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Recap #168: Ghosts of Fear Street #31: Escape of the He-Beast by Page McBrier

Escape of the He-Beast by Mark Garro

The scrapped version

Escape of the He-Beast by Happy Boy Pat

The published cover

Title: Ghosts of Fear Street #31 – Escape of the He-Beast, a.k.a. “Hecula the He-Beast #32 – Death by Dying”

Author: Page McBrier

Cover Artist: Happy Boy Pat (Published), Mark Garro (Original)

Tagline: This Monster Is Real – Real Hungry!

Summary: He’s hairy. He’s scary. He’s escaped.

He is Hecula the He-Beast – the coolest monster in comic book history. And Jamie Kolker is his number-one fan. Jamie loves the He-Beast’s horns. His teeth. His claws. And especially the way he hunts his prey.

Then one day Jamie manages to get his hands on the computer program of the artist who draws Hecula. Somehow the program releases his comic book hero into the real world.

Suddenly Jamie isn’t a fan anymore. He’s monster chow!

Initial Thoughts

It’s Comic Con International time, so for this month I decided to do some recaps focusing on comic related horror (except for Graveyard School, which sadly never had a comic-based book). Comics are as important to me as the books I read for Point Horror, but they are a never-ending source of stress for me because it seems like the two major companies are run by complete morons. Word of warning: When you make statements about wanting your favorite character back or for a current writer to stop writing your favorite title, BE AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE BECAUSE THE WORLD OF COMICS IS LIKE A LIVING MONKEY’S PAW AND YOU WILL GET FUCKED OVER.

Hecula the He-Beast by Guy Dorian

A convention sketch of Hecula by Guy Dorian, one of my con regulars

So, funny story. “Escape of the He-Beast” was originally going to be book #28 in the Ghosts of Fear Street series, following “Parents from the 13th Dimension.” There was even a preview for it and, as you can see, Mark Garro completed a cover for the original release. For whatever reason, the book must’ve been pushed back when the Fear Street series was transferred over to Gold Key, with the published #28 being “Hide and Shriek II.” I own all of the Gold Key-published books and they’re my favorite of this series because I LOVE the early 90s CGI cover artwork.

[Wing: Awww, fear of technology setting things free into the world goes back for ages, and I love it.]

Recap

Jamie Kolker loves comics. His favorites are all written and drawn by Al Refko, like “Doomsday 900” and “Iron Warriors.” But his favorite of faves is “Hecula the He-Beast.” He thinks Hecula’s awesome, even though from what we’ve seen of the issues all Hecula does is hunt for meat and search for his horrible creator so he can kill him. [Wing: I can see the appeal of that.]

So here’s where Jamie’s problems began. His parents moved to Shadyside, which meant Jamie had to leave behind his best friends and the comic they worked on together, “Morgon the Man-Beast.” Jamie was the artist and fears his friends will replace him with someone else. And none of the kids in his class, or even his school, seem to care about comics at all (which honestly does sound like Hell). No, all the kids talk about is how haunted Shadyside is, especially Fear Street. [Wing: WELL THEY’RE NOT WRONG.] He’s heard about Pete, the ghost who haunts Fear Street Woods, and this kid Scott told him about how water from Fear Lake turned his little sea monkey into a monster (back in “Attack of the Aqua-Ape”). Jamie’s only saving grace is Shadyside is Al Refko’s hometown so he hopes to someday meet his idol. [Wing: Well no wonder he writes what he does.] Yet Refko’s a very private person; all Jamie knows is Refko works out of a basement studio, and he was an assistant to Bob Ferguson, a comic pro who was big when Refko was young. Jamie’s hoped to somehow bump into Refko on the street, but since he’s got no clue what his idol looks like that plan is on the back burner. Jamie’s even asked his dad, who works for a computer company, if he could figure out a way to find Refko’s number. Mr. Kolker had to explain to Jamie if the phone number’s unlisted it would be against the law to try and find it. Sucks to be you, Jamie.

While in school, Jamie gets so engrossed reading the latest “He-Beast” issue in math class he thinks for a moment his teacher’s voice is Hecula’s. Mr. Ridgley confiscates the issue, so Jamie figures he’s never getting it back. Jamie attempts to focus on the lesson, but ends up doodling Morgon in his notebook. Jamie works on some new armor and a missile launcher for Morgon to wear. His sketching gets the attention of one of his classmates, Samantha, but Jamie figures she’s a goody two-shoes and hides his drawing before she can snitch on him. At lunchtime Jamie is pleasantly surprised when Samantha reveals she liked his drawing and asks why he hid it from her. Jamie decides to show his drawings of Morgon and some fan art he’s done of Hecula. Samantha critiques his Hecula art, pointing out flaws with Jamie’s take on him since it doesn’t match canon. Jamie gets huffy and asks what makes HER the authority on Hecula.

Well considering her dad CREATED Hecula, she’d know a thing or two by now.

Jamie: Like LOL who named you the Hecula expert?

Samantha: You goddamn. Ignorant. BITCH.

Like fucking fake geek guys ruining fandoms for everyone, am I right?

Jamie can’t believe he’s talking to THE Samantha Refko. Samantha reveals her’s and her dad’s last name is actually “Smith.” “Refko” is a pen name because her dad figured no one would buy comics by someone named “Al Smith.” Jamie sees this as his in to meet his hero, and apologizes for getting huffy. He lets Samantha look at his other drawings and gets her critiques while fantasizing about meeting his idol. Jamie asks Samantha if he can meet her dad, which she shoots down immediately because he’s super private. And for that matter, she prefers to be called “Sam.” So Jamie decides to do the logical thing… and tries to follow SAM home from school.

Jamie waits for Sam to get off the bus and covertly follows her to her house on Fear Street. While venturing onto the titular street for the first time, Jamie wonders if it really is haunted. It certainly LOOKS haunted. Jamie manages to keep up with Sam as she heads inside her house. Jamie considers going up and knocking on the front door, but then finally realizes Sam won’t be keen on seeing him stalked her like a creep. So Jamie retreats down the street… and then hears the voice of Hecula demanding flesh!

PSYCH!

As Jamie’s thrown to the ground, he looks up to see Sam laughing that he really believed she was Hecula. Jamie tries to be angry, but Sam points out HE followed her home. Sam does apology when she sees Jamie’s ego is bruised, mentioning she wanted to try out some of her karate moves and even invites Jamie inside since her dad’s not home at the moment. Once inside, Jamie’s a bit disappointed because he assumed Refko’s house would have a lot of comic memorabilia, at least a bust of Hecula somewhere, but it’s so… normal. Sam admits she picked out the furniture because her dad’s got weird taste (and her mom’s dead). While Sam goes in the kitchen to get some sodas, she tells Jamie where the bathroom is so he can freshen up. In the process of trying to remember which door Sam mentioned, Jamie finds himself standing at the steps leading down into Refko’s studio! He figures it wouldn’t hurt if he went down for a couple of minutes. Sam won’t mind…

The studio is more like Jamie imagined for Refko’s living space. The place is decorated with all kinds of comics shit; models, sketches, paintings. There’s even a figure of Gorzon the She-Beast, a supporting character who got fridged in “He-Beast” #31 – “Truth or Die.”

(Fridged: When a female comic character, usually a love interest or supporting character, is tortured, abused, raped, mutilated, or simply killed off for shock value or to give the male lead motivation throughout a story. See “Stuffed in the Fridge” and “Women in Refrigerators.” The term is derived from the death of Green Lantern Kyle Rayner’s girlfriend Alex DeWitt after she was murdered by Major Force and had her body stuffed inside a fridge for Kyle to find. For more notable examples, see Barbara Gordon/Batgirl II (Shot and crippled for life by the Joker in a scheme to drive her father insane), Lian Harper (Violently crushed to death so her father would become a drug addicted murderous vigilante), and Sue Dibny (Given massive brain damage and set on fire while pregnant/was later revealed she’d been violently raped in an effort to make Doctor Light more of a threatening villain)) [Wing: God, I can’t believe Gail Simone coined “women in refrigerators” way back in ’99. It feels simultaneously much older and much newer. Of course, the conversation about the treatment of women in comics goes back for decades. More decades, for those of you who are about to point out that the 90s are also decades ago, haters.]

Major Force kills Alex DeWitt

Welcome to DC Comics, where every kitchen appliance has at least one dead body in it or your money back.

Jamie casually strolls over to Refko’s desktop, housing his computer and what appears to be layouts for the next “He-Beast” issue. Hecula does more of what he usually does, attacking a butcher shop van and raiding the slabs of meat inside while looking for his creator. Unfortunately, the panel after Hecula confronts his creator is blank. Jonesing for more, Jamie decides to see if there are scans on Refko’s computer and sees a disk sticking out of the drive. Sam catches him in the act, but Jamie’s too enamored by how sleek and ultra modern Refko’s computer is. Besides, he tells Sam she never said he COULDN’T come down here, but then Sam reveals SHE isn’t even allowed in her dad’s studio. Jamie’s insistent on checking the place out and assures Sam he knows a thing or two about computers since his dad’s a consultant. Certainly this will end well.

Jamie manages to open up a couple of programs and finds more of the unfinished issue, including a scene of Hecula inside what appears to be Shadyside Middle School. Sam’s not surprised since her dad tries to draw as much from real life as he can. Zooming in on the panels, Jamie’s amazed by the attention to detail. Refko’s obviously a better artist than I’ve given him credit for, because Jamie feels like Hecula’s looking at HIM directly. And then Hecula moves!

Oh wait it’s just an animation program.

Or iiiiiiiiiiiis it?

This is the third time today Jamie’s been spooked by Hecula, so Sam jokes he’s got “Heculaphobia.” Taking out the disk, Jamie’s mulling over how advanced this computer software is and asks Sam where her dad bought it from. Sam reveals her dad probably designed it himself because he knows a lot about computer programming as we-OH SHIT HER DAD’S HOME!

The two kids hurry out of the basement before Sam’s dad catches them in the act. Refko sees them in front of the basement door and almost goes ballistic. Jamie’s fear of getting caught trounces his reverence for Refko, even if he’s meeting him for the first time. And Refko is TALL. Sam’s dad demands to know if either of them went into the basement. Sam immediately lies saying they only heard a noise in the basement and were about to check it out, but never went downstairs. Refko notices Jamie for the first time and demands to know who he is. Jamie stutters he’s a huge fan of Refko’s work, which impresses the artist since it shows he has good taste. Not like the other morons who live in Shadyside. But he’ll show them! He’ll show all them bitches!

Refko stomps into the kitchen, leaving Sam and Jamie alone. Sam discreetly tells Jamie her dad’s been getting pissed because his books haven’t been selling well lately. Considering “He-Beast” seems to have the exact same plot every issue, I’m not surprised. But that was comics in the 90s for you. Sam bids Jamie goodbye until tomorrow at school, but halfway back to his house Jamie suddenly realizes something. He still has Refko’s computer disk! Jamie completely forgot he had the disk in his hands when they heard Refko enter the house. Jamie agonizes on what to do, afraid Sam will get in trouble if her dad finds out Jamie was in his studio and that Sam will believe he stole the disk on purpose. Obviously having no concept of artists doing allnighters to complete their work, Jamie assumes it’s too late in the evening for Refko to do anything and tries to think of a way to sneak the disk back without his hero knowing. In the meantime…

Jamie’s parents are thrilled when they learn about Sam, his first official friend since he moved to Shadyside. They even ask if Jamie wants to invite Sam to join them when they eat out tomorrow evening, to celebrate the first two weeks in Shadyside. All Jamie can think about is how he’ll get to read the next “He-Beast issue” before it officially comes out. Jamie excuses himself under cover of getting started on his book report. He inserts the disk into his computer, and for a brief moment the realistic image of Hecula appears.

And then the computer explodes.

Jamie’s parents see the fire in his room and his father rushes in with the extinguisher. After putting out the blaze, Mr. Kolker asks what the hell did Jamie do? Jamie tells half the truth, that he put in a disk and the computer went haywire, but doesn’t mention what was on said disk. Jamie asks if it could’ve been a virus; Mr. Kolker’s not sure but wouldn’t be surprised at what some hackers are capable of, while Mrs. Kolker’s disgusted by what some idiots would do for laughs. [Wing: Oh my god, could you imagine if more malware set things on fire?] But then she asks if it was a comic book disk and gets angry after repeatedly telling Jamie he couldn’t do anything comic-related until after his homework was done. Jamie lies it was a disk from school he was gonna save his report on. Holding the burnt, foam-soaked disk, Mr. Kolker figures it’s not good for anything now. Jamie fears what’ll happen when he tries to give the disk back, and hopes his computer blowing up had nothing to do with it. Shyure.

Jamie has to work on his book report using the computer in his parents’ bedroom. He finishes around 10:30 and heads to b-OH SHIT SOMEONE’S IN HIS ROOM! Jamie sees someone standing by the open window in his room, and whoever it is they’re super tall and have what appears to be a mane of bristly fur. The figure snarls and lunges at Jamie just as he shuts the door. Jamie screams for help and tells his parents someone broke into his room. Mr. Kolker gets a baseball bat while Mrs. Kolker calls the police. But once they get inside Jamie’s room, naturally there’s no one there. Jamie figures the intruder jumped out the window, but his dad’s skeptical since the nearest tree is eight feet away. He’d have to be some sort of super athlete to accomplish such a feat. That’s when Jamie begins to realize there was something familiar about the intruder. Almost… bestial. Jamie’s dad tells him to give a complete description of what he saw, but the more Jamie describes the intruder, the more he makes it sound like it was Hecula. And of course Mr. Kolker is starting to believe Jamie imagined it. Nevertheless, the police arrive and do their job even though Jamie figures they won’t find anything. He’s starting to believe he did let his imagination get the best of him… but then why is there a tuft of gray fur snagged on the window frame?

Jamie hurries to show the fur to his parents to prove he wasn’t making shit up, but his dad believes the fur is a piece of his gray-striped sweater. Defeated, Jamie trudges up to bed and proceeds to have an incredibly vivid nightmare about Hecula attacking him. Jamie’s mom has to wake him up in the middle of the night to stop the bad dream. The next morning Jamie’s left pondering the weirdness of the previous evening, trying to figure out if he’s losing touch with reality or if there really is something wrong with Shadyside. Because he overslept, Jamie missed the bus and had to be driven to school. Thankfully he’s not gonna get a tardy slip because classes have been delayed.

Because someone trashed Mr. Ridgley’s classroom.

The students mill about and discuss who would’ve done such a number on Ridgley’s class. They figure it might be anyone because he’s not a popular teacher, but whoever it was must of been hella strong. Chairs have been torn apart like brittle kindling, and at least one desk looks like the perpetrator slashed it up with a knife. Oh is that Jamie’s desk? What a “Coincidence.” Jamie is starting to fear the worst, that not only is his favorite comic book character real, but he’s out for Jamie’s head!

Ridgley’s class is moved into the auditorium for the day. Jamie grabs a seat next to Sam because he wants to tell her about the previous night. But Sam is all “You’re goddamn right we have to talk about last night!” Sam is understandably pissed off knowing Jamie took her dad’s disk, but Jamie is more concerned about the fact her dad’s star character is alive and trying to kill him. Jamie does earnestly apologize for accidentally taking the disk, but is more focused on explaining his run-ins with the He-Beast. Naturally Sam doesn’t believe Jamie and asks how a comic book character came to life. Jamie runs his hypothesis that Hecula was ALWAYS real; Sam told him her dad drew from real life, so what if he actually met Hecula in the Fear Street Woods? Jamie reminds her there are all those stories about weird shit going on in Shadyside, but now their class has officially begun. Jamie’s only able to keep the conversation going by passing a note saying he’ll bring the disk back and apologize to Refko. Of course, Jamie has another ulterior motive. He wants to find out why Hecula’s after him and what he can do to avoid getting ripped to pieces.

The moment Sam and Jamie reach Fear Street, the weather goes from bright and sunny to dark and cloudy. Jamie’s plan immediately fails because Refko’s not home, and according to Sam he was out all of last night as well. Jamie remembers his mom invited her to their dinner and sets a time for when the Kolkers will pick her up. The journey home is a terrifying one for Jamie, because he’s certain someone or someTHING is following him. Jamie only barely manages to get on board the nearby bus before it’s too late. Looking out the window, he sees no one.

After dinner that evening, the Kolkers drive Sam home. Jamie’s parents are mystified by the unusual homes and odd weather in Sam’s neighborhood, because thunderstorms in winter are just plain weird. Jamie tries to covertly walk Sam to her door so he can get a chance to talk to Refko about Hecula, but Sam and his parents point out there’s no need. His journey for answers stalled once again, Jamie slumps in the car seat before he realizes he can ask Hecula himself because HE’S CHASING AFTER THE CAR!

This is the first time Jamie’s seen Hecula in full view, standing at the gate of the Fear Street Cemetery, and he looks even more terrifying than he did in the comics. Jamie panics as he sees the He-Beast charging towards the car and screams at his parents to get the lead out, but oh for the love of Christ they’re at a red light FUCKING MOVE PEOPLE! The light changes JUST as Hecula brings his clawed arm down and the car speeds away mere seconds before he could rip the trunk door off. The Kolkers wonder what that odd sound was, and Jamie looks back to see the He-Beast has disappeared again.

Jamie spends the night trying to assess what happened in the last couple of days which would’ve made him a target for Hecula. As he recalls meeting Al Refko and mulls over the idea that Refko and Hecula are buddies in real life, Jamie remembers the computer disk and wonders if Refko sicced Hecula on him for stealing. Jamie’s more determined than ever to return the disk and apologize before he’s Hecula’s next meal.

Sam teases Jamie at school the next day over his belief that Hecula is real, but a sleep-deprived Jamie isn’t in the mood. It’s a misty winter afternoon when the two leave school, and see police cars and an ambulance on Park Drive. The kids decide to rubberneck to see what happened, and listen to a truck driver explain how something big, hairy, and nasty leaped in front of his vehicle. The driver remembers the creature had teeth and horns like knives. Gee, does that sound familiar, Samantha?

Jamie sees this as concrete proof Hecula is real, and can’t believe Sam’s honestly trying to say it could’ve been a dog. A dog that was at least eight feet tall and had horns. Sam continues on, reasoning the guy might’ve gotten confused because of the misty weather and is making up a story because he’s embarrassed. That changes when the kids get a look inside the vehicle and find it’s a delivery truck for a butcher shop. The two are mortified by the heavy truck doors tossed aside on the road, shredded like paper. Yet what scares Jamie more is how familiar the inside of the truck looks to him, as it dawns on him this is the exact same scene he read in the unfinished comic!

The police officers tell Jamie and Sam to beat it, and as they leave Jamie tries to figure out why Hecula’s acting out a comic that’s not even been published yet. Sam’s still trying to wrap her mind around the implausibility of this situation, when Jamie’s made a grim guess. What if… what if Hecula’s causing havoc in Shadyside on Refko’s orders? What if he’s getting Hecula to act out the comics as part of some twisted plan to drum up publicity to boost his comic sales? Sam refuses to entertain the idea her dad would do something so sickening and decides to confront him on the matter to prove Jamie wrong. Sadly for Sam, her dad’s gone out again for the third day in a row. Jamie points out he started seeing Hecula three days ago. Sam tells Jamie to head home because she has no idea when her dad’s getting back, and promises to call him as soon as he returns. Once Jamie heads back home, he realizes he’s being followed again. Jamie tries to run home when he trips and something grabs him from behind. It’s Hecula!

No it’s not it’s Refko!

Refko orders Jamie not to run if he lets him go, and tells him to hand over the disk. Refko figured Jamie had to be the one to take it and has been trying to get it back for days. It really wasn’t Hecula in Jamie’s room that night; Refko was trying to find the disk. Jamie realizes the furry hood on Refko’s parka looks similar to Hecula’s fur. And it was Refko who followed him the previous afternoon. Refko wants to know if Jamie tried to use the disk, and isn’t happy to find out what happened. It’s worse than Jamie thought, because it turns out Refko does know Hecula is real, and he is the one who trashed the classroom and the butcher shop van. But no, Hecula hasn’t been doing anything on Refko’s orders and they aren’t friends. Refko laughs realizing Jamie has no clue what’s happening, and tells him it’s his fault Hecula is loose!

Refko begins to explain how Hecula got loose from Jamie’s computer, or rather, how he got loose from the computer disk. Refko’s home computer looks so different from regular computers because it was specially designed with safeguards to keep Hecula and Refko’s other creations from getting out into the world. Refko says he’ll explain after he gets the disk back, but is unhappy to learn the disk was burnt and soaked with foam because it’ll make Hecula’s capture more difficult. Jamie follows after Refko and offers to help contain Hecula, to atone for letting him loose, but asks how he became real in the first place. So Refko reveals the secret origin of Hecula the He-Beast.

One year ago, while applying for a cartoon gig, Refko designed a special animation program on his computer in his effort to show what cartoons could really look like when you actually give a shit. YA HEAR THAT, MACFARLANE?! Anyway, Refko tested it out by doing a simple cartoon of a realistic dog performing cartwheels. He left the computer for a moment and when he came back down into the studio, he found an actual dog sitting on his chair. Refko believed the dog was a stray until he noticed it looked exactly like the dog in his drawings, with identical white spots and everything. Somehow, Refko’s program was capable of bringing his drawings to life. However, the cartoons stay cartoons depending on the amount of detail.

Refko recognized how dangerous this technology could be, and didn’t use the program again until after a friend of his finished constructing the computer. With the electronic shield in place, the characters don’t get out unless he allows it. Unfortunately, Jamie’s computer couldn’t handle running the program and it opened the door for Hecula’s escape. Jamie adds Hecula didn’t appear in his room; Refko explains he drew Hecula in Shadyside Middle School, so he manifested there. Hecula’s been acting out the scenes in the comic because he’s not exactly Brainiac 5. He’s acting out his role in the story because it’s all he knows. He trashed the school, and the van, and now he’ll hunt for his creator.

Which, in the case, would be Refko.

Refko and Jamie return to the Refko abode, and fill in Sam on the deets. As they realize Hecula is gonna come after Refko, they start to devise a plan. Well, Refko does. He’s drawing something on the computer. Jamie sees it’s a cage, figuring Refko’s coming up with something to keep the beast trapped. All Refko will have to do is hit the ESCAPE button for it to manifest in the real world. The tricky part will be getting Hecula inside.

Oh hi Hecula when did you get here WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA????

Jamie, Sam, and Refko are horrified by the sight of the He-Beast standing at the top of the basement stairs. Refko tries to get the kids out of the room, but Sam’s not going anywhere. If anything, Refko is the one who should be fleeing since they know Hecula’s after HIM specifically. Of course, Jamie’s not exactly thrilled Sam is saying she AND him will hold the beast off. Refko won’t leave the kids at the mercy of his creation and hits ESCAPE. The kids watch as the cage manifests before their eyes. And are equally amazed as Hecula runs his claws through the bars like paper. That’s what happens when artists are forced to do a rush job.

Refko grabs one of the steel bars and attempts to use it as a bat to fend off Hecula, but the He-Beast grabs his creator and tosses him away. Refko hits the wall with a sickening crack and his arm breaks. Unable to draw, Refko tells Jamie it’s down to him to make something. Jamie’s panicking and isn’t sure what to draw while Sam and her father are throwing Refko’s sculpture collection to hold off the He-Beast. Sam finally screams at Jamie to use his fucking imagination, and that’s when inspiration hits. Morgon the Man-Mutant!

Jamie always dreamed of seeing his creation fight against Hecula, but he didn’t think it was gonna happen in real life. Jamie hurriedly draws Morgon on Refko’s computer, and while he does his best to add all of Morgon’s equipment he has to hit ESCAPE because Hecula’s knocked out Refko. Sam’s trying to wake her dad up as Hecula settles on new targets when Morgon appears in the basement. The two comic creatures begin to duke it out as Jamie checks on Sam and her dad. Refko seems to be flitting in and out of consciousness while Hecula and Morgon trash the room and each other. Hecula’s proving to be stronger than Morgon, so Jamie hurries back to the computer to draw the special armor, sword, and missile launcher glove he was designing a few days ago. By the time the armor appears, Morgon’s gone. He vanishes the second Hecula delivered the killing blow.

Jamie’s gone from scared to pissed off that Hecula destroyed HIS Morgon, and as the He-Beast turns his gaze to Jamie Sam tells him to put the armor on. Jamie does so and is ready to fight Hecula one-on-one… and then he realizes HE FORGOT TO DRAW THE LAUNCH BUTTON ON THE GLOVE. The armor proves to be as useless as Morgon was and all Jamie can do is run and dodge. The kids can’t keep this up forever, so while Jamie has Hecula’s attention he tells Sam to get on the computer and draw a happy ending. Sam would gladly oblige… except she’s got no imagination. Jamie’s all “FOR FUCK’S SAKE” and starts dictating an ending to beat Hecula while avoiding the creature. Sam types out Jamie’s words, about a secret weapon hidden in the creator’s basement that could destroy Hecula once and for all. The Sword of Doom! Sam hits the ESCAPE button and the sword materializes. Jamie makes a desperate jump to grab the sword and plunges it deep into Hecula’s chest. The beast doesn’t even bleed; he howls in despair and vanishes the same way Morgon did.

And they all lived happily ever after…

Until the next day, when Jamie was helping Sam and Refko clean up the basement following Hecula’s rampage. While sorting through the damaged belongings, Jamie finds a box of computer disks scattered on the floor. One in particular catches his eye, because it’s marked “PROJECT JAMIE.” The kids run the disk before Refko can stop them, and Jamie watches several familiar scenes appear on the computer. He sees his old house. He sees his old best friends. He sees his family standing in front of their house in Shadyside with a caption that reads “Jamie’s new life was about to begin.”

Shaken and horrified, Jamie has no idea what he’s seeing and Sam orders her father to tell them what the fuck they’re looking at. Refko sheepishly admits he always wanted a “Biggest fan,” the same way he was a fan of Bob Ferguson. So he kind of… drew one. Sam is beyond disgusted by what her father’s done, while Jamie has to process the revelation that he, his family, and his entire life up to this point has been nothing but a comic created by Al Refko.

Jamie has only one thing to say.

Cool!

Final Thoughts

As appropriate for a story about comics in the 90s, this got meta as fuck by the ending. In a way, it now makes total sense why Jamie loved the He-Beast comics so much even though they appeared so formulaic and boring. As well as how determined he was to find Refko even though it meant following Sam like a creep.

And it’s also super terrifying because it means Jamie was literally programmed to be Refko’s biggest fan, and if Refko wasn’t careful there’s a good chance Jamie might turn out ala Annie Wilkes in his devotion.

What does this mean he’s technically Sam’s brother?

[Wing: That ending was A++ holy shit. I did not see that coming, and I like when a story twist gets me. The Jamie ending, I mean; drawing an ending for a story is a fairly common thing that I pretty much always love.]

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