Monday, March 27, 2006

Jack Kirby's Spirit World


I hesitate to write too much here about the great and legendary comic book King, Jack Kirby,as his life and work is already being obsessively documented in magazines and on the Net. Over the weekend, however, I came across this little footnote, Kirby's SPIRIT WORLD, a 1971 DC magazine whose genesis can be found in great detail here:TwoMorrows Publishing - Spirit World - Kirby Collector Thirteenth Issue. I got this and its equally Kirby companion IN THE DAYS OF THE MOB at Woolworths of all places that year and it was obvious that Jack was enthusiastic about both of them. For one thing, he was once again stretching the format, attempting graphic stories to compete with the detective story, romance and supernatural mags that were all the rage at the time. Kirby's infamous collages appear often but with much better reproduction than those in the comics. The inking by the much-maligned Vince Colletta here seems less rushed than usual and helps smooth out Jack's rough edges. The stories, hosted by the Doctor Graves-like E. Leopold Maas (Seriously, is that the best name they could come up with? I mean, this is the guy who gave us Vermin Vundabar, Funky Flashman and Granny Goodness!) are typically over-the-top but the whole thing really did seem to me at that moment in time to be a departure...a next step...which of course meant DC quickly quashed the whole concept of "adult" mags just as they would soon do with the whole "fourth world" series. Sigh. Steve Sherman and everybody's favorite blogger Mark Evanier co-edited and even wrote and photographed the fumetti story herein. Additional stories intended for SPIRIT WORLD 2 ended up eventually in the color comic WEIRD MYSTERIES. Here are a few bits from the one and only issue.

4 comments:

Cory!! said...

I got this off of eBay a few months ago, and I REALLY wish this and the other Kirby mag (which is harder to get on eBay so far) had succeeded. The stories were fun, and you could tell that Kirby was working hard ot get a new audience.

George said...

DC (or someone) really need to put out an oversized B&W paperback collection of the Mags Kirby did for them. Just think of it, the two published issues: Spirit World 1, and In the Days of the Mob 1. Then the two unpublished issues of the same, topped off with the extant stories from Soul Love/True Life Divorces!

Mark said...

I've loved everything I've seen from these mags, but finding a decent copy for a decent price has proved damned elusive for me here in the UK - so yeah, I second that wish for all this groovy stuff to be reprinted.

Henry R. Kujawa said...

I'm finally catching up on SPIRIT WORLD today, collecting articles, reviews & art for my "early-70's Kirby DC" project. That Two morrows article is fantastic. Another article, by Christopher Allen ("Trouble With Comics" blog) seems to be over-flowing with bad attitude toward Kirby, though. (If people don't like his stuff, WHY review it-- and in detail???)

I'll be collecting every image I can find at the Kirby_Land yahoo group, and noting where I got which ones.

But first up, I gotta do a nice "restoration" of the cover. Honestly, didn't that thing SUCK? Pulps, paperbacks, and B&W magazines all tended to have FABULOUS covers to draw you in, even if once you got em home you realized the insides were junk. These 2 DC magazines, the COVERS were junk, even though the insides weren't. (sigh)