Baffled by the Purple Claw! There were only three issues of THE PURPLE CLAW in 1953 from obscure minor publisher Toby. It was much more a horror title than super-hero, and a shoddy one at that. I've seen much worse comics, of course. There were some so poor that it seemed like the publisher was trying to hurt your feelings by selling copies. Yet, as slack as THE PURPLE CLAW was, it had some aspects that puzzle and intrigue me after all these years. For one thing, it's the way the Claw itself hops from right hand to left and back again....
I mean, look at this page. In the first panel, we see Dr Weir's left hand but not his right (so if he is wearing the Purple Claw, it has to be on his right. In the second panel, it's on his left hand. In the third, it's on his right hand as he dope-slaps a goon. Then it's on his left. Then it's on neither hand. Finally, it's on his right hand again. What the hell, guys? Were you doing this deliberately just to mess with the readers? It happens in other stories, too.
The blurb here explains all we learn about the Purple Claw. The African tribe didn't create it, they were guarding it and passed it to Dr Weir to use righteously. It's very old, and oddly enough, everyone who sees it instantly recognizes the thing. Wherever they are, people see it and gasp and instantly say, "The Purple Claw!" The implication is that this talisman has its own reputation and folklore about it. It's frequently shining or crackling with magical energy, and it can do things like bring down a fortress, take Dr Weir into an alcoholic's dreams, point out where to go. Another funny thing is that Weir doesn't exactly control the Purple Claw as much as work with it. He talks to the darn thing, asking its help and calling on it to strike. He also prays out loud the "powers of good" and "great forces that cleanse the earth and sky." The Purple Claw isn't a gun, it's more like a holy relic.
The uncredited scripting has strong concepts but the execution is vague. Not much is explained. The art is also sketchy and seems unfinished. But part of this is the horror comics style, far from the glossy, vivid super-hero way of telling a story. This is more about mood and uneasiness than action and excitement. The Purple Claw is one of those curious little-remembered bits of comics history, worth checking out if ever you happen to see a copy. But I wouldn't spend a lot of time or money tracking down mint copies of those three 1953 issues.