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)

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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!

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* 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: Sexy Satanic Golden Age Goodness

I saw over at Atop the Fourth Wall, a site everyone should check out, Linkara has a post about a kick ass Golden Age comic book hero called Tomboy. I enjoy reading those old Golden Age comic books from time to time, and thought I’d share one of my personal favorites. It’s not just that she kicks ass, it’s also that our hero’s name is totally blasphemous. You could never give a superhero a name like this in the later Silver Age, when the censorious Comics Code Authority completely neutered the entire industry.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you…

"Why, no, my dear. I'm not evil. Whatever would make you say that?"

“Why, no, my dear. I’m not evil. Whatever would make you say that? Is it the monocle? The martini? The arched eyebrow? Or the gang sign I’m flashing?”

Yes, that’s right. LADY FUCKING SATAN.

Lady Satan, who debuted in Dynamic Comics #2 in 1941, interests me for several reasons.

  1. She’s motherfucking Satan. (But not really. It’s just a name.)
  2. She debuted a month before Wonder Woman, whom people often mistakenly believe is the first female superhero. (She’s not. Not even close.)*
  3. She doesn’t have any superpowers, and has to use her wits to fight crime. But then suddenly she has superpowers in a later issue without any explanation. Let’s just say that continuity wasn’t on anyone’s mind back in the Golden Age.
  4. People in the comic rarely remark on the fact that she named herself after FUCKING SATAN. You’d think that would be the first question out of anyone’s mouth.

So, what made Lady Satan decide to give up her normal life and become a Nazi-killing fallen angel? You’d think one would need a compelling reason to start calling oneself “Satan”…

"Trust me, I'm very sad about this. Can't you see it on my face, or did the artist fuck me up again?"

“Trust me, I’m very sad about this. Can’t you see it on my face, or did the artist fuck me up again?”

That’s all the origin you get, folks. Three panels. In the Golden Age they were nothing if not concise.

And if you thought Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru had it bad in Star Wars, check out poor Nameless Fiance here. He is never mentioned again. Hell, he only gets the one line, and we never even see the sonofabitch’s face. In fact, that one panel of wrathful vow is all the grief over his death we get, as the very next panel makes quite clear.

"Perhaps Madame Satan would like the flowers drizzled with the blood of virgins?"

“Perhaps Madame Satan would like the flowers drizzled with the blood of virgins?”

This comic doesn’t fuck around. Boyfriend dead? Moving on! Time to fight Monocled Nazi Lex Luther.

From here the story follows her as she manipulates the Nazis into leading her to the location of their plans for a sub-detector, which she hopes to deliver to the British. (Remember, America wasn’t at war yet at the time this came out.) Monocled Nazi Lex Luther (a.k.a Captain Fritz–I don’t know why they didn’t just go all the way and call him Major Sausage-Chomper) is quite shocked by this turn of events when Lady Satan’s plot is apparently foiled…

"I should really stop trusting people who hide their identities and name themselves after the Prince of Lies..."

“I should really stop trusting people who hide their identities and name themselves after the Prince of Lies…”

But of course, Lady Satan’s not dead! She gets the plans from them after incapacitating the Nazis (with non-lethal force–she’s not THAT satanic, you know). The British get the Nazi’s submarine plans, and everyone lives satanically ever after.

"HAIL SATAN!"

“HAIL SATAN!”

Seriously. This comic ends with a big joyful “Thank you, Satan!” You know what that is? It’s fucking awesome. That’s what it is.

(Also, why is the Air Ministry in charge of breaking a U-Boat blockade? And what exactly is “a much”?)

It’s actually a pretty standard story, but definitely worth checking out. It’s in the public domain, and can be found at the Digital Comic Museum. Go read the comic, and Hail Satan! 😀

___________________________________

* DC frequently plays along with this misconception, even though Wonder Woman isn’t even the oldest female superhero in their own roster. Phantom Lady and Bulletgirl both appeared before Wonder Woman (who hit the stands in Dec 1941, in an issue dated Jan 1942–Lady Satan hit the stands in Nov 1941 in an issue dated Dec 1941).

Not only were there literally dozens of female superheroes before Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman wasn’t even the first female patriotic superhero. She was preceded by at least 5 female superhero patriots: USA, Miss America, Miss Victory, Pat Patriot and War Nurse.

Wikipedia claims that Fantomah, who debuted in Feb 1940, is the first female superhero, but this is wrong, too. The oldest female superhero I know of is Ritty, who at 6 inches tall fought crime alongside her equally diminutive boyfriend Minimidget. Both debuted together in Sep 1939, just a few months after Batman.

None of this should be taken as me dissing Wondie.  I like her as a superhero, and I think the stuff Bryan Azzarello is writing for her right now is fantastic. I just hate that DC sometimes represent themselves as being the first when it comes to giving women representation among superheroes, when nothing could be further from the truth.