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NUM-INOUS COMICS PT. 2

This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Thursday, June 2, 2016

MYTHCOMICS: "THE GIRL WITH THE BEWITCHING EYES" (FRANKENSTEIN #15, 1948)

As I said in my previous post, I find most of Dick Briefer's "funny Frankie" stories a little too ootsy-cutesy for me. However, "Bewitching Eyes" displays the symbolic amplitude of a fully developed mythcomic.

In keeping with the title, for the first three pages the reader sees nothing of the funny Frankenstein's activities, but focuses rather upon the character of the title, the bewitching Zona. For reasons that Zona herself doesn't suspect-- and which are only revealed at story's end-- she possesses a power to bend any male to her will-- although on page three she fails for the first time.




As a symbol-hunter I would be remiss not to mention that in Hebrew the word "zonah" means a loose woman, and that this word may have derived from the Greek word "zone," sometimes applied to a girdle or belt, an object with pronounced vaginal connotations.

Zona has no connections to, or awareness of, the goofy monster known as Frankenstein. But for some reason, a bunch of Frankenstein's friends-- all witches and ghouls-- get the idea that he might cross paths with Zona and thus become her thrall. So they send Frankenstein on a plane-ride all the way to "the North Atlantic." The plane crashes, and Frankenstein is found by a hag descended from the explorers of Leif Erickson. She dresses the Monster up in Viking clothes, gives him a pair of wooden tokens, and sends him out in a Viking boat to "save the world"-- again, for no more reason than Franky's witch-friends had for sending him away. Frankenstein, being quite mild-mannered in this incarnation, goes along with all this without protest. His ship is hit by a storm at sea, so that he's frozen in an iceberg, found by a fishing-craft, and transported all the way to "a big city" to be put on display. Zona happens to be in that big city, where some fellow gives her the idea to enthrall "some dull giant of a man." She visits the museum to see the frozen Viking exhibit, and wishes she could enthrall him. The long hand of coincidence melts the iceberg and frees the friendly Monster-- though onlookers think that Zona's done it through the power of her eyes.




However, Zona's eyes fail to hypnotize the Monster, who barely notices her. She shouts at him so hard that she permanently loses her voice-- and her power. While the "loose woman" believed that her power resided in her eyes, in truth it was her siren-like voice, which Frankenstein resisted purely by his accidental duplication of Odysseus's defense against the real sirens.





The whole megilla has nothing whatever to do with the myths surrounding the creation of Mary Shelley, or even of the Universal Studios version of Frankenstein. But it is a rather clever inversion of the familiar myth of the "bewitching female"-- whose conquest of the world is prevented by the dumb luck of various other, rather less attractive females.

The whole story can be read here.

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