Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Black Fury

Black cats are as important to Halloween as witches and jack-o-lanterns, so let's fire up a hellish tale of ferocious felines, and ancient, hissing evil from the July 1953 issue of Web of Mystery #19. By the way, how many of your own 9 lives do you cool cats have left remaining?















7 comments:

Grant said...

I definitely like this one, although there's one hard to explain moment, at least visually. "Amalie, what's come over you?" is kind of a small thing to say when she's actually turning into a cat before his eyes.

Brian Barnes said...

It's 1953 but an older type of horror tale where somebody figures out the weakness (pretty obvious here!) and ends the monsters, instead of a vengeance type ending.

It's a fun read, I like the crazy over-sized cats, and page 4/panel 3 entertains me (I have two cats and would never harm a cat, but it has such a blazing saddles horse-punching feel to it.)

Artist did a good job with the cats, though, I'm not exactly sure what their plan was. They lead him to the house, then ... tried to kill him? Then turn him? No wonder they lost, they didn't seem to have a concrete plan!

I also love how at least twice they just blurt something out -- the fire first and then "not one of us yet." Yeesh, get a clue, buddy!

Mr. Cavin said...

If I remember my Frank Baum, it's actually scarecrows that don't like fire. Whitches don't like water. Course, I didn't see many crows hanging around the cornfields in this one, either.

Sheesh, try to help a guy, try to include him when he barges in out of nowhere, try to neck with him a little, and he burns you all up for it. I love this story. I feel like the art is a little pedestrian when it comes to composition and space, but the figure drawing is really excellent. And no story with this much twofisted cat-punching action can possibly be criticized much.

And I certainly didn't see the end coming.

Grant said...

If there's anything that's possibly touchy about that interrupted scene it's that Burton and Amalie are distant relatives. But they're probably SO distant that I kind of agree with Mr. Cavin's necking remark, especially considering how exotic Amalie is.

Mestiere said...

"Great heavens above! Can this be true? Amalie, are you the same creature as that cat?" But Amalie had already looked liked that in front of Burton. On the page immediately before. Bad communication between writer and artist seems to have been endemic in this type of assembly line production.

"Aaaii, it was like waking the dead! You look alright! I brought the gendarmes just in case you might have run into trouble." That's the same French guy from page two who warned Burton not to look for the Chatnoirs and wouldn't take him to their property. It looks like he didn't follow his own advice. And remember, this is ten miles from where he and Burton met last.

At the end there was no inn, since it had burned to the ground in 1796 like that sign—conveniently written in English—said. The house had no electricity or any other modern convenience. One would almost think that Burton had traveled back in time and was retroactively responsible for the burning of the Chatnoirs. Except that the sign said the Chatnoirs were tried and burned. So what happened to Burton? Did he imagine the whole thing? But Burton Pascal had real scratches. Maybe he was abused by the ghosts of those shape-shifting witches. But how can you burn down a ghost house? At the end, who cares that the story makes no sense. It gave us something we needed to see: cat punching.

Grrrrrrrace said...

Um...if someone offered me the chance to be able to turn into a cat at a whim, I'd take it! What's the downside here? It sounds like a superpower! And with central heating, I've got no need to be cold as a result...

Glowworm said...

Our hero's kind of dense here, isn't he? His ancestors' surname literally translates to that of "The Black Cats" and the townsfolk associate them with witchcraft. Not to mention, he keeps seeing black cats wandering about the inn and hasn't quite put two and two together yet. The most obvious clue of all? He beats up the cat and hasn't figured out that it's actually the old woman of the home--even when the next morning, her head is bandaged EXACTLY where he punched the cat. In classic folktales, when a witch was injured in animal form--say an hand chopped off while in the shape of a cat, or horseshoes nailed to her feet, she'd remain that way in human form--which means, she'd be missing a hand or have horseshoes nailed to her hands and feet. Even when Amalie transforms before his very eyes into a cat creature, he STILL hasn't figured out that the cats are actually his own ancestors. Also, what was the cat trying to do to him while he was sleeping? Suck out his soul? It's a possibility!