Strange Worlds of Your Dreams, strange indeed

Strange World of Your Dreams #3
Strange World of Your Dreams #3 (November 1952) by Jack Kirby

Your Dreams was certainly the oddest comic anthology that Simon and Kirby produced. It can be viewed as a spin off of the successful Black Magic comics that started a couple of years earlier. But its focus on the dream theme gave it a special flavor. The idea of a dream comic came from Mort Meskin, one of the few artists working for S&K who worked in the studio. Credits are printed on the first page of the comic with Simon and Kirby as the producers and Mort Meskin as associative editor. This is the only case in S&K productions where someone else is called an editor.

YD #3 The Women In The Tower
Strange World of Your Dreams #3 (November 1952) “The Women In The Tower” by Jack Kirby

The stories can be divided into three categories. The first is dream analysis, well that is how they present it. Despite the ads offering to pay for dreams, it is hard to believe that these stories portray real dreams. After all where is the one in the middle of giving a book report in front of the class you realize you are not wearing any clothes? The analysis does not look anymore authentic then the dreams, no Oedipus complex here. What is real is the opportunity for Kirby to go wild, which Jack takes full advantage of. Most of the dream analysis stories were done by Jack, and most of the stories he did in this series were dream analysis. I can only conclude that he relished this chance, he certainly makes effective use of it.

YD #3 Send Us Your Dreams
Strange World of Your Dreams #3 (November 1952) “Send Us Your Dreams” by Bill Draut

The dream analysis stories were occasionally done by other artists, including Mort Meskin and Bill Draut. As much as I admire these artists, Meskin and Draut in particular, I feel that they were not at all comfortable with this theme. Bill spent more time with the non-dream portions and little on the dream, whereas Kirby did most of the story on the dream itself. Most of these analysis stories tended to be very short, just a couple of pages long.

YD #1 The Dreaming Tower
Strange World of Your Dreams #1 (August 1952) “The Dreaming Tower” by Mort Meskin

A second story category for this anthology was fictional stories. When I provided Joe Simon with restorations of these comics, Joe commented that he must have pulled those stories from the Black Magic drawer. They are the type of story that would fit very well in a Black Magic comic. But if there truly was such a drawer full of Black Magic inventory, the ones that were selected were only those with a dream theme. Bill Draut presents a story of a man who finds himself in a perfect world, only to be told it is a dream. Despite warnings and pleadings he insists in waking the dreamer. Of course he regrets it when he succeeds (“Don’t Wake The Sleeper”, SWYD #1, August 1952). But the best of the Your Dreams fictional stories, in fact the masterpiece of the entire series, was Mort Meskin’s “The Dreaming Tower” (SWYD #1). Mort uses his blacks and manipulate his panels to build up suspense without even providing why there would be such tension. Kirby could have done the revelation panel better, but Jack could never have orchestrated the build up as masterfully as Mort.

YD #4 Romance In The Stars
Strange World of Your Dreams #4 (January 1953) “Romance In The Stars” by unidentified artist

The third and final category of story types was introduced in the final two issues (#3 and #4). It is astrology based stories. I have no idea why a comic based on dreams should include astrology also. The way the stories worked was the “characteristics” of people with a particular sign are given and then a story provided to illustrate these supposed characteristics. These stories are not the horror variety of the fictional stories of the second category. The astrology stories would generally fit pretty well in a romance comic. But they are not true romances, a better description would be comic drama.

Strange World of Your Dreams #5
Strange World of Your Dreams #5 (March 1953) by Jack Kirby

This was an oddball of a comic. It is one of the most interesting to read of all the S&K creations. But much of the interest lies in the uniqueness of a comic based on dreams. It is hard to believe that even Simon and Kirby could have maintained that interest over a long run. Still Joe and Jack were obviously aiming to try because they had the cover for the fifth issue done before the plug was pulled on this title.

2 thoughts on “Strange Worlds of Your Dreams, strange indeed

  1. Ger Apeldoorn

    The unidentified artist for “Romance In The Stars” looks like McCarty to me, especially the man’s face in the third panel.

  2. Harry Post author

    McCarty had occurred to me also but I was a little concerned that the eyes, including the man’s, were done so large. So I decided to take a cautious approach in my post. But I suspect you are right.

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