Wednesday 2 March 2011

Midnight Tales #9. The Sorceress.

Charlton Comics, Midnight Tales #9, Arachne and Professor Coffin, The Sorceress
Being the wild and windy rebel I am, I never went to university but if my local college had been anything like the one in Charlton Comics' Midnight Tales #9, I most definitely would have. Not only would I have been sat next to the most appealing woman ever to have been named after a spider but I'd be studying how to do magic spells.

As part of her studies, Professor Coffin's niece Arachne's researching the life of a late sorceress called Tanya. This framing device gives us the set-up for a triptych of tales about the life of said mystic.

In the first, we get a glimpse of the sorceress' childhood, in which the five year old Tanya decides to summon a horrifying demon to free her mother who's been arrested for witchcraft, but then finds it all goes wrong in the nicest possible way. I may be showing my ignorance but I've never associated artist Tom Sutton with cuteness but, here, he and the ubiquitous Nicola Cuti give us a tale that could only fail to warm the coldest of hearts.

Next we get a bit of insubstantial fluff as, in her courting days, Tanya comes up against an evil witch out to steal her boyfriend. It's easily the weakest of the three stories and, with an ending that just appears for no reason other than to bring the story to a close, it feels like it might as well never have existed.

Last, we get a tale in which the elderly Tanya, now running an occult bookstore in what's more or less the modern day, has to help the victim of an American Indian curse, before the framing story ends with a twist that's neither gripping nor strong but at least ties things off in time for the pages to run out.

As with Midnight Tales #8, it's all tension-free stuff, designed to be more diverting than chilling but, thanks to the lightness of its touch, plus the framing device of Arachne's somewhat fickle crush on her university professor, it gets by on charm and well-meaningness where lesser Charlton comics might sink.


R. W. Watkins said...

I found that attending university was very conducive to cultivating classic Peter Parker-type moments--particularly in science-lab environments.

Steve said...

Are you saying you were bitten by a radioactive spider?

R. W. Watkins said...

No, but sometimes certain pretty girls and annoying jocks would grab my attention or play pranks, causing me to shag up experiments, damage lab equipment, etc. Parker had the same problem with Gwen, Harry and Flash in the mid '60s.

Thej said...

Any method to download these books

Steve W. said...

Sadly, Thej, I am not aware of any way to download them.