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Mr. Mystic is comics series featuring a magician crime-fighter, created by Will Eisner and initially drawn by Bob Powell. The strip featured in four-page backup feature a Sunday-newspaper comic-book insert, known colloquially as “The Spirit Section”. It first appeared in 1940, distributed by the Register and Tribune Syndicate.

Along with the series Lady Luck, the Mr. Mystic strip followed the seven-page lead feature The Spirit in a 16-page, tabloid-sized, newsprint comic book sold as part of eventually 20 Sunday newspapers with a combined circulation of as many as five million copies. “The Spirit Section” premiered on June 2, 1940 and continued through 1952. Mr. Mystic ended May 14, 1944, by which time Fred Guardineer had succeeded Powell on the strip.

Unlike the newspaper series The Spirit or Lady Luck, Mr. Mystic was not later reprinted in standard comic books by publisher Quality Comics, and considered the least successful, it was the first of the three series to end.

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During the 1970s and 80s, several Mr. Mystic stories were reprinted in the black-and-white magazine The Spirit, during the Kitchen Sink Press portion of the magazine’s run. In 1990, Eclipse Comics published a one-shot comic book reprinting the first five Mr. Mystic stories.

Mr. Mystic also appears as a regular character in Will Eisner’s John Law: Dead Man Walking (2004, IDW), a collection of stories that features new adventures by writer/artist Gary Chaloner. The book features other Eisner creations including Lady Luck, John Law and Nubbin, the Shoe Shine Boy.

Mr. Mystic, whose alter ego was simply named Ken, gained his superpowers in Tibet after receiving a tattoo of an arcane symbol on his forehead. Among his abilities were the power to transform into animals and to grow to giant or minute sizes. Attired in stage magician clothing plus a turban, he fought crime in the United States.

42 stories from different newspapers

Baltimore Sun 1941-03-30
Chicago Sun 1942-09-13
Chicago Sun 1942-12-20
Chicago Sun 1943-05-16
Chicago Sun 1943-05-30
Chicago Sun 1944-01-02
Chicago Sun 1944-04-09
Chicago Sun 1944-04-30
Chicago Sun 1944-05-14
Detroit News 1940-07-07
Detroit News 1940-07-14
Detroit News 1940-07-21
Detroit News 1940-09-29
Detroit News 1940-10-20
Detroit News 1940-11-03
Minneapolis Star Journal 1940-12-15
Minneapolis Star Journal 1940-12-22
Montreal Standard 1943-04-10
Montreal Standard 1943-04-17
Parkchester Review 1941-12-30
Philadelphia Record 1940-07-28
Philadelphia Record 1940-09-08
Philadelphia Record 1940-12-08
Philadelphia Record 1941-01-12
Philadelphia Record 1941-06-15
Philadelphia Record 1942-03-22
Philadelphia Record 1942-12-13
Philadelphia Record 1943-05-30
Philadelphia Record 1943-07-25
Philadelphia Record 1944-02-13
Philadelphia Record 1944-03-12
Starledger 1940-11-10
Starledger 1941-02-09
Starledger 1941-02-23
Starledger 1941-03-02
Starledger 1941-09-21
Starledger 1941-10-05
Starledger 1942-02-22
Starledger 1942-06-21
Starledger 1943-02-14
Starledger 1943-06-27
Sunday Star 1940-09-01

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