Friday, January 7, 2011

"Broom For A Witch" & "Bedeviled Puppet"

This issue of Terror Tales (Vol. 2 No. 6, November 1970) is all but done. Let's finish things. Let us pad barefoot up to the bedside of this slumbering issue of Terror Tales and press a pillow over the mouth and nose. The blood rushes hotly to our face as we lean into our work with full weight; and it feels as though a terrified animal were thrashing beneath our hands, beneath the pillow, compressed now and thin - so thin we can feel the nose, the chin, the eye-sockets beneath the crushed stuffing. The muffled screaming is how the deaf must hear terror - a sound without air - a tremor we can feel against our palms. Finally, the last spasms of life are surrendered into the still, dark air of the room. Near the bed, a curtain makes a moonlit ripple at an open window. The clock ticks on the wall like a fingernail tapping glass. The air of the room is ice upon our skin as sweat runs along our cheek, down our neck. Somewhere, far away in the night - a dog gives up a high, shrill yip; sounding youthful and human in its . . . pain? Sorrow? Crickets 'neath the window trill. There now. Be still. Rest, issue of Terror Tales, go into that lightless region where all is forgotten thus never forgiven. But Wait! The death shudder has produced two last tales!

About this first tale, "Broom For A Witch", the gentle wordsmiths at Eerie Pub. offer this introduction at the Table of Contents: "A shocking, evil story of a broom-riding witch who terrified an innocent couple."
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Are we not all puppets, inert and lifeless in our energies - in our daily routines, until some blessing or curse fills us with either darkness or light? Why? Why are the wicked so strong? Why is the light so easily covered with the velvet, still darkness? Oh, dear reader, not only is our flesh weak, but our souls can by swept away like dead leaves by any tempting, sweet wind. Fire! Fire will cleanse our souls be the vessel of flesh or wood (as this next story will demonstrate)!

The deed is done, and the measured moments pass, returning a normalcy. Finally, our breathing becomes even, and our heart no longer pulses against the wall of our ribs like some hammer of muscle. We remove the pillow slowly, and the expression beneath is dreamlike - perhaps surprised, with the eyes large and mouth open slightly. But there is no trace of pain or the fear as expected. There is no sign of the committed sin upon the features, only a slack and graceful peace. But, dear friend, when we walk on stiff legs from the room, we pass a mirror on the wall. We see our white, moist face - like a luminous piece of chalk - reflected there in the passing. And the eyes. The eyes shimmer in black sin; and they watch us.


BastaComix said...

Coolness once again from the god of comic book blogging!
Was that Steve Ditko artwork in "Broom for a Witch"?
Thanks tons, buddy.

Mykal said...

Thanks, buddy. "Broom For A Witch" is a reprint, orignally appearing in Fantastic Fears No. 9, Sept-Oct 1954. I don't think that's Ditko. It's a bit of a stretch time wise. That would be just about when Ditko started working. I can see a few panels that cause you to ask, though!

Turok1952 said...

I liked them both, but greatly favor the second.
The reason is that my novel deals with a miniature avatar very much like little wooden Canio, but is of a different origin.
Not being an idiot, I would never crassly try to get free advertising. I love these stories and respect the blogenmeisters too much for that.
I usually spot Ditkoesque artwork, but I will admit it escaped me this time.
The Eiger shop style is very much apparent, though, and I always have believed there must have been a certain central artist to create the eyes and hairdos of so many of the characters. The commonalities are striking.

Mykal said...

Turok: The rich, lush hair (on men or women) is certainly an Iger shop tell. For me, I saw a bit of Dikto-like character on page 4 panel 5. It's not Ditko, but still . . .

Daniel [] said...

Karswell reproduced “Broom for a Witch” as it originally appeared in Fantastic Fears #9 (Sep-Oct '54).

BTW, in 2:6 of “Broom for a Witch”, Dan and Alicia plainly have separate beds. Upon Tabitha's taking possession of Alicia's body, they share a single bed, as shown in 3:2 and 4:7. Dan should have noticed.

Mykal said...

Daniel: Perhaps he did notice and just kept mum, not wanting to question a good thing.

Gumba said...

I'm still trying to understand the witch's broom position. Is there a hole in her skirt?

I enjoy comparing the paste up jobs (almost more than the original Eerie work) just because so much of it is so surreal -- the added exposed rib cage seems to do nothing to stop his running! I thought the knife was also an edit, but it's actually in the original, the shadows on the tree just shows up badly on the reprint.

Eric said...

Okay, I can't help asking a technical/legal question: if your spouse is possessed by the spirit of one of your ancestors, does that render the relationship incestuous? Only if it's consummated?

Sorry, I just kept wondering the whole time....

(And thanks again for sharing a great pair of stories!)

Mykal said...

Eric: Of course it does. Thanks for asking ;-)