Scary Go Round is a webcomic drawn by John Allison. It began on the 4th of June, 2002, and has been running nearly every weekday since.
Although it features many characters from his old strip Bobbins, John is using a different art style, better dialogue, and much weirder storylines.
If you would think that Scary Go Round is a boring, everyday webcomic, then you would be wrong. Shelley has been in more near-death experiences in three years than most people have in three lifetimes. Amy has been kidnapped by a monster, and has travelled back in time to work in a gentleman's club. Fallon is a secret Cold War weapon. Tessa and Rachel have gone four-dimensional. There are also various goblins involved. I tell you, this is far from a boring webcomic.
If you haven't already, you can read it here, or read from the very beginning here.
The last two chapters are done using pen and ink, rather than Illustrator. If the recent comics look different, that is why.
Looks, Brains, & Everything
It's time for the Tackleford Science Fair! Manly man scientist Tim Jones has unlocked the secret of the glow-in-the-dark duck, while his enemy, Seamus Fogerty, enters bread maker Mr Baker, which happens to be Tim's entry from last year. Seamus later ends up with a knife in his stomach, and Tim gets framed for his murder.
Shelley Winters, in an attempt to find the real killer and free Tim, dies by being strangled. Tessa and Rachel continue the investigating, only to be nearly killed by Archie Stanwyck, Fogerty's assistant. Stanwyck ends up cut to pieces by his own mangling devices, and everyone's alive, apart from Shelley.
Ryan and Tim are saddened by Shelley's death; late one night, Ryan participates in a black-magic voodoo ritual that succeeds in rising Shelley from the dead as a zombie. A zombie who, like most undead, has an appetite for brain.
When Shelley was murdered on the 20th September, 2002, it was a shock to Everyone. Shelley has been in John's comics from the first strip of Bobbins, and John has said that nobody was best pleased when she was killed off, even though it was part of a master plan for future comics.
Other than that, it serves as an excellent near-beginning to the comic, for everyone who was used to the normality that Bobbins provided (usually, anyway).
This chapter has had its own book made of it, by the name of Looks, Brains & Everything.
Where the Dumb things are
Tessa Davies and Rachel Dukakis-Monteforte find themselves jobless after someone drives "like a tupping idiot" and hits their pub with a truck. In their new line of work, decorating for their lecturer, they discover a fourth-dimensional portal hidden behind some furniture.
Later that day, a monster emerges from the portal, kidnaps Amy, and brings her back into the weird world. It is up to Tessa and Rachel to find Amy and bring her back - if only for the bounty that they'll get.
This is the longest Scary Go Round chapter to date, spanning over sixty pages and featuring stunning vistas of the weird world with a pink sky and purple trees. It also looks into the lives of Tessa and Rachel a bit more, who are "not the heroes of Scary Go Round, but the villains". This story also points out one of the advantages of comics than television - that you can make characters speak in Wingdings.
Ballad of the Man
Ryan Beckwith has finally found his lady! A young French lady named Natalie Durand finds Ryan trapped in a slide. They eventually get to know each other better, and start going out.
Natalie is, however, very spooky
indeed. Why do Ryan's "church"-going landlady and her friends
want her removed from Tackleford Common? Why did she move to England
? Why, on a few frames of a few comics, can we see a ghost
drifting around her?
Unlike all the other chapters, which provided shock and horror finales, I managed to work out Natalie's fate a few comics beforehand - it is a comic of tension, rather than a comic of sudden changes. John says that her fate was settled on a coin toss because people kept guessing it, and so far the coin has made the right decision.
Natalie still manages to feature in a few more comics a year after this chapter, despite everything that happened to her.
A watched pot never boils, and this old saying can be used to travel through time ("time gets confused and sets itself to the nearest clock"). Putting her position as Tim's assistant, Amy decides to steal Tim's time teapot, and travels back to 1840
Times in 1840 are very different. The pair are mistaken for "Imps of Satan!" and "Enemies of the Queen!" in their modern clothes. Meanwhile, Tim, distraught after losing his teapot, is trying to get them to return.
Who in their right mind would give Tim the idea of a time teapot? Why, Tim, of course! This is the time teapot's second outing (first one here).
This story arc seems to deal with the whole time paradox thing rather well - the Amy and Shelley of the past don't interfere with the present-day versions. In fact, the 1840s are not mentioned after the end - so we can go on to presume that 1840 Amy and Shelley are living a peaceful life there. Or they got eaten by Krakkagar, if you prefer.
In total, I have managed to count over twenty on-panel human deaths throughout the entire series.
Books, Shirts & Teatowels
The Scary Go Round shop offers a range of shirts. There have not been many character shirts, save Portuguese Man-o-War and Krakkagar, thanks to a loose definition of 'characters'. There are also books: "Looks, Brains & Everything", covering the story of the same name, and "Blame the Sky" and "Skellington" featuring yearly comic collections (also with bonus stuff added). There is also an all-new material "Heavy Metal Hearts and Flowers", which features the Bobbins cast, smashing pottery, fighting, and robots.
Possibly keeping with its "Unapologetically English. Sorry." line from Bobbins, there are Scary Go Round teatowels available for a short time. The current one features Shelley's Top Ten Monsters, the previous one featured Modern Manners.
Watch out for zombies