Hallowe’en Countdown III, Day 31

« Our dried voices, when we whisper together are quiet and meaningless as wind in dry grass or rats’ feet over broken glass in our dry cellar. » — T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men (1925)

It’s with a bittersweet little shiver that I wrap up this year’s WOT Hallowe’en countdown. In light of my fond feelings for the holiday, I didn’t want to go out with a massive fireworks display of a post, but opted instead for a quiet, succinct coda.

Nick Cardy‘s illustration impeccably epitomizes the spirit of Hallowe’en. No, it’s not about the candy collection ritual nor about the motley, garish masquerade… truly, it’s much as Ray Bradbury summed it up in his preface to his The October Country, « … that country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain… »

You can practically hear the echoes of sinister cackling drifting on the chill October breeze.

How’s this for perfectly-composed, uncluttered graphic majesty? A wisely understated palette, from top-to-bottom, holds it all together. One has to understand that this sort of soft-sell, muted grace could not make it to market without a tremendous amount of trust, cooperation and… no second-guessing. This is It’s Midnight… The Witching Hour! no. 33 (Aug. 1973, DC), edited by Murray Boltinoff. That lead witch looks quite… lusty. Where’s she off to, and why is the Comics Code Authority not stepping in?

This seldom-seen Nick Cardy cover graces quite an issue, by my reckoning: the blackly ironic Four Funerals, drawn by Ruben Yandoc and probably written by editor Boltinoff; George Kashdan‘s cynical Cold Ashes — Hot Rage, drawn by Alfredo Alcala (what, him again?); and Carl Wessler‘s convoluted A Choice Seat for… Doomsday!, illustrated by the mighty Jerry Grandenetti. Read it right here!

… and Happy Hallowe’en, one and all!


p.s. before I forget: how cool is it that the witches exit through the chimney?

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