Saturday, March 9, 2024

The Prophecy / The Black Candle

Queue up some Motorhead and prepare yourself for a quick and very vicious tale from the joltin' January 1954 issue of Out of the Shadows #11, featuring a scruffy but cool art collaboration by Jack Katz and Vince Colleta. And since it's kind of short, I went ahead and added a one-page Gene Fawcette quickie from the same great issue. "Read 'em and weep, the dead man's hand again..."


Brian Barnes said...

I like the art here. It's scratchy and a little weird in places but it gives the entire tale this swampy grisly feel. I also love Lotta's ghost, sort of this weird swamp thing/scarecrow! I also like how beast like Chuck is portrayed, it's a little on the nose but that's something that gives you a quick and interesting read in comics.

I did get a good chuckle out of the ending; the tale already works but then to drive it home with the "this card smells like a corpse was holding it!" kind of thing is so 50s horror comic.

I like the short, too, that's a fun one pager with some great art, but the whispy and screaming smoke witch. She really had it out for that guy!

Bill the Butcher said...

Of all the incompetent witches! Couldn't she have read a few horror comics to find out the pitfalls?

Mr. Cavin said...

It always interests me when they've attempted to tone down the violence by sanitizing its effect. I mean, I'm assuming, but that's what seems to be happening on page two, when all of the blood on Carlotta's corpse has been colored out. They wrote the violence into the story and they feel free to show it. But then they get queasy about visualizing the aftermath. I feel like this works to make the act of violence feel more acceptable, which was unlikely to have been the intent. Anyway, just thoughts. I liked the story well enough. I think the bright red blood covered corpse of Carlotta would have been a freaky and show-stopping image, though. (And a great Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black song!)

The art here pulls a look that I often love in precode comics and completely dislike in modern ones. Where the artist(s) mark out all the detail--hair, facial lines, clothing folds, etc.--without any nod to shadows or light, letting the colorist add whatever is necessary to keep it from flattening out too much. Ogden Whitney and Dick Briefer excel at this sort of thing. So did Moebius (but then he was usually his own colorist, so it hardly counts). I feel like the deadline may have loomed between page two and three which is a shame. The Carlotta's death scene is an amazing page--gritty and detailed, with a sort of rumpled élan--but the last two pages feel hurried and a little slapdash. It's by no means egregious, but it's a good reminder to finish your important pages first (here I'd say the middle two, plus the splash), so if you run out of time (or interest) you're only rushing through the filler.

I love it when fortune tellers use regular playing cards, by the way. That feels like poverty row magic, and that's always the best kind.

Grant said...

"Of all the incompetent witches!"

She also advertises herself a little too much with a name like "Mortalla."
At least Morticia Addams is a comedy character, and a really innocent one, so calling herself by the name is very "ingenuous."