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THE STRANGE WORLD OF YOUR DREAMS

The Strange World of Your Dreams
Edited and designed by Craig Yoe
140 9x11-inch pages, color
2013 Yoe Books/IDW hardcover
$29.99

Reprinting all four issues of The Strange World of Your Dreams from August 1952 through January 1953, this volume begins with an essay by Yoe, who takes us on a short tour of all the comics he can think of that have to do with dreams — beginning, of course, with Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland (1905-1914, revived 1924-1927) and his less well-known, Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend, which pictures the nightmares various personages have experienced after eating the infamous cheese pie (which, despite the misleading name, is not about rabbit meat).

As usual, Yoe decorates his essay with rare pictures — in this case, the original art of two unpublished Strange World covers, caricatures of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby by an unknown cartoonist, and the cover of the comic book Justice Traps the Guilty No.56 (November 1953) depicting a police line-up in which all the miscreants are members of the Simon-Kirby shop.

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StrangeWorld2

Strange World was produced by the Simon-Kirby shop, and while Kirby did the covers for all four issues, only a few of the stories are illustrated by the team. Mort Meskin did several of the stories, penciling mostly; other artists were Bill Draut, George Roussos, Al Eadeh, and Bob McCarty.

“Comics are more like dreams than any other medium,” Yoe says. And he concludes his introduction with his analysis of the covers, noting about the last unpublished cover showing a woman falling through the air that “a popular myth [about such dream motifs] is that you will die if you do not wake up before hitting the ground.” Intended for No.7 of the title, it was doubtless the last cover created before the book was dead.

Too bad. As Meskin biographer Steve Brower says, quoted by Yoe, the title “stands as one of the more ambitious and adult projects of the early years of comic books.”

Most of the dreams enacted in the book’s pages are analyzed by a “dream detective” named Richard Temple. A similar character shows up in another Simon-Kirby production, Black Magic, and a story from the second issue of that title, December 1950-January 1951, ends this collection without any explanation. But it’s classic Simon-Kirby drawing, trap-shadow and clots of black for shading, and I like it so much that I’m posting a couple pages from it right here.

INSERT StrangeWorld3 HERE

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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