Monday, April 15, 2024

The Spider Widow vs. The Japanese Spies!

If you've made your way here from THOIA after witnessing Diane Grayton, aka The Spider Widow tackle a horrific headhunter in a high rise, well here she comes again --and this time teamed up with the ridiculous, Muppety looking Raven! From the November 1942 issue of Feature Comics #62, this is one of her earlier war set adventures, and illustrated by character creator, Frank Borth. Featuring lots of great fighting and badly dated jokery, --not to mention many eye-poppin' moments highlighted with some very attractive, long legged upskirtery --as SW spends quite a bit of time strung up and in barefooted bondage, before transforming into the Halloween-esque hag hero, The Spider Widow! She also appears to have the very special gift power of having her heels on / off from one panel to the next too (not complaining either way!) 

Look, if you came here to AEET first and missed the other SW horror-rama, them quickly head off over to THOIA by CLICKING HERE! after today's story-- see ya!


Brian Barnes said...

Well I should have read this before commenting on THOIA!

This is some FINE art. It suffers a bit from cramped layout but the action is fluid and has a good panel to panel composition, and is easy to follow.

We have to just ignore the horrible Japanese characters but can I say that during WWII during the island hopping campaign neither side was doing things "The American Way." Brutal close quarters fighting is not very conducive to that!

Oh lordy the Raven is absolutely goofy. You can make fun of superhero capes but those wings -- especially in the panel where he moves "stealthily" on all fours with giant wings on his back is a laugh riot.

Obviously the splash is awesome, but Borth didn't skimp on the interior. Page 4 is some fine superhero action; fluid, easy to follow, the paneling is right for the action, and a cool 4-panel transform. Impressive stuff in the 40s.

Borth seemed to have a really short career, sadly.

Mr. Karswell said...

My favorite thing is in the splash intro how they mentioned that Spider Widow and the Raven plan to have a secret rendezvous meeting because she’s determined to know his secretidentity— which seems weird because the Raven costume beak design is wide open and you can clearly see his face, haha

Brian Barnes said...

I wasn't going to go to in the weeds about costume designs because the wings are just so silly but you bring up a good point about the costume -- the giant beak design serves no purpose; you can see his face and all it does is create blind spots. No wonder he got conked on the back of the head!

Is there more Raven stories? Was Borth tries to get a new character in the series?

Glowworm said...

I spotted two Red Skelton references in this comic. One, where Diane frees herself declaring "I dood it!" the other when one of the Japanese baddies shouts "Ow, me arm! You broke me arm!" (surprisingly no "widdle" being uttered in there). I blame classic Looney Tunes shorts and few Tex Avery's MGM shorts for recognizing that stuff. One more, as I mentioned in the other comic, Spider Widow actually does have superpowers, but she doesn't use them here, depending instead upon her athleticism. Also, I always found animal costumed superheroes/villains (sans Batman of course) around this time period to be ridiculous and the Raven is no exception. Whereas, if he was brought back today, he'd actually be a mutated raven, here, he's just a random guy wearing this stupid looking bird costume and probably doesn't even have any actual powers. Also, got a chuckle at the Raven going "So?" when Diane warns him that it's a trap.

Mr. Cavin said...

Although I tend to gravitate toward Borth's art style over Palais'--I like the wittier, sharper feel of it--I'm not sure he's actually any better at the panel-to-panel storytelling. Both are pretty good. What is strange: Whatever disconnect I felt between Frank's splash page and Rudy's interior art over at today's THOIA post is pretty similar to my feelings about this one. Borth's polished and crosshatched splash page style is so different from these interior pages that it may as well be different artists doing the work.

I'm pretty uncomfortable with the race element in these WWII-era stories--not the least because these "yellow peril" stories seem to have no idea what Japanese people are remotely like. I expect the racist dehumanization of wartime enemies to be terrible, but it's strange the way the usual comic caricature, used interchangeably for all Asian peoples east of Bangladesh, in picking and choosing--but mostly fabricating--tropes about the targets, manages to craft some totally new kind of fantasy ethnicity unrelated to any of them. It's actually fascinating in a horrible kind of way. And frankly, no less weirdly off-target than the "South Americans" in the other story, even though it's much crueler.

How many of these Spider Widow stores are there? I'd love to see more.

Mr. Karswell said...

Yes, there were 17 Spider Widow appearances in all, a few of the later adventures even found her and The Raven hooking up with The Phantom Lady... I'll dig around and post a few more in the coming months. Thanks for the comments!

James Conder said...

When she does her acrobatic swing, how does she go from barefoot to wearing high heels, before getting untied?