Tag Archives: Magic

Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 9, The Party’s Over

(May 1953 – September 1953, Black Magic #24 – #26)

Simon and Kirby had been on a winning streak ever since they made their deal with Prize Comics in 1947. With the sole exception of Strange World of Your Dreams the titles that they did for Prize were all very successful. Every title except for the more recent Young Brides had gone from monthly to bimonthly; a sure sign that they were selling well. However now the reverse had happened; Black Magic returned to a bi-monthly schedule; an equally sure sign that sales had fallen. It had stayed a monthly for over a year and it would continue to be a bi-monthly for some time so Black Magic could hardly be called a failure. Because of the new schedule, I will be doing these chapters in six month increments. This chapter covers the same period as Chapter 23 and the yet to be written Chapter 24 of the Art of Romance.

As was the case with the romance titles during this period, the primary artist for Black Magic was Jack Kirby who at 42 pages did more then twice as much as any other artist. Surprisingly the second place artist was Al Eadeh (17 pages). This is surprising because Eadeh was the least used of the artists working on the romance titles. Bill Draut and George Roussos both did a single, six page story. An unidentified artist drew 5 single page features.

Mort Meskin is completely absent. Meskin’s contribution to the romance titles had also dramatically declined at this time. Perhaps as a result Mort would start appearing in the titles by other publishers; Harvey (July), DC (August), Standard (August) and Marvel (September). Since Meskin would continue to provide work to Simon and Kirby I do not believe this was due to some sort of break between the parties. A better explanation may be that this was when Mort set up his own studio, perhaps in partnership with George Roussos. With Meskin no longer in the S&K studio, Kirby would pick up the work that did not get assigned to other artists.

Black Magic #24
Black Magic #24 (May 1953), “After I’m Gone”, art by Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby was not only producing in quantity but with quality as well. Unfortunately his splashes from this period are all half-page affairs but Kirby could still make great use of the limited space. Perhaps Jack’s most important attribute when it came to the horror genre was not his ability to depict monsters and demons (although he was quite good at that) but instead it was his skill at depicting fear.

Black Magic #26
Black Magic #26 (September 1953), “Demon Wind”, art by Jack Kirby

Sometimes things are perfectly understandable when graphically presented but actually illogical when rationally examined. Kirby’s splash for “Demon Wind” obviously shows a native encountering someone or something wearing a frightening mask. Since the front of the mask is shown this is not a depiction as seen by the wearer of the mask. But then why would images of the victim appear in both eyes? They would not unless they were mirrors in the eyes in which case how could the wearer see anything? Logic may fail, but Kirby certainly has not; despite or perhaps because of its simplicity this is a great splash.

In the more recent period double images such as seen in the “Demon Wind” splash would be created by drawing one and making a stat or xerox from that to create the second version. However xeroxes had not been invented yet and apparently the Simon and Kirby studio did not include a stat camera. It therefore was quicker and more cost effective to just draw two images. Even a casual comparison shows that these are not truly identical images.

Black Magic #24
Black Magic #24 (May 1953), “The Lady Is a Ghost”, art by Bill Draut

The only full page splash in these issues of Black Magic was by Bill Draut. The scene is very appropriate for the story but with a text change such a splash could just as easily been used in one of the romance comic books. This story was Bill’s only contribution to Black Magic at this time. That Draut was so underused in Black Magic is not too surprising because at this time he was doing more then his usually amount of romance work.

Black Magic #24
Black Magic #24 (May 1953), “As Real as Life”, art by Al Eadeh

During this period Al Eadeh was not just working for Simon and Kirby but also Atlas. Unfortunately I do not have any examples of his Atlas work to show but you can find some in Atlas Tales. Although the work really does look like it was done by the same artist there was a difference in the style used for the two different companies. Work for Simon and Kirby was more realistic and perhaps a little drier while for Atlas Eadeh would use more exaggerated characters.

Black Magic #24
Black Magic #24 (May 1953), “The Changeling”, art by George Roussos

My database indicates that this is the last piece that Roussos did for Simon and Kirby. However my recent reviews of these comics sometimes reveal attributions that I missed in the past. We shall see if he turns up in any future chapters.

Black Magic #25
Black Magic #25 (July 1953), “Human Bloodhound”, art by unidentified artist

Single page features had always been used in Black Magic but there seems to be an increase of their use in these particular issues. I cannot identify the artist but I have to say he really is not that good of one. While Jim Infantino was a studio assistant he did some single page pieces for the romance titles, so perhaps this artist was an assistant as well.

The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 1 (#1 – 3), Expanding Their Fields
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 2 (#4 – 6), Up and Running
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 3 (#7 – 8), The Same Old Gang
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 4 (#9 – 11), Another Hit
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 5 (#12 – 14), New Faces
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 6 (#15 – 17), Mix Bag
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 7 (#18 – 20), Kirby Returns
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 8 (#21 – 23), The Gang’s All Here

The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 10 (#27 – 29), A Special Visitor
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 11 (#30 – 33), The End

Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 8, The Gang’s All Here

(February 1953 – April 1953, Black Magic #21 – #23)

Just like in the romance titles from this same period, Kirby toke a commanding lead in the amount of art provided for Black Magic (24 pages). Second place fell to Al Eadeh(?) (17 pages), followed by Bill Draut (12 pages) Bob McCarty(?) (10 pages). Mort Meskin, John Prentice, George Roussos and Bill Walton all provided a single story each. There are three short works for which I have not been able to determine the artist. The romance art from this period was almost entirely done by Kirby, Draut, Meskin and Prentice with a single piece by Eadeh. It is interesting therefore that during this period McCarty, Walton and Roussos only provided work in the horror genre title.

Black Magic #21
Black Magic #21 (February 1953) “The Feathered Serpent”, art by Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby was not only the most prolific Black Magic artist during this period he also did all of the most important work; all the covers and featured stories. No full page splashes but still some rather nice art. I like most of the artists who worked on Black Magic but in all honesty no one other than on Kirby was capable of making a truly interesting monster. This is not as much of a defect for the title as it might seem because few stories had monsters or demon antagonists. Black Magic was more oriented toward the supernatural and not true horror.

Black Magic #23
Black Magic #23 (April 1953) “Those Who Are About To Die” page 2, art by Jack Kirby

Part of Kirby’s reputation is that he really was not very good at drawing beautiful women. I have to admit I find little variation in the females that he depicted later in his career. I am not sure if Kirby was always to blame for this or if much of it was the result of “corrections” performed by some of his inkers. However during the period he worked with Joe Simon, Jack penciled quite a variety of women. The wife of the painter in “Those Who Are about to Die” is one of my favorites. Both devoted and intellectual she fits perfectly into the part she plays in the story. As far as I am concerned she is just one of the many different beautiful women Kirby drew.

Black Magic #22
Black Magic #22 (March 1953) “Barbados Burial Vault”, art by Bill Draut

Bill Draut did more than his fair share of good splashes but perhaps his best from this period is the one from “Barbados Burial Vault”. It really does not demonstrate his talent as a penciller; the figures are all rather small and the simple architecture dominates the scene. It is Bill’s willingness to abandon his typical draftsmanship to achieve a mod is what makes this work so appealing to me. The impact is provided by the contrast of the small procession carrying the casket from the bright light of day into the dim burial vault.

Black Magic #22
Black Magic #22 (March 1953) “Horrible Herman”, art by John Prentice

Perhaps the best story from this period was Prentice’s “Horrible Herman”. John spent most of his time when work for Simon and Kirby with doing romance stories but I feel he had a real talent for horror. Not that this was true horror but rather more of a suspense concerning a boy with great powers. No one could stop Herman, or could they?

Black Magic #23
Black Magic #23 (April 1953) “Land of the Dead”, art by Mort Meskin

Mort Meskin drew some great splashes in Black Magic but perhaps none of them were more unusual than the one for “Land of the Dead”. It is not that his drawing itself was so technically superior, if anything it was a little bit below his usual work. However Mort has managed to invest this splash with a sense of other-worldliness. No speech balloons but none are required to explain the confrontation of a woman and two eerie figures that block her from a tombstone bearing the words “Here Lies Loves”. The bizarre cloud formations complete the effect imparted to the splash.

This story would have been more appropriate for the by now defunct Strange World of Your Dreams title. Not only would it have been appropriate, this story was almost certainly originally meant for the unpublished fifth issue of that title that would have been published just a few months before. A repeating feature in SWYD was “Send Us Your Dreams” with a pipe smoking Richard Temple doing the dream analysis. The same character is found in “Land of the Dead” except his name has been changed to Bart Roberts. That this was in fact just a substitution can be seen in how that name was just pasted over the older version in the caption of the first story panel (note how the name in is not aligned with the rest of the caption).

Black Magic #21
Black Magic #21 (February 1953) “Warning Voice”, art by Bob McCarty(?)

Many of the Black Magic stories from this period are rather short. “Warning Voice” is only three pages. Perhaps that is why such a small splash panel was used. The panel is hardly wider than the first story panel and at a glance could be mistaken as the first story panel. While I can see the logic behind such a small splash panel I do not feel it was a good approach due to the confusion it causes.

Note the large eyes particularly in the close-up panel. This remains the chief reason that I am not yet comfortable with the Bob McCarty attribution that I have been following.

Black Magic #21
Black Magic #21 (February 1953) “The Mind Reader”, art by George Roussos

There is only a single two page story by George Roussos. Observe the Meskin influence that can be seen in the man in the last two panels. I do believe this is an influence and not an indication of actual involvement by Meskin.

Black Magic #22
Black Magic #22 (March 1953) “Stanwick’s Theory”, art by Bill Walton

I admit than generally I am not overly fond of Bill Walton’s art. He was a competent artist but he only occasionally produces something that really grabs my attention. The splash for “Stanwick’s Theory” is a pleasant exception. In fact I really, really like this splash. The use of a tall narrow panel and extreme close-up and cropping are very effective. Even the cigarette and its smoke play an important part in the composition. This splash is not only unique for Walton it is also rather unusual for Simon and Kirby productions.

Black Magic #23
Black Magic #23 (April 1953) “Evil Spirit”, art by Al Eadeh(?)

Al Eadeh(?) really made good use of the script for “Evil Spirit”. The image of a beautiful woman using her long hair to strangle a man is certainly memorable. So memorable that years later Jack Kirby would re-use the concept for Medusa a villain (who later becomes a heroine) in the Fantastic Four comic book.

The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 7, Kirby Returns

The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 9, The Party’s Over

Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 5, New Faces

(May – July 1952, Black Magic #12 – #14)

As in Chapter 19 of The Art of Romance, Mort Meskin was the most productive artist for Black Magic drawing a total of 30 pages. Bill Draut was particularly active and draw 21 pages. The third and fourth places was held by an artists new to the studio; Bill Walton with 14 pages and Bob McCarty(?) with 10. Jack Kirby takes a surprising fifth place having provided only 9 pages. Kirby was the only artist who drew covers for Black Magic so three of those pages were covers with the remaining 6 pages from a single story. However we shall see Jack had a hand in other aspects of the title. Still it is a continuing mystery why Kirby, renown for his fast drawing, was so unproductive lately and especially during the period covered in this chapter. The rest of the art was provided by three artists each providing a single piece; George Roussos (4 pages), Al Eadeh(?) (2 pages) and 3 pages by an unidentified artist who used J. G. as initials.

Unfortunately John Prentice does not appear in any of the Black Magic issues covered in this chapter. Simon and Kirby did not use Prentice in Black Magic as much as some of the other studio artists. This certainly was not because Prentice was poor at the horror genre. Not only do I think he did a good job in Black Magic but he was clearly better than some of the artists that were used. I suspect the bias had more to do with how well Prentice did in the love titles that S&K preferred to assign him romance work.

Black Magic #13
Black Magic #13 (June 1952) “Up There”, art by Jack Kirby

I always want to include at least one Kirby story in all my serial posts, but this time there is only one to choose from. Still it is a great story and was recently included in Titan’s “Best of Simon and Kirby”. Of course picking the best from Simon and Kirby’s repertoire is always a difficult decision since they did so much great stuff in all genres.

Black Magic #14
Black Magic #14 (July 1952) “The Mailed Fist of McGonigle”, art by George Rossous

I am sure I have said this before, but George Roussos is not among my favorite Simon and Kirby studio artists. His artwork is a bit too crude for my tastes. With that said I often find his use of blacks very interesting especially when he uses them in a splash such as in Black Magic #14 (July 1952) “The Mailed Fist of McGonigle”. Perhaps the greatest weakness in this particular splash is that it is easy to overlook the running figure in the background as an empty suite of armor.

Black Magic #12
Black Magic #12 (May 1952) “Say the Magic Words”, art by Bill Walton

When I wrote Chapter 19 of the Art of Romance there was one story whose artist I could not identified but felt looked very familiar. Had I reviewed the work in this chapter of the Little Shop of Horrors I would have been known immediately who it was since both Black Magic stories by Bill Walton are signed. Fortunately all was not lost as sharp eyed Ger Apeldoorn recognized the correct attribution right away. Bill has a tendency to shorten the height of his faces and in his three quarter views to place the eyes at an angle. Walton will be making regular appearances in Simon and Kirby productions for a while so there will be amply opportunities to see examples of this work.

Black Magic #13
Black Magic #13 (June 1952) “Where is Alfred Weeks?”, art by Bob McCarty(?)

The June issue of Black Magic provides the first appearance of another artist that will regularly show up in Simon and Kirby productions for a time. The problem is he never signs his work and the only reason I have questionably attribute the art to Bob McCarty is because of some similarities to that artist works from 1954 (McCarty also did not sign his work but Foxhole was the only Simon and Kirby comic that provides some of the credits). However there are some differences between the art that might mean that they were not done by the same artist or that his art had evolved. One of the most distinctive features of the art in “Where is Alfred Weeks” as compared to McCarty’s art in Foxhole is the use of oversized eyes (not particularly obvious in the image I supply above). I will continue to questionably attribute this work to McCarty but I hope that I will resolve this issue, at least to my own satisfaction, as I proceed with these serial posts.

Black Magic #13
Black Magic #13 (June 1952) “The Handwriting on the Wall”, art by J. G.

“The Handwriting on the Wall” is an unsigned piece but there are some similarities to a story from Black Magic issue Black Magic #9 (“The Man in the Judge’s Chair”) that signed “J. G.”.

Black Magic #13
Black Magic #13 (June 1952) “Visions Of Nostradamus”, art by Jack Kirby and Al Eadeh(?)

One story, “Visions Of Nostradamus”, is by an artist that I originally thought might be Al Eadeh but I have not yet done my homework and found a contemporary signed piece by the artist to resolve the issue so I will continue to use a question mark. Ger Apeldoorn, who is much more familiar with Atlas where Eadeh also worked, seems more confident about the attribution. Eadeh(?) is a competent artist but nothing in his work that I have seen suggest the artistic talent shown in the splash. Of course that is not an acceptable reason to question whether he drew the splash (even poorer artists sometimes create a masterpiece) but the brushwork does not look like his either but does look like inking by Jack Kirby. The rather oversize eyes might seem incongruous for Kirby but similarly sized eyes appeared in a Kirby splash from Young Love #25 (September 1951, Chapter 16 of the Art of Romance).

Black Magic #13
Black Magic #13 (June 1952) “A Rag, a Bone and a Hank of Hair”, art by Jack Kirby and Mort Meskin

Mort Meskin’s style is very different from Kirby’s and normally there is no problem in distinguishing the two. The story for “A Rag, A Bone And A Hank Of Hair” is obviously penciled and inked by Mort and in the past I assumed he did the splash as well. But since there are no figures in the splash, or at least human figures, this was really nothing more than an assumption. But during my review for this post I noticed the arcing of the two shadows on the wall. These are not true abstract arches but they still are a typical feature of the Studio Style inking. Now Meskin was excellent at Studio Style inking but he used that approach when inking Kirby’s pencils and generally not when inking his own work. Then I notice the inking of the oversized rag doll. The brushwork on the dummy is done with a rather blunt brush that is more typical of Kirby than Meskin. There is also a brush technique that I have not discussed before nor included in my Inking Glossary but nonetheless is an often found method used by Kirby (perhaps Joe Simon as well). Notice the simple hatching found on the lower part of the dummy’s arm (somewhat obscured by a white piece of paper). They form a shadow that is a sequence of arcs; what I think of as a scalloped edge shadow. Much of the brushwork in the splash has the sort of loose control that Kirby was so great with, but not all of the inking. The crosshatching on the cupboard is more mechanically arranged than typical of Jack but often found in Mort’s inking as can be seen in the two story panels on the bottom of the page. Also the inking of the pillow in the foreground looks more typical of Meskin particularly where closely spaced nearly parallel brushstrokes are used.

Black Magic #13
Black Magic #13 (June 1952) “A Rag, a Bone and a Hank of Hair” page 5, art by Mort Meskin

I include a story page as well so Meskin’s method of inking the large rag doll can be seen as well. Notice the brushwork is not as blunt, there are more uses of parallel ink lines, and there are no scalloped edge shadows. Even the hair is inked rather differently than Jack’s splash.

The reader might have noticed that while I have recognized Kirby’s inking, I have not said anything about the drawing. Unfortunately there is little to go on as the dummy is drawn in the same manner in the splash and the story. This might suggest that Meskin drew both but the cover is also based on this story and provides a similarly drawn dummy and there is no question that Kirby drew the cover. The only thing I can point out about the splash is the use of perspective; somehow it seems more consistent with Jack’s work than Mort’s. I fully realize that this is a very vague and subjective description but it is all I have to offer at this time. I do not know if I have convinced anyone else, but I have convinced myself that Jack was largely responsible for the splash panel.

Black Magic #12
Black Magic #12 (May 1952) “A Giant Walks the Earth”, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Mort Meskin and Jack Kirby

Kirby drawn splashes in stories otherwise drawn by other artists are not the norm but are not that unusual either. They are rare enough that I can include all the cases I find in my serial posts. But Kirby splashes are common enough that many chapters (but not all) have examples. However it seems out of the ordinary to find so many Kirby splashes in just three issues because “A Giant Walks the Earth” appears to be another case. Again Kirby’s hand is easiest to spot in the inking. The folds on the human’s pants are typical of Jack’s brushwork; they have simple abstract shapes with no signs of the brush tip. The inking on the giant hand is done with a blunt brush more typical of Jack’s than it is of Mort’s inking. There is crosshatching on the giants forearm but note how less mechanical it is compared to the examples found in “A Rag, a Bone and a Hank of Hair”. However the inking of the foreground rocks all looks like it was done by Meskin. In fact there are some rocks in the story that are inking exactly the same manner.

Mort also clearly inked the story panels of the first page. This provides a good comparison of the two artist’s approach to inking cloth folds. At a glance they may appear the same but instead of the almost puddle like look found in Kirby’s inking, Meskin constructs folds using parallel lines with no attempt to hide the tip of the brush.

Black Magic #12
Black Magic #12 (May 1952) “A Giant Walks the Earth” page 2, art by Mort Meskin

Even though Mort is clearly inking the story panels on the splash page the art does not look like his. I provide an image of the second page so that two can be compared. The difference between the two is most obvious in the older man. So if Meskin did not draw the story panels from the first page, who did? I believe Kirby drew these as well. The end result may not look like typical Kirby art because Meskin appears to have inked them with a heavy hand. Normally Mort was quite a good inker of Kirby’s pencils and not so heavy handed but I believe in this case Mort purposely inked the first story panels this way so that they would blend better with the rest of the story.

Black Magic #13
Black Magic #13 (June 1952) “When I Live Again”, art by Bill Draut

One of Bill Draut’s contributions was “When I Live Again”. Bill does his usual competent job but to be honest I doubt that I would have mentioned it because there is nothing truly unique about it. However when I reviewed I quickly realized that the plot was very familiar. So much so that I did some searching and sure enough found a similar story in Alarming Tales #1 (September 1957, “Logan’s Life”). It is more than similar stories; they were the same plot only the six pages of “When I Live Again” had been reduced to a mere two for “Logan’s Life”. According to every source I have ever seen the art for “Logan’s Life” has always unquestionably been attributed to Jack Kirby.

Black Magic #13 and Alarming Tales #1
Left Black Magic #13 (June 1952) “When I Live Again”
Right Alarming Tales #1 (September 1957) “Logan’s Life”

The text was re-written but the art for the story in AT #1 has clearly been swiped from Draut’s from BM #13. Of course the art was not a close copy; no one is likely to mistake the AT #1 story as done by Draut. But most of the panels in the AT #1 story were obviously based on panels for BM #13.

Black Magic #13 and Alarming Tales #1
Left Black Magic #13 (June 1952) “When I Live Again”
Right Alarming Tales #1 (September 1957) “Logan’s Life”

In fact every panel in “Logan’s Life” from AT #1 was based on one from BM #13 although as can be seen in the above images it is not always so obvious since not only has the panel been recomposed but the people portrayed are sometimes changed as well. These changes might seem superfluous but in fact the in each case the alterations made the alterations the particular panel from Draut’s layout to one like Kirby would use. In the end entire story is a convincing example of Kirby’s art. Of course it must have been convincing because as I said in the past everybody has credit Kirby with the pencils to his story.

Last week I wrote about the Red Raven cover and the Hal Foster panel it was swiped from. I have since searched through all my sources and it would seem that most who were unaware of the swipe attributed the cover to Kirby alone while all those who knew of the swipe credited to Joe Simon either alone or in combination with Jack. (There were a few who gave joint credits to all the art by Simon and Kirby.) I still attribute the Red Raven cover to Jack but in the case of “Logan’s Life” I have changed my mind and now believe it is by Simon. I had detected Joe’s hand in this story but I had previously decided it was due to the Simon being the inker. Now I realize he penciled “Logan’s Life” as well. I base this conclusion not on the fact that the story was swiped but because the similarity to another story Joe swiped for Fighting American (Jumping the Shark). The Fighting American story was swiped from a Kirby drawn Manhunter story so it may not be surprising that everybody had previously attributed it to Jack. But the source for “Logan’s Life” was by Draut and this shows how convincing a job Joe could do at mimicking Jack. Something that should always be kept in mind when trying to determine attributions for work by Simon and Kirby.

The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 4, Another Hit

The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 6, Mixed Bag

Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 4, Another Hit

(February – April 1952, Black Magic #9 – #11)

I cannot supply sales figures so I have to look for other indications for how popular Simon and Kirby titles were. Fortunately Simon and Kirby had a modus operandi when it came to releasing new titles (actually it may have been the publishers who were responsible). New titles were released as bimonthlies but if after a period the titles sales seemed to warrant it the title could become a monthly or a new title of the same genre would be created. Black Magic had been a bimonthly for 16 months when it was converted to a monthly. Thus we can safely conclude that sales of Black Magic were good at least at this point in time.

As was true with the concurrent romance titles (Chapter 18 of The Art of Romance), Jack Kirby was producing less then his normal amount of pages of art with most of the work being done by Mort Meskin. In one respect Kirby still was the most important artist in that he did all the covers and the lead story for the two issues (#10 and #11) of the three covered in this chapter. But in terms of number of pages of art, Jack did only 18 pages as compared to the 34 pages done by Mort. After Mort and Jack come George Roussos (14 pages) and John Prentice (13 pages). Four other artists only supplied a single story; Marvin Stein (8 pages), Bill Draut (7 pages) and two unidentified artists (4 and 5 pages).

Black Magic #10

Black Magic #10 (March 1952) “Dead Man’s Lode”, art by Jack Kirby

While Kirby may not have done as much art as he had a year or so ago, what he produced was still top rate stuff. The splash for “Dead Man’s Lode” is a particularly engaging image. Not much in it just a man struggling through a tunnel and a hand beckoning him on. But of course such a simplistic description hardly does justice to what Jack drew. Kirby often brought interest into what for another artist might have been a banal scene. Here the drama is supplied by the man’s torn clothing, stooped posture and rugged features. I particularly like the way the pouring water divides the composition and how streaks of brushwork both suggest the optical distortions as well as the flow of the water.

Black Magic #11

Black Magic #11 (April 1952) “Drop Me Of At the Cemetery” page 4, art by Mort Meskin

I could not resist providing another example of Mort’s use of tall narrow panels. Leonard Starr used them earlier then Meskin, and used the quite well I might add. But Mort’s use of narrow panels was very remarkable. I must admit as I review Mort’s work in Black Magic and the romance titles I cannot help but feel Meskin was more at home with the horror genre. You pretty much never see in Mort’s romance work such a well worked out close-up as in panel 2 but they are not very rare in Black Magic.

Black Magic #11

Black Magic #11 (April 1952) “The Thirteenth Floor” page 2, art by John Prentice

John Prentice did a lot of romance work for Simon and Kirby so it is easy to overlook his contributions in other genre. I find his art in Black Magic quite satisfying. I have previously discussed “The Thirteenth Floor” (Alternate Takes, The Thirteenth Floor) and will not repeat it here other then to note that use of a splash-like story panel is unusual for Prentice. Despite what I feel is the high quality of his Black Magic work, John did not produce many stories for the title. Another Prentice story would not appear in Black Magic until 9 months later.

Black Magic #9

Black Magic #9 (February 1952) “Mark of Evil”, art by Bill Draut

A ruthless but beautiful Chinese pirate; what’s not to like despite being a somewhat predictable story. Draut seemed to relish the change of pace afforded by Black Magic from his frequent romance work.

Black Magic #9

Black Magic #9 (February 1952) “You Should Live So Long”, art by George Roussos

George Roussos appeared to get a greater portion of work for Black Magic as compared to the romance titles. Frankly he is not as talented as some of the other studio artists. His work has a certain crudeness that while quite acceptable in the horror genre detracts that from his romance art. Presumably that is why he is more often seen in Black Magic. Despite my criticism of his art, in at least on respect Roussos is quite effective and that is in his use of blacks. The splash panel for “You Should Live So Long” is a good example of George’s interesting use of shadows.

Black Magic #11

Black Magic #11 (April 1952) “Through All Eternity” page 2, art by George Roussos

I recently wrote about a story that while signed by Roussos looked like it was based on layouts provided by Mort Meskin (Art of Romance, Chapter 18). One of the things I noted in that story (“The Great Indoors”) was the use of tall narrow panels that Meskin was fond of using at that time. Well “Through All Eternity” also has a page with similar panels and so the question arises whether Mort did layouts for this story as well. While some of the faces in “The Great Indoors” looked distinctly like they were drawn by Meskin, I find no such overt Meskin drawing in “Through Al Eternity”. Further while three of the panels (4 to 6) of page 2 look like Meskin could have laid them out, the composition of the upper three panels seems inferior to Mort’s typical efforts. On a whole I am included to say that these are not Meskin layouts and Roussos was just trying to pick up some of Mort’s techniques.

Black Magic #10

Black Magic #10 (March 1952) “Seven Years Bad Luck”, art by Marvin Stein

My database has 6 Black Magic stories drawn by Marvin Stein but they are all from the second run of the title (1957 – 1958). “Seven Years Bad Luck” is unsigned but there are quite enough examples of typical Stein drawing style, such as the man on the right in the last panel, that it can confidentially be attributed to Marvin. By this time Stein was only occasionally providing work for Simon and Kirby productions but he was very active in Prize crime titles (Headline and Justice Traps the Guilty) having in fact become the primary artist. Stein also made appearances in Prize Comics Western although not nearly as often. Marvin had developed a style very suited for the crime and western genre, and he puts it to good effect in this Black Magic tale as well.

Black Magic #9

Black Magic #9 (February 1952) “The Man in the Judge’s Chair”, art by J. G.

There are two mystery artists in the Black Magic issues covered in this chapter. One particularly tantalizing one is the one who did “The Man in the Judge’s Chair”. I say that not because of the art, which is good but not great, but because it is signed with just initials (J. G.). I have a small list of candidates with those initials who worked during this period:

  • Joe Gagliardi
  • Joe Gallagher
  • Jim Gary
  • Joe Gevanter
  • Joe Giella
  • John Guinta
  • Jerry Grandenetti
  • Joe Greene

I am completely unfamiliar with four of them and so I will have to do more research. John Guinta did some work for Simon and Kirby in 1949 (chapter 9 of Art of Romance and chapter 7 of It’s A Crime) but unless his style has changed considerably he was not the artist. Jerry Grandenetti worked with Joe Simon in the 70’s and his comic book career actually goes back far enough. I have not seen much of Grandenetti’s early work and will not rule him out entirely but I do not think he is a good match either. My database shows Joe Gevanter as the artist for a story in Prize Comics Western #104 (March 1954) but I now question that attribution. The piece is signed Gevanter and Severin and that order usually means Gevanter was the penciller and Severin the inker but it seems odd that Severin would ink another artist work when he generally did not ink his own pencils. Further the drawing style is so close to Severin’s that either John’s inking completely overwhelmed Joe’s pencils or in fact Gevanter was the inker to Severin pencils. Currently I accept the latter deduction and I have found no indications that Gevanter penciled any other comic book so I do not consider him the artist of “The Man in the Judge’s Chair”.

Black Magic #11

Black Magic #11 (April 1952) “Room for One More”, art by unidentified artist

The other unattributed story is “Room for One More”. Again the art really is neither bad nor great but it would be nice to know who drew it. Unfortunately at this time I cannot even offer a suggestion.

The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 1 (#1 – 3), Expanding Their Fields
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 2 (#4 – 6), Up and Running
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 3 (#7 – 8), The Same Old Gang

The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 5 (#12 – 14), New Faces
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 6 (#15 – 17), Mix Bag
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 7 (#18 – 20), Kirby Returns
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 8 (#21 – 23), The Gang’s All Here
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 9 (#24 – 26), The Party’s Ovetr
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 10 (#27 – 29), A Special Visitor
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 11 (#30 – 33), The End

Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 3, The Same Old Gang

(October – December 1951: Black Magic #7 – #8)

During the period covered in this chapter, along with the bimonthly Black Magic, Simon and Kirby were producing two monthly romance titles (Young Romance and Young Love). Not the largest work load for the prolific duo but apparently all the titles were doing well. Since Simon and Kirby received a share of the profits, sales volume was more important then the number of titles produced.

As was true with the concurrent romance titles (Chapter 17 of The Art of Romance), Jack Kirby was producing less then his normal amount of pages of art work. In BM #7 and #8, Jack would do the two covers and a single 8 page story. It was Mort Meskin who was the most prolific artist providing 23 pages for these two issues. Even John Prentice and Marvin Stein produced more pages then Kirby (both with 12 pages each). Bill Draut would provide a single 7 pages story. That was the complete artist line-up for BM #7 and #8; just the regular studio artists of that time. This is another of those chapters where I have been able to identify all the artists who worked on these issues.

Black Magic #7
Black Magic #7 (October 1951) “The Thing in The Fog”, art by Jack Kirby

The full page splash for Jack Kirby’s single story, “The Thing in the Fog”, is quite unusual for the artist. Typically Kirby focuses on the human elements of a picture but here all we see are the backs of three individuals on a make shift raft. The center of attention is the approaching ship and even it is mostly lost in the fog with only the masthead distinctly delimitated. The depiction of fog would normally be expected to be billowing cloud shapes but instead the mists are rendered by a complex of strong crosshatching. The whole effect is one of eerie mystery and impending doom. It may be an unusual splash for Kirby but still one of his greater pieces of art.

Black Magic #8
Black Magic #8 (December 1951) “Invisible Link”, art by Mort Meskin

Meskin’s splash for “Invisible Link” consists of a repeated image although with different clothing and surroundings. Today the artist would probably simply draw one, make a copy and work on the copy to produce the second image. But at this time there were no cheap copiers and so a stat would have to be made. This not only meant added costs but added delay as well. Instead Mort simply redrew the figure. By quickly going back and forth between the two images you can verify the differences between the mouth, nose and other details. The use of a double image is a simple device but one that captures the essence of the story.

Black Magic #8
Black Magic #8 (December 1951) “Invisible Link” page 4, art by Mort Meskin

I have previously remarked that Meskin would sometimes adopt the tall narrow panels that earlier were used by Leonard Starr. In Mort’s case this typically meant dividing the page into two rows each with 3 panels. Above I provide a page with a slightly different approach. The height of the bottom row has been reduced giving even more vertical dimension to the narrow panels of the top row. To make up for the loss of height, the bottom row only has two panels. These tall narrow panel layouts are normally not found in the works by Jack Kirby during this period and that is another of the recurring indications that Kirby was not providing layouts to Mort as some people have claimed. Further it suggests that whatever script was provided to Meskin it either did not completely detail out the art on the page, or if it did Mort felt free to deviate from the directions.

Black Magic #7
Black Magic #7 (October 1951) “Don’t Ride the 5:20”, art by Bill Draut

A skeletal cloaked figure of death looms over a speeding train in this full page splash by Bill Draut. Of course none of these elements are found among Bill’s romance art so it is by depictions of people in the story that allows this work to be safely attributed to him. The detailing of the drawing of the train indicates it was based on a photographic image. But the sharpness, so untypical for Draut, suggests that rather being swiped from a photograph that perhaps the picture was literally glued down on the board and then inked over to provide the desired effect. If true this would be an unusual occurrence at this time although years later Simon would often build up a cover using stats.

Black Magic #7
Black Magic #7 (October 1951) “Old Tom’s Window”, art by John Prentice

It is not unusual for Jack Kirby to assume the role of art editor and make alterations to the work submitted by artists employed by the studio. Normally this is for less talented artists and I do not recall ever seeing Jack fix up the work of Bill Draut or Mort Meskin. I consider John Prentice as in the same talented class with Draut and Meskin which is why I am surprised to see Kirby art editor’s hand at work in some of art submitted by Prentice when he first appeared in Simon and Kirby productions. Compare the first story panel for “Old Tom’s Window with the rest of the page and you will note subtle but important differences. The figures in panel one are simpler and lack the craggy feel found in the splash and the second panel and which is typical of Prentice’s depictions of men. Also observe the difference in brush techniques. Those in the first story panel include picket fence crosshatching, drop strings and abstract arch shadows (see my Inking Glossary for explanations of these terms) that are typical of the Studio Style inking. The brush work is blunt but nuanced and was almost certainly done by Kirby. The inking on the rest of the page lacks these elements and is typical of Prentice’s approach. It is hard for me to understand why Jack felt compelled to work on this panel since the depiction of the men in hospital beds is really not that different from those done by Prentice on the rest of the page. Perhaps it was not so much Jack correcting John as providing him with guidance about how to do the story. If that was true it was with this single panel as the rest of the story is laid out in Prentice’s characterizing manner.

Black Magic #7
Black Magic #7 (October 1951) “No One Human” page 2, art by Marvin Stein

By this time as I mentioned in The Art of Romance (chapter 16), Marvin Stein’s art was beginning to show some significant improvements from his earlier more crude style but has not quite reached his more mature style. I credit much of Stein’s improvement to his close study of Kirby’s art either through close observation while working in the same studio or perhaps by actually inking Jack’s work (although I have not yet verified Stein’s inking of Kirby at this early date). Marvin’s inking has particularly improved from his early version to this one. Normally I prefer to present a splash, but in the case of “No One Human” it is difficult to recognize Stein’s hand in the first page. Instead I show page 2 where the man in panel 3 is very close to Stein’s mature art style. Note Marvin’s frequent angular crosshatching. While this is not generally found in Stein’s work it plays a prominent part of this story but I have to admit I find it rather distracting. Also observe the vertically oriented captions. Kirby would only occasionally use vertical captions so this is an indication that this story was not based on Kirby layouts. Interestingly vertical captions are often used by Mort Meskin who also occasionally uses similar angular crosshatching. I find it hard to believe that Meskin would be supplying Stein with layouts and even harder to accept that Mort would be inking Marvin’s pencils so I suspect that Stein was also carefully studying Meskin’s work as well.

Black Magic #8
Black Magic #8 (December 1951) “Donovan’s Demon”, art by Jack Kirby and Marvin Stein

I have discussed the splash for “Donovan’s Demons” in the past (Summoning Demons). The only modifications of my previous views is that I know come to credit the artist for the story as Marvin Stein. But to quickly review, while the man appears to have been drawn and inked by Stein, the woman is clearly the work of Jack Kirby. Both are background elements with the most important part of the splash being the chair, candles and star pattern on the floor. The candles are good matches for those done by Kirby found elsewhere. Chairs do not normally play such a prominent part in Kirby’s art so it is difficult to make a comparison. However the perspective on the chair is so well done and since this sort of dramatic perspective played such an important art I believe Jack did the chair as well. It is not that unusual to find a Kirby figure in a splash otherwise done by another studio artist but it is odd to see a single figure by another artist in a splash otherwise done by Kirby. Perhaps this was done so that there would be some continuity between the splash and the rest of the story art.

The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 1 (#1 – 3), Expanding Their Fields
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 2 (#4 – 6), Up and Running

The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 4 (#9 – 11), Another Hit
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 5 (#12 – 14), New Faces
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 6 (#15 – 17), Mix Bag
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 7 (#18 – 20), Kirby Returns
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 8 (#21 – 23), The Gang’s All Here
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 9 (#24 – 26), The Party’s Ovetr
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 10 (#27 – 29), A Special Visitor
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 11 (#30 – 33), The End

Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 2, Up and Running

(April to August 1951, Black Magic #4 – #6)

Black Magic #4 to #6 were released during the same period as Boys’ Ranch #4 to #6 (for Harvey Comics). Both titles were bimonthlies which mean that the greatest amount of work produced by the Simon and Kirby studio was for Young Romance and Young Love both of which were monthlies. This is not at all unusual for while Simon and Kirby are most famous for their superheroes most of the work they did during their collaboration was for love comics.

The period discussed in this chapter roughly corresponds with chapter 15 of my serial post The Art of Romance.

While Jack Kirby did all the covers for Black Magic (as he would throughout the first run) in terms of the number of pages drawn he was not the primary artist for Black Magic like he was in the earlier issues. That honors now went to Mort Meskin who did 37 pages compared to Jack’s 17 pages. Even Bill Draut with 18 pages of art did more then Kirby. But even Bill was not the second most prolific artist in the issues covered; surprisingly that would go to the newcomer George Roussos who did 20 pages. Vic Donahue who has been absent from Simon and Kirby productions for some months does a single 5 page story. John Prentice is new to the studio and only provides a single 7 page story. Two stories remain without attributions but one of them is a single page feature.

Black Magic #4 (April 1951) “Voodoo on Tenth Avenue”, art by Jack Kirby

Kirby has scaled back on his splash for his only large piece for Black Magic. Still even with half a page Jack could get a lot of impact. It is amazing how Kirby has managed to make the woman both beautiful and evil; no haggard witch here is just a cold and angry heart. What a text book example of the use of abstract arch shadows (see my Inking Glossary). I count 6 of them in this small splash.

Black Magic #5 (June 1951) “The World of Spirits”, art by Jack Kirby

While Kirby’s other contribution to Black Magic #4 to #6 were very short pieces one of them, “The World of Spirits” is not to be neglected. It is a small masterpiece. It is one of those cases where Jack, so famous for his action, has managed to make exciting art out of nothing more then talking heads. Part of what makes a page like the one shown above so vital is how Kirby changes the expressions in every panel. Since the characters are all past their youth Jack can push his already exaggerated eyebrows to much advantage. The inking is also superb. I am not one to automatically attribute good inking jobs to Kirby but the way the spotting is done on the white shirt in the splash and the use of bold cloth folds make me believe that at least much of the spotting was done by Jack himself. A lot of the times these very short pieces just did not seem to get the same attention from the various studio artists as they gave to the more substantial stories. But not Kirby; some of his greatest masterpieces are short stories such as this one.

Black Magic #4 (April 1951) “The Dead Don’t Really Die”, art by Mort Meskin

I am afraid I am giving short shift to Mort Meskin by only including one example despite the fact that he produced far more work then any other artist. This certainly does not reflect on the quality of the work that Mort was producing; Meskin’s Black Magic work is among the best that he ever did. I admit that Mort did some great work for DC after leaving the Simon and Kirby studio but that unfortunately was done under the severely detrimental effects of Comic Code censoring.

I have selected this particular splash page because of its unusual design. Not that the half page splash is so visually different but the fact that the splash panel is actually the first story panel. Typically splash panels are used as the comic book equivalent of a movie trailer; they provide a sort of a synopsis of the story to entice the reader. I do not remember a story splash panel being used in any prior Simon and Kirby production. The use of this device in “The Dead Don’t Really Die” is still pretty much an isolated case but it would become very typical of Simon and Kirby romance comics in the future.

Black Magic #4 (April 1951) “The Jonah”, art by Bill Draut

Black Magic seems to have given Bill Draut the confidence to draw the type of characters that had all but disappeared from his romance work. You normally would not see something like the sailor with the white hat in Bill’s love stories at this time. The splash panel is also something not to be seen in a romance work. How seedy can you get? Beat up trash cans, littered bottles and yeah I am sure that man in the background is just asking directions from the woman. Note the building on our right; the way the bricks are roughly inked as solid black is a mannerism often used by Draut.

Black Magic #5 (June 1951) “Justice for the Dead”, art by John Prentice

I am not sure why but John Prentice did not seem to do as much work for Black Magic as compared to what he did for the romance titles. It certainly is not because he did a poor job on them; quite the contrary. “Justice for the Dead” is a typical Black Magic piece but with a crime slant that shows that John would have made a great crime comic book artist. He had previously worked for Hillman so perhaps he had done some drawing in that genre there. The GCD lists Prentice as also having worked in Gang Busters and Mr. District Attorney for DC but I have not yet verified that. Years later John would do some work for Simon and Kirby’s Police Trap and later yet take over the syndication detective strip Rip Kirby. My knowledge of John Prentice work outside of the Simon and Kirby studio is sadly incomplete but I am working on rectifying that defect.

Black Magic #5 (June 1951) “The Face from The Future”, art by George Roussos

BM #3 (February) marked the earliest appearance of pencils by George Roussos in a Simon and Kirby production. Despite having two stories in that BM #5 and one in the next issue, it is odd that Roussos has not yet appeared in either Young Romance or Young Love. Since George did a lot of inking and was well known to Joe and Jack there is the possibility that he has help with inking Kirby’s work prior to this but I have seen nothing that confirms that conjecture. That Simon and Kirby both knew Roussos is indicated by a sketches both did for him in 1942 (Joe did Hitler in a zoot suite (Poking Fun at Hitler) and Jack did the Boy Commands (A Belated Happy Birthday to Jack Kirby). George also knew Mort Meskin and had inked some of Mort’s work for DC (Early Mort Meskin).

As often happens in Simon and Kirby productions, George Roussos’ splash for “The Face from the Future” uses some inking technique that seemed borrowed from the Studio Style inking. In this case we find picket fence crosshatching (Inking Glossary) on the hooded figure and a rounded shadow in the upper right corner. However it is clearly Roussos doing the inking and not Joe or Jack touching it up. While there is classical picket fence crosshatching on the right ghostly figure it changes as it proceeds to the left and becomes an inking technique not found in the Studio Style. There the shadow is built with short strokes that initially look like the pickets from the picket fence crosshatching but without the rails. The rounded shadow in the upper corner has a ragged edge that again is not typical of the way it usually is done in the Studio Style.

Black Magic #6 (August 1951) “The Girl the Earth Ate Up”, art by George Roussos

George does such a great job on the splash for “The Girl the Earth Ate Up” I could not resist including it. Do not get me wrong Roussos pencils and inking are on the crude side but his use of blacks makes it really work.

Black Magic #6 (August 1951) “A Wolf That Hummed a Nursery Rhyme”, art by Vic Donahue

Vic Donahue has not been appearing in Simon and Kirby productions for a while and this is the only work that I have assigned to him for 1951. It is an odd story and it allows Vic to draw the type of characters that would not have been appropriate for romance work. Even so I just cannot get enthusiastic about Donahue’s effort. Vic was one of the lesser talents in the Simon and Kirby studio and now that all three of the usual suspects (Bill Draut, Mort Meskin and John Prentice) are present Donahue will rarely appear again if at all (my database has no more entries for him after this one).

Black Magic #5 (June 1951) “Follow Me”, art by unidentified artist

There is one Black Magic artist from this period that I have not been able to identify but he does a nice job on “Follow Me”. Good characterization, excellent inking and good graphic story telling.

The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 1 (#1 – 3), Expanding Their Fields

The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 3 (#7 – 8), The Same Old Gang
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 4 (#9 – 11), Another Hit
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 5 (#12 – 14), New Faces
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 6 (#15 – 17), Mix Bag
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 7 (#18 – 20), Kirby Returns
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 8 (#21 – 23), The Gang’s All Here
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 9 (#24 – 26), The Party’s Ovetr
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 10 (#27 – 29), A Special Visitor
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 11 (#30 – 33), The End

Black Magic at DC

It has been some time since I posted about Black Magic. The last, and only, blog entry solely about the title was almost three years ago (The Old Black Magic). I hope to begin posting more about it in the near future but today I would like to write about the nine Black Magic reprint comics that DC published between November 1973 and May 1975. These show up frequently on eBay and at comic conventions and generally are still reasonably priced. Given the value placed today on even poor copies of the original Black Magic series the DC reprints may seem like a cost effective alternative. They may be as long as the purchaser is aware of what he is getting.

Black Magic #11 (April 1952) by Jack Kirby (on left)
DC Black Magic #6 (November 1974) by Jerry Grandenetti (on right)
Larger image of Black Magic #11
Larger image of DC Black Magic #6

Seven of the covers of the DC reprints were penciled by Jerry Grandenetti and inked by Craig Flessel. Actually my crediting of the inking to Flessel is not based on any study but from conversations with Joe Simon. Joe told me that Craig did a lot of work for him at the time. When I asked what work that was Joe said he used Flessel to do Grandenetti’s inking but he did not identify any work in particular. Most of the covers, like issue #6 shown above were reinterpretations of the covers that were originally done by Jack Kirby. Today it sounds like an odd thing to do but when the reprints were published most readers probably had not seen any of the original Black Magic comics. Three of the coves were original compositions by Grandenetti based on reprinted stories. Frankly Jerry’s reinterpretations are better then his own more fully original covers.

DC Black Magic #4 (July 1974)

One of the covers used for DC’s Black Magic reprints was one never published before. There are at least three versions of this image that Simon and Kirby intended for the first Black Magic cover. I guess in the end they were not satisfied with any of the versions and used a story about an evil doll as the basis for the published cover. The version used for DC issue #4 was altered slightly by the odd inclusion of an upside down lion in the upper left. I really do not know what to make of it. It seems so out of place with Simon’s typical designs and the art does not seem to match Grandenetti’s style either.

DC Black Magic #7 (January 1975)

The other Kirby cover appeared on DC issue #7 but originally on Black Magic #17 (October 1952). It was a great choice it was one of the best from the entire Black Magic series. But look at that woman’s face, that does not look like Kirby! In fact it does not match the original version and looks like the work of Joe Simon.

Black Magic #29 (March 1954) “The Greatest Horror of Them All” page 2, art by Jack Kirby

I have heard it from many people, Kirby did not draw beautiful women. It is a remark that I truly do not understand, at least for the period of the Simon and Kirby collaboration. Granted the lady in the first panel of the image above leaves much to be desired but surely as depicted in panel 4 she would be described as pretty? Even in the last panel where she is overwhelmed by emotions, I would hardly call her unattractive.

DC Black Magic #1 (November 1973) “The Greatest Horror of Them All” page 2, art by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon

Surprisingly Joe Simon shares the same general opinion. In the earlier issues of the DC reprints he replaced Jack’s woman with a creation of his own. Is it truly an improvement? Well the first panel came out better and I leave it up to the reader whether which version of panel 4 is the most attractive. However in the last panel Joe has completely lost the emotion. It is in conveying the emotions of woman that Kirby is truly at his best and that, for me, is why his females are truly beautiful.

“The Angel of Death” panel from page 6, art by Jack Kirby
Black Magic #15 (August 1952) top
DC Black Magic #3 (May 1974) bottom

A careful observer may have noticed that the two pages of “The Greatest Horror of Them All” are not identical even when Joe was not purposely changing the art. There are subtle differences in the inking as well. The art presented in the DC reprints was not made from bleached comic pages. Simon probably knew even then how to remove the color from old comic books. But the bleaching process does not completely remove the color and more importantly the copiers need to provide a quality finish to the process were not yet commonly available in the early ’70s. Instead I believe Joe worked with a technique that I know he used earlier in the Harvey reprints of Fighting American. He re-inked the art on tracing pages over blown up copies the original, but probably bleached, comic book pages. Generally Simon was very careful to trace the original brushstrokes, but sometimes, such as the panel from “The Angel of Death” he did not do so. It may seem surprising that Joe, who had done so much inking over Kirby’s pencils, would have trouble re-inking the reprints, but the use of tracing paper obscures the art in a way that working on the original pencils did not.

Also not that panel from the DC reprint is higher then the original. Oddly this was due to the smaller size of the comics in the ’70s as compared to the ’50s. The size difference is not in the height but in the width of the page. The art in the DC was slightly reduced in size to accommodate the narrower page. To avoid an overly large top and bottom margins some panels were extended in a vertical direction. There in a small strip of art that was not present in the original comics. Expanding the panels was only done in the earlier DC issues. Later the Black Magic title that appeared at the top of the page was replaced with a larger version that was also moved further from the panels. This fixed the problem of the over sized top and bottom margins without the extra work involving in adding the new art to the extended panels.

“The Girl Who Walked on Water” page 6, art by Jack Kirby

The examples I have provided of the re-inking are really the extremes. Most of the art was recreated well enough that only a close examination reveals the differences. But starting in DC issue #6 and completely dominating issues #7 to #9, are some completely heavy handed re-inking. Even without comparison to the original Black Magic stories it is easy to see something is wrong. Look at the inking in the bottom panel from “The Girl Who Walked on Water”; it looks more like a wood cut then the work of a brush. The sudden appearance of this type of inking convinces me that Joe was not the re-inker. He had handed off the work to less skillful hands with rather disastrous results.

“The Clock”, panel from page 6, art by Jack Kirby
Black Magic #2 (December 1950) top
DC Black Magic #7 (January 1975) bottom

It is like watching a train wreck. I just cannot help myself from providing another comparison between the “woodcut” inking and the masterly studio style inking of the original.

Black Magic #32 (September 1954) “Maniac” page 5, art by Jack Kirby

So far I have been describing the art, but were the stories changed when DC reprinted them? There is good reason to expect that they might have been as the original Black Magic was produced before the creation of the Comic Code Authority. In fact one aim of the Comic Code was to eliminate horror comics completely. In this they succeeded and Black Magic was one of the casualties. But after awhile the Code was relaxed slightly and Prize resurrected the Black Magic title in 1957 this time with the help of Joe Simon alone. Although the title was brought back the content could not be, the Comic Code would not allow it. However by the ’70s the Code had been relaxed even further. In fact horror comics were in a period of popularity. It was still tame stuff compared to what was done pre-Code at say EC, but at least it was permissible to have stories about vampires, werewolves and other monsters. It is an indicator about how relaxed the Comic Code had become in the ’70s as well as how comparatively tame the original Black Magic series were in the early ’50s that I have only found a single case of a story changed for the DC reprint. This was the total elimination of page 5 of the story “Maniac” along with some minor modifications to the captions of the next page to accommodate the sudden leap in the story.

So are the DC Black Magic comics a relatively cheap replacement for the much more expensive Prize Comics version? Yes if all you want is a good read. But if you want to study the art closely the reprints are simply not the thing to examine. The best description of the process used in making the reprints is recreation. In discussions about the art recreations in recent Marvel reprints many have pointed back to the technique that Simon used as justification for similar methods used today. This is ironic because while Simon was limited by the primitive technology then available, today we have computers, scanners and quality printing.

I have created a checklist for the DC Black Magic that includes references to the original source. It is available in the sidebar as well.

Prize Black Magic Checklist

Last update: 6/6/2020

    r:  = reprint
    s:  = script
    l:  = layout
    p:  = pencils
    i:  = inks
  name  = signed
 <name> = signed with an alias
 {name} = signed as Simon & Kirby
 [name] = unsigned attribution

Black Magic (Prize)
   #1 (v.1, n.1) October 1950  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "Last Second Of Life" 10 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Woman In The Mirror" 6 pg P:Meskin I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "His Father's Footsteps" 5 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "Don't Look Now" 6 pg P:[Draut] I:[Draut] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Idol" 2 pg  (text)
       "When You  Were Alive" 6 pg P:[Premiani]  Lt:[Oda]
       "My Dolly Is The Devil" 7 pg P:[Starr]  Lt:[Oda]
   #2 (v.1, n.2) December 1950  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "The Scorn Of The Faceless People" 10 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Cheerful Old Lady In Black" 7 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Cloak" 7 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Out of Your Mind" 2 pg  (text)
       "I've Seen You Before" 6 pg P:[Premiani]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Yesterday You Died" 8 pg P:[Draut] I:[Draut] Lt:[Oda]
   #3 (v.1, n.3) February 1951  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "A Silver Bullet For Your Heart" 11 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "A Curse On You" 8 pg P:Meskin I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "Satan's Sister" 7 pg P:[Draut] I:[Draut] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Signal" 2 pg  (text)
       "The World Of Shadows" 6 pg P:[Roussos]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Voices In The Night" 6 pg P:Stein I:Stein Lt:[Oda]
   #4 (v.1, n.4) April 1951  
       (cover) 1 pg P:{Kirby}  
       "Voodoo On Tenth Avenue" 9 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Hideout" 8 pg P:[Roussos]  Lt:[Oda]
       "A Man's Last Dream" 8 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Strangest Facts" 1 pg  Lt:[Oda]
       "Up to the Jury" 2 pg  (text)
       "The Dead Don't Really Die" 6 pg P:Meskin I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Jonah" 7 pg P:[Draut] I:[Draut] Lt:[Oda]
   #5 (v.1, n.5) June 1951  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "Who Walks In My Dream" 8 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "Justice For The Dead" 7 pg P:[Prentice] I:[Prentice] Lt:[Oda]
       "Sleep, Perchance To Die" 9 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "The World Of Spirits" 2 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Death of a Sleepwalker" 2 pg W:Alexander  (text)
       "Follow Me" 6 pg  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Face From The Future" 7 pg P:[Roussos]  Lt:[Oda]
   #6 (v.1, n.6) August 1951  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "The Masterpiece" 6 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Moment Of Shadow" 5 pg P:[Draut] I:[Draut] Lt:[Oda]
       "A Wolf That Hummed A Nursery Rhyme" 5 pg P:Donahue  Lt:[Oda]
       "Union With The Dead" 3 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Vacation in the Mountains" 2 pg  (text)
       "Skull's Eyes Never Sleep" 6 pg P:[Draut] I:[Draut] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Girl The Earth Ate Up" 5 pg P:[Roussos]  Lt:[Oda]
   #7 (v.2, n.1) October 1951  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "The Thing In The Fog" 8 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "No One Human" 4 pg P:[Stein] I:[Stein] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Man Who Captured A Ghost" 8 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Tailor's Dummy" 2 pg  (text)
       "Old Tom's Window" 4 pg P:[Prentice] I:[Prentice] Lt:[Oda]
       "Don't Ride The 5:20" 7 pg P:[Draut] I:[Draut] Lt:[Oda]
   #8 (v.2, n.2) December 1951  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "Donovan's Demon" 7.5 pg P:[Stein & Kirby] I:[Stein] Lt:[Oda]
       "Invisible Link" 9 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "The House That Tried To Kill Me" 6 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Nightmare" 2 pg  (text)
       "The Curse Of The Crystal Ball" 8 pg P:[Prentice] I:[Prentice] Lt:[Oda]
   #9 (v.2, n.3) February 1952  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "Faith Healer" 4 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "Mark Of Evil" 7 pg P:[Draut] I:[Draut] Lt:[Oda]
       "Usnea, Moss Of Death" 1 pg P:[Roussos] I:[Roussos] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Ghost Of Chateau Bois" 5 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Man In The Judge's Chair" 5 pg  Lt:[Oda]
       "A Friend for Billy" 2 pg  (text)
       "The Crusaders In No Man's Land" 3 pg P:[Prentice] I:[Prentice] Lt:[Oda]
       "You Should Live So Long" 5 pg P:Roussos I:[Roussos] Lt:[Oda]
   #10 (v.2, n.4) March 1952  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "Dead Man's Lode" 8 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Memory House" 3 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "The World Beyond Reality" 3.5 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "Seven Years Bad Luck" 7.5 pg P:[Stein] I:[Stein] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Typewriter of Henry Silvers" 2 pg  (text)
       "Coffin For Your Wedding Day" 3 pg P:[Prentice] I:[Prentice] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Assassin" 7 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
   #11 (v.2, n.5) April 1952  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "The Girl Who Walked On Water" 6 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Drop Me Of At The Cemetery" 4.5 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Thirteenth Floor" 7 pg P:[Prentice] I:[Prentice] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Rendezvous" 2 pg  (text)
       "Room For One More" 4 pg  Lt:[Oda]
       "Through All Eternity" 7.5 pg P:Roussos I:[Roussos] Lt:[Oda]
   #12 (v.2, n.6) May 1952  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "It's Your Funeral" 8 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "Contact" 6.5 pg P:[Draut] I:[Draut] Lt:[Oda]
       "Say the Magic Words" 7 pg P:Walton  Lt:[Oda]
       "A Man's Castle" 2 pg  (text)
       "A Giant Walks The Earth" 7.5 pg P:[Meskin & Kirby] I:[Meskin & Kirby] Lt:[Oda]
   #13 (v.2, n.7) June 1952  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "Up There" 6 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Handwriting On The Wall" 3 pg P:J. G.  Lt:[Oda]
       "A Rag, A Bone And A Hank Of Hair" 7 pg P:[Meskin & Kirby] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "Visions Of Nostradamus" 3 pg P:[Eadeh & Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Tiny Hands of Retribution" 1 pg  (text)
       "When I Live Again" 6.5 pg P:[Draut] I:[Draut] Lt:[Oda]
       "Minuet by Moonlight" 1 pg  (text)
       "Where Is Alfred Weeks" 5 pg P:[McCarty]  Lt:[Oda]
   #14 (v.2, n.8) July 1952  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "Choose A Face" 8 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Courts Of Sleep" 4.5 pg P:[McCarty]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Witch Girl" 7 pg P:Walton  Lt:[Oda]
       "A Man's Greed" 1 pg  (text)
       "The Mailed Fist Of McGonigle" 4 pg P:Roussos I:Roussos Lt:[Oda]
       "Double Destiny" 1 pg  (text)
       "The Voice Of The Dead" 7 pg P:[Draut] I:[Draut] Lt:[Oda]
   #15 (v.2, n.9) August 1952 (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "The Angel Of Death" 7 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Dead Ringer" 6 pg P:[McCarty]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Ashes To Ashes" 6 pg P:[Draut] I:[Draut] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Flight that Failed" 1 pg  (text)
       "Shades Of Rex" 3.5 pg P:[Roussos] I:[Roussos] Lt:[Oda]
       "Last Date" 1 pg  (text)
       "The Promised Land" 7 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
   #16 (v.2, n.10) September 1952  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "The Sniper" 4.5 pg P:[McCarty]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Murder in Grove County" 1 pg  (text)
       "Possessed" 7 pg P:[Roussos] I:[Roussos] Lt:[Oda]
       "Fly By Night" 7 pg P:Walton  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Cursed Relic" 1 pg  (text)
       "The End Of His Rope" 7 pg P:[Eadeh]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Number 23" 4 pg P:[Roussos] I:[Roussos] Lt:[Oda]
   #17 (v.2, n.11) October 1952  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "Freak" 8 pg P:[Kirby] I:[Roussos] Lt:[Oda]
       "Guardian Angel" 6 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Roussos] Lt:[Oda]
       "I Wouldn't Let Him Die" 1 pg  (text)
       "Hoof Beats Of The Devil's Horse" 4 pg P:[Roussos] I:[Roussos] Lt:[Oda]
       "Warning" 1 pg  (text)
       "The Mary Celeste: Ship Of Evil" 1 pg  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Soul Of A Man" 8 pg P:[Draut] I:[Draut] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Boy Who Was 2000 Years Old" 4 pg P:[McCarty]  Lt:[Oda]
   #18 (v.2, n.12) November 1952  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "Nasty Little Man" 8 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "You'll Die Laughing" 6 pg P:[McCarty]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Man with a Vision" 1 pg  (text)
       "The Horror That Came Out Of The Sea" 6 pg P:[Roussos] I:[Roussos] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Red Bird" 1 pg  (text)
       "Come Claim My Corpse" 2 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Poltergeist" 1 pg P:[J. G.]  Lt:[Oda]
       "A Deadly Dream" 2 pg P:[J. G.]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Detour, Lorelei On Highway 52" 5 pg P:[McCarty & Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
   #19 (v.3, n.1) December 1952  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "Sammy's Wonderful Glass" 8 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Dead Man's Isle" 7 pg P:Walton  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Monster" 1 pg  (text)
       "Return From The Grave" 4 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Swindle" 1 pg  (text)
       "The Man Eater" 4.5 pg P:[McCarty]  Lt:[Oda]
       "This'll Kill You" 7 pg P:[Roussos] I:[Roussos] Lt:[Oda]
   #20 (v.3, n.2) January 1953  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "Birth After Death" 3 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Hatchet Man" 5 pg P:[Draut] I:[Draut] Lt:[Oda]
       "Pied Piper Of Flame" 4 pg P:[McCarty]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Ruby Riddle" 1 pg  (text)
       "The Patter Of Little Feet" 7 pg P:[McCarty]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Strangest Stories Ever Told" 1 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Malay Boot" 1 pg P:[Roussos] I:[Roussos] Lt:[Oda]
       "Paid in Full" 1 pg  (text)
       "Crash Report" 5 pg P:[Prentice] I:[Prentice] Lt:[Oda]
   #21 (v.3, n.3) February 1953  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "The Feathered Serpent" 7 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Warning Voice" 3 pg P:[McCarty]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Practical Joker" 4 pg P:[Draut] I:[Draut] Lt:[Oda]
       "Vigil" 1 pg  (text)
       "Valley Of Phantoms" 7 pg P:[Eadeh]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Mind Reader" 2 pg P:[Roussos]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Magic Million" 1 pg  (text)
       "A Ghost Story" 7 pg P:[McCarty]  Lt:[Oda]
   #22 (v.3, n.4) March 1953  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "The Monsters On The Lake" 9 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Death By Magic" 1 pg  Lt:[Oda]
       "Fletcher's Talent" 5 pg P:[Eadeh]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Stanwick's Theory" 6 pg P:Walton  Lt:[Oda]
       "Ready to Retire" 1 pg  (text)
       "Horrible Herman" 4 pg P:[Prentice] I:[Prentice] Lt:[Oda]
       "Barbados Burial Vault" 2 pg P:[Draut] I:[Draut] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Only Job" 1 pg  (text)
       "The Soul Catcher" 4 pg  Lt:[Oda]
   #23 (v.3, n.5) April 1953  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "Those Who Are About To Die" 5 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Faces Of Death" 5.67 pg P:[Draut] I:[Draut] Lt:[Oda]
       "Race with Death" 1 pg  (text)
       "Land Of The Dead" 6 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "The Guiding Light" 1 pg  (text)
       "Peg O'Nell's Ghost" 1 pg  
       "Evil Spirit" 5 pg P:[Eadeh]  Lt:[Oda]
   #24 (v.3, n.6) May 1953  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "The Changeling" 5.67 pg P:[Roussos]  Lt:[Oda]
       "His Own Business" 1 pg  (text)
       "After I'm Gone" 3.5 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Strange Predictions" .5 pg  
       "The Lady Is A Ghost" 6 pg P:[Draut] I:[Draut] Lt:[Oda]
       "Stars Of Fate" 1 pg  
       "The Shadow" 1 pg  
       "Bring Back the Dream" 1 pg  (text)
       "As Real As Life" 6 pg P:[Eadeh]  Lt:[Oda]
   #25 (v.4, n.1) July 1953 (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "Strange Old Bird" 6 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Human Cork" 3 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Light" 1 pg  (text)
       "The Romantic Souls" 6 pg P:[Eadeh]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Crash" 1 pg  (text)
       "Human Bloodhound" 1 pg  Lt:[Oda]
       "Escape From The Coffin" 1 pg  Lt:[Oda]
       "A Beast Is In The Streets" 7 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
   #26 (v.4, n.2) September 1953  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "Fool's Paradise" 6 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Beast In You" 5 pg P:[Eadeh]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Wish" 1 pg  (text)
       "The Sting Of Scorpio" 4 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Strange Antics Of The Mystic Mirror" 3 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Voice" 1 pg  (text)
       "Demon Wind" 6 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
   #27 (v.4, n.3) November 1953  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "The Cat People" 6 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "A Hole In His Head" 6 pg P:[Ditko]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Nightmare" 1 pg  (text)
       "The Merry Ghosts Of Campbell Castle" 5 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Ghost Pictures" 1 pg  
       "Murder?" 1 pg  (text)
       "Don't Call On The Dead" 6 pg P:[McCarty]  Lt:[Oda]
   #28 (v.4, n.4) January 1954  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "An Eye For An Eye" 5 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Thought Transfer" 1 pg  
       "Screaming Doll" 5 pg P:Benulis  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Light Beyond" 1 pg  (text)
       "Alive After Five Thousand Years" 5 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Great Injustice" 1 pg  
       "Buried Alive" 6 pg P:[Ditko]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Miss Fancher's Living Death" 2 pg P:[Eadeh]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Crystal Ball" 1 pg  (text)
   #29 (v.4, n.5) March 1954  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "The Monster Of St. Laurant" 4 pg P:[McCarty]  
       "The Greatest Horror Of Them All" 5 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "No Cure" 1 pg  (text)
       "Madame Cyanide and Mister Tricks" 5 pg P:[Ditko]  
       "Lady in the Moon" 1 pg  (text)
       "Message from a Murder Victim" 3 pg P:[Eadeh]  
       "Cry Of Death" 1.67 pg  
       "Flight Without Wings" 1 pg  
       "The Flying Dutchman" 5 pg P:[McCarty]  
   #30 (v.4, n.6) May 1954  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "The Head Of The Family" 8 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Mental Murder" 1 pg  (text)
       "Ghost In The House" 4 pg P:[Eadeh]  
       "The Devil, You Say" 6 pg  
       "Death Omen" 1 pg  
       "The Black Piano" 1 pg  (text)
       "Lover, Come Back To Me" 6 pg  Lt:[Oda]
   #31 (v.5, n.1) July 1954  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "Gargoyle" 6 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "A Dish of Jello" 1 pg  (text)
       "Slaughter-House" 6 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Half-Men" 6 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin] Lt:[Oda]
       "Three Million Bucks" 1 pg  (text)
       "Hungry As A Wolf" 6 pg P:[? & Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
   #32 (v.5, n.2) September 1954  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "Maniac" 8 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "Facts On Witchcraft" 1 pg  
       "The Monsters" 4 pg P:[Draut] I:[Draut]
       "It" 1 pg  (text)
       "The Little People" 5 pg  
       "The Mirror" 1 pg  
       "Welcome Home" 1 pg  (text)
       "Sir Henry Wilson's Death" 1 pg  
       "The Devil Doll" 5 pg P:[Meskin] I:[Meskin]
   #33 (v.5, n.3) November 1954  
       (cover) 1 pg P:[Kirby]  
       "Lone Shark" 7 pg P:[Kirby]  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Strangest Facts" 1 pg  
       "Apprentice" 1 pg  (text)
       "This Time You'll Die" 5 pg  
       "Wake Up The Dead" 4 pg  Lt:[Oda]
       "The Ring" 1 pg  (text)
       "Mister Tree" 7 pg  
   #34 (v.6, n.1) September 1957  
       (cover) 1 pg  
       "The Immortal Sergeant" 6 pg  
       "The Legend of Karnak" 6 pg  
       "The Hidden Doors" 6 pg  
       "The Masquerade" 7 pg  
   #35 (v.6, n.2) November 1957  
       (cover) 1 pg  
       "Man Alone" 6 pg  
       "The Immortal" 6 pg P:[Stein] I:[Stein]
       "The Old Man" 6 pg P:[Stein] I:[Stein]
       "Valley of the Giants" 7 pg P:Galindo  
   #36 (v.6, n.3 January 1958  
       (cover) 1 pg  
       "Secret Weapon" 7 pg  
       "The Man From Nowhere" 6 pg  
       "Ashes Of Hate" 5 pg  
       "The Portrait" 6 pg P:Galindo  
   #37 (v.6, n.4 March 1958  
       (cover) 1 pg  
       "The Gold Mine" 6 pg  
       "Cancelled Debt" 5.5 pg  
       "The Survivor" 7 pg  
       "Stranger in 313" 6 pg P:[Stein] I:[Stein]
   #38 (v.6, n.5 May 1958  
       (cover) 1 pg  
       "The Mystic" 6 pg  
       "The Last Role" 6 pg P:Galindo  
       "The Impossible" 7 pg P:[Stein] I:[Stein]
       "The Test" 6 pg  
   #39 (v.6, n.6 July 1958  
       (cover) 1 pg  
       "Abominable Snowman" 6 pg  
       "Food For Thought" 6 pg  
       "The Phantom Ship" 5.67 pg  
       "Double Trouble" 7 pg P:[Stein] I:[Stein]
   #40 (v.7, n.1 September 1958  
       (cover) 1 pg  
       "The Intruders" 7 pg  
       "Flight" 6 pg P:Galindo  
       "The Valley Of Forever" 6 pg P:[Stein] I:[Stein]
       "Writing Machine" 5.67 pg P:Galindo  
   #41 (v.7, n.2 November 1958  
       (cover) 1 pg  
       "The Doorway" 7 pg  
       "The Lonely One" 6 pg  
       "Show of Confidence" 5.67 pg  
       "Davey Jones' Locker" 6 pg P:Galindo  
   #42 (v.7, n.3 July 1960  
       (cover) 1 pg  
       "Jasper's Jungle" 6 pg  
       "The Man Who Cried Mermaid" 7 pg  
       "Man Reaches Moon" 2 pg  
       "Those Who Vanish" 7 pg  
       "The Night Of August 9th" 7 pg  
   #43 (v.7, n.4 September 1960  
       (cover) 1 pg  
       "Nightmare" 7 pg  
       "A Warning" 4 pg  
       "The Message" 1 pg  (text)
       "All the Angles" 5 pg  
       "When Your Number Is Up" 5 pg  
       "Panic" 1 pg  (text)
       "The Crystal" 4 pg  
   #44 (v.7, n.5 November 1960  
       (cover) 1 pg  
       "I Flew Over The Big Wall" 5 pg P:Galindo  
       "Picture Of Mystery" 4 pg  
       "No Time Like The Present" 4 pg  
       "Where Is Murdock" 4.67 pg  
       "Beyond The Darkness" 7 pg P:Galindo?  
   #45 (v.7, n.6 January 1961  
       (cover) 1 pg  
       "Man Against Time" 4 pg  
       "The Vision" 6 pg  
       "The Man Who Knew" 6 pg  
       "The People From Nowhere" 5 pg  
       "The Magic Marker" 3.67 pg  
   #46 (v.8, n.1 March 1961  
       (cover) 1 pg  
       "The Man Who Was L'Aiglon" 6 pg  
       "What's In That Box" 6 pg  
       "Only Two Will Return" 5 pg  
       "Domono" 7 pg  
   #47 (v.8, n.2 May 1961  
       (cover) 1 pg  
       "Latham's Folly" 6 pg  
       "Ashes To Ashes" 4 pg  
       "Maid Of Iron" 4.33 pg  
       "The Living Proof" 4.67 pg  
       "Black Fog" 6 pg  
   #48 (v.8, n.3 July 1961  
       (cover) 1 pg  
       "Big Medicine" 5 pg  
       "The Gravimonster" 6.67 pg  
       "Dancing Ghost of Geinsch-Warnecke" 5 pg  
       "Derelict Rocket" 7.33 pg  
   #49 (v.8, n.4 September 1961  
       (cover) 1 pg  
       "Caged" 5 pg  
       "Fear" 1 pg  (text)
       "The Monster" 3 pg  
       "Companion" 7 pg  
       "Late Snack" 1 pg  (text)
       "Carrier" 5 pg  
       "Earth's Core" 4 pg  
   #50 (v.8, n.5 November 1961  
       (cover) 1 pg  
       "The Double Man" 4 pg P:Galindo  
       "Dead End" 3 pg  
       "A Cry For Help" 5 pg  
       "Way Out" 4.67 pg  
       "On Time" 4 pg  
       "Watch On The Rhino" 4 pg  

DC Black Magic Checklist

Last update: 1/17/2009

    r:  = reprint
    s:  = script
    l:  = layout
    p:  = pencils
    i:  = inks
  name  = signed
 <name> = signed with an alias
 {name} = signed as Simon & Kirby
 [name] = unsigned attribution

Black Magic (National/DC)
  1 (v.1, n.1) November 1973
    (cover) - p:[Grandenetti] 
    "Maniac" 7pg - p:[Kirby] - (r BM #32 Sep 1954)
    "The Head of the Family" 8pg - (r BM #30 May 1954)
    "The Greatest Horror Of Them All" 5pg - p:[Kirby] - (r BM #29 Mar 1954)
    "The Vigil" 1pg - (text)
  2 (v.1, n.2) January 1974
    (cover) - p:[Grandenetti] 
    "Fool's Paradise" 6pg - p:[Kirby] - (r BM #26 Sep 1953)
    "The Cat People" 6pg - p:[Kirby] - (r BM #27 Nov 1953)
    "Birth After Death" 3pg - p:[Kirby] - (r BM #20 Jan 1953)
    "Those Who Are About To Die" 5pg - p:[Kirby] - (r BM #23 Apr 1953)
    "The Red Bird" 1pg - (text)
  3 (v.1, n.3) May 1974
    (cover) - p:[Grandenetti] 
    "Nasty Little Man" 8pg - p:[Kirby] - (r BM #18 Nov 1952)
    "The Angel Of Death" 7pg - p:[Kirby] - (r BM #15 Aug 1952)
    "The Courts Of Sleep" 5pg - (r BM #14 Jul 1952)
    "Minuet by Moonlight" 1pg - (illustrated text)
  4 (v.1, n.4) July 1974
    (cover) - p:[Kirby & Grandenetti?] 
    "The Girl The Earth Ate Up" 5pg - (r BM #6 Aug 1951)
    "His Father's Footsteps" 5pg - p:[Meskin] - (r BM #1 Oct 1950)
    "The Man with a Vision" 1pg - (text)
    "Last Second Of Life" 10pg - p:[Kirby] - (r BM #1 Oct 1950)
  5 (v.1, n.5) September 1974
    (cover) - p:[Grandenetti] 
    "Strange Old Bird" 6pg - p:[Kirby] - (r BM #25 Jun 1953)
    "It's Your Funeral" 8pg - p:[Meskin] - (r BM #12 May 1952)
    "Up There" 6pg - p:[Kirby] - (r BM #13 Jun 1952)
    "Warning" 1pg - (text)
  6 (v.1, n.6) November 1974
    (cover) - p:[Grandenetti] 
    "The Thirteenth Floor" 7pg - p:[Prentice] - (r BM #11 Apr 1952)
    "Satan's Sister" 7pg - p:[Draut] - (r B|M #3 Feb 1951)
    "The Girl Who Walked On Water" 6pg - p:[Kirby] - (r BM #11 Apr 1952)
    "I Wouldn't Let Him Die" 1pg - (text)
  7 (v.1, n.7) January 1975
    (cover) - p:[Kirby] - (r BM #17 Oct 1952)
    "The Cloak" 7pg - p:[Kirby] - (r BM #2 Dec 1950)
    "The Mary Celeste: Ship Of Evil" 1pg - (r BM #17 Oct 1952)
    "Freak" 8pg - p:[Meskin] - (r BM #17 Oct 1952)
    "The Boy Who Was 2000 Years Old" 4pg - (r BM #17 Oct 1952)
    "Murder?" 1pg - (text)
  8 (v.1, n.8) March 1975
    (cover) - p:[Grandenetti] 
    "When You Were Alive" 6pg - p:[Premiani?] - (r BM #1 Oct 1950)
    "The Girl In The Grave" 5pg - p:[Kirby] - (r SWYD #2 Sep 1952)
    "My  Dolly Is The Devil" 7pg - (r BM #1 Oct 1950)
    "Send Us Your Dreams" 2pg - p:[Kirby] - (r SWYD #3 Nov 1952)
    ""It"" 1pg - (text)
  9 (v.1, n.9) May 1975
    (cover) - p:[Grandenetti] - (r BM #2 Dec 1950)
    "Yesterday You Died" 8pg - p:[Draut] - (r BM #2 Dec 1950)
    "Who Walks In My Dreams" 8pg - p:[Meskin] - (r BM #5 Jun 1951)
    "The Woman In The Tower" 4pg - p:[Kirby] - (r SWYD #3 Nov 1952)
    "Double Destiny" 1pg - p:[Kirby] - (text)