PrintE-mail Written by Martin Unsworth

Review: The Simon & Kirby Library – Horror! / Authors: Joe Simon, Jack Kirby / Publisher: Titan Books / Release Date: Out Now

Titan's ongoing series of the collected works of the legendary Simon and Kirby reaches the partnership's dalliance with horror and supernatural comics.

This volume features all the work contributed to the rare Golden Age comics Black Magic and the shorter run of The Strange World of Your Dreams. While these comics came under fire by the US Senate during their witch hunt of horror comics in the '50s (a copy of Black Magic was held up in court as an example of the deplorable morals of these pulp publications), the work Simon and Kirby did wasn't as extreme as the EC comics which sparked the outrage and the eventually creation of the Comic Book Code. Many of the stories show a much more mature approach to their subjects, displaying a macabre sense of the uncanny that predates the style of The Twilight Zone.

Which isn't to say there aren't some genuinely horrific tales included. However, the fantastic approach and artwork rarely resorts to gory or explicit panels. It's a testament to the power of Simon/Kirby's work that they manage to create an oppressive and anxious atmosphere without these, and within the short space allowed; many of the stories are only four or five pages long, but with fifty stories, the reader is never left shortchanged.

Purporting to be an analysis and representations of real dreams, the seven stories from The Strange World of Your Dreams are wonderful standouts.

Their style hadn't changed from the work they were doing on the romance comics either, which in itself often creates the uneasy balance needed for the horror to be conveyed. It's this simplistic style which makes re-reading these older comics so enjoyable. If you grew up reading reprints of Silver or Golden Age comics; and specifically the famous and beautiful work Kirby did with Marvel in the '60s, and you appreciate Ben-Day dots before they were considered 'Pop Art', this collection will delight.


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