Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Witching Well

Lou Cameron and Rocco Mastroserio collaborated on two mindlessly fun tales from the June 1952 issue of The Beyond #12, (sometimes it really is all about the art) --I'll have them both for you over the next few posts, as well as the fun Ace filler one-pagers and maybe even the other stories from this issue, we'll see how things go...


Tim Tylor said...

Mystic candles made from bat's whats???

Mestiere said...

A really wordy story, almost like reading the transcript of a radio show.

"One of my ancestors, the first owner of this house, practiced black magic with the aid of mystic candles made from bat's eggs and strands of hangman's rope for the wicks!" Wait a second, bats don't lay eggs!

Vera seemed to be wearing some kind of neck band on a couple of panels on page two. Was it to cover the bat shaped mark? But she isn't wearing it on the first panel of page one. Also, Roy mentioned in the apartment that Vera's voice sounded differently, but didn't say that at the farmhouse. Does that mean that that really was Vera at the farmhouse at the beginning of the story? And if it wasn't Vera, does that mean that the witch removed the neck band at the apartment and changed her voice? Why would she do that? It's almost like the creators chose to change the threat from a family curse to an actual witch after they had already started to make the story.

I found funny how, on page three, panel four, the witch just jumps head first into the well.

"No! No! That enchanted dagger is the only weapon that can kill me!" Then you probably shouldn't have told him that. And didn't you already fall on the dagger on the fifth panel of page four?

It was a good looking story. I was entertained. Like a certain wise man said: "sometimes it really is all about the art".

Brian Barnes said...

There's a lot of un-answered questions on this one, first and foremost, was there an editor, and was he in a coma at the time?

Mesterie did a pretty good round up but missed the teleporting dagger, and the tardis-like layout of the house (try to figure out who the winding staircase dungeon was right next to the living room.)

The cover is a real hoot, too. My first thought was "why is the tree exploding?" No, that's dirt. From the shovel. Going the opposite way of the throw and seemingly passing through the shovel itself.

JMR777 said...

"I found a candle with an evil looking face on it, guess I'll light it, nothing bad could come of it..." thought our clueless hero.

Lots of twists and turns in this story, its like the plot changed with each page.

I have seen many of the one page stories/one page wonders before, they sometimes tell the story better than could be told in four or five pages. Like all stories, one pagers are hit or miss, but they are good filler even if the artwork is less than stellar.

Mr. Cavin said...

Yeah, I can't believe anybody's picking on that awesome cover. Holy cow, it's top-notch. The figure drawing, that face, the color variegation and gnarly brushwork. It's actually hard for me to imagine much better.

As for the story, yeah, it's a little schizo, but I do like the clean square art and I am happy to be solidly back in the territory of creative precode coloring techniques. And silliness, for that matter. By the way: Bats, like all mammals, totally have eggs. They just don't lay them--making their eggs pretty hard to harvest and, possibly, too small to cook with.

Trevor Markwart said...

I think they used "bat's eggs" because they couldn't say that the mystic candles were made of bat shit. And they probably weren't familiar with the term bat guano like we are today.

Agree about that cover. It has a terrific folk art quality to it and is very striking.

Karswell said...

I'm pretty sure that shovel on the cover can be viewed as almost an optical illusion, to some it might be turned the wrong way, to others it's correct... it looks fine to me, but after Brian mentioned it I can see how it looks wonky now too.

How's everyone like their vampire bat eggs anyway? I like mine bloody-side up!

Mr. Cavin said...

You know what, you're totally right Karswell. Now that you mention it, the shovel does have a way of switching back and forth between concave and convex whenever I shut my eyes and open them again.

Still, the contextual information in the rest of the picture kind of supports the way we saw it at first: that the business end of the shovel, the scoop, is facing away from us; and that the swing is following through as the dirt travels into the background. It's about how the light lines-up with that shadow of the handle on the man's red sweater. That shovel would have a shadow in the bottom lip if we were seeing the concave surface.

I like my bat eggs over queasy.

Brian Barnes said...

Karswell, are you going to have the story related to the cover up soon (if it even exists, sometimes covers didn't exactly reflect the interior story.)

If so, I look forward to making jokes about object positioning and physics in the panels and launching way to much additional discussion :)

Karswell said...

The cover doesn't seen to be related to any of the stories inside, but that won't stop me from posting them, or you from launching comments that lead to lengthy rambling discussion, Bri!

I can't believe nobody wants SCREAMBLED EGGS!!!

Grant said...

I enjoyed the cover too. You don't expect people to look exactly the same on the cover as they do in the story, but this is the first time I can think of that one of the differences was a handlebar mustache.

One of the few accidentally funny things (to me) is that famous horror comic exclamation "AAIIEE!!" towards the end. The thing that makes it funny is the matter-of-fact look on Vera's face when she says it.

It's true that bats don't lay eggs (except in the sense that Mr. Cavin mentions), but if you're even the slightest bit into herpetology, you know that rattlesnakes don't lay them either, which doesn't prevent "rattlesnake eggs" from showing up in places like novelty shops. That makes the idea of "bats eggs" almost easy to "roll with."