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Monthly (Comic) Book Club - October - Witches’ Tales and Haunted Knights18519

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Monthly (Comic) Book Club - October - Witches’ Tales and Haunted Knights







Witches Tales #1-7 and Batman: Haunted Knight

Week 1 (10/3-10/9): Witches Tales #1-3
Week 2 (10/10-10/16): Witches Tales #4-5
Week 3 (10/17/-10/23): Witches Tales #6-7
Week 4 (10/24-10/30): Batman: Haunted Knight #1-3



Discussion topic ideas:

* Thoughts on the story or artwork
* Details in the story, artwork, or presentation
* References to outside events or other works of fiction
* Making of/Behind the Scenes details
* Editions you will be reading from
* Items in your collection pertaining to this week’s selection
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If the viagra is working you should be well over a 9.8. xkonk private msg quote post Address this user
The reason for this Halloween's first pick was this collection I got in last year's forum Secret Santa.




I haven't cracked it yet, but a quick flip-through shows that it has a forward by Ramsey Campbell, a famous English horror writer




an artist profile on Jack Sperling, who worked for Gold Key, Dell, Charlton, Classics Illustrated, and DC (only a tiny bit for Marvel). Maybe most notably for 'younger' readers like myself, he co-created the Cain character as the host of House of Mystery.




The reprints of the issues look to be in their entirety, as there are pages with prose short stories and ads.


Post 2 IP   flag post
If the viagra is working you should be well over a 9.8. xkonk private msg quote post Address this user
Also, these issues are long! I'll probably need to do some catching up during tomorrow's holiday and into the week.
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If the viagra is working you should be well over a 9.8. xkonk private msg quote post Address this user
Somewhat oddly, the collection doesn't know who wrote the stories for #1. There are no credits in the issue itself but the collection has an info page with credit to the Grand Comics Database. It lists the pencils and inks for the four main stories (each artist inked himself) but lists the cover art and scripts as 'unknown'. MCS has the four artists (Al Avison, Rudy Palais, John Sink, and Tom Gill, in order) but also lists Bob Powell for 'stories and art by'. So maybe Powell wrote or did the cover or else contributed to the other content.

The first story, The Monster of Mad Mountain, is a Frankenstein-esque mad scientist story. The mad doctor, Mojuk, kills his more morally-inclined partner and uses the secrets of electricity to brainwash and alter a local strong man. His creation turns on him, though, and (seemingly) dies after a chase by the local townsfolk. I think the story lacks a little for being so short; it hits all the high points of a scary story but doesn't really set the atmosphere. Maybe I shouldn't be reading these on a Sunday morning. A dark, stormy night would be a better environment. I also think that if this story were written 10-15 years later, it could be slightly changed into a superhero/villain origin story, especially with Lennie getting a suit as part of his transformation.

Story 2, Voodoo Vengeance, tells the story of a young wife who can't wait for her old sea captain husband to die. Unfortunately for her, he knows the secret of an old voodoo spell from his previous travels. He hires an artist to make a painting instead of a doll, but the artist keeps the original and gives the captain a copy. The captain dies while trying to use the painting, leaving the wife feeling in the clear. But the painting serves its purpose when she feels watched, loses her sight, and is hit by a truck all due to the curse. I thought this story was more effective. You can again see where everything is going (the stories are 70 years old, so I'm not looking for much originality), but the art works better. There are some good panels here and some spooky stuff. In the first story, for example, they have text about how Lennie was horribly transformed, but you only see him up close once and he doesn't look that bad. The two panels of the captain choking his wife do much better.

Story 3, Launched in Blood, tells the story of Eben Dark and the Black Swan. Eben Dark is a great name but he doesn't look an old man at the beginning of the story. A man accidentally dies at the Swan's christening, cursing the ship. Eben's uncle is willing to captain the ship but he doesn't try to rescue his crew in a storm and kills another for questioning him. On a second trip, the boat is still haunted and plagued by bad weather while being crewed by prisoners. The boat is attacked by the ghosts of the dead men and the crew all dies except for Eben.

Story 4, The Dead Won't Die, is a crime story. A robber kills his mark but then sees his ghost around town. Being scared of the visions, he drives off recklessly and crashes when chased by the police. He makes it to his hideaway only to learn that his girlfriend killed herself when she heard that he died in the crash. He goes to jail thinking that he died in the crash, with no one believing his story about seeing the ghost.

On the whole, I like the variety across the stories. There's science fiction, voodoo, a sea story, and a crime story. They vary in quality, as would be expected, but I don't think any are bad. With a few of the one-page stories also involving boats and pirates, it definitely gives an old-timey feel to the issue.
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sorry! I’ve been pretty distracted with a new 3D printer this weekend. Mostly been failing at it but hopefully I can get the kinks worked out and can print more reliably


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If the viagra is working you should be well over a 9.8. xkonk private msg quote post Address this user
@dielinfinite Looks cool!
Post 6 IP   flag post
If the viagra is working you should be well over a 9.8. xkonk private msg quote post Address this user
Issue 2 has a mobster story with an ancient curse, a jungle story with an ancient curse, a cursed town, and a mobster amnesia story. Three out of four ain't bad! The first one, with Squint, has a clever idea in terms of smuggling goods in a fake eye. And the name is very on-point. I also liked The Man with Two Faces but think it could have been better if they had more space to tell the story.

The depictions of 'natives' from various places has been what you'd expect for the time, but I think the Indians in the Bloody Creek story are the first ones to devolve into outright stereotypes. The whooping and tom tom stuff struck me as more obvious than in other stories. Scientists and doctors aren't getting great treatment either.
Post 7 IP   flag post
If the viagra is working you should be well over a 9.8. xkonk private msg quote post Address this user
Issue 3 starts with a story of a group of men trying to find an idol that grants wishes. It's a straightforward story on the dangers of greed. There actually isn't much scary stuff from the supernatural; if you took them out you'd have essentially the same story. Definitely a "hell is other people" situation.

The second story, with the puppeteers, I thought was original. I can't think of seeing something like this, anyway. I didn't find it especially scary, and the last panel felt like an add-on to get that "they could be after you!" feeling. So an A for the idea, C for scaryness.

The third story goes back to the Native American well. It's a little different by combining a Native American curse with desecrating a church at the same time. That's a recipe for bad news.

The last story, about a woman becoming a witch for revenge, felt quick and not very exciting. I would say below-average for the series.

These stories felt like they belong together because they all have the sense of people being punished for doing bad things. The other stories certainly have that element, but they also have people just getting in the way of a curse, like the divers looking for a wreck running into Squint's corpse. People being punished for their moral failings (defined one way or another) feels like classic horror-movie stuff to me.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xkonk
The first story, The Monster of Mad Mountain, is a Frankenstein-esque mad scientist story. The mad doctor, Mojuk, kills his more morally-inclined partner and uses the secrets of electricity to brainwash and alter a local strong man. His creation turns on him, though, and (seemingly) dies after a chase by the local townsfolk. I think the story lacks a little for being so short; it hits all the high points of a scary story but doesn't really set the atmosphere. Maybe I shouldn't be reading these on a Sunday morning. A dark, stormy night would be a better environment. I also think that if this story were written 10-15 years later, it could be slightly changed into a superhero/villain origin story, especially with Lennie getting a suit as part of his transformation


Monster of Mad Mountain was fun but I agree it doesn’t really build the atmosphere as much as I’d like. Part of it I think is that the art feels very well lit. You rarely get to see those thick shadows that could be hiding spooks or monsters. And like half of the story takes place outside in a nice shiny day

i did like that Monuk bricks up the doctor in the wall, Amontillado style but why was he walking in a random field with an enraged bull?

I think the happy ending was also a missed opportunity for some dramatic irony or tragedy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xkonk
Story 2, Voodoo Vengeance, tells the story of a young wife who can't wait for her old sea captain husband to die. Unfortunately for her, he knows the secret of an old voodoo spell from his previous travels. He hires an artist to make a painting instead of a doll, but the artist keeps the original and gives the captain a copy. The captain dies while trying to use the painting, leaving the wife feeling in the clear. But the painting serves its purpose when she feels watched, loses her sight, and is hit by a truck all due to the curse. I thought this story was more effective. You can again see where everything is going (the stories are 70 years old, so I'm not looking for much originality), but the art works better. There are some good panels here and some spooky stuff. In the first story, for example, they have text about how Lennie was horribly transformed, but you only see him up close once and he doesn't look that bad. The two panels of the captain choking his wife do much better.


I agree that Voodoo Vengeance was more effective than the previous story. I actually really enjoyed it. You got those moody shadows in some scenes, the back and forth of hatred and vengeance, and some nice angles and compositions. I did think the story had some originality to it by making the totem a painting instead of a doll that everyone thinks of, at least nowadays.
Post 10 IP   flag post
If the viagra is working you should be well over a 9.8. xkonk private msg quote post Address this user
I noticed that three of the stories in issue 4 are by the same person, and the first by someone else. I wish the ratio was different because I thought the first was the best. It wasn't great but there is some good gross artwork and the sewer people seemed like they could be the basis of characters in a couple of Frank Miller's works.

The second story could have been an interesting mad science story, but it just kind of ends with no particular reason for why fire would work when nothing else does (or why the unknown guy in the last panel thinks that Kovak knew the weakness).

The third story, with the witch, was just very basic. The fourth went the other way, with the bells being different and more original, but struck me as ridiculous.
Post 11 IP   flag post
If the viagra is working you should be well over a 9.8. xkonk private msg quote post Address this user
Issue 5 starts with what I assume is a typo but is kind of a pun. The first panel (on the left below the half spread) says that Abigail Wilkins "eeks" out a living. Oddly appropriate. I also thought 'meagre' was a typo but I guess it's valid alternative.

That first story is the rare one where I would have preferred if they cut it off earlier. Abigail's transformation into a witch is rushed, as most of the stories are, but her revenge on the thief and the actress were well-done. If they ended it there I think it would have been an effective story and they could have made it a recurring bit if they wanted to. But all the stories seem to need to have the witch be punished, so the Rickio part is added on. I felt like it lowered the overall story.

The second story wasn't too notable for me except for Rags getting shot at the end. I don't feel like there's been a lot of actual blood in the comics so far, so they stood out to me.

The third seems a little hokey, with the photo developer deciding to haunt some people because he's unhappy. But I guess that's a common enough start for horror/thriller stories. I got more into it as the story went along and thought it was one of the better ones.

The fourth story, with the caterpillars, just doesn't seem well-told. Insects are creepy, so that's fine, but the story feels quick and there isn't much of an opportunity for tension to build or for stakes to be raised. Then the last panel just seems to tack on an old Indian curse for the sake of explaining why there are giant caterpillars. Not the best.
Post 12 IP   flag post
If the viagra is working you should be well over a 9.8. xkonk private msg quote post Address this user
Halloween seems like a good time to finish Witches Tales. As I type it, I'm only now noticing that it should be possessive, right? Witches' ?

#6 has a full page ad on page 1 for women's dresses. Not something I see in many comics!

Murder Mansion had some gory visuals and scary stuff, but like many of the stories it feels rushed. There's no build-up so the payoff isn't as big as it could be.

The Green Horror was fine. Again, I think building up Ruth's transformation, or her attacking Frank, would be better. But it was more of a monster story than a magic story so there's a change of pace at least.

Servants of the Tomb is kind of odd. It starts like a horror story but turns into almost more of a mythical battle. The art or the White Giant also seems off.

The Thing that Grew was pretty over the top. I was sort of glad it was a dream although that's cheesy on its own.
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If the viagra is working you should be well over a 9.8. xkonk private msg quote post Address this user
#7

League of the Damned is nice in that it's basically a complete short story. It doesn't feel rushed like most of the others. On the downside, Jones looks like a cartoon devil from the get-go.

Curse of the Statue was fine but spelling out the curse takes away from the story.

Invitation to Doom is an odd title for the story of a man who turned himself into a tree. It also isn't clear to me why the tree goes on a murderous rampage. But the end is so silly that it made it worthwhile for me. The tree doesn't defend itself because the guy with the axe was his friend, and Alan's theory of life was false.

Screaming City has Dr. Strange but I don't think this was much of an inspiration for Marvel. His chanting seems almost ineffective and he's pretty frightened when the ghoul gets in his house. Fortunately this is just a five page story so it has to wrap up quickly.
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If the viagra is working you should be well over a 9.8. xkonk private msg quote post Address this user
Belated announcement for December's comic book club: Blank Panther 2016 series (MCS calls it the 5th series), 1 through 12.




Week 1: 1-3
Week 2: 4-6
Week 3: 7-9
Week 4: 10-12
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lol the cover art confused me a little. That’s actually the cover for volume 7. The 2016 series is the Nation Under Our Feet storyline, which has a VERY similar cover




I’ve got my book ordered and should have it about halfway through week 1 (Dec 5-11)
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If the viagra is working you should be well over a 9.8. xkonk private msg quote post Address this user
Man, that is confusing. I didn't realize Coates was on two different runs, either.
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@xkonk I have to believe that the similarity was intentional. I don’t know the specifics of the story yet but it feels like a callback to suggest a continuation or at least to acknowledge Coates return to the title
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