I could try to preface or frame this photocomic but there's no way I could make it any less strange and wacked out than it already is. Longtime Secret Sun readers know all about Jack Kirby and the absolute incongruity of his obsessions with the highest weirdness imaginable contrasted with his almost stultifying suburbanite life. I'd argue that the latter not only enabled but fueled the former.
Something very, very powerful hit him around '65 or '66, and transformed him from an already imaginative man into a psychedelic shaman disguised as a freelance pencil pusher. This story was sold on the cover of Kirby's Spirit World #1 as a kind of tabloid exposé of some California sex cult, but there's absolutely no connection there to the tripped-out ritual vision that Kirby is presenting, using his photocollage technique that he began toying with about the time that something blew the doors of his mind open. It's interesting to note that this comic was essentially buried at the time by the publisher and distributor and then promptly canceled.
This whole story reads like minutes from a Typhonian OTO working or a from a Lab-9 session. It doesn't read like a comic book story, even from the tripped-out 70s. It's even stranger than a lot of the acid-drenched underground comix of Robert Crumb and Rick Griffin.
There's a lot, lot more where this all came from (new readers should check out the Mindbomb series for deep background), a lot of which speaks to Kirby's psychedelic and alien fixations. I'll be digging into that material as well. But this story speaks to a thruline in Kirby's comics work about contact via psychic means, something that also runs through Gene Roddenberry's work, an equally unlikely conduit for this kind of insanity.
There's also a strange netherworld between fiction and reality in which these contacts are common, a twilight zone of the deeper mind that transcends simple imagination. And it terrifies a lot of people, which is why there's such a campaign to slam the doors of consciousness shut. Mad scientists like Sidney Gottlieb may have tried to lock those doors forever in the 50s and 60s but I would argue they only succeeded in blowing not only the locks but the hinges off. The mass media's been working round the clock to repair the damage ever since.
History is rife with that kind of blowback, which is unthinkable only to those who need to see the bureaucrats and apparatchiks of the world as superhuman.
Talking Timothy Leary and Twentieth Century Weirdness with John Higgs - This week we speak to author John Higgs about the singular oddness that was the twentieth century -the century that gave us space travel, nuclear weapons,...
3 hours ago