Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cloth of Terror

Because obviously "Coat of Terror" wouldn't sound frightening enough as a title, "Cloth of Terror" is another horror hit from Harvey's fun Witches Tales series-- the May 1952 issue of Witches Tales #10 to be exact. Remember this yucky yarn next time you're bundling up for winter with your murder mittens and Satanic scarf!


Brian Barnes said...

This one needed an extra page or two, there's some really strange jumps done by text and not panels (show don't tell), like at the bottom of page 2.

Ghost Jeremiah is a good, spooky image!

This one has some kind of strange morality in it, sure, Jeremiah gets killed, but then his ghost kills others -- innocent others -- to setup his revenge. So are they going to come back as ghosts and haunt ghost Jeremiah? What a murky message! Killing innocents is OK in the path to revenge?

Another fun quicky, though the question of why there is a twisted woods right behind a tailor shop on a quiet street corner is never answered!

Karswell said...

Twisted Woods answers to no one!

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

A fine artist, this Mr. Stallman, he knows how to draw faces distorted by fear and wickedness. Jeremiah's face reminds me of some Dick Tracy's characters (I'm no expert, just a sensation).
This may be a stupid question but... are those two guys supposed to be Jews?
Fine story, but with really odd bits:
Does Caleb really kills his partner just because he thought he stole ONE dollar?
Why the ghost of Jerry doesn't kill Caleb immediately (aside from the fact that there would be no story)?
And have you noticed the names? Jeremiah, Caleb, Ephriam, John,... Is it a comic book or a Bible quiz?

Karswell said...

Whatever it is, God don't like it...

Mestiere said...

... are those two guys supposed to be Jews?

I thought the exact same thing. Brant is often a Jewish last name. There is a whole chapter in Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers: The Story of Success titled "The Three Lessons of Joe Flom" about how Jewish immigrants in New York managed to escape poverty by setting up clothing stores and factories once the U.S. became and industrial powerhouse in the early 20th century.

In Europe Jews were not allowed to own land—the main form of wealth—so they practiced professions like tailor, with limited success. But now that they were in a growing country with a dynamic economy everyone needed clothes and they were able to comply.

The Irish and Italian immigrants who came to New York in the same period didn't have that advantage. They didn't have a skill specific to the urban economy, since they had been mostly rural peasants. They went to work as day laborers and domestics and construction workers—jobs where you could show up for work every day for thirty years and never learn market research and manufacturing and how to navigate the popular culture and how to negotiate with the Yankees, who ran the world.

When the Jew with a shop came home to his wife and children at the end of the day he may have been tired and poor and overwhelmed, but he was alive. He was his own boss. He was responsible for his own decisions and direction. His work was complex: it
engaged his mind and imagination. And in his work, there was a relationship between effort and reward. That's why he would later be willing to invest in his children's education by sending them to college at a time when few families did that. That is why Jews would account for a disproportionate share of the next generation's doctors and lawyers.

As for the story, I wish that they had explained why Jeremiah was willing to kill all those other people. Did he have a grudge against the town? Otherwise his actions seem arbitrary.

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

Interesting! Silly how it seems, when I think about Jewish communities in big American cities, is the diamond business that comes to my mind.
Now I seem to recall that, in an old Sven Hassel book, Obergefreiter Joseph Porta tells the story of a renowned (and sly) berliner jewish tailor who manages to reach the U.S. with his family by means of corruption, and this man states that "life will be easy for us there" or something like that.
At least we italians had some good cooking to offer (a relative of mine has a couple of restaurants in Florida).
Emigration is no easy matter at all. "Meglio se hai un mestiere" (= better if you got a trade)!

Mr. Cavin said...

Great story! The art reminded me of Gasoline Alley (especially on page two). I guess Dick Moores' stuff from the sixties and seventies? Deceptively intricate, nice use of line and foreground stuff to open up the panels. I really dug it.

Grant said...

What's odd about this story is that, usually when one business partner kills another in a suspense story, it's either because he suspects him of stealing money from the business to live the high life, or because he wants to do that HIMSELF, or because he's already doing it himself and about to be caught at it. In this story, Jeremiah might or might not be a thief, because you never hear it mentioned beyond that first scene. And instead of wanting to relax with the money from the business, Caleb sets out to do all the work now that Jeremiah's gone!

Trevor Markwart said...

Grant's right -- Caleb seems to have used the "you stole my dollar" excuse to strangle his partner so that he could get the joy of working like a slave-dog 24/7! It doesn't make a damn bit of sense!

Did like the art style of this one.