Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Anyway, Here's WonderWalpurgis Night: The Red Shoe Die-ries

BAFFLING MYSTERIES! It's pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. Mysteries...that are baffling! That is, strange, unsolvable, and perplexing, not in the muting sound definition of the word. Well, I s'pose you could nail a few hundred copies of this comic up to the walls eight or ten deep and it would help to baffle the sounds...of the screams of terror from people reading Baffling Mysteries!

Submitted for your approval: a ballerina who's seen Black Swan one too many times. Nothing can stop her as she pirouettes into murder!

from "Doom Dancer" in Baffling Mysteries #21 (Ace, July 1954), pencils and inks by Jim McLaughlin, with Leroy lettering

Maria Sandow's prize from the murder: a pair of perfect red ballet slippers that allow her to dance with precision, grace, and style every time. Isn't that just like a millennial, unwilling to put in the work (aside from the job of murder). Meanwhile, hairy, hairy satyrs in diapers (seriously, consider how bad those things must smell) get a laugh-riot kick out of the whole proceedings. They've read ahead and seen the ending of the story, I bet. Geez, dudes, get some manscaping!

Maria is compelled to put on dance performnces for the hairy little men — the "Followers of Pan," and I don't mean pizza — where's she's forced to dance hour after hour throughout the night. This severely cuts into her practice and cigarette time. Her boyfriend is astonished and concerned, mainly because this story is ripping off The Red Shoes so blatantly. Sure, they added satyrs and pas-de-deaths, but at what cost? AT WHAT COST?!?

London! Paris! Rome!: Maria collects luggage stickers from all those places! Then suddenly, ten years later, she's called upon on Walpurgis Night by the hairy men to dance, dance like she's never danced before! Maria's beginning to realize she's made a bad bargain — she's even ready to give up the shoes, but she can't take them off! Well, this certainly keeps her on her toes.

Well, they promised her immolation and just like Pan himself, they back outta the deal and instead change her into a goat creature. Top half's still a lady, though. It's not that baaaaaaad.* (*Joke might have worked better if she were changed into a half-sheep, but ewe be the judge.)

Just as everything was getting interesting and the strains of Night on Bald Mountain turn to Ave Maria, the dawn rises, and it's Walpurgis Night no more. Lionel takes off the shoes and throws them into the fireplace, thus releasing the goat-man that had been sewn into the shoe. That's right! Top ballerinas insist on Goat-Man ballet slippers! There's a full goat-man in every shoe!

And then everybody lived happily ever after, except for Maria, who is going to hell because she killed that woman.


Take us out, Kate Bush!

"The Red Shoes" by Kate Bush (EMI, 1993), written by Kate Bush; music video written and directed by Kate Bush

No comments: