Thursday, June 30, 2011

Random Reads: "Horoscope Phenomenon or Witch Queen of Ancient Sumeria?" by Kirby and Royer w/Kaluta and Wrightson

Hey, hey, hey, Groove-ophiles! How 'bout some King Kirby? Did you ever grab a mag 'cause the cover looked cool and you could'a cared less about what was inside? Mike (The Shadow) Kaluta covers had a habit of making Young Groove do that very thing. After the cool and creepy Kaluta cover on Weird Mystery Tales #1 (April 1972) screamed my name from the spinner rack, I plunked down my twenty cents and headed for the car. I flipped open to the first page and there was some spooky guy named Destiny staring back at me--illoed by Bernie (Swamp Thing) Wrightson, no less. Next to him was a slightly smallish splash panel done up by, wonder of wonders, Jack Kirby (and inked by Mike Royer, natch), himself. It was strange to see a Kirby story in a mag without a Kirby cover, but it was the Groovy Age, baby! Expect the unexpected! As usual, The King blew me away. "Horoscope Phenomenon or Witch Queen of Ancient Sumeria?" might've had a goofy title, but it featured the Kool Kirby Karacter designs I'd come to love and expect, this time featuring various members of the Zodiac (not the Marvel bad-guy group, Gilligan--I mean the "What's your sign?" Zodiac). I didn't know it at the time (and actually could'a cared less back then) but this terror-tale was created for Jack's defunct black and white horror mag, Spirit World. A few more of those unpublished tales would find their way into early issues of Weird Mystery Tales--and once I knew Kirby'd be featured in WMT, Young Groove would be looking for 'em! Are you ready to enter the Spirit World, Groove-ophiles?


  1. That "mandarin dog" panel is one of Kirby's most inspired cinematic moments. Every time I read this story (and that's more than a few times) it still always gets me. Just imagine that on a movie screen revealed with a surprise jump cut, Hammer Films style.

  2. WoW... thanks for the Super Groovy post! I have never seen this one before, and I have quite a few Kirby comics from the period. As you mention in your article it was unusual to see a Kirby feature in a comic then without a Kirby cover, probably why it fell off my radar! I will certainly keep my peepers pealed for it now!

  3. Great to see Wrightson's frontispiece! He did superb work on such for HOUSE OF MYSTERY and HOUSE OF SECRETS from 1972-3, then for CREEPY and EERIE from 1974-5. Ah, those days are long gone. He doesn't even draw like that anymore.

  4. i have never seen this, thanks for posting. i loved SPIRIT WORLD and IN THE DAYS OF THE MOB. i wish they could have gone on for more issues.

  5. Trying to find stuff my Groove-ophiles might have missed is what I live for. Mission accomplished. For this week! ;D



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

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