Wednesday, June 26, 2024

The Serpent Strikes

While most of us weren't familiar with the magical exploits of Yarko in our previous post (HERE), I do believe a few of you are quite aware of the macabre, mystical powers of Dr. Jonathan Weir, aka The Purple Claw! We've hosted a clawful of PC horror adventures here over the years, so if you're unfamiliar somehow, just check the THOIA Archive for more! And what'a ya know, this story also sneakily qualifies as a Werewolf Wednesday post too! And no, I don't mean a Dr. Weir-wolf tale, just read 'em and were-weep, fiends, all will be made clear to you very soon. From the March 1953 issue of The Purple Claw #2.


Brian Barnes said...

He punches a snake. Not even with the claw hand, but his bare hand! You aren't even worthy of the purple claw, you get the regular fist of fury!

I always like the setups in these things; this is certainly better than Yarko's phone call, but they spend like 5 panels setting up this triangle that the ol' Purple Claw noses his way into, because we need to save as many panels as possible for snake beating action!

Are we sure, though, that Weir didn't just get used? Think about it -- there's nothing to say that Ted wasn't really in love with Leera, and that Anne didn't figure Leera's were-nature out and pulled in Weir and specifically caused trouble to get Leera to strike out to protect herself. Weir *never* actually attempts to hear any side of the story. Snake lady? Cold blooded murder! In more ways than one!

Sure, Ted looks like "spell broken" at end, but he just lost one woman, might as well fake it to pull in the backup!

BTW didn't we have a sexy snake lady thing going for a while back? Add this to the pile!

Grant said...

This resembles the pretty famous movie CULT OF THE COBRA with Faith Domergue, but it precedes it in a big way.

I know history very haphazardly, but I know that there was a group called the Psyllians or Psylli (not "Pysili"), and that they were famous as snake charmers, and supposedly one was asked to try to remove the venom from Cleopatra to save her. So someone evidently knew the traditions about them, because Leera gives that as her alibi in Panel 2 of Page 7.

I know I'm a killjoy about this, but it annoys me to read the phrase "snake smear" two different times, because it must mean the same thing as "slime trail." And one of the biggest annoyances of snake fans is the belief that they're slimy!

All joking aside, I get a "Betty and Veronica fighting over Archie" vibe from Leera, Anne and Ted (partly because of the hair colors, of course).
I wonder how many other love triangle stories in horror and suspense comics could be described that way.

JMR777 said...

"She is a pysili, one of the snake clan of ancient Africa" If she is, then why does she look Northern European? Was she an exchange student sent to Africa and learned their customs?

So Werewolves from Europe, weresnakes from Africa, weretigers and werecrocodiles from India, the werefolk sure are a diverse bunch.

Glowworm said...

I love how we get practically no background lore on how Ted and Leera met or anything about Leera in general aside from the fact that she can turn into a snake. I always was confused on what Dr. Weir's superpower was as "The Purple Claw" as it simply consisted of him running around wearing a purple glove on his hand. Apparently it's super strength, but it's really difficult to tell honestly. But it is fun to watch this guy beat the crap out of a snake in his PJs. Also, that image of Ted turning into a weresnake is hilarious to me.

Todd said...

Aw, Ted didn't even get to enjoy being a snake! He could've at least had some fun with that tongue.

Sad ending.

Mr. Cavin said...

I had the same reaction to "snake smear" as Grant. That's not scientific! Well, unless it's like some kind of clinical test? Here's hoping your smear comes out negative, snake.

I really love the figure drawing here. It's stark and self-assured with a great sense of line economy. I think page three is pretty great from top to bottom (that richly colored top panel is wonderful), and that last panel on page six is really effective, too. For all that, my favorite imagery here is accidental, those panels where the black pass has faded away--looks like some pages sat on the roller too long--and so the colors show through in places they should not: The second panels on pages two and seven look so interesting.

I used to know an Egyptian woman who looked a lot like Leera.