Monday, October 26, 2020

Number 2463: Three witches

Halloween is in a few days, so we start off Halloween week with three stories of witches. What could be more appropriate?

First up is “They Burned a Witch,” from The Beyond #16 (1952). Grand Comics Database credits Dick Beck with pencils, but the inker is not known.

Our second witchy tale is by Robert Q. Sale for Strange Tales #29 (1954), called “Witchcraft.” Not long ago I showed a prison story from a crime comic drawn in Sale’s dynamic style. The writing credits go to Paul S. Newman

Third, we have a tale of a witch with a history lesson. Two panels on the bottom of page three succinctly tell of superstition, when people who first colonized the New World were on the lookout for witches. Speaking of their neighbor, Charity, the “witch,” she is suspected because she cooks food in a cauldron, and she has a black cat! If that doesn’t just scream witch I don’t know what does.

The “Witch of Death” is from Avon’s Witchcraft #5, drawn by Rafael Astarita.


Daniel [] said...

I don't know when the first gallows with a trap door was used; but, even after that invention, it was far more common either to use a stool, to have the victim stand on a cart or sit upon a beast which was then pulled away, or simply to haul the victim up by the neck.

The second story is certainly clever enough. And the costume does conform to some conceptions of the Devil that were popular during the Witchcraft Mania.

There are, of course, still people who believe in the existence of the Devil, but such belief was greatly undermined exactly by the writings of believers, because the specifics of the beliefs that they recorded evolved so radically over time. (Initially, Lucifer and Satan were imagined as two distinct persons, one a chained, defeated challenger, and the other actually an angel tasked by G_d to test faith. The Devil and his supernatural allies have been believed to be insubstantial spirits affecting people only by a sort of telepathy, to be gaseous and able to occupy our body cavities, or to be made of something rather like flesh-and-bone.)

But in other parts of the world, people are still tortured and killed (sometimes by being burnt alive) as ostensible witches.

And, in America, not only have we in recent decades witnessed episodes in which authorities have claimed strange effects from fantasy-rôleplaying games and have coaxed from children testimony that doesn't conform to observable fact of ritual abuse, which testimony has resulted in criminal charges and trials; we now find our politics driven largely by untestable claims of wicked inner motives, which claims supposedly trump any other considerations.

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