By Clyde Lewis

Beware The Creatures of the Night - They May Have Lawyers!

I noticed the other day that another one of those Judge and jury shows are in the works for day time television. I thought between Judge Wapner, Judy , Koch, and Keene we would get tired of them but no, people are actually interested in how the court system works. Personally I think people are still in O.J. withdrawals and just want to see more Judges throw the book at the monsters that are out there, raping our fathers, and Killing our mothers. It's a sick spectator sport. It is a drama that unfolds in front of us, even though it may be a court case as simple as a gold fish biting the neighbor kid in the groin, it still is dramatic.

The courtroom has become a place where we hear lawyers shout out silly things like "If the gloves don't fit you must acquit" and make bazillions. Who can forget Ollie North's testimony? He is now a Talk show host. This is Justice? What about poor pitiful Charles Manson who while on trial said " I'm a guitar, a cup of coffee, a snake, a pocket full of names and faces," he ends up in jail. Where is Justice in this? . In this mad, mad world is it any wonder that maybe there is something more to law? Maybe the possibility that the Cosmic Joker has a good laugh when evil doers set foot in a courtroom?

I have had the chance to get to know one of the cleverest and funniest court "jesters" of our time. His name is Batton Lash. I picked up one of his Wolff & Byrd Comic books during the latter half of the O.J. trial. I was impressed with how the Lawyers Jeff Byrd and Alanna Wolff were defenders of something termed Supernatural law or Counselors of the Macabre. Basically defending monsters in a time where sometimes they are misunderstood. Hypothetically speaking, if a Vampire were to attack a number of people and they decided to file a class action lawsuit on said vampire, that vampire would need a solid defense. The case would go to court and if the lawyers are as good as they claim, they would say the Vampire probably needed to go into a Blood rehabilitation program and pay some restitution for the damages. But then I am no lawyer. Good lawyers get killers off and they do every dirty trick in the book to do it. We all have our little Demons and when the shrinks can't cure them the lawyers defend them.

Batton Lash handles these cases everyday. In his comic book and while Batton is a skeptic when it comes to all things supernatural, his comic books deal with metaphors that if you were to replace the names, the stories ring very true. We constantly hear of Psychics who are used to find killers. We hear about profilers and other ways "divination" is used to track down a killer as well. This type of thing is far from the tongue in cheek fun that Wolff and Byrd portray, but the idea of using the paranormal to go after the abnormal is being accepted all the time , it has even been used by the President of the United states to make important decisions about the country .

President Ronald Reagan who believed in the paranormal and the power of the Supernatural put it to the test by consulting an astrologer. It was revealed that the president's every important action had been orchestrated by Nancy Reagan's astrologer, Joan Quigley. This disclosure stunned the nation, with good reason. It's disturbing enough that a president could be the puppet of an anonymous non-elected individual, hidden away from the American public. The reason the president used Supernatural laws to his favor was because of a curse that was apparently against him. There was a legend of sorts surrounding the Whitehouse it was known as the zero curse. The curse was more or less the idea that every president that was elected in a year with a zero , usually was killed or died in office.

Nancy was obsessed with the Zero year curse and decided that she was not about to take any chances. However, it was also revealed that Quigley made other decisions as well. Quigley's contributions to the 1980 campaign included the scheduling of the second Carter-Reagan debate. The date was October 28, alarmingly close to the election, but a time at which Quigley found the planets conspiring heavily against Carter. Reagan was widely judged as the debate's winner, and he cruised to victory a few days later. Ronald Reagan also took the oath of office at an odd time. At The advice of Quigley, Reagan took the oath of office at Midnight. All of the hocus pocus may have worked. John Hinkley Junior shot President Reagan in 1982. The assassination attempt failed. Every single U.S. president since 1860 who was elected during a year ending with a zero had either been assassinated or had died in office before his term was up. Every single one, dead. One way or another. Was it just a 120-year string of coincidences? Was Reagan Protected? No one will ever know.

The idea of intervention has been around for centuries. Some people use prayers. They swear by them. Others pray for bad things to happen. These are known as Curses.
Curses have their consequences sometimes delivering the scheme back to its maker in a harsh fashion.

While Wolff and Byrd deal with curses and demons on a humorous, professional level the story of the Devil in the law is well known. In grade school we read the story of the Devil and Daniel Webster, a lawyer who has made a deal with the Devil. If Webster needed legal services to find a loophole in the contract he would definitely have to consider Wolff and Byrd for the Job.

In the movie Devil's Advocate Al Pacino runs a law office. The practice has everyone getting killers to go free. Winning the impossible cases is their Job. They do it well too. Especially when Satan himself runs the company.

The stories get even more bizarre regarding the laws of the Supernatural. On June 19th 1991, Laura Arroyo was kidnapped from her home in San Diego. The nine-year old Girl's body was later found in an industrial park in Chula Vista. About a month after the girl was murdered a strange occurrence took place. About two miles away from the arroyo's home there was a white billboard. The billboard was blank, but as the sun would set, the streetlights would turn on and would shine on the billboard. Amazingly enough, an image that looked like the face of the little girl appeared on the billboard.
She could be seen staring into heaven.

Word got around and people would gather near the billboard to see the eerie image of the little girl. It was causing Traffic jams. There was a time where people would come from all over to see the anomaly. On July 18th 1991 it was estimated that between 10,000 and 25,000 people gathered at the billboard. The city had issued a court order to have the lights turned off near the board so things would get back to normal. However the public reconnected the lights. Then things took another turn. After the lights were reconnected the Image of the girl's face was fading, but according to the observers another face was materializing.
Many claimed that it had to be the face of the killer. This may sound like a Tabloid story but it wasn't the story was published in the New York Times in July of 1991.

Sometimes Lawyers find themselves in bizarre cases dealing with the supernatural because the supernatural is what may convince killers to do their terrible deeds. From 1976 to 1977 The Son of Sam murders took place. The police investigation turned up a number of strange and supernatural synchronicities.

  • Berkowitz claimed he received his orders to kill from a dog named Sam. A man named Sam, Sam Carr, owned the Dog. Sam was Berkowitz's neighbor in Yonkers, New York

  • On December 24th, 1976, Berkowitz shot a dog named Rocket at 18 Wicker Street, Yonkers. Two days Later 3 German Shepherds were found in the gutters. They were killed on Wicker Street.

  • Early in 1977 Berkowitz applied for a position at a Yonkers Dog Kennel.

  • Donna Lauria, one of Berkowitz's victims, was shot while her father Mike was bringing her pet poodle down from the apartment. All of the Son of Sam Murders were committed with a Bulldog .44 magnum.

  • In April of 1977, during the height of the Son of Sam murders a 1973 movie was re-run at a theatre. The Movie was called the Wicker Man

  • A few weeks later Berkowitz found himself on Wicker Street firebombing the house of Joachim Neto, the owner of the dog named Rocket. The dog he shot back in December of 1976. Neto lived at 18 Wicker Street.

  • On June 5th a letter was then sent to New York Daily News Columnist Jimmy Breslin from someone who said that he had inside knowledge of the murders that were taking place. The letter ended with occult symbols and was signed "Son of Sam the Wicked King of Wicker." Berckowitz live on 35 Pine street one block away from Wicker Street.

  • In a letter to the Police found at the scene of the Son of Sam Murders of Valentina Suriani and Alexander Esau the killer signed off with the words: "I am the monster-Beelzebub the Chubby Behemoth."

  • At the bottom of the letter sent to Jimmy Breslin was drawn an occult symbol, or sigil, created by the 19th century French occultist, Alphonse-Louis Constant, who called himself Eliphas Levi. "Eliphas" was a play on the Latin word for Elephant. Elphas. The Demon that is associated with the elephant in the occult is "Behemoth."

  • On June 25th 1977, Judy Placido and Salvatore Lupo were shot in the Parking lot after they went Dancing at the Elphas Disco in the Bayside section of Queens.

  • The Occult Drawings of Eliphas Levi include an elaborate design for the evocation of demons. The names include "Berkaial" which sound like the word Berkowitz, and "Amasarac." "Amasarac" if you look carefully, is an approximate anagram for Sam Carr the name of the Dog that Berkowitz claimed gave him orders to carry out the murders.
Obviously it looks like a silly game. But yet, it is very true. Highly coincidental and eerily synchronistic. Or were the laws of the Supernatural applied to this case as well? Charles Fort may be right when he claims that the Supernatural laws that govern the universe have a sense of humor.

Amid the doom and gloom of real supernatural humor, Batton Lash brings his characters to life. Using Humor that I recall thrilled me when I read "The Three Investigators," or Forrest J. Ackerman's "Famous Monsters of Film Land." From a Kid who enjoyed "Scooby Doo" and the "Groovy Goulies" To a grown up kid who thrills at the silly cracks by Freddy Kreuger or the Crypt Keeper, I laugh out loud at the charm that Batton Lash and Jackie Estrada create. A world where Super Natural laws do have a sense of humor, but with it's toungue pressed firmly in the cheek. Batton is not a Lawyer but he consults attorney Mitch Berger of Washington, DC to make sure that the legal material in Wolff & Byrd is as accurate as possible. The Characters in the Comic have had a colorful past, even thoughtheir panels are done in Glorious Black and white.

Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd have been defending monsters and taking on supernatural cases since 1979, when they first appeared in The Brooklyn Paper. From 1983 to 1997 They were a weekly strip in The National Law Journal . I also remember seeing them in an issue of Mr. Monster. Their first Comic book came out in 1994. I was working on a B-movie horror magazine at the time and realized that this was book I could love. It was actually one of the first titles that got me back into reading comics again.

So I urge you to laugh along with the universe because as you can see Supernatural laws do exist. They are out there to test our faith, and our sense of humor. It's about time that someone actually writes a comic book where two average Lawyers can take the tricks of the universe head on. Monsters also have their days in court and while the unusual seems to be happening more frequently, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to see lawyers defending and protecting us from things that we have no control over.


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Copyright 1998-2007 Ground Zero Media, Clyde Lewis, and John Hart. All Rights Reserved.