Monday, January 12, 2015

Number 1682: Pig woman

I read the question in the splash panel, Why did they call Edna Crow the “PIG WOMAN”? My first thought was of the old saying, “There are two kinds of faces: pig faces and fox faces.” But then reading further on I saw that Edna is called the Pig Woman because of her bestial behavior.


Pardon me, but I never heard of a pig running a speakeasy or killing a drunk for his life insurance. It makes more sense to me that Edna is piggy because artists Mike Roy and John Belfi draw her with a pig face. But whatever the reason, Edna ended up like many pigs: barbecued!

From Crime and Punishment #6 (1948):


Ryan Anthony said...

Wait a minute: Only a beast slays for money??
That "Obey the Law" at the top of every page is very Big Brother-looking.
"It's the nuts." I'll have to use that line.

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

Personally I'm not a great fan of "true crime" comics, aside from the work of high caliber artists like Jack Cole, and I must say I'm not so impressed by this story's art and coloring.
Not that it's bad but, well... it's just another "true story" of a crook. So was, e.g., "A Match for Satan" (I think this was the title) by Cole, but the art made the difference to me. Just a matter of personal taste.
The line "Obey the law" printed on each page is creepy. Makes me think of Orwell or, better still, of the movie "They Live".

Pappy said...

Ryan and J D...we can start an Orwell Club. Speaking of Orwellian, I live just a few miles from an NSA data farm, so be careful what you write to me. Big Brother is watching, listening and reading.

I believe that Crime and Punishment was originally scheduled to be called Obey the Law, and was changed shortly before going to press. You can see why I think that by going to Pappy's #1322, "Crime and/or Punishment. Stories are from Crime and Punishment #1. Scroll down to the last page of the story, "Butcher of Düsseldorf," and a panel asking for letters. You will see that the title Crime and Punishment appears in place of something that was removed. Since other titles in the Lev Gleason stable used the actual name of the comic on top of each page it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that Obey the Law was probably what was changed.

Brian Barnes said...

Hey, Crime and Punishment -- SHOW DON'T TELL!

How hard is this to get right -- and crime comics always seemed to be the worst at it!

That said, I'm sure at the original publish date, read mostly by younger boys who were probably a bit afraid of women, this story would have had a bigger impact. I actually feel slightly sympathetic towards "pig woman." It's not like she didn't have a point. Yes, twisted, and yes, of her own making, but I actually felt genuinely interested in her relationship with the gangster!

Of course, than I hit another wall of text!

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

This explains everything. Thanks.

Brian Barnes said...

Side note: I will live the rest of my life just waiting for that one chance to say "____ hoofs for a living! Sure, those bulging calfs are a dead giveaway!"

Pappy said...

Brian, I thought Pig Woman was just being negative by slagging Little Gracie about being a burlesque dancer, but seeing that cigarette dangling from Gracie's lower lip makes me think she didn't get those bulging calfs from riding a bicycle.

Pappy said...

Brian, the Charles Biro edited comic books may have been the textiest (is that a word?) comic books ever, even more so than Al Feldstein's. It could have something to do with comic books being criticized for not encouraging children to read, so Biro went overboard. Naturally I agree with you that comics should show, not say.

I also assume they could claim the comics weren't intended for children, but by being so text-heavy aimed for older readers . What probably really happened is kids looked at them when they saw them, looked for scenes of sex and violence and didn't pay a lot of attention to the text.

Anonymous said...

The balding fellow with his suave pipe, in the last panel, who explains it all to the fox-faced woman —what a fine touch! =smile= Those suave guys smoking pipes back then sure were impressive. I could never smoke a pipe or anything else so you know me to be an unimpressive comic book reader. =sigh=
For a couple of seconds I thought I might have had a head start when you mentioned starting an Orwell Club, Pappy. Then I remembered it was Orson Welles Club started by my big brother because he looked like Orson. Ah, gee. I'm still an unimpressive schmo reading comics. But that isn't all bad. Thanks, Pappy, although I wouldn't blame you for not posting this somewhat off-topic comment. True crime stories like that just make me shake my head a get wistful about pipe smoking. Maybe you could post some more comics with suave, pipe-smoking males. (Mammy in Li'l Abner wouldn't count.)

Brad S. said...

When you think about it, it took a certain amount of artistic skill to draw anything comprehensible in the tiny space left once the captions were in!

Daniel [] said...

So, yes, the pig woman is a pig woman exactly and only because she is drawn as a pig woman. And, inspired by this entry, I now plan to produce someday a “crime” comic without a crime. The main character will be hated an pursued by authorities and executed exactly and only because the story will be written for these things to be. It won't even be like The Trial, in which the charges and their origin remain obscure; there will be no charges whatsoever!