Wednesday, May 23, 2012

'Spirit World' by Jack Kirby
DC Comics, Summer 1971

Upon joining DC comics in 1971, Jack Kirby was given a conditional green light by the management to investigate publishing comics and graphic art in newer, more varied formats. 

One of the more novel, but more short-lived, manifestations of Kirby's ambitions was the single-shot issue of 'Spirit World', which was released in the Summer of 1971. 

'Spirit World' was an effort by Kirby to produce material for an older audience in the manner of the Warren magazines. Apparently, Kirby wanted to release the magazine in  full color, but DC was intent on publishing the magazine in a cheaper black and white format. 

Indeed, DC was not overly enthused with the concept of 'Spirit World', and distributed it under the 'Hampshire Distribution' label, as part of what was intended to be a line of comic magazines under the 'Speak Out Series' imprint. Poor distribution meant that 'Spirit World' never really got off the ground.

Copies of 'Spirit World' in good condition go for $20, on up to $50, at e-Bay. A hardcover edition of the magazine, incorporating material from a second issue that was never printed, was released by DC in early May 2012 at a list price of $39.99.

I've posted one of the stories in 'Spirit World' below. 'House of Horror' is an interesting look at the sort of 'What If' question comics fans may have had back in the early 70s:  

What If Jack Kirby did a story for a black and white, non-code magazine like the Warren magazines ?


mahendra singh said...

thanks for posting this … I don't care much for Kirby usually but some of the brushwork on these pages is brilliant. Very fluid yet controlled … you can see his brush and hand thinking on their own

Henry R. Kujawa said...

Thanks for posting this story! I'm finally catching up on "SPIRIT WORLD" today, collecting reviews, articles & scans as part of my "early-70's DC" project at my blog. I've never had a chance to read this book before, and I'll be posting a link to your blog at mine.

By the way, I remember getting a lot of fun stuff at "2nd hand bookstores" in the late 60's & 70's. There used to be a used book store a few blocks from my house where I got some movie novelizations, a set of old Charles Addams collections, PEANUTS collections, and just before he went out of business, a complete set of Ian Fleming JAMES BOND 007 novels.. most for about 13 cents apiece! The only problem was, those "Signet" editions had such tiny text, I'd never be able to read 'em now (not unless I get my prescription glasses updated).