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Monday, October 13, 2014

Number 1643: The sinister suitcase

“The Sinister Suitcase,” from Power Comics #4 (last issue,1945) fits my definition of a shaggy dog story. It presents a mystery. What is in the suitcase? We don’t know. It also has a fabulous splash page by talented comic artist Mort Leav that has nothing to do with the story. The story is credited by the GCD to Bill Woolfolk, so if stories like this bother you then you will know who to blame.













12 comments:

Daniel [oeconomist.com] said...

I'm okay with not learning what were in the suitcase. Indeed, the idea of the suitcase could have been used in an occasional series of stories, with the suitcase taking-on very different forms in very different stories.

Three things, though, do bother me. First, poor Sam seems to have been innocent of wrong-doing, and yet he was made to suffer by the suitcase; the suitcase works better as a catalyst of deadly justice. Second, that lousy kid seems to have got away with theft and with interference with a legitimate police investigation. And, third, while I understand not wanting to use the word “Hell”, Purgatory is not the residence of the Devil; it is where basically good people who didn't initially meet the conditions for getting into Heaven get to make-up in some way for their short-comings.

(One might also add the issues, of Satan seeming to be out to reduce the amount of grief in the world, and of being surprisingly ignorant of various things.)

Pappy said...

Daniel, I think of the suitcase as MacGuffin, the object of interest that is really unimportant to the reader, other than the focus put on it by the characters in the story.

Where the story fell apart for me is introducing Satan as a character. And you are right about Purgatory. You made a hell of a good point.

rnigma said...

The story reminds me of Phil Harris' hit song "The Thing," though it was published a few years before.

Brian Barnes said...

The splash for "The Sinister Suitcase" has all sorts of rather pleasant and happy things flying out of it, only the demon opening the suitcase has any menace, and not much by any stretch!

Was Satan desperate to get it back (note he actually seemed worried about it) because he put all the most cute things from hell in there and was suitably embarrassed by it?

Darci said...

Pappy,
$20 will barely get you out the grocery door with one bag nowadays. I went to http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/ to see what it listed for today's equivalent: $264. I don't watch Storage Wars or Auction Hunters on TV, but that still doesn't seem too intimidating. Price is no object? Really?

Drew said...

I don't think there's much of a mystery to this off-beat tale.

The suitcase idea has clearly been taken from the Greek mythology of Pandora's Box, and the splash screen imagery shows the symbolic demons that represent the evils inside it.

7f7f3e2a-4856-11e4-900a-bb8e57f8828f said...

"It is written that no one may know the contents of the suitcase and live." Maybe. I think no one can read the story and know what plot just went by with all its reckless contradictions. I enjoyed it, myself. Thanks for the zaniness!

And least we forget to notice your new Pappy icon, let me congratulate you, Pappy: that be a mighty fine Pappy-in-a-fishbowl-helmet icon!

I appreciate & enjoy your efforts, Pappy.

Pappy said...

Hey, there 7f7, I appreciate the comments. The profile picture is taken from a 2009 Dan Clowes New Yorker cover. You can view the whole thing here.

I have never met Dan Clowes and Idoubt he knows who I am, but even Mrs Pappy will tell you he came awfully close to portraiture of yours truly.

Pappy said...

Brian, Drew...you both may recall the image of the glowing suitcase contents which we are not allowed to see in Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, "borrowed" from the noir classic, Kiss Me, Deadly. It could be Pandora's Box (or Pandora's suitcase) or it could be anything. The splash panel seems a bit of misdirection, but does seemingly tie in to the last panel.

I think writer Bill Woolfolk had some fun with this, and if anyone studied too closely one will just come away confused.

Pappy said...

Oy, Darci, you hit a sore spot with the price of groceries. Mrs Pappy and I have often noticed that even when we go to a store for the proverbial quart of milk and loaf of bread we often run the bill to $50 minimum by the time we get thru the checkstand.

Tony L said...

Great story could have been in one of the 1960's twilight zone stories or that genre.

Pappy said...

Tony L, thanks.