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I'm remembering a comic book/graphic novel/magazine such as Eerie or Creepy from the mid 70s to mid 80s. The drawings for at least one issue are all black and white, the story is told in several parts.

The overall story is present day, of some satanic/demonic/sorcerous cult or sect where a new leader must be chosen. The leadership selection proceedings are a bit like the election of a pope, and at least one of the people trying to become the new leader is indeed an R.C. monsignor/bishop/archbishop who joined the cult/sect/whatnot because he felt that the Catholics have been systematically subverting his rise to absolute power, so he's getting personal power for himself this other way.

The selection might be by discussion, but seems more to be by having familiars combat by proxy. Someone - I think it might be the clergy member - is in a bit of disgrace because instead of showing up himself, or having a familiar show up, he sent in an actual demon in disguise, presumably to kill anyone else present.

A result of each failed electoral meeting is a dead body, where the bodies are getting dropped in very particular assorted locations across some large city. I think the police are treating this as some sort of series of odd killings, but there is a researcher or group that knows what is going on, does not know who is involved, and is also tracking where the bodies are turning up, because the pattern of body placement will tell where the final meeting and decision will take place.

The one particular issue that I'm remembering and working from starts with some people having a discussion, commenting on some woman nearby, with a statement that yes, after... apparently one of the selection meetings or combats... she's been screaming nonstop for at least three days - I think she might have been one of the familiars in such a electoral meeting. There is one panel of her huddled on a floor by a wall. The people having the discussion look at a map and the location of the latest body that's turned up, and note that the cult/sect followers are tracking the locations of the bodies, where that final meeting is coming up very soon.

I have a very general memory that one of the researchers is lighting matches, then breaking them, then dropping them, and then when enough of them have been dropped on a map, the researchers suddenly realize the pattern of dead bodies is starting to outline a pentagram. At some point in the issue episode, the story cuts to the clergy member, wherever he lives, mulling over the next move on his part, and complaining that y'know, if the Catholics had just given him the power that he deserves, etc.

What is the title of the story and the magazine it appeared in, and what are the dates or issues or both?

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As pointed out by user105533, this is the 73th issue of Vampirella (1978). I'm expanding it into another answer both because it would be quite the edit, and said user might not want NSFW content linked to their account.

Disclaimer: Vampirella isn't exactly a family-friendly character (very skimpy costume, etc), so several images in this answer will only be linked to. Do not click them at work.

In this issue, Vampirella confronts "a gathering of demons to rescue Earth from Lucifer's savage legions" (from the cover). It's a full-length issue (almost 70 pages of actual story), but earlier issues were indeed split between several 10-pages stories; for instance, issue #71 had "Clowns and the collector", "Trial of the sorceress" etc.

Some satanic/demonic/sorcerous cult or sect where a new leader must be chosen. The leadership selection proceedings are a bit like the election of a pope. [...] The selection might be by discussion, but seems more to be by having familiars combat by proxy.

The "council of wizards", dedicated warriors in the legions of the Anti-Christ, acting in the shadows to spark wars, economic turmoils, you name it. Among them is a council of Arch Bishops (the Council's top ten wizards), who meet at the Anti-Vatican to choose the new Anti-Pope upon a regular election, which degenerates into tournament of sorts if no one is chosen after ten nights.

The tournament consists, indeed, of having the wizards combating by proxy. Each wizard possesses a minion of hell, grants it a "suitable host" (=an innocent victim); they're pitted one against another and the last one standing (well, its wizard master) becomes the Anti-Pope.

It's all described here, with pictures.

At least one of the people trying to become the new leader is indeed an R.C. monsignor/bishop/archbishop who joined the cult/sect/whatnot [...] so he's getting personal power for himself this other way.

Meet Father Joseph, who obviously has turned his back on the Bible, and forced possession onto Cryssie Collins, a young woman, for her to be his "pet" in the tournament to come. An all new kind of papacy.

It starts with some people having a discussion, commenting on some woman nearby, with a statement that [...] she's been screaming nonstop for at least three days.

At the end of the issue, Cryssie Collins is brought to Harstdale Asylum. The events were in fact narrated by her former psychologist, who is passing her case to a new one.

And while the strong ones might scream for three days, that very woman has been haunted by demons, and not even shock treatment got her out of it. This is a bit much to manage, so she's been screaming 24/7 for three months. And indeed, short before her possession she was huddled against a bathroom wall, holding her dog, whose eyes just got ripped off.

She's been screaming like that for three solid months

One of the researchers is lighting matches, then breaking them, then dropping them, and then when enough of them have been dropped on a map, the researchers suddenly realize the pattern of dead bodies is starting to outline a pentagram.

Good recollection. Adam is "flicking matches all over", and gets fed up as he cannot understand what the "V" written with the disappearing victims' blood could possibly mean. He shapes the matches into Vs, places them around the map, no luck; he suddenly hits the table, and that's when Vampirella realizes it's a "star" (which obviously turns out to be a pentagram).

The tenth victim will have to close the pentagram, so they know where they're headed next to try and prevent it. (they fail)

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    shudder Vocal "chords"... – FuzzyBoots Nov 2 '18 at 11:27
  • @FuzzyBoots that's how much the demons will affect one... – Jenayah Nov 2 '18 at 11:30
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The magazine in question is Vampirella Magazine, Issue #73, October 1978

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    Welcome to SciFi.SE! Why do you believe that this is the magazine the OP is looking for? Answers without explanation are likely to get deleted. – F1Krazy Oct 1 '18 at 5:41
  • comicartfans.com/gallerypiece.asp?piece=1292680 has an image from the story in question. Apparently,, Issue #73 was all one story, "A Gathering of Demons" by Gonzalo Mayo and Bill DuBay. – FuzzyBoots Oct 1 '18 at 12:28

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