Sunday, March 13, 2011

In The Days Of The Mob!

Here's a real behind-the-scenes treat from a Bronze Age rarity. In the Days of the Mob was along with its companion Spirit World an attempt by Jack "King" Kirby to broaden the scope of comics at the time when the four-color pamphlet rule the racks. These DC products (though they squire the "Hampshire") were one-offs, the next issues of each project being broken up and published here and yon across the DC Universe.

This seems to be Kirby's sketch for the cover of the second issue. Kirby loved to make use of photos and he did a lot of collage work in these books, most notably on the cover of In the Days of the Mob. Here you can see his few pencils with space provided for the assembled images. Below is an ad for the never-to-be-seen second issue from the first.

Kirby clearly loved dealing with this violent but fascinating period of time as he came back to it time and again. It's a shame he couldn't have done a few more issues of what is clearly a work of love for a time when he was a mere lad. Here's a link to the "Bullets for Big Al" story and some other things as well. And here's a link for the "Murder Inc." story which did see publication but not in the second issue of In the Days of the Mob as intended. And finally here's a link which I've connected to before, that has the whole debut issue scanned in, save for the John Dillinger poster below.

Here's an original page from the second issue perhaps, inked by Vince Colletta. Mike Royer was inking Kirby by the time the second issue stories were done. So this Al Capone full-page is a puzzler.

Here are some lush Kirby double-page spreads by the King.

And here's a delicious ad for the magazine.

DC has reprinted practically everything Kirby has done for them, but somehow we still don't have reprints of the "Speak Out Series" material or the Spirit World stuff. Facsimile magazines would be great, but a hardback with the published and unpublished stuff together would be ideal.

Rip Off


  1. I suspect DC didn't renew the copyrights on ItDotM & Spirit World when they came due in 1999, so that's why they haven't reprinted them.

    I'd like to see a compilation of all the published (including the Weird Mystery stories, but in b/w) and unpublished (including True Divorce Tales and Soul Love) material, too! ;-)

  2. If DC doesn't have it, then it must have reverted to the Kirby Estate I'd reckon. Someone must have the rights.

    So again I ask why hasn't this stuff from Kirby's heyday been reprinted. They haven't reprinted any of the Weird Mystery stories yet, but they are getting close to doing that in a few years. The mystery story collections int he Showcase format seem to be successful as they keep putting those out.

    Ditto on Soul Love and the other romance material.

    Rip Off

  3. "If DC doesn't have it, then it must have reverted to the Kirby Estate I'd reckon. Someone must have the rights."

    There's no "reversion" without renewal.
    Pre-1978 copyrights had to be renewed by the original listed copyright holder, or if they were sold/transferred, by the new owner.
    If they weren't, it fell into Public Domain.

    That's how the 1940s Superman cartoons became PD.
    Paramount thought DC did the paperwork
    DC thought Paramount did it.
    Turns out, NOBODY did it!

    Plus, if ItDotM & Spirit World were "work-for-hire", it opens up THAT whole can of worms.

    Who does the indicia list as the copyright holder? If it's Hampshire Distributors, Ltd., then it's probably PD.

  4. The copyright according one indicia is Hampshire Publishing. Hmmm.

    See this link:

    Rip Off

  5. Interesting.
    The address for "Hampshire" is actually Sparta Printing, who printed the vast majority of American comics and b/w magazines for decades.
    The "editorial office" address is DC Comics'!
    And the copyright is Hampshire's, not DC's or Kirby's...

  6. Thanks for this, and the links. So far today, I've found 3 different blogs with scans of IN THE DAYS OF THE MOB #1, in various forms of completeness and size or quality of scans! The "Comic Reading Library" site looks like it ma have the best-quality, and, posted at the BEST size for online reading.

    What fun!


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