Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Satan's Suit

Remember back in February when I posted that wonderfully weird wedding dress story, (the one soaked in embalming fluid and slowly killing a woman --click HERE for it) --well, today I have the perfect pair-up for that tale, a similarly saturated, morbid match made in Hell-- or let's call it "For the Groom", if you will! From the Dec '51 issue of Black Cat Mystery #32.


Brian Barnes said...

Obviously lifting from the same urban legend but with a twist, I'm going to assume that the shop keeper is Satan, just for my own amusement. Man does he have a lengthy and convoluted plan for ... what? A soul? The guy wasn't even lying about wealth, he was just wearing the suit to LOOK better instead down and out! He seemed like a nice guy!

Satan just sucks, evidently!

Page 3, panel 2, I love the twisted hand and the big toothy death grin in the next panel. The art isn't great but there's some fun panels.

Mestiere said...

We might have found an inspiration for William Castle's Mr. Sardonicus.

In the last page our protagonist suffers a fate worse than death: he's turned into a strawberry blond.

Would embalming fluid have the paradoxical effect of accelerating decomposition? The inhalation of formaldehyde gas in even small quantities is followed by bronchitis and pneumonia. Had he swallowed formalin—admittedly unlikely—he could just drop dead. Enough formalin or formaldehyde could cause necrosis, tissue death. It would seem incredible that anyone would rent a suit "soaked in embalming fluid" but mentally ill people exist and the story specifically described the protagonist as "a tramp". If the rot was hallucinatory and people were running away from him because of the stench then the story would be almost at the edge of believability.

JMR777 said...

No one objects if a bad guy or a louse suffers a terrible fate in horror comics, when its just a guy off the street falling victim to evil misfortune it just doesn't sit too well with readers, then or now. Had Pete been a crook or con man or in trouble with the law the ending would have been a well deserved comeuppance, since we have no idea how bad Pete was in life, it just feels wrong. As Brian Barnes said, Satan Sucks!

Then again, Pete did have a warning from the tuxedo itself about burial at midnight so he couldn't say he wasn't warned.

A chilling tale, thanks Karswell!

Mr. Cavin said...

Of all the mad arts and sciences, I'd say "tailor" is generally under recognized. The idea of soaking a monkey suit in leprosy and then handing it out to the first beggar that--hey, wait. You know, back when this was a wedding dress, I was delighted that people were writing cautionary stories about dressing up. I myself never put on a suit if it ain't Halloween. Who knows what the heck might happen if I did? But this seems to be a warning sign about class mobility itself.

"You tried to clean up, get a better job? Shoulda known better, you hobo."

Mr. Cavin said...

PS, this is one of my very favorite Black Cat Mystery covers. Does that image go with one of the stories inside? I need to know all about this scimitar-swinging cat-masked wrestling man.

Guy Callaway said...

"Out of the backwash of humanity, a customer appears.."
Got it: never try to improve oneself.

Mestiere said...

Seeing the reader's reaction to the pawnshop owner's preying on the poor reminded me of other examples from popular culture:

• In the 1982 novella Apt Pupil by Stephen King an A student and a fugitive Nazi war criminal develop a sadomasochistic relation where both of them, independently, relieve their stress by killing bums.

• In the 1973 movie Emperor of the North Pole directed by Robert Aldrich (The Dirty Dozen) and starring Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine and Keith Carradine, we see a psychopathic train conductor (Borgnine) hellbent on killing every hobo who sneaks aboard his train. That is taken as a challenge by a hobo who is a hero among his peers, A-number-1 (Marvin).

• On A Clockwork Orange (1971) we see Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) and his gang of droogs, in their endless pursuit of "ultra-violence", beat the hell out of a defenseless wino.

• There is a 1987 movie, Street Trash, about an owner of a liquor store in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, who finds a case of cheap wine called Tenafly Viper in his basement. It's gone bad but decides to sell it to local hobos, causing them to melt. It's a comedy.

Guy Callaway said...


There's an EC story where creeps at a (skid row) blood bank bleed the bums dry (who're expecting a couple of dollars).

Mr. Karswell said...

Haha, awesome comments... I love when the comments get weirder than the stories! Keep 'em coming, gang!