Monday, October 07, 2013

31 Days of Halloween - Day 7

Monster: The Plat-Eye

Appearance: "Velma's Monsters of the World: The Plat-Eye" Scooby-Doo #118. May 2007.
Robert Pope: Penciller, Scott McRae: Inker, Heroic Age: Colorist, Mike Sellers: Letterer, Michael Siglain & Jeanine Schaefer: Editors

Like many creatures out of folklore, the plat-eye comes with a number of variations defining just what it is. Fiery eyed ghost, ghostly black dog, a cat-like animal, and other forms have been used to describe this creature attributed to African American folklore throughout the American south.

For the purposes of the story I wrote, I went more specific to the plat-eye's geographic source on islands, such as Pawley's Island off the coast of South Carolina. When treasure was buried in the woods on these islands, presumedly by less than savory types such as pirates, thieves, and murderers, who would protect their buried treasure by burying the head of an enemy with the treasure.

That head would then become a protecting spirit -- the plat-eye, which would rise up and scare off anyone who came too near. The drawback, of course, is that this would let anyone who knew what a plat-eye was and what its purpose was, know that treasure was buried there.

But the plat-eye was persistent in its duty...

This was a tricky story to pull off for Scooby-Doo. As you can see by the captions above, this could be a pretty nasty looking creature, and the trick was to find a way to depict it in a comic book meant for young readers without scarring them, or generating hostile letters from their horrified parents. My hats off to Robert Pope for pulling out just enough of the stops in depicting some genuinely eerie phantasms without going too far, and to initial editor Mike Siglain for understanding that kids love to look at the stuff they don't want to look at. 

Velma's Monsters of the World was a recurring feature in Scooby-Doo, in which Velma would introduce some monster out of myth, folklore, or literature to the readers. It was a really popular regular feature among readers. Various installments keep getting reprinted to this day. This installment was even more popular than most because of this interactive element...


Lots of kids did just that and their drawings wound up in the letters page of subsequent issues for months to come. 

1 comment:

Robert Pope said...

That was a fun story to draw. I really miss that ongoing feature, it was a ball.