“The Burners” (k017)

Posted in K100.

“The Burners” is a 10-page Kirby story, inked and lettered by Mike Royer, originally intended for SPIRIT WORLD #2, and after the cancellation of that book published in WEIRD MYSTERY TALES #3 [1972].

Spirit World series host E. Leopold Maas takes a look at spontaneous human combustion in this story. Apparently Dr. Maas has come across all sorts of case history on the phenomenon, all lovingly rendered by Kirby. He dismisses those who would link the burnings to UFO activity (although that does give Kirby a chance to use one of his collage pages), as even Maas has limits on what he can believe.

Maas does some readings on one subject, a depressed man who is generating huge amounts of electricity. He notices smoke coming from the man just as he leaves, and pursues him in his car (I’m not sure how the man got such a lead on Maas). Unfortunately, he arrives too late and the man has flamed out in his car. Apparently Maas’s theory is that there is an “ability to fulfill a death wish by a self-activating thermo-chemical process”. Y’know, not something silly like UFOs.

This is a gorgeous looking story. It’s amazing how much detail he was putting in some of the pages at this time, and how perfectly Royer was able to capture it all. The actual plot is a bit weak, maybe with some more pages he could have fleshed it out and gotten something more satisfying, but it serves the art nicely.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *