The Crime SuspenStories vary in narrator across the issues. Sometimes the victim or innocent party narrates, other times the villain and culprit are telling the story from their jail cell just before execution, and other times point of view of view is from an unknown third person. However, for a couple of these stories, “The Old Witch” narrates the tale. Not only do we see her at the beginning, introducing the title and story, but she also appears usually at least once within each tale she tells.

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“The Mistress of the Haunt of Fears” is depicted as an old woman who is clearly meant to be repulsive and disturbing. However, I felt that her appearance sometimes brought me out of the story. I wonder if this was done on purpose? Is she meant to remind the audience that what she is telling is fiction? Or is it supposed to make us feel that these haunting tales really happened?

She seems to be a tool to give us background at the beginning, confirm what we’ve already learned in the middle, and then provide a conclusion to the story at the end. I found this method of narration to be far less effective than the stories told by the villain or told in third person by an unknown narrator. The suspense was halted each time she made an appearance, and the illusion dropped away, not matter how creepy she is made to appear.

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Above you can see an example of one of the Witch’s introductions, mid-story interjections, and one of her conclusions or farewells to the reader. The last is also accompanied by an advertisement for “The Haunt of Fear” which is very interesting. This reminds us that we’re reading a comic and places us back in the mundane. “Look for my own book ‘The Haunt of Fear’ on your favorite newsstands! More chills await you!” Is the Old Witch just a ad device?

And then there are the puns… I suppose they are humorous and meant to be creepy and sound slightly crazy, but nothing brings me out of a horror story like bad puns. I mean… I did enjoy them… a bit… but they took away the fear that came with the story before that.

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What do you think of the Old Witch? Do you think we were meant to be drawn out of the story to make us want to get back to it as soon as possible? Is the Witch meant to diffuse the tension? Just an ad? And why all the bad puns???

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