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 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???