The Thirteenth Floor – Collected volumes of an old Scream! and Eagle favourte

Thirteenthlland. Jose Ortiz provided the art and gets co-creator credit. Initially printed in Scream! a British anthology comic with a horror theme. Scream! later merged with the rebooted Eagle and The Thirteenth Floor was one of the stories to transfer across.

Hibernia have published two collected volumes of The Thirteenth Floor. I’ve previously reviewed other publications from Hibernia, The Tower King, Death of Valiant and Beyond 2000AD

The Thirteenth Floor Volumes 1 & 2 are their latest publications. Volume 1 is a re-issue from 2007, Volume 2 is out for the first time.

Thirteenth vol1The Thirteenth Floor Volume 1

Originally serialised in Scream!
issues 1-11 (March 24th – June 2nd 1984)
Bonus story from Scream! Holiday Special 1985
Drawn by Phil Gascoine

This edition compiled and edited by David McDonald
Design by Richard Pearce

Introduced by John Wagner, interesting comments about the late, great Jose Ortiz.

We are introduced to Max, a computer installed in a tower block to maintain security and safety for the residents. Max however takes his job beyond his programming. Due to superstition Maxwell Towers was built without a Thirteenth Floor… Max however creates his thirteenth floor, somewhere that can be anything he wishes it to be.

Anyone who harms or threatens his tenants find themselves on The Thirteenth Floor where they face nightmares to teach them a lesson. Mostly the visions they see are directly connected to what they have done. The visions can’t physically harm those that are taken to The Thirteenth Floor but the human body can only take so much.

Stop Press – While writing this review I learnt that Volume One has sold out.

The Thirteenth Floor Volume 2

Thirteenth vol2Originally serialised in Scream!
issues 12-15 (June 9th – June 30th 1984) and
Eagle issues 128-139 (September 1st – November 17th)

This edition compiled and edited by David McDonald
Design by Richard Pearce

The Thirteenth Floor © Egmont UK Ltd. All rights reserved.

As can be seen from above this volume spans the change-over from Scream! to Eagle. The Thirteenth Floor was one of two stories to make the transition. This change happens mid story and there is a one page ‘story so far’ for the readers of Eagle who hadn’t been reading Svream!.

There is no discernable difference in the style of storytelling and the pseudonym of Ian Holland was carried on. In this volume, if it wasn’t for the ‘story so far’ page, you wouldn’t notice anything other than a change in the logos on the credits.

This volume is available through Hibernia’s store on Comicsy

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The stories in these volumes are formulaic but not repetitive, each reason for someone being sent to The Thirteenth Floor is different. The punishments are also quite varied, though the themes of retribution and attempts to flee are obviously common.

Though Max can’t kill anyone weak hearts can, as can the actions of those that are being punished. Deaths don’t go unnoticed and there are repercussions.

John Wagner and Alan Grant are masters of their art as their longevity in comics proves.

Jose Ortiz was an established artist in his native Spain and had been published with daily strip Carolynn Baker in the British newspaper Express. The Thirteenth Floor was one of the stories that gained him popularity in British Comics. It is hard to imagine this title, The Tower King or The House of Daemon by any other artist.

The storytelling of Ortiz shows the horrors faced by Max’s victims and handles any scene transitions brilliantly. I can see his influence in some of todays talent that were raised reading 2000AD, Eagle or indeed Scream!.

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