Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, November 8, 2014


Although the indicia indicates that this comic book was published by Headline Publications, this was one of the Prize Comics line produced by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.  Black Magic began in with the October-November 1950 issue and closed with issue #50, dated November-December 1961, after which it was completely reimagined and renamed Cool Cat, which mercifully lasted for only three issues.

Judging from this issue, the Black Magic title is ill-used.  None of the four stories present really touch on horror or the supernatural, although McGuffins abound.
  • "The Intruders" are men who have tried to colonize the moon.  After some 200 years, they realize they are fighting a losing battle against the moon-men -- they must swallow their pride and abandon the moon to the natives.  Who  the natives are provides the twist.
  • In "Flight," Willie Grant seems destined to a life of failure.  Hoping to change his downward spiral, Willie stows aboard a freighter heading to Central America.  Willie's luck seems to have traveled with him because the ship sinks on the second day at sea.  He survives and is washed ashore on a tropical island.  Rescued by a brother and sister team who own a sugar plantation. Willie soon becomes a full partner in the enterprise but, once destined to failure, can Willie avoid it now?
  • "The Valley of Forever" is a type of Shangrala located in the middle of the Arctic.  John Evans stumbles upon the peaceful valley where people can live for 500 years according to Philip Kent, who had found the valley earlier.  Evans doesn't believe any of this and is determined to leave the valley.  An Eskimo guide is assigned to lead Evans back to his real world.  Once there, Evans realizes that he will be spending a lifetime trying to again find the Valley of Forever.
  • Caleb Winslow is a failed writer; his rented typewriter has just been repossessed.  He needs another "Writing Machine" and managed to get another -- one that had been used by al very close in style very successful (and recently deceased) writer.  Winslow's writing career takes off with best-seller after best-seller, all very close in style to that of the deceased writer.  Upset at rumors that a haunted typewriter is producing the books rather than him, Winslow destroys the typewriter.  Suddenly Winslow cannot write a word.  Was it truly a haunted or magic machine?  (Hint, hint:  McGuffin.)
One cool thing about Black Magic:  Jack Kirby claimed that the idea for Spider-Man originated ina character he and Simon created for this comic, "The Silver Spider."  The character, alas and alack,  never made it into story form.

I have no idea who wrote or drew the stories in issue #40, by the cover was the work of well-known artist and inker George Klein, who worked on Black Magic in its later years.  Klein may be best known as an inker for DC's Superman family (Superboy, Superman, Legion of Superheroes, etc.) and as the uncredited inker for Jack Kirby's pencil in Fantastic Four #1.

In any event, enjoy this issue.

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