Skywald was founded in 1970 by former Marvel Comics production manager Sol Brodsky and I.W. Publications owner Israel Waldman. During the company's short existence, 1970 to 1975, the publisher produced an assortment of horror anthology titles including Nightmare, Psycho, and Scream. Some of these titles included recurring characters, which was the case with Lady Satan.
Lady Satan, not to be confused with the 1941 character from Dynamic Comics, first appeared in the October 1973 issue of Scream. The character is featured on the issue's front cover, lavishly painted by Josep Maria Miralles (Creepy, Nightmare), and in the opening story, an origin tale called “The Macabre Beginning”.
Readers are introduced to the young African-American woman named Anne Jackson. She lives in Massachusetts, was a high-school star athlete and academic, and is wealthy from an inheritance she received from her deceased parents' estate. With her friend accompanying her, the two drive into the city of Salem. There, they watch a macabre public performance of three cloaked men reenacting the Salem Witch Trials. In an impromptu audience participation, one of the cloaked men points to Anne to come on stage. But, when Anne walks on, she is immediately transformed into an entity known as Black Anne, the Queen of Salem Witches.
As Black Anne, Anne Jackson discovers there is a witch in the audience, one of thirteen witches that live in a cave and worship her. When she journeys to the cave, she is provided robes and an awesome black leather outfit. She then takes the pledge to marry Lucifer and become the Bride of Satan! But, when the Devil appears, a tragedy occurs. The story ends on a cliffhanger.
The story is penciled by the talented Ricardo Villamonte, who created amazing artwork for Secrets of Haunted House, Beowulf, Man-Bat, House of Secrets, and House of Mystery to name a few. His pencils on page six with the large panel of Jane's face is really something special. This story is written by Al Hewetson, who also worked as an associate editor at Skywald. Hewetson penned stories for Warren publishing, so his “horror mood” is certainly applicable for this ultra-dark Lady Satan story. Hewetson wrote hundreds of stories for Skywald using his name and a variety of pseudonyms.
“The Macabre Beginning” is an excellent beginning to the Lady Satan character and possesses the same dark flavor as a Vampirella issue or an old Hammer Horror film. The character appears three more times in Skywald's comics, Scream issues #2 and #3 as well as Psycho #19. Thankfully, all of these stories are collected in one digital volume called Lady Satan 1974, published by Nuelow Games. Highly recommended, get it HERE.