When you see this latest part I think you'll agree that the young mind behind it probably wasn't quite all there. On a sort of side note, there isn't a comics code logo on the cover, which suggests the reason why they could get away with publishing THE DOLL. Either that, or the publishers honestly thought little kids wanted to read about the worlds most terrifying doll (if anyone's thinking 'CHILDS PLAY', that didn't come out till 1988, so SuperNaturals kind of got the jump on people there).
Anyway, the section about THE DOLL really is significantly horrific for a comic bought by children. Here's a taster:
That first panel's a little cheesy, sure, but it's still sinister - a good bit of B-Movie fun. But you've got to agree that image above is pretty gross! And wait until you get to the last few panels of THIS segment...! It insinuates something that I'm pretty sure even kids would guess at. Brrr!
But enough teasing. Here's THE DOLL, 'episode 4'! Click the links to read! You *might* get asked for a password, in which case it's skull4hands