INTERVIEW: Scream! & Misty Special Lizzie Boyle and Yishan Li

'Best Friends Forever' creative team talk horror, their influences, and comics that bite back...

5 months ago

It’s the most spooktacular time of the year and that means it's time for the SCREAM! & MISTY SPECIAL 2018!

Featuring a petrifyingly perfect cover by Kyle Hotz and a 2000 AD webshop exclusive creeptacular cover by Lenka Šimecková, the comic is released in the UK and digitally in time for Halloween!

Inside you'll find tales to terrify and stories to scare you stiff, including the return of undead WWI pilot 'Black Max' by Kek-W and Simon Coleby, more computerised chaos on the '13th Floor' by Guy Adams, John Stokes and Frazer Irving, 'Black Beth' by Alec Worley and DaNi, 'Best Friends Forever' by Lizzie Boyle and Yishan Li, and 'Decomposition Jones', a brand-new zombie/vampire mash-up by Richard McAuliffe and Steve Mannion.

Richard Bruton talked to Boyle and Li about their stand-alone strip for this new special...

Your strip in the 2018 Scream! & Misty Special is entitled 'Best Friends Forever', can you tell us what it’s all about?

LIZZIE BOYLE: Best Friends Forever is the story of a girl growing up in the Louisiana Bayou whose best friend is a giant albino alligator... It's a new strip, a one-off short story about the unbreakable bonds of friendship. It also features a giant alligator so, you know, what's not to like!

YISHAN LI: And it's super fun to draw the alligator eating people!

Given that it’s a new strip, would you say that it’s more in the vein of a classic Scream! scare or more of a mysterious Misty strip?

LB: It's a Misty story! Misty herself makes an appearance as she occasionally used to do in the older comics. To me, the Misty tone is one where the happy world we see masks some serious nastiness underneath, and where feisty, competent girls go into battle with the unexpected.

YL: I missed the last page when i first read the script, and thought it was a great story already, then I read the last page, and I was like... I totally didn't expect that.

What do you remember of both Scream! and Misty the first time around and what is it about both comics that fills readers and creators with such nostalgia and a desire to see new strips with a Misty/Scream! vibe?

LB: I was too young the first time round (blushes), but I read the 2017 special and loved it. Once I heard that I would be writing for this year's special, I read back to try to get under the skin of what is uniquely Misty.

A lot of Misty stories have a nostalgic '40s/'50s, Enid Blyton feeling - sensible girls in sensible shoes who find themselves in bizarre and dangerous situations (often of their own making). So we've got a double espresso of nostalgia now: for the late '70s original comics and for the older vibe that flavoured them. Also: we all like a good scare. Short, stand-alone scary stories aren't going out of fashion any time soon.

Is this your first 2000 AD related work? And where else can people find your work?

YL: This is my first 2000 AD work. A lot of my friends are working with 2000 AD now and luckily I am as well. Very happy with that! My style was originally Manga, but over the years it’s become more and more comic, really influenced by many artists. I worked on the Buffy the High School Years graphic novels for Dark Horse, Convergence: Blue Beetle for DC, Sugar for Top Cow, and I’m currently working on another graphic novel for Top Cow, Swing [which] will come out next year published by Top Cow/Image, and I’ll have another new series with Lion Forge.

LB: This is my first official 2000 AD strip, though I've featured in Zarjaz; I have a story in the current issue based on the Wagner/Ransom classic Button Man. I've had a graphic novel, The Heart Which Makes Us, published by Batten Press. That's a story about a forensic investigator who gets caught up in a child abduction case. The artwork by Aaron Moran in that book is among the darkest I have ever seen. I've also written a choose-your-own-adventure comic, Secret Gardens, in partnership with the Lowther Castle and Gardens Trust in the Lake District, contributed to a lot of anthologies and created four-part animal-based horror-comedy series, Sentient Zombie Space Pigs.

Who would you list amongst your influences?

LB: I love the tautness of John Wagner in thriller mode (hence the Button Man story in Zarjaz); the forensic examination of urban chaos of Will Eisner; the lyrical-yet-twisted worlds of Margaret Atwood and Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba; the historical world-building of Hilary Mantel and Neal Stephenson. And Neil Gaiman, who gets his own category!

The Scream! & Misty Special is out on 17th October - order your copy now!