Saturday, February 2, 2019

Wrath of Satan

As promised, we now return to our regularly scheduled channel of 100% pure evil. From the November 1952 issue of Weird Terror #2, art by John Belcastro and Joe Galotti.


Mestiere said...

"Ha!Ha!Ha! Choose, Fergus! Now!" I have a skull in one hand and your daughter in the other. Which one will it be?

God works in mysterious ways and the Devil—like we learned in The Omen movies—works through freak accidents.

Fergus complains about not having money for his daughter as a reason for revenge but we don't see how killing his ex partners is going to remedy that situation. Presumably the ownership of the carnival would pass to his ex partners' families, not to Fergus.

This is one of several stories we've seen here were the Devil takes possession of a child against her will. In this case the daughter is exchanged by some kind of demon, like a changeling replacing a child stolen by fairies. This is why you have to remember to baptize those babies! Christian babies are the only ones baptized out of the major religions.

The Devil is seen as much more accesible than God. You simply call him and he just comes. If someone said that God visits him and has conversations with him most people would consider such a person crazy. But if he said he speaks to the Devil many more people would give him the benefit of the doubt. He would only have to say"yes Satan, no Satan" talking to empty air and he would freak some people out.

One would have thought that Fergus' pointy stick would play some role in the story denouement. Maybe by sticking the Devil's contract and putting it in the fire. But no.

Mr. Karswell said...

>Fergus' pointy stick would play some role in the story denouement.

Good point! ;)

Brian Barnes said...

These kind of stories are hard to read for me. Think about the moral implications of this world view:

1. Fergus has done nothing wrong, yet his desire for revenge is seen as evil when, in fact, it seems utterly justified. These men did him a great evil, to him and to his child, and continue to make him suffer.

2. The devil at least answers -- god has done nothing to help this poor soul and his completely innocent child -- yet the devil does. For all the talk of "good" and "evil" good seems helpless and evil at least seems able to to solve for a price.

3. Somehow the devil can curse/steal/replace the innocent child, too!

4. Fergus' entire motive seems to spin around helping out poor Sally, who is cheerful and just wants a few things! For that both of them seem they will suffer for eternity!


Not a fan of the garish coloring, but I love the outright from-left-field octopus kill! said...

That was such a lame deal to give his soul and child for.
He was a terrible negotiator!
He didn't even ask for riches. He gave his soul and his daughter for some really personally unsatisfying deaths.
He could've killed those guys himself and it would've been more satisfying.
The transformation of the girl into the demon is shocking.
This doesn't come out of the blue.
We had already worried about her as readers.
Earlier the father asks her about her dress.
As a father he must feel negligent. Why would she have a torn dress?
You can't leave a kid alone at a circus all day!
A circus with so many carnies?
Is he wondering if she was molested, or is he just concerned about economic factors?
He's a real naive fool.
That's his 'sin': not acting. Letting the devil solve his problems.
He should've murdered Slade when he was walking away all alone right after he insulted him.
THere's an alternate story where he stabs him, steals all the money in his wallet and takes off with his daughter.
You know.... Some Jack Chick comics were pretty good this way.
Weirder atmosphere though.
There's one where this guy has a friend that enables him and they are finally in Hell. His friend pulls his face off and it's the devil.
Jack Chick's devils were better.
This story has kind of a corny old devil, more of a vampire magician.

P.S. to Mestiere: Protestants don't baptism babies. Only the Catholics do.

Mr. Cavin said...

Just on the basis of pure storytelling chops, I think this one was pretty good. I mean, sure, the plot is a little by the numbers--there isn't much to separate one "doing deals with the devil" type tale from the next, at least in the broad sense--but in the details this little yarn sets a moving tragedy up in the fist two pages, and that really helps the rest of the story pay out. If that feels a little uneven, at least it tilts toward character development through dialog.

The art is a little uneven, too. It's hard to guess how the two artists divvied up the chore, but I think they at least shared penciling duties, sometimes on the same page. Especially early in the story, some of the art is brisk and has a lot of fun with edge details--see all of page one, or the top row of page two (there's some kind of hanky-panky going on that capsule)--while other parts feel spare, and seem to lack a guiding visual idea--I've never seen a more flat-footed octopus attack (although I like the way the registration makes those feet look like 3D anaglyphs). I love the weird panels of faces here and there: page two, panel six is an unexpected and campy hoot; and page six, panel four is just emotional and odd.

And "emotional and odd" are exactly what I crave as a consumer.

Mr. Cavin said...

PS, I meant to mention the cover of this ish: It's adorable. Now that's what I call a lovingly dynamic octopus attack!

Mestiere said...

"P.S. to Mestiere: Protestants don't baptism babies. Only the Catholics do"

I was, of course, kidding about baptizing babies! I don't really believe demons are going to take them.

Most Christians belong to a denomination that baptizes babies. Apart from Catholics there are Oriental Orthodox, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Anglicans, Congregationalists and Methodists. Look up infant baptism or pedobaptism.
Here is an Anglican baptism.

Grant said...

I agree about Simon's misguided wishes. People in these stories always forget that "success is the best revenge." The problem is, people OUTSIDE of fiction often forget it too, and prefer a "pound of flesh" to getting even in a way that could really HELP them.

BTX said...

This comic definitely has a Jack Chick moral view of the universe: God punishes, both the sinners (The Unrepentant Carny Owners) and the morally weak ( Fergus and his deal ) and the Sins of The Fathers visited upon the children (The Daughter). I suppose you might argue that the comics code was "necessary" to establish a consistent "moral balance" of the Wages Of Sin, but I'd like to argue that the America that had emerged from both the depression and the war when this was published was in no mood for fairytales. Judging by the caliber of comments, an awful lot of thought has gone into this scratchy, inconsistent little story with a "gotcha!" ending.

JMR777 said...

If I have learned anything from comics, especially horror comics, are the facts that logic either doesn't exist or is very faulty, or common sense was banished from comic book land.

"Make a deal with the devil for revenge? What could go wrong?"
"Everyone who spends a night in the creepy old mansion ends up dead or insane? I'll stay the night and disprove the legend, nothing will happen to me!"

Sometimes a comic tale is just a comic tale, don't look for logic or your head might explode.