Comic Relief: Double De-Satanized!

Welcome to Comic Relief #9. To see the previous installments of Comic Relief, check out the Comic Relief Index.

Remember back when Lady Satan’s third appearance in Red Seal Comics #17 was reprinted, but with her name changed and other major alterations to the story? Well, it happened again to her following appearance! This time, it occurred in Authentic Police Cases #5 in 1948, which shows just how much of a fuck publishers gave about comic titles back then, seeing as this story contains no police and the presence of a ghost makes its authenticity dubious at best.

In my previous post I speculated that her name was changed from Lady Satan due to prudishness about having a hero named Satan, but in this case there appears to be a more pragmatic motivation. Lady Satan’s original non-magical-ass Nazi-Fighter appearance was reprinted in Authentic Police Cases #2 (again, why did this comic have that title?). Having Lady Satan appear as a normal human fighting Nazis and then, 3 issues later, as a sorceress fighting a ghost would be just a teensy bit disorienting, so that’s the most likely cause of the change.

So, let’s see what they changed.

Oh god. All the color ran out of her dress onto the floor!

Oh god. All the color ran out of her dress onto the floor!

That caption clearly establishes this story as “authentic”. Obviously. When I read a badly written single sentence that tells me that this story is utterly dubious, I know this must be an authentic police case. And the fact that “Marco’s Villa” sounds more like a flower shop than a Gothic European estate doesn’t make me suspicious at all.

There’s also one very subtle little change that you probably haven’t noticed yet. Take a look at the original then come back to this one. See it?

There’s a signature on this one.  Down on the bottom right where that skeleton’s ball sack used to be. Specifically, the signature of Ralph Mayo. Who the hell is Ralph Mayo? I don’t have the foggiest. All I could find on him was that he created a villain called Big Eye for DC. Who is Big Eye?

Eye want you for the US Army! ...And to have nightmares for the next month.

Eye want you for the US Army! …And to have nightmares for the next month.

We have learned something important here. Ralph Mayo has a better (if more literal) understanding of how names work than the publishers of Authentic Police Cases.

(And seriously, they couldn’t bother to fix her legs?)

See that! The word "police"! The title is accurate! (Actually, it is pretty authentic to portray the police as mostly useless and absent. Maybe the Viscount was black.)

See that! The word “police”! The title is accurate! (Actually, it is pretty authentic to portray the police as mostly useless and absent. Maybe the Viscount was black.)

So she’s Marietta now. And apparently she and Nancy are friends. And the printer ran out of every color of ink except red.

Having them be friends is actually a good change, as it corrects an aspect of the original story that was so nonsensical that I strongly suspect it was the love child of creationism and Un Chien Andalou. How the fuck did Nancy know where to send the letter to Lady Satan? Why is Lady Satan taking requests via mail?

In this version, that’s not a problem.

The rest of the story proceeds almost exactly like the original, except with the name Marietta instead of Lady Satan, and with her dress in green rather than red, and EVERYTHING ELSE in red red red red red. Seriously, the comic Red isn’t this red. Grendel: Black, White and Red isn’t this red. If there were a comic called Everything is Fucking Red, it wouldn’t be this red. The colorist must have been in a serious hurry to meet a deadline.

However, he did get one thing right. After Lady Sa– errr, Marietta says she’ll slip into Nancy’s clothes, she is clearly seen to be wearing Nancy’s blue dress instead of her own green dress. So that’s two points where this version improves on the original.

But coloring aside, the comic is pretty much identical to the original, with even the exact same dialogue in almost every panel. The few exceptions are when they change dialogue in order to make the story make more sense. Observe:

My auto suggestion would be to drive a Honda. Good gas mileage.

My auto suggestion would be to drive a Honda. Good gas mileage.

There. Isn’t it so much simpler to say that the chains were old and corroded, rather than to have her display super strength immediately after showing her getting knocked the fuck out by an old man?

And then there’s this:

And you can't have a trial without an arrest. And you can't have an arrest without...police!

And you can’t have a trial without an arrest. And you can’t have an arrest without…police!

See? It’s easy. You don’t just leave the husband’s fate completely unresolved, like in the original. A single line of dialogue corrects the problem.

All in all, the de-satanized version is actually slightly better than the original, in that it at least corrects a few of its flaws.

But we’re not done! Believe it or not, the Red Seal 18 story was de-satanized AGAIN in 1952, this time in Strange Terrors #1. (To read up more on this, check here and here.) Yes, this same story was re-written and published again twice. Anything to just keep churning out those fucking comics, amiright?

And has any character ever been reworked into a new character with a new name this many times? Poor Lady Satan…

WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING TO MEEEE????

WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING TO MEEEE????

What’s even weirder is that they seem to be copying from the Authentic Police Cases version, not the Red Seal version, as indicated by the fact that this is again set in post-war Europe, whereas the original didn’t give a location.

And dig that stilted opening sentence. What the hell does it even mean? (And they still haven’t fixed her fucking legs. They even forgot to color in her shoe straps, so now her already gimpy-looking foot looks like it’s really veiny.)

They also still have Mayo’s name on it. I don’t know if he really drew it, or just put his name on it to claim it as his, seeing as the original had no credits at all, as was common in the Golden Age when creators were treated like property. Either the original publisher removed the signature, or Mayo put his name on artwork that wasn’t his. Either way, there’s probably something nefarious going on here. Another possibility, though, is that he drew it, didn’t originally sign it, then signed it later when it was re-printed.

Unlike our previous de-satanization, this one drastically alters the source material. Every line of dialogue is changed. But again, most of the changes are an improvement. But not all…

Yeah, 'cause I'm sure Berlin immediately after the war was a great place to be...

Yeah, ’cause I’m sure Berlin immediately after the war was a great place to be…

That last panel is a zoom-in of the original, removing the spooky house from the image. I guess this is because it was more of a mansion than a castle, and Castle Karloff (an obvious reference to the actor) is a better name than Marco’s Villa. But the effect is to reduce the horror aesthetic of the overall comic, so they sacrificed a bit there.

Anyways, so now rather than Lady Satan, and rather than Marietta, she’s Celeste. To be precise, Celeste Karloff (the name just rolls off the tongue), as we now see the victim’s name is Olga and she and Celeste are sisters. Lady Satan and Nancy started as strangers, then became friends, and now they’re sisters. If this comic had been de-satanized one more time, they would have been Siamese twins.

That first panel also seals the deal for me–this was copied from Authentic Police, not Red Seal, seeing as it the original didn’t actually show the letter or mention any military police. The comics publishers were playing hot potato with the original artwork for this story.

There’s no need to go over the rest of the story in detail, since it’s the same story, but with completely new dialogue that in most cases makes the story less fucking nonsensical. For instance, in the new version they explain that Celeste spat out the poison drink she tasted. The ghost doesn’t make creaking footsteps. She doesn’t put on Nancy’s/Olga’s clothes and she’s not mistaken for Nancy/Olga by the housekeepers.

The de-satanization of Red Seal 17 was a hacky shitstain on the world of comics, but these two of Red Seal 18 are actually a slight improvement on a story that had serious issues (get it?). It still sucks that they couldn’t call her “Lady Satan” though. So fuck these comics anyway!

The comics are, of course, available for free at the Digital Comic Museum. Check ’em out! And see you next time.

Comic Relief: Lady Satan vs. Aunt May

Welcome to Comic Relief #8. To see the earlier installments of Comic Relief (including earlier installments about Lady Satan) click here.

After a brief detour back into Lady Satan’s wartime non-powered Nazi-fighting days, today we return to the later incarnation of Lady Satan, in which she’s a supernaturally powered demon fighter.

But first, a few preliminary matters. In my post on Lady Satan’s last appearance in Red Seal Comics #17, I mistakenly said that that issue came out in 1945. The correct date is July 1946. Today’s issue, #18, hit stands in October, 1946. This comic apparently had a rather erratic publishing schedule. And, in fact, this is the last issue published by Chesler Comics. The later issues were published by a completely different company altogether. The Golden age was confusing.

Speaking of confusing, let us say something about the cover. The glorious, glorious cover.

Bllaaarrrgh!!! This what happen when George not let me pet the rabbits!

Bllaaarrrgh!!! This what happen when George not let me pet the rabbits!

I don’t have the foggiest idea what’s happening here, but that giant caveman fucking cracks me the fuck up. I love how he can’t be bothered to use a more advanced weapon or wear proper pants, but he takes the time to neatly braid his beard. I also love how those eye-beams from the Mullet Master seem to provide little more than illumination. What’s this superhero’s name, Lamp Face Man? The Living Bat Signal? My-Powers-are-Lamer-Than-Aquaman Man?

And the best part: We aren’t just rescuing a damsel in distress. No! This guy’s captured almost a dozen hot chicks! It’s like he wanted the whole cheerleading team to himself. And people thought the 90s were excessive. But what the shit is he going to do with them? There’s no way his giganto-cock is gonna fit in even the sluttiest of them, so rape is out of the question. Is he gonna eat them? Dress them up like dolls and play tea-party? Force them to teach him how to make better sartorial decisions? I must know, damn it!

Lady Satan shows up on page 17, in a pretty eye-catching introductory panel.

Whoops. I seem to have stumbled into a Wonder Woman comic.

Whoops. I seem to have stumbled into a Wonder Woman comic.

It’s not bad. Definitely the kind of thing that will sell comics. And while Lady Satan is a horror comic now, the last issue didn’t fully commit to the horror aesthetic. This one, however, wants absolutely everything about the mis-en-scene to scream “HORROR!” Bats, bones, basements, broken boards and bondage–it’s all there. There’s just one little thing that bugs me, though…

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH HER LEGS???

Her left leg seems to have been amputated at the knee. I get that it’s supposed to be folded under her, but that’s not what a god damn folded leg looks like.  Unless her leg has suffered a Joe Theismann in at least two places, it wouldn’t completely fold under her body like that. And her right leg starts out all right, until we get to what I presume is supposed to be a foot. This isn’t quite a Liefeldian level of Foot Failure, but it’s pretty bad. Are those the straps of her high heels going around it? If so, then where in the holy mothercuntfuck are her toes? She’s not wearing panty hose, because the skin on her legs looks just like the skin on her arms–unless she’s wearing panty hose on her arms, in which case, what the fuck, Lady Satan? That’s just weird.

Let’s get into the story.

Because it's a horror story, duh!

Because it’s a horror story, duh! You expect her to stay in an upscale suburban condominium?

Our comic here is following the time honored Golden Age tradition of introducing new story or character elements without the slightest explanation for where they came from or why they were never seen before. Yes, Lady Satan is now receiving letters begging for help. Apparently, she’s a celebrity now. How do people know where to send the letters? Is there an Ask Lady Satan column in the local paper? Why? How? When? Silly reader. Exposition is for bad Christopher Nolan dialogue!

We’re introduced to Nancy Strong, who coincidentally looks a lot like Lady Satan. You might think this is because the artist has a limited range when drawing women (too many in the industry do), but it actually becomes relevant to the plot later on. We also, sadly, learn that one of my favorite comic book supporting characters has fallen on hard times!

And by "very faithfully" I mean "wheatcakes".

And by “very faithfully” I mean “wheatcakes”.

Oh my non-existent god! Aunt May is so broke, she had to change her name and take a job cleaning up some scary haunted mansion.

Yup. The mansion is haunted. Nancy claims that she hears weird sounds at night. And, in classic human fashion, when we hear hoof beats we think zebras, not horses. The noises couldn’t be a raccoon or a bird or a rogue jellyfish. Nope, gotta be a ghost. Her father disappeared a while back along with a large sum of money, so that’s probably connected. Because these things always are.

This story has a total of 5 characters in it: The titular (*heh*) Lady Satan, Nancy Strong (the victim), the ghost of a murdered man, and two BUTLERS. I hope I don’t have to provide a spoiler warning before saying Rebecca and her husband are the killers.

And, of course, the tea Rebecca is serving them is roofied (because like any good housekeeper, she keeps date-rape drugs around).

No, I won't make a gay joke about "queer taste". But I will say that seeing this panel in a horror comic made me think of this.

No, I won’t make a gay joke about “queer taste”. But I will say that seeing this panel in a horror comic made me think of this.

Wait. How did she know the tea had a “queer taste”, unless she actually drank some of it? This reminds me of a sequence in the recent Hawkeye Annual #1 (which I just read today). But that’s another story.*

Nancy becomes sleepy, obviously, and Lady Satan pretends to also be sleepy, naturally. That’s how these things ALWAYS go. I’ll give them a pass since this cliche wasn’t quite so worn out in 1946 as it is today (although it still appeared in quite a few contemporary films noirs).

After Nancy’s announced genuine sleepiness and Lady Satan’s faked sleepiness, we get the following page, which has a number of…issues.

The Golden Age, when everyone thinks out loud, and even if you're just a few yards away you can't hear a damn thing they're saying.

The Golden Age, when everyone thinks out loud, and even if you’re just a few yards away you can’t hear a damn thing they’re saying.

I’ll make a list of all the things that are off here.

  1. That first panel comes immediately after Nancy announcing she’s sleepy. And yet, she looks fired up.
  2. We’ve already established that she believes there’s a ghost in the house. No need to repeat ourselves.
  3. They’re in this huge mansion, and yet they sleep in the same room? Why, other than to titillate the reader with potential lesbian fingerbanging and nipple suckage and clit licking and…okay, I’m getting carried away here. I’ll stop.
  4. Lady Satan’s pose in the first panel seems to confirm my lesbian fantasies…
  5. She sleeps in her mask?
  6. Why put on Nancy’s clothes? And on that note…
  7. Why, two panels later, are you clearly wearing the same clothes you were already wearing rather than Nancy’s clothes? (This is likely due to lack of communication between writer and artist.)
  8. Why does a ghost make the floor creak?
  9. Nobody has untrustworthy parents! He’s her father, so you can totally trust him for realz yo!
  10. Just what exactly is the housekeepers’ plan here?
  11. Why would they think it’s Nancy walking in her sleep? Why would them thinking that be a bad thing?

So Nancy follows the ghost into a creepy barn/dungeon thing, and discovers that he was leading her to the location of the hidden money. Lady Satan divines that the ghost wants her to give it to Nancy. Evil Aunt May and her husband follow as well…

"I'm gonna stuff this wheatcake so far up her ass she'll shit whole grain for a month!"

“I’m gonna stuff this wheatcake so far up her ass she’ll shit whole grain for a month!”

Wait, you knew she would? So your plan was to drug Nancy and wait for her to sleepwalk to where the money is? HUH? How the fuck is that supposed to work? What makes you think she would ever do that? Why choose the night that Lady Satan arrived to do it?

Judging by Aunt May's gesticulation, that must have been a very stinky punch to the face.

Judging by Aunt May’s gesticulation, that must have been a very stinky punch to the face.

Lady Satan, I have just one thing to say to you.

Yup, the old bald guy just punches the fuck out of her, and they chain her up and take the money. And, yes, they still think she’s Nancy, even though she’s wearing her Lady Satan mask (and still in her own clothes, no matter what she says). How fucking dumb are these crooks? At least they finally wise up…

I can only imagine her delivering that line like this.

I can only imagine her delivering that line like this.

Interestingly, other than her ability to see ghosts when others can’t, this is the first time she’s used her Deus ex machina magic spells in this story. Previously, pretty much every time they needed to move the plot forward she’d pull some kind of spell out of her ass that does exactly what the plot needs at that moment. Props to the writer of this week’s installment (whomever he/she is) for finding other ways to tell the story.

Anyways, so now Lady Satan has sicced the ghost of Abner Strong on them. That will distract Aunt Doom and Bald Bastard Ben for a while. But what about getting out of those chains?

Strong enough for 20 men, pH balanced for a Satanic woman.

Strong enough for 20 men, pH balanced for a Satanic woman.

Oh, come on! Just when I’m praising the comic for avoiding the Solution-Was-In-My-Ass-The-Whole-Time plot devices, it pulls out two in a row. Bad! Bad Lady Satan comic!

And wouldn’t that super strength have been useful when you were getting clocked in the face on the previous page?

Whatever. Aunt Evil and Not-Uncle-Ben realize that Phantom Abner can’t actually physically harm them (him being incorporeal and all), just in time to meet up with a now free Lady Satan. She knocks Baldy Magoo aside, and then we get one of the most confusing action sequences I’ve ever seen in a comic book.

Sequential art. Usually it helps when it's sequential. And art.

Sequential art. Usually it helps for it to be sequential. And art.

Uhhhh….huh? I honestly can’t make out what the fuck is happening here. In the first panel Lady Satan is apparently swinging her chains at Aunt Slay, but judging by the motion lines they go way over her head. Aunt Slay is cowering, but apparently unharmed. In the next panel, she’s flying through the air, perpendicular to a pitchfork. Next, she’s face down on the ground, totally forked in the ass–from the opposite direction than what she was traveling. It makes no sense. And somehow the dialogue manages to make it all even more confusing and non sequitur. I can’t think of any way that what’s happening in one panel could be followed by what’s in the next. We seem to have been transported into some brainfuckingly bizarre universe where cause and effect no longer have any meaning. Where up is down, black is white, good is evil, and Kid Rock is talented.

And the worst part is, this is all we get. There are only two panels left in the comic…

Wait. So the huge fortune that we've all been fighting for...can fit in a fucking lunch bag? What a gyp!

Wait. So the huge fortune that we’ve all been fighting for…can fit in a fucking lunch bag? What a gyp!

There are a lot of things that come to mind when I look at that last panel, such as… Why are those books facing the wrong way, with their spines to the wall? No, just kidding. It actually makes me think about fisting.

How did Abner get his revenge? Was he the one who forked Aunt Slay in the ass? When? What was going on between those wonky panels? I guess he might have done it, since the black and yellow color scheme seems to be his leitmotif. But we’d already established that he can’t affect corporeal things. If he could impale someone with a pitchfork, why not just grab the money and give it to Nancy himself, instead of getting Lady Satan to do it? She said Aunt Slay could “feel but not see” the ghost–is this what she meant? But she saw the ghost, and felt the fucking pitchfork? And how is his revenge complete when Not-Uncle Ben is still alive and kicking? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON???

As a final kicker–Nancy seems to have overcome her grief pretty fucking quickly!

Anyways, I didn’t like this story as much as the last one, and that mainly has to do with the fact that the artist clearly struggled with how to portray action on a static page, and the writer clearly struggled with condensing his story into the small number of pages required for an anthology comic, as was common in the golden age. With their incompetence powers combined, this story seems to leap from one image to the next, often with little rhyme or reason or coherent flow. It’s still not bad, though. It has all the cheesiness and absurdity that’s typical of a Golden Age superhero story. And it’s in the public domain and available for free at The Digital Comics Museum. If you like that kind of stuff, check it out! If not, then fuck off!!!

______________________________

* Okay, let me get this straight. Madame Mask pulls the older-than-dirt cliche of a drug in her ring being dumped in Kate Bishop’s drink. Kate does a “fake sip” (how exactly does that work?) then pulls the slightly-less-older-than-dirt cliche of pouring the drink out in a plant, because no one will notice when the drink instantly goes from full to empty (writers, please stop doing this). The drug IMMEDIATELY WILTS THE PLANT. Then Kate Bishop fakes being…sleepy? And Madame Mask goes along as if this were exactly what she expected. In fact, we know it’s what she expected because she wanted to keep Envaginated Hawkeye alive to torture her later. So the drug she intended to put her to sleep with is so powerful it kills plants on contact. What the fuck???

Oh, and “unknown unknown” is NOT a tautology.

Comic Relief: Satan’s back, bitches!

Welcome to Comic Relief #7. To see the earlier installments of Comic Relief, go to the Comic Relief Index.

I said in Part 3a of my Lady Satan series that Lady Satan appeared only in reprints in 1943 and 1944. However, as it turns out, I was wrong! There was at least one other original appearance of Lady Satan, in her old non-powered, Nazi-fighting persona, in 1943. This appearance was in Hello Pal Comics #1, in January 1943. (Are we serious with that fucking title?)

The cover is…interesting…

My creepy green eyes and child molester smile are sure to sell a lot of comics!

My creepy green eyes and child molester smile are sure to sell a lot of comics!

As I keep reading Gold Age comic books, I’m continually reminded of just how different comics were back in the day. As far as I can tell, Mickey Rooney has nothing to do with this comic. They just put his big goofy mug on the cover because…He’s motherfucking Mickey Rooney, that’s why.

Anyways, yes, this comic has another Lady Satan story in it! And here it is, in its entirety.

I better shoot that guy as he falls off the building. Just in case.

I better shoot that guy as he falls to his death. Just in case.

Yup. It’s a text story. Take a moment and read it. You can click on it to embiggen it. I’ll play Angry Birds while I wait.

Done? So, yes. A text story. And not really a very good one, either. Lady Satan is never in any real danger, it seems. She does everything right and everyone loves her. She just comes across as the Boring Invincible Hero. *Yawn.* Jacques is the only thing that even approaches being interesting. If not for him, this would just be a story of “Lady Satan is awesome and now the French are slightly less pussified.”  Although I do like that we can now add Motivational Speaker, Expert Knife Thrower and Alan Moore Themed Sky Writer to Lady Satan’s already impressive repertoire of amazing abilities.

And clearly this story was written by someone who knew little of the previous two stories. In the originals, Lady Satan worked in the shadows and was not a public figure. In this one, everyone knows who she is. She’s some kind of Frog Superman who inspires people with speeches about how great the French are. Like Joan of Arc with a chlorine gun and a domino mask. But it should be noted that continuity was never much of an issue in any Golden Age comic.

(And why the fuck does Jacques commit suicide? Seriously, dude, just run.)

It’s pretty clear that the artist was given minimal information on how to make the illustration to accompany this story. I’d wager he was some poor schmuck working for pennies at Harvey Comics, and an editor just walked in and said, “Lady Satan. Wears a red cape. Shoots guys. Dude falls off building. Have it on my desk by tomorrow morning.” “Oh, OK, I’ll just draw Nurse Jackie shooting a guy in the penis as he falls from a red brick school building.” Art! I mean, Jesus, he obviously wasn’t even shown the story he was supposed to be illustrating. The story describes Lady Satan as hooded and masked (as in the earlier comics), and she doesn’t shoot Jacques in his frogballs when he falls from the building. (Plus, I have to ask: Why does the burst of smoke appear 2 feet away from the gun’s barrel?)

This is one of those times where I realize how many frogballs it must have sucked to work in comics in those days. The artists and writers back then were basically treated like slaves. The poor writer and artist who worked on this might never have even met each other, and were probably just assigned to do this story without being told anything about the character that they were writing/drawing. And they probably got paid in peanut shells and gum wrappers.

It does, however, illustrate one aspect of Golden Age comics that was better than today’s comics. Hello Pal Comics #1 was 68 pages long and contained numerous stories with a variety of characters, all for just 10 cents. These days, you pay 3 or 4 bucks for 22 measly pages and just one story. Admittedly, it’s worth it when it’s a good story, like Matt Fraction on Hawkeye or Bryan Azzarello on Wonder Woman, but still. Sometimes I wish comics were more substantial, and a single issue could provide a more diverse and engrossing reading experience.

Anyways, that’s it for today, but I shall be back soon!

Comic Relief Index

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This page is just an index of all the Comic Relief entries so far. I’ll update it whenever I add more.

1. Sexy Satanic Golden Age Goodness (Lady Satan, part 1)

2. More Satan! (Lady Satan, part 2)

3. Satan Returns! (Lady Satan, part 3a)

4. De-Satanized! (Lady Satan, part 3b)

5. The Girl Who Loved Stupidity (Part 1)

6. The Girl Who Loved Stupidity (Part 2)

7. Satan’s Back, Bitches! (Lady Satan, part 4)

8. Lady Satan vs. Aunt May (Lady Satan, part 5)

9. Double De-Satanized! (Lady Satan, part 5b)

Comic Relief: De-Satanized!

Welcome to part 4 of Comic Relief. To see the full series, go to the Comic Relief Index.

I mentioned in the previous installment of Comic Relief that the third appearance of Lady Satan (in Red Seal Comics #17 in 1945) was reprinted in Weird Horrors #1 in 1952. But I must admit, at the time I had only casually glanced at Weird Horrors #1, and had not read it. But now, having read it, I realize that it wasn’t merely reprinted, but actually drastically reworked into a very different story, with completely new dialogue and whole panels removed or added. So the question becomes, is it an improvement? Another way to phrase this might be, would you ever expect the kind of hack writer who takes a seven year old story and pastes his own new dialogue over it to improve anything?

Let’s take a look and find out!

It's deja vu all over again!

It’s deja vu all over again!

Well, it’s mostly like the original. They removed Lady Satan’s domino mask, and changed Underbite’s hair to white and pants to brown, but other than that it’s the same image…except….

Wait! “The Werewolves Howl”? It’s called Lady Fucking Satan, not The Werewolves Howl! What the fuck?

If someone is a nurse, then they can't be ignorant. That's a...strange epistemology.

If someone is a nurse, then they can’t be ignorant. That’s a…strange epistemology.

“Josephine LeBlanc”? That’s bullshit! Her name is motherfucking Lady Satan.

And she lives in New Orleans now? If that were the case, then the animal in question wouldn’t be called a “werewolf”. It’d be called a Loup-garou or Rougarou. Get your Cajun lycanthropy facts right! Just talk to someone from New Orleans. It’s not that hard.

Anyways, like the original story, this one begins with Lady Sa—-errrm, Josephine LeBlanc driving through the middle of nowhere and stumbling upon some lost children. The dialogue is changed to offer additional (and unnecessary) exposition, but it’s pretty similar to what we got in the original story, with one glaring exception. The children automatically know who “Nurse LeBlanc” is. In fact, everyone in this story seems to know who she is. Do nurses ever gain that level of celebrity and/or notoriety?

Are you gonna do this "ye" and "shall" thing through the whole comic? Yes? Fuck.

Are you gonna do this “ye” and “shall” thing through the whole comic? Yes? Fuck.

This is something you come across often if you read Golden Age comics: Captions that explain what you’re looking at in the panel. It’s annoying, but it’s something you get used to. The practice continued into the Silver Age, and even some modern day writers of the hackier persuasion do it.

But, please, comic book writers, don’t do this. Let your artist’s images speak for themselves. If you feel like you must offer additional explanation, then either A) the art sucks and lacks clarity, or B) you’re just pasting unnecessary verbiage on the page.

Also, I can’t help but notice those trees in the background. This is supposed to be New Orleans, right? Well, I lived in New Orleans for a while, and most of the trees have Spanish moss growing on them, so I can’t help but notice its absence in the background. This story is set in New Orleans in name only, isn’t it? Yes, indeed, as later there’s a scene set in the “bayou”, and yet not a single Cypress knee is visible. This is what happens when you take a story set in a generic setting and shoehorn it into a specific setting.

Anyways, the story proceeds mostly like the original, except that Josephine LeBlanc lacks the magical powers that Lady Satan suddenly obtained in the original, meaning that everything that happens is more boring. For instance, in the original Lady Satan repels the werewolves with Xanda Power. I have no idea what Xanda Power is, but it sounds cool. In this one?

I hope you also brought your Shark Repellant Bat-Spray.

I hope you also brought your Shark Repellent Bat-Spray.

*Yawn.* It would’ve been more interesting if she had actually gotten rabies.

And of course the Creepiest Panel Ever makes a reappearance, but with more dialogue than in the original.

Aaaaugh! Not again!

Aaaaugh! Not again!

How the fuck does everyone just know who Nurse LeBlanc is? And why would a nurse be dressed with a red cape?

And why does the author of this piece of shit think you can improve a story simply by throwing in more dialogue? In almost every panel of the reprint, the gross amount of dialogue has been increased. This is not how good writing works.

Anyways, so Not-Titty Satan follows the car again, it goes over the bridge again, and she has to rescue the children again, and she tracks him back to his lair again. Only with no magic involved. Boring.

But wait, you ask. In the original, Lady Satan vanquished Master Werewolf with magical finger fire. How will non-powered Josephine LeBlanc accomplish this? Well, see for yourself…

The comic repeated refers to him kidnapping 3 children, but they only ever show 2. I guess math is just yet another thing this comic utterly fails at.

The comic repeatedly refers to him kidnapping 3 children, but they only ever show 2. I guess math is just yet another thing this comic utterly fails at.

Um, what? Is it ether, or Vapor of the Vampires? Is it both? Why does it kill him? Why does it come in that weird looking flask? And why does it completely annihilate his corpse? Why is the complete lack of evidence a running theme in this story? Why does he think she drowned, when earlier on an inserted panel showed him clearly see her with her head above water? How does she know that werewolves are allergic to ether? Is this just common knowledge among nurses in New Orleans? How does she know to go to the old plantation? Why the fuck was it so important to set all this shit in New Orleans?

Ugh. I’m wasting my time asking all these questions. The ultimate answer to all of it is, “Because they took a Lady Satan comic and sucked all the life out of it.” The original was campy good fun, the remake was just plain dull. Kinda like the relationship between the original Total Recall and its shitty remake. And I can’t help but wonder if they didn’t change her name because in 1952 they were afraid to call a hero “Satan”.

Fuck you, 1952.

Comic Relief: Satan Returns!

Hey, let’s talk some more about Lady Satan, my favorite Golden Age superheroine. If you haven’t seen them already, be sure to check out the first two installments of Comic Relief:

Part 1.

Part 2.

Not that you need a lot of background for continuity. Without any explanation, Lady Satan is now a very different comic. Envaginated Satan appeared only in reprints in 1942-1944, but original Lady Satan stories started appearing again in Red Seal Comics #17, which hit stands in 1945. And here’s the first image we see of her:

Good thing I brought my Bat-Snausages to pacify them!

Good thing I brought my Bat-Snausages to pacify them!

Lady Satan is now a horror comic! Seems more appropriate to the name, at least.

The re-tooling is understandable. The war was over, so she could only keep fighting Nazis if she were very…confused. What to do? Completely revamp the character, that’s what!

And it was pretty common in the Golden Age for characters to be completely retooled without any explanation in order to follow the latest trends. One of my favorites is Moon Girl. When superheroes fell out of popularity in the late 40s, she was retooled as a crime comic (in title, at least) called Moon Girl Fights Crime (with beautiful artwork by Sheldon Moldoff). I say in title only because it was actually a horror comic with werewolves and mermaids and implied lesbianism* and shit. And when crime and horror comics fell victim to public moral panic, she was retooled again as a romance comic called–get this–A Moon, A Girl…Romance! Greatest. Name change. Ever.

So, anyways, let’s get back to the actual topic of this post. What’s Satan With Tits doing these days?

Oh god, she's evangelizing to unbelievers! Truly this is a horror comic!

Oh god, she’s evangelizing to unbelievers! Truly this is a horror comic!

Wait….what? She has magical fucking superpowers now? When did that happen? I… I’m confused. Which is actually a very normal feeling when reading any kind of comics. Compared to, say, the Clone Saga, Titty Devil suddenly getting magical powers isn’t really that baffling. If you really want a brainfuck, try spending 10 seconds figuring out just what Judas Traveler was all about. It will implode your mind, man.

So, anyways, our story begins with Lady Satan, in costume, driving down a dark, lonely road. Because, I guess she does that a lot. I heard Aquaman spends his nights sitting alone on the subway gently weeping about how everyone thinks he’s useless.

Along the way she finds some lost children and offers to take them home. But then…

She will be in my power! No one can resist my underbite!

She will be in my power! No one can resist my underbite!

Duhn duhn duuuuuuuhn!

She’s spotted by a guy who looks like the kind of mutant you’d get if Shaggy and Scooby ever fucked and had some kind of demon spawn. He’s a master of werewolves, and he’s our villain for this epic adventure. He turns the children into werewolves and sics them on Lady Satan.

Maybe we can stop for some ice cream and -- WHY!! Then later we could watch a ballgame to -- WHEN!! Sorry, I have a rare disorder called Interrogative Tourette's Syndrome.

Maybe we can stop for some ice cream and — WHY!! Then later we could watch a ballgame to — WHEN!! Sorry, I have a rare disorder called Interrogative Tourette’s Syndrome. WHERE!!

Boo yah! Wolves up your ass, bitch. And unfortunately for you, not one of them is that big hunky Jacob kid from Twilight. He’s not actually a wolf. He’s a totally different kind of animal.

The fight doesn’t last long, and not because in 1945 “three” somehow rhymes with “die”. From under her robe, Lady Satan produces the XANDA POWER which drives the wolves away. What’s the Xanda Power you ask? Does it involve having Xander Harris show up and distract the wolves by getting himself captured? Nope. The comic doesn’t bother to explain it. Oh well.

Underbite gets away with his wolves, but Lady Satan vows to save the captured wolf children. And she knows just how to track them.

Dark people who must obey? Maybe they should call her Lady Uncomfortable Insinuations...

Dark people who must obey? Maybe they should call her Lady Uncomfortable Insinuations…

So after her black slaves (there’s really no other way to think about it) lead her to Shag-a-Scoob, we get what the UN has officially declared to be the creepiest panel in this comic.

Oh, god, what's in that background kid's mouth???

Oh, god, what’s in that background kid’s mouth???

Wait a minute. Earlier they were trying to convert unbelievers. Now they’re molesting kids.

The werewolves are Catholic! That’s the worst kind of werewolf, even worse than the Mormon werewolves in Twilight!

Okay, yeah, this panel is super creepy. But it’s also one of the most interesting panels in the story. It reveals that this story is actually a metaphor for the harm done by child abuse and the dangers of people who prey on children. Think about it. The man lures children in with false promises. Makes them his slaves to do his bidding. And then turns them into monsters, representing the fact that abused children are more likely to abuse children themselves when they grow up. Lady Satan even later says, “The fiend was feeding them something that placed them in his power,” representing the fact that child molesters like Jerry Sandusky lure children with gifts, but that what they really want is power over them because they get off on it.

Holy shit. This thing actually has a serious, important message to tell. I never expected that.

Anyways, we get a few panels of a chase scene until Master Underbite figures out a great plan to shake Vagisil Demon off his tail: He drives his car off a bridge!  No, really, that’s what he does. Somehow, it works, as he leaves the scene thinking Lady Satan is dead (bad guys really need to check for a body before jumping to conclusions), and Lady Satan stays behind to rescue the children trapped in the sinking car.

Yes, rats often get trapped in cars that went off a bridge into a river after a child molester lured them there. Trapped just like rats!

Yes, rats often get trapped in cars that went off a bridge into a river after a child molester lured them there. Trapped just like rats!

What? Why? Really, why can’t you take up more than one child at a time? Who made this rule? Other than to create false tension, why would this be necessary?

Whatever. Now Lady Satan has a problem. Underbite (they never actually gave this motherfucker a name) has gone back to his hideout, and she no longer has her ni–uh, Shadow People to track him. (There seems to be a rule in this comic that each spell can be used only once, even if there are other times when it would also be useful.) What does she do?

Hark! I hear needlessly antiquated language!

Hark! I hear needlessly antiquated language!

Wait, so this guy was so wet that he left a trail of wet footprints for miles while walking back home? What is he, fucking SpongeBob SquarePants?

As you might expect, she defeats Underbite and frees the children he captured. We end with this:

Yes, I, who just a few pages ago said I call myself Lady Satan because I use black magic, will put an end to your devil magic! For I am a big fat hypocrite! Bwahahahaha!

Yes, I, who just a few pages ago said I call myself Lady Satan because I use black magic, will put an end to your devil magic! For I am a big fat hypocrite! Bwahahahaha!

And she just burns him up with finger fire. Why the fuck didn’t she do that earlier? Would’ve saved her a lot of time. Just sayin’.

The comic ends by finally giving this guy a name–Master Werewolf. Really put a lot of creativity into that one, didn’t you? At least it’s not Master Baites. Sucks to be him.

It’s a good little comic, worth checking out. You can get it over at the Digital Comics Museum if you’re curious. As you’ve probably noticed, the scan isn’t very good. A lot of the pages are tilted, which sucks. But it’s still worth a read. There’s a reprint of this story in Weird Horrors #1 from 1952. It’s a better scan, but unfortunately this time the printing was bad and the colors are faded and not always straight. Poor Lady Satan just can’t catch a break.

Good bye, and as always, Hail Satan!

_____________________________

* Seriously. Look at the last panel on these pages and tell me she’s not in ecstasy while humping a mermaid. And check out that werewolf’s face on the bottom of the second page. The latter has nothing to do with lesbians. Just wanted to point out that Moldoff could draw the fuck out of a werewolf.

Oh, and how the fuck is she talking underwater???

Comic Relief: More Satan!

I think I’m gonna start talking more about comics on this blog. Why? ‘Cause I feel like it, that’s why. So let’s revisit my favorite female superhero of the Golden Age, Lady Motherfuckin’ Satan. (To see my first post on Lady Satan, click here.)

When we last left Lady Satan, her fiance was murdered (and literally all we know about him was that he was her fiance and he was murdered) and this inspired Lady Satan to go to Nazi-occupied France and fight the Fritz.  That was Dynamic Comics #2, and her only other appearance in that book was in Dynamic Comics #3, which hit stands in February of 1942.

When you open the issue to the first page, you’re assaulted with a rather unpleasant image…

lady satan 4

How about you St. Pat my balls?

He is said to have wasted 100 years expending his energies on empty religious ceremonialism rather than doing things that actually matter.

Luckily, this useless old geezer only takes up one page, and we get some Lady Satan awesomeness starting on page 26.

Dead Nazis are always a good way to start out.

Dead Nazis are always a good way to start out.

That is so fucking awesome. I really dig the smoke through the skull image. And now we’ve got some real Inglorious Basterds style bloody Nazi killings. No more of that pansy-ass “chlorine” gun she used last issue.

There’s a problem, however, with the scan of this issue that I got from Digital Comics Museum. You can probably tell from the image above that the physical copy from which it was scanned was in pretty bad shape. There are holes in the pages, and the colors are faded. Here’s a closer look:

Holy fuck, there's a tear in space-time! Someone call Dr. Who!

Holy fuck, there’s a tear in space-time! Someone call Dr. Who!

There’s also this problem:

Maybe it's just REALLY badly applied make-up?

Maybe it’s just REALLY badly applied make-up?

The printer fucked up with the color plates, and they’re all offset. It looks like shit.

If you read enough Golden Age comics, you’ll come across this problem from time to time. Standards were low back then, and it wasn’t uncommon for printers to make major errors in producing a book, then just say “Fuck it! Put it on the shelves anyways! It’s not like we’ll have a legacy or anything in the future.” So, yeah, a lot of Golden Age comic books with really shitty quality out there.

Lucky for us, this story was reprinted in Bull’s Eye Comics #11 in 1944. And this time, Lady Satan even made the cover:

ver of a children's magazine in 1944. Oh how times have change...

You could put this on the cover of a children’s magazine in 1944. Oh how times have change…

Fuck yeah! Let’s get started.

Our story has a bit of a confusing beginning. We’re at a house in… somewhere. France maybe? It looks like a rather American house. And Lady Satan is in a car with somebody named Kurt…

"It's not Lady Lady. It's Lady Satan! Get it right, bitch!"

“It’s not Lady Lady. It’s Lady Satan! Get it right, bitch!”

Seriously, your password for secret information in this war-torn, Nazi-ruled nation is “My baby is sick”? You’re not at all worried about accidentally giving up that you’re a secret British spy to someone who just happens to have a sick baby?

And who the fuck is Kurt? And where is he? In the car? Can he hear this conversation? And why is he addressing her as “Lady Satan” when she’s not in disguise?

So many questions. But some of them are in fact answered in later pages. Kurt is a devoted Nazi soldier. Lady Satan is undercover, pretending to date him–or that he’s her “escort”; the comic implies both. He calls her “Lady Satan”. Would you date someone if the only name they gave you was “Satan”? Well, I guess he’s a Nazi and all…

Lady Satan’s sick-baby courier informs her that the Nazis are having some kind of big ass meeting today, and Lady Satan needs to find out what the fuck is going down. (I’m paraphrasing.) It doesn’t take long. After merely prodding her escort/boyfriend about whether he has another girl, Kurt shows us what kind of man he is.

Oh, and I wet the bed at night.  Damn it! Shut up, Kurt. You'll never get laid this way.

Oh, and I wet the bed at night. Damn it! Shut up, Kurt. You’ll never get laid this way.

Kurt, you fucking dumbshit. No wonder the Nazi’s lost.

Lady Satan pretends not to care about such things to throw Kurt off her scent, but decides that she must attend this meeting to break up the Nazi plan to kill the leaders of the free world. So she follows Kurt.

It's so secret that I hope there isn't someone obviously listening as we loudly discuss it outside.

It’s so secret that I hope there isn’t someone obviously listening in as we loudly discuss it outside.

Empowered with this knowledge, Lady Satan sneaks in and incapacitates the guard in one of the best single panels in the book.

Well, it was the most silent weapon before that whole "AAAAGGGHH!" thing.

Well, it was the most silent weapon before that whole “AAAAGGGHH!” thing.

God, I love the look on that guy’s face. He almost seems to be looking at the reader to ask, “Can you believe this shit?”

Lady Satan hides along with the supposedly garroted guard to listen in to the meeting as the Nazi leaders enter. They notice that the guard is missing, but have their totally secret meeting anyways. How the hell did these guys even manage to last all the way up to 1945? Anyways, it turns out that Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt are going to have a secret meeting on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic (Why not in D.C., where it’s safe?), and the Nazis want a volunteer to go on a suicide mission to assassinate them. Kurt, brain trust that he is, volunteers. He is told that he will be disguised as none other than Charles de Gaulle in order to infiltrate the Allied meeting.

Unfortunately…

Lady Satan, you suck at strangling people.

Lady Satan, you suck at strangling people.

Oh, fuck! She’s busted!

The Nazis find her behind the curtain and converge on her. She draws her gun, and in the lone moment of competency in his life, Kurt disarms her. Running out of options and capture looking eminent, she…

"Can't believe I dated that crazy bitch."

“Can’t believe I dated that crazy bitch.”

…Kills herself?

Shit, that was over quickly. They leave her alone so that the incompetent guard she strangled earlier can bury her. He buries her. The end.

Just kidding. It was a rubber knife full of fake blood. No one even checks her body. Nazis are morons. Especially Kurt.

But now she has to catch up with the nefarious Kurt de Gaulle, who’s heading out into the Atlantic in a plane with French markings, before he can kill Roosevelt and Churchill. Lady Satan hijacks a Nazi plane (where did she get these ace piloting skills?) and pursues. She finally catches up to Krazy Kurt as they approach the American and British ships. But then…

Oh, so we're shooting the Nazis now? Gee, I've only been here for 14 months. Thanks for telling me how to do my job, Lance.

Oh, so we’re shooting the Nazis now? Gee, I’ve only been here for 14 months. Thanks for telling me how to do my job, Lance.

Lady Satan is shot down by the most FAAAABULOUS pair of shirtless Navy hunks this side of a Village People reunion (and with a giant cannon-boner between them). But merely being shot out of the sky won’t stop her! She is fucking Satan after all! She’s pulled from the water by some sailors who attempt to arrest her, but she pulls a gun and forces them to take her to the ship where Kurt the Kraut Frog will attempt the assassination.

"I'm sure the Nazis sent me on this mission that I'm certain not to survive because they really value my quick wit and consummate skills."

“I’m sure the Nazis sent me on this mission that I’m certain not to survive because they really value my quick thinking and impeccable observation skills.”

Kurt, Kurt, Kurt. You still haven’t put two and two together yet, have you?

Well, it’s too late. Before Kurt the Sausage-sucking Surrender-Monkey can shoot Churchill and Roosevelt, Lady Satan comes up and literally stabs him in the back. Alas, their love was not to be. Kurt’s last words were, “They have rightly named you…Lady Satan…AAAAGGHH!” Should’ve thought of that earlier, Kurt. Now you’re Nazi shishkabob.

And the comic ends with Churchill and Roosevelt, two of the greatest leaders the free world has ever seen, giving thanks to Satan.

You can't see it in the panel, but Churchill is double-fisting martinis and FDR is getting a handy."

You can’t see it in the panel, but Churchill is double-fisting martinis and FDR is getting a handy.

God, I love this comic.

Anyways, go to the Digital Comic Museum and pick this one up. It is free and in the public domain, after all. And as always, Hail Satan!