Why Did DC Cancel Jack Kirby’s Horror Magazine After the First Issue?

https://ift.tt/3DXwoLs

In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, learn whether Jack Kirby’s horror magazine was canceled before DC even learned how much it sold.

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and eighteenth installment where we examine three comic book legends and determine whether they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three legends. Click here for the first part of this installment’s legends. Click here for the second part of this installment’s legends.

NOTE: If my Twitter page hits 5,000 followers, I’ll do a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Great deal, right? So go follow my Twitter page, Brian_Cronin!

DC canceled Jack Kirby’s horror comic book magazine, Spirit World, before knowing how much #1 sold.

Appears to be True

In 1964, Warren Publishing began publishing Creepy, a black and white magazine in the style of the old E.C. horror comics of the 1950s…

By releasing the comic book as a black and white MAGAZINE, Warren was able to avoid the pratfalls of the Comics Code Authority, so the books could be as gory as the market would bear. Initially released as a quarterly series, it soon went bi-monthly and was joined by a sister title, Eerie…

The funny thing about the late 1960s at Warren was that they weren’t even making THAT much money and yet DC and Marvel were SO jealous of them. Non-Code approved, nominally adult-oriented comics sold on the magazine racks? That was so compelling to both companies.

RELATED: Why Was There A Special Kansas City Chiefs Spider-Man Comic Book?

Meanwhile, Jack Kirby had famously landed at DC from Marvel Comics in 1970 and while Kirby wasn’t given much of a better financial deal from DC, the hope was that at least he would have more freedom with his DC work and, for the most part, that WAS true, but Kirby soon learned that some of his more ambitious ideas weren’t going to work at DC. Kirby, who had previously basically run his own comic book company in the 1950s with Joe Simon, envisioned himself doing similar things under DC’s umbrella, like a line of adult-centric full color magazines based on a variety of different genres.

You can almost imagine it being one of those things where Kirby is saying one thing while all DC is hearing, “So….black and white horror comics magazines like Warren?”

And so DC approved two black and white magazines (well, blue tint, at least) for Kirby, one about the mob and the other, a horror title called Spirit World.

You could tell how much DC was into the project when they had Neal Adams redo Kirby’s cover for the first issue…

Kirby drew the whole thing himself, with Vince Colletta on inks. Kirby worked in some striking collages into the issue, like the woman who envisioned the Kennedy assassination…

but she was unable to get anyone to believe her before Kennedy was killed…

There were some other outstanding collage pieces in there that just make you wish the whole thing was in color…

DC seemed to not have given the project a whole lot of promotion and its distribution was awful, as Mark Evanier explained to Jon B. Cooke in TwoMorrows’ Jack Kirby Collector #13, “Independent News [a branch of the same company that owned DC] was one of the biggest distributors in the world at that time, but the comic book division did not control distribution. The first issues [of Mob and SW] got very bad distribution. Steve and I went down to the warehouse in L.A. We never saw an issue on the newsstands in L.A., so we went down to the warehouse to pick up copies. They had not even left the warehouse. DC actually later on sold them in ads in the comics because those issues had not gone out to whole states.”

RELATED: Did Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons Seriously Do a Fill-in Calvin and Hobbes Strip?

Back in those days, you wouldn’t get sales figures for a while on a series, so that’s why when a company greenlit a book, you would work on a couple of them ahead of time and Kirby had the second issue of Spirit World (and the Mob book) done when DC announced that #1 was all the series would have. Evanier recalled in TwoMorrows’ Jack Kirby Collector #6, “I think they canceled the books and decided not to print the second issues before they even had any sales figures on #1.”

I think he is almost certainly correct, as the timing really seems to support it being canceled out of hand.

The material Kirby did for Spirit World #2 were later published in various DC anthologies.

Marvel, by the way, ALSO started doing black and white comic book magazines in 1971, starting with Savage Tales…

In the latest Movie Legends Revealed – Did Roald Dahl hide an X-Rated joke in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?

OK, that’s it for this installment!

Thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo, which I don’t even actually anymore, but I used it for years and you still see it when you see my old columns, so it’s fair enough to still thank him, I think.

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well! Also, if you have a correction or a comment, feel free to also e-mail me. CBR sometimes e-mails me with e-mails they get about CBLR and that’s fair enough, but the quickest way to get a correction through is to just e-mail me directly, honest. I don’t mind corrections. Always best to get things accurate!

Here’s my most recent book, 100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die, from Triumph Books.

If you want to order a copy, ordering it here gives me a referral fee.

Here’s my second book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? The cover is by Kevin Hopgood (the fellow who designed War Machine’s armor).

If you want to order a copy, ordering it here gives me a referral fee.

Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends. — half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).

The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…

If you’d like to order it, you can use this code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee.

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our Facebook page!). Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get some original content from me, as well!

See you next time!

KEEP READING: How Did a Superman/Aliens Crossover Nearly Give Us a Brand-New Supergirl?

from Ultimate Comic Blog
https://ift.tt/31adnXO
via IFTTT

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.