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…
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.
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!