Featured Story, The Vision from Marvel Mystery #25

Marvel Mystery Comics #25
Marvel Mystery Comics #25 (November 1941) The Vision, page 1 by Jack Kirby

Professor Enric Zagnar is the leading authority of metaphysics in the country. But he is forced to resign because of his predictions that man will one day be able to control the forces of nature. He retreats from the town vowing revenge and dedicates himself to uncovering the secrets that would make his predictions come true. A short while later a storm hits the town. This is no ordinary storm but one with much fury and persistence. Smoke from a lightning strike of a tree allows the Vision to enter to save the people of the town. He directs the townsmen to climb the nearby mountain in order avoid the flood that forms. But before the people can reach the top a blast from dynamite prevents them from going further. It is Zagner at the peak, relishing his revenge. Zagner urges the storm on using a spell that he reads from a book entitled “Black Magic”. The Vision proceeds to climb in an attempt to stop Zagner. Seeing the Vision, Zagner in turn rolls down a large boulder and when that is unsuccessful throws more dynamite. Despite all this the Vision reaches the top and a fight with Zagnar ensues. Though a dirty trick Zagnar defeats the Vision. Just when he is about to deliver the coup de grace with a large rock, Zagnar gets hit by a bolt of lightning from his own storm! The Vision recovers and reads out the counter spell from the Black Magic book to end the storm and save the day.

Marvel Mystery Comics #25
Marvel Mystery Comics #25 (November 1941) The Vision, page 6 by Jack Kirby

As with the Vision story from Marvel Mystery #24 this splash page makes use of over sized figures. Note the small houses being washed away by the rushing water. I really like the way the title separates the Vision from his foe. The only fault I find with this exciting splash, and it is a minor one, is the “pinning” of the “The” in the title. It seems so unnecessary for this splash. Further it really fails as trompe l’oeil. Not only does the pin not look realistic but also the sharp end is visible so how is the title “pinned” down?

The title of the book that Zagnar uses, Black Magic, is a common enough term. Still it seems interesting that of all the possible titles that Simon and Kirby could have chosen they picked one that they would use again for a comic book that they would launch about nine years later.

The Vision is an unusual hero for a comic book. Comic book art depends on the visual image to provide an indication of the character. Heroes are handsome, heroines beautiful and villains ugly. Although the hero, the Vision is anything but handsome. Of course what Simon and Kirby are doing is to use the Visions unnatural appearance as an indication that he is not of this world. I was just simplifying things when I said villains are ugly, a good comic book artist will go well beyond just making the foe ugly. With his name, Enric Zagnar, is marked as different. Although foreign sounding the origin of the name was probably purposely left ambiguous. Notice that in the first two story panels at the bottom Kirby provides Zagnar with what was then considered long hair. Such hair length was the mark of an intellectual and appropriate for the then Professor Zagnar. In the first panel Zagnar looks fairly normal (but there are those big ears that Kirby would often draw with heads viewed from the back). The next panel provides a glimpse of Zagnar’s already disturbed personality heightened by being partly cut off with the panel edges. The splash panel provides what Zagnar will look like when he becomes at the end of his transformation. You do not need the eyes or the grotesque mouth, the hair alone reveals that Zagnar has gone way past the edge of sanity.

3 thoughts on “Featured Story, The Vision from Marvel Mystery #25

  1. Mike Moran

    Man. Some of the stories I loved but I wasnt too fond of the S+K Vision. It seemed very rushed to me. Not as polished as Cap or Boy Commandos.

  2. Harry Post author

    I am not sure that the difference between the Vision and Captain America can truly be discribed as difference in polish. Besides the difference in premises between a patriotic hero and an other dimension being there is a big difference in page length between the stories. Vision stories were only 7 or 8 pages compared to 10 to 16 pages in Captain America.


  3. Marty Erhart

    Hi Harry,

    It is interesting that just one month before this Vision story, S&K had created another “long-hair” villain! His name was “The Fiddler”and he was featured in a tale entitled “Horror Plays The Scales” from Captain America Comics #07. The only other Simon and Kirby “long hair” baddie I can think of was B.O. Goodley, the corrupt warden of a kid’s reform school from Star Spangled Comics #11. Anyone know of any others?

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