Let’s All Go Down to the Catfights — Again!

One of this blog’s unexpected hits (pow!) has been Let’s All Go Down to the Catfights!. Though published in 2018, this post still generates a lot of interest on a practically daily basis – I knew people liked to spectate women fighting, of course, but I didn’t realize just to which extent. I mean, we have a whole THE TWILIGHT WORLD OF GIRLIE CARTOONS category, it’s not like that post was the only instance of us featuring half-or-entirely-naked women.

I’ve been meaning to do a part 2 for a long time now, gradually accumulating choice material, to finally spring it on you when you least suspect it (yes, that’s me cackling in the corner). When dealing with a potpourri of styles and decades, I usually try to go in chronological order. If this cavalcade through the years demonstrates something, it’s that our tastes haven’t evolved much. Plus ça change

Page from The Last Curtain, illustrated by Sheldon Moldoff and published in Sensation Comics no. 22 (Oct. 1943, All-American/DC).
Page from Condemned Venus!, scripted by ‘Gregory Page’ (who’s probably Ruth Roche), and tastily illustrated by Matt Baker. This story was published in Phantom Lady no. 14, 1947.
Jumbo Comics no. 105 (November 1947), with a cover by Joe Doolin.
Adelita y las Guerrillas no. 73 (1953, Ediciones José G. Cruz). This is a Mexican Western comic series created cartoonist José G. Cruz in 1936, initially published in Paquito magazine. I’m not sure whether here Adelita is fighting her nemesis, Tigresa del Bajio, or just punching around some other woman.

Crimes by women, on women? Read an entertaining overview of this dime comic book published by Fox Features Syndicate on Criminal Element.

Crimes by Women no. 6 (April 1949). Is a cheap frill the same thing as a cheap floozy?
Crimes by Women no. 16 (December 1949). ‘Crime never pays’, they always remind the reader, who’s probably too interested in the catfight to believe it.

For more Golden Age goodies, don’t forget about Here Comes Sally the Sleuth… and There Goes Her Dress! (which I am not including here, as I devoted a whole post to Sally).

We have a heavy Italian contingent today! Co-admin RG recently wrote a post about Averardo Ciriello, Sitting Pretty: Averardo Ciriello’s Maghella. As he pointed out, Ciriello lent his art to many an erotic series — here’s his cover depicting Lucifera fighting a woman with three breasts (?) I mean, nobody can say you don’t get your money’s worth from this blog… 😉

Lucifera no. 165, 1980.

And here is the original painting, for comparison purposes:

Ciriello wasn’t the only one working in that vein.

Historia d’Ahi!, a one-shot published by Edifumetto, presumably in the 1970s. Episodio Completo Inedito Fumetto… cashing in on Histoire d’O.
Storie Blu Special no. 12 — L’astronave dei mille tormenti (1983, Ediperiodici).

How about some dubious plot involving a fight between an impeccably fair-skinned maiden and an exotic black woman clad in some sort of tribal garb? Uh, sure.

A page from Royal Hunt, scripted (cringingly overwritten, frankly) by Chris Claremont and illustrated by John Bolton. Marada the She-wolf finds herself a ‘worthy’ adversary in Epic Illustrated no. 12 (June 1982, Marvel).
Page from The Devil-Tree of Gamburu, scripted by Roy Thomas, pencilled by John Buscema and inked by Tony DeZuniga, published in The Savage Sword of Conan no. 42 (July 1979). Conan fans, I am sending you over to Tentacle Tuesday: Conan-o-rama and Tentacle Tuesday: the Savagery of Conan’s Savage Sword.

For a slight change of pace and style, I offer you some horror from Tentacle Tuesday Master Richard Sala, two pages from Peculia and the Groon Grove Vampires, published in Evil Eye no. 13 (August 2005, Fantagraphics):

~ ds

P.S. Here’s a Tik Tok video of a female martial artist who has a rather interesting way of showing different self-defense techniques. It seemed relevant!

Hallowe’en Countdown VI, Day 17

« In this club all members are equal, be they of claw, talon or fang; skin, fur or scale; from grave, tomb or laboratory; if they slither, walk or crawl; if they breathe, gasp or do neither. No one monster will take precedence over another. » — Signed EATM Ghoul (Hon Sec)

Like many a horror fan of my generation, I grew up adoring Amicus Productions‘ films, particularly their multi-segment entries, known as Portmanteau movies. These include fine adaptations of Robert Bloch stories, generally scripted by the master himself: Torture Garden (1967), The House That Dripped Blood (1971) and Asylum (1973), and a pair of well-crafted adaptations of EC Comics, 1972’s Tales From the Crypt and 1973’s The Vault of Horror, which unveiled these classics to an eager new audience.

With 1974’s From Beyond the Grave, Amicus partners Milton Subotsky and Max Rosenberg found themselves a new wellspring in British author Ronald Henry Glynn Chetwynd-Hayes (1919-2001). While some consider 1981’s Chetwynd-Hayes portmanteau The Monster Club part of the Amicus œuvre, the company had been dissolved in 1975… but as the film was produced by Subotsky, the notion is not without merit.

And so… comics? Enter UK comics maven Derek ‘Dez’ Skinn. As Dez tells it:

« Milton Subotsky, the London-based US powerhouse behind the horror film company Amicus Films, had always been madly envious that rivals Hammer had their own magazine and was constantly twisting my arm to work with him. When he got a distribution deal on R. Chetwynd-Hayes’ The Monster Club, he saw his chance. Actors including Vincent Price and John Carradine were signed up but there was no time to shoot any footage to promote the production at the Cannes Film Festival. So he called me up and asked if we could adapt the film into comic strip format, much like we’d done with Hammer, so that printed copies could be used to sell the film overseas at Cannes.

We only printed 1,000 copies of The Monster Club, making it an instant collectors’ item in fan circles! Adapting the film script myself, I assigned John Bolton to produce the 26 pages of artwork (although David Lloyd valiantly came in to handle one chapter because of the tight deadline). Targeted at an international audience of film buyers on lush glossy paper, it was surely the most inexpensive yet effective film promotion ever! » [ source ]

The cover of the original paperback edition (March 1976, New English Library). Would it have killed them to credit the cover artist, whose work is surely a strong selling point?

This material was reprinted (waste not, want not!) in Halls of Horror nos. 25 and 26 in 1983, then in North America, in a coloured version, in John Bolton’s Halls of Horror nos. 1 and 2 (both June 1985, Eclipse). And so here we are.

John Bolton’s (who else?) double spread cover painting.

As far as the adaptation goes, I must confess I far prefer the witty linking bits to the stories proper.

Lest we forget, this version was coloured by Tim Smith.

Among the most intriguing features of Chetwynd-Hayes’ book is his clever conceit of monsters forming an oppressed (by humanity) society with its own castes, hybrids, classifications and creeds. Here’s a most helpful table:

And the happy conclusion (after plenty of angst and grue in the stories). The movie’s better and the book better yet, but this was a worthwhile project and a fun curio.

This is The Ghoul, one of a set of specialty images Bolton created for the film’s promotion:

In closing, here’s a catchy musical number from the film, performed by one of my musical heroes, B.A. Robertson… not to be confused with T.M. Robertson, another favourite musician.

-RG