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JACK KIRBY’S

Love

Unpublished ’70s Stories by the King of Comics!

True-Life Divorce!

Dingbats of Danger Street!

Soul Love!


Jack Kirby’s DINGBAT Love

Compiled, written, designed, and edited by JOHN MORROW with the invaluable input and writing talents of MARK EVANIER, STEVE SHERMAN, and JERRY BOYD and the tireless efforts of the JACK KIRBY MUSEUM (www.kirbymuseum.org) Title page drawing: JACK KIRBY and VINCE COLLETTA Soul Love #1 cover painting: ALEX ROSS after Jack Kirby “The Cheater” 2019 inking & lettering: MIKE ROYER Proofreading: JOHN MORROW and ROB SMENTEK Coloring: TOM ZIUKO and GLENN WHITMORE

Dedication

She was in no way a dingbat, but ROSALIND KIRBY was the love of Jack Kirby’s life. She stuck with him throughout every stage of his crazy life and career, and it’s to her memory that I dedicate this collection of his unseen work. May everyone who reads this book, have a relationship as remarkable as theirs.

Special Thanks to:

Tom Kraft, Rand Hoppe, The Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center [kirbymuseum.org], What If Kirby? [whatifkirby.com], Heritage Auctions [ha.com], DC Comics, Alexander Braun, Glen Brunswick, Stephen DeStefano, Corey Goldstein, Eric Hillenmeyer, Jay Kogan, Rochus Kahr, Koom Kankesan, Jeremy Kirby, Lisa Kirby, Paul Levine, Harry Mendryk, Jacque Nodell, Steve Robertson, Alex Ross, Jonathan Ross, Mike Royer, Scott Shaw!, Mike Thibodeaux, Glenn Whitmore, Steve Witt, & Tom Ziuko.

Trademarks, Copyrights, & Acknowledgments Jack Kirby’s Dingbat Love editorial package © 2019 TwoMorrows Publishing Soul Love #1 cover painting © 2019 Alex Ross • Introductions © 2019 Mark Evanier Afterword and photos © 2019 Steve Sherman • “Let Your Soul… Love!” ©2019 Jerry Boyd True-Life Divorce, Soul Love, and Dingbats of Danger Street © DC Comics. Used with permission. Title page drawing, sketchbook illustrations, collages, Death Fingers, Galaxy Green and all related characters and artwork TM & © the Estate of Jack Kirby Atlas, Big Barda, Boy Commandos, Cancelled Comic Cavalcade, Desaad, E. Leopold Maas, 1st Issue Special, Flippa Dippa, Geoffrey Miller, Girls’ Love Stories, Granny Goodness, Green Team, In the Days of the Mob, Jimmy Olsen, Kobra, Lashina, Manhunter, Mister Miracle, Newsboy Legion, Phantom Lady, Sandman, Scott Free, Serifan, Spirit World, Stompa, Vykin, Warden Frye, and all related characters are TM & © DC Comics. Boy Explorers, Boys’ Ranch, Young Love, Young Romance and all related characters TM & © the Estates of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. All-Negro Comics © the respective holder. Negro Romance TM & © Fawcett Publications. Negro Heroes TM & © Parent’s Magazine. Classics Illustrated TM & © First Classics, Inc. Welcome Back, Kotter TM & © The Komack Company Wolper Productions. All rights and trademarks to the Soul Train brand are owned by Viacom’s BET Networks, and are used here in a fictional presentation to help set the narrative in its proper historical context. Similarly, the period images of Shirley Chisholm, Diahann Carroll, Muhammad Ali, Sidney Poitier, Freda Payne, Don Cornelius, and Roberta Flack are presented for historical and journalistic purposes, and are © the respective holders. Likewise, the faux credits listing individuals and companies that were involved with other Speak-Out Series titles at the time are there only to convey a sense of authenticity. No endorsement of the unrealized Soul Love project by any of these individuals or organizations is meant to be implied.

TwoMorrows Publishing 10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, North Carolina 27614 www.twomorrows.com • email: twomorrow@aol.com First Printing • November 2019 • Printed in China Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-60549-091-5 Jack Kirby Museum Limited Hardcover Edition ISBN: 978-1-60549-096-0

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Contents

A Foreword, Looking Back......................................4 by John Morrow

True-Life

Divorce An Introduction.......................................................5 by Mark Evanier The Ladies’ Man......................................................9 by John Morrow The Maid...........................................................14 The Twin...........................................................26 The Missing Model.................................................33 by John Morrow The Model.................................................................................34 The Other Woman.................................................................41

At left is Jack Kirby in 1970, just as he made the move from Marvel Comics to DC Comics, where he produced the stories in this book.

And now… Mike Royer...................................................................51 The Cheater.............................................................................52

SOUL Love

A Little Love for Soul Romance.......................................................58 by John Morrow Let Your Soul… Love!.....................................................................63 by Jerry Boyd

Soul Love #1 facsimile edition.....................................65 The Teacher.............................................................................97

ATS Dof INGB Danger Street Another Introduction............................................................... 107 by Mark Evanier Danger Street’s Back Alleys...................................................... 109 by John Morrow

Dingbats of Danger Street #2............................... 112 Dingbats of Danger Street #3............................... 137 Speaking Out: An Afterword.................................................... 174 by Steve Sherman

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An Introduction by Mark Evanier

In

1970 when Jack Kirby quit Marvel Comics and joined its Distinguished Competition, it was not with the intention of doing conventional-sized, conventional-format comic books. The offer that lured him over involved doing some, but Jack was more interested in inventing comics such as no one had ever seen before. At that very moment, the industry seemed to need that... desperately. Back then, comics were sold two ways: By subscription and on newsstands. Subscription sales were negligible, and newsstands were heading in that direction. Comic book shops, as we now know them, did not exist. A comic book shop then was a place that sold back issues, not current releases. The real business was in distribution to newsstands, and that business was in decline. Newsstands were becoming smaller and fewer, and the ones that endured were more inclined to push higher-ticket publications. No matter how good a comic book is, customers have to be able to find it to buy it. There were many parts of the country where it was getting hard to do that. A few years later, Western Publishing—issuers of Gold Key comics starring Disney characters, Bugs Bunny and other superstars—would give up completely on newsstands and attempt (unsuccessfully) to market comic books via the avenues used to sell toys and coloring books. Still later, the “Direct Market” would be invented, bypassing the remaining newsstands and selling comics directly to comic book retailers and other specialty shops that would, in turn, sell them to readers. But that “save” was not on the horizon in 1970 and Jack had put his mind—arguably the most inventive one ever in comics—toward inventing new places for comics to go. One of many proposals was a series of magazines that he dubbed the “Speak-Out Series.” Each would focus on a topic of interest to an older audience, mainly college age and up. There would be a war book but it would focus on the real face of war, especially what was then going on in Vietnam. There would be one about romance... and not comic book romance. It would be what was really going on in male/female relationships, which was changing a lot as we entered the Seventies. As one of his two assistants at the time—Steve Sherman was the other—I typed up a list the three of us had compiled of twenty or thirty such titles. These would be magazines, not comic books—full-color, printed on slick paper, with paid advertising from major companies that would help pay for better writing and better art. An issue would look and feel a lot like the then-current hit periodical, National Lampoon. There would be comics within,

True-Life

Divorce

A young girl reads comic books at a Pittsburgh newsstand in 1947. Surrounding her are romance magazines of the time, including Ideal Love and True Confessions. Photo by Charles “Teenie” Harris.

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True-Life DIVORCE

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Below is a sketch of Granny Goodness, drawn in a mid-1970s Valentine’s Day sketchbook Kirby gave to his wife Roz. At right is her first appearance in 1971’s Mister Miracle #2.

At left, Big Barda works out in Mister Miracle #5 (1971).

The Ladies’ Man by John Morrow

The

“Women’s Lib” (short for “Liberation”) movement undoubtedly had an effect on America’s divorce rate climbing in the late 1960s and skyrocketing in the ’70s. As a wave of feminism swept the country, states began adopting “no-fault” divorce laws (granting a divorce whether or not the spouse did anything wrong), making it easier for women to leave an unhappy marriage. The 1970s saw rates at an all-time high, with well over a million US divorces per year by the end of the decade. (My own parents split up in 1976—my mother went on to have her own career, and still supports herself to this day despite getting remarried.) Clearly, female empowerment was a hot topic in 1970—and if anyone knew how to exploit popular trends in comics, it was Jack Kirby. Well before it reached a fever pitch with the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs (which King handily won, by the way), Kirby set to the task of empowering his own female characters at DC Comics. It was probably inevitable that Jack, married since 1942 to a strong and vivacious woman surnamed Rosalind Goldstein, would gravitate toward creating female characters who had more than supporting roles in his stories. We’d seen the timid Sue Storm of his 1960s Fantastic Four series go from a shrinking violet in her earliest appearances, to a strong-willed fighter, able to beat the stuffing out of the Mole Man single-handedly when her family was threatened. Medusa, Crystal, Sif, even Agent 13 in Jack’s late 1960s Marvel Comics series all gradually moved from demure to dynamic personalities, through Kirby’s plotting and Stan Lee’s dialogue. Hitting the ground running at 1970’s DC Comics, Kirby took it much further. Instead of female characters who could keep up with their male counterparts, his new ladies could blow right past them. Cases in point: Granny Goodness and Big Barda. There’s never been a villainess like Granny in comics before or since her debut in Mister Miracle #2. An apparent octogenarian, she quickly cast aside any pretense of being a kindly old lady, and revealed a sadomasochistic outfit and baton, which she reveled in beating her “orphans” with on the planet Apokolips. Here was a wicked witch with some uncomfortable sexual undertones, if one cared to look for them. Then there was Barda. When Mike Royer softened and slenderized her face in his first attempt at inking her (at right—compare it to the previous page), Kirby chastised him to “never change the faces.” Jack knew exactly the type of female he wanted to portray: Big, bold, beautiful—and sexy. She wielded power and her massive strength as well as any male warrior,

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© DC Comics. Used with permission.


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© DC Comics. Used with permission.

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And now... Mike Royer by John Morrow

The

following three-page story from True-Life Divorce seems to have been done as an afterthought. It’s not lettered, and sequentially follows the “next issue” panel of the previous story. Since In The Days Of The Mob #1 (and the unpublished #2) both ended with short comedy stories, that may’ve been the original plan here, and either DC or Jack reconsidered (after all, how do you make divorce funny?). My assumption is “The Cheater” was drawn in the interim period after the initial Divorce stories were submitted to DC, and before the idea was scrapped. These lesser quality photocopies may’ve been made on Kirby’s own copier, but again, the location of the original pencil art isn’t known. So in preparing this book, I hedged my bets in case better reproductions of this story didn’t surface (and indeed, they didn’t for the third page). Since Mike Royer inked the entire unused second issues of In The Days Of The Mob and Spirit World (the latter stories getting published in 1973 DC horror comic books), I decided to see what Mike could do inking this short story now. I commissioned him to work from my poor quality photocopies, and recreate these pages as if he’d inked them in 1971. The results confirm what fans have long known: Mike Royer is the most faithful inker Kirby ever worked with. He expertly captures Jack’s trademark style with his effortless brushwork, and his lettering adds a verve to the pages that suits Kirby’s storytelling perfectly. It’s also clear that Mike’s skill hasn’t skipped a beat over the years, as you’ll be hard-pressed to tell any difference between his work here, and his 1970s inking on the Dingbats of Danger Street material later in this book. Delight in this brief look at what might have been, if True-Life Divorce had been published, with Mike Royer inking it.

Kirby’s Speak-Out Series narrators were as unique as his female protagonists; shown are Warden Frye from In The Days Of The Mob, and Leopold Maas from Spirit World, both inked by Mike Royer.

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Divorce True-Life DIVORCE

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© DC Comics. Used with permission.


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A Little Love for Soul Romance

by John Morrow

Joe

Simon and Jack Kirby pioneered the romance comics genre in 1947 with Young Romance #1 for Prize Comics. The team produced a very lucrative line of comics portraying dramatic love stories, all geared toward a predominately female post-war audience. By the 1950s, the market was glutted with imitations, but Simon & Kirby’s were still considered the high-water mark in a crowded field. The public’s love affair with this type of traditional romance comic began to wane as the sexual revolution took hold in the 1960s, but after a lull, Young Romance and its companion title Young Love resumed publication—this time at DC Comics in 1963, where they continued until 1975 and 1977 respectively. Behind S&K’s sometimes torrid-looking covers (many using photographs) were pretty tame comic book stories; often with clever plots and melodramatic dialogue, but never anything scandalous or risqué, other than in some suggestive story titles. Instead of relying on cheesecake imagery or bombastic super-hero action, Kirby used his mastery of camera angles and staging to convey these minisoap operas in convincing fashion, with superb storytelling as always—and always featuring attractive Caucasian men and women as the lead characters. If there was one artist who rivaled Kirby in the 1950s romance field, it was Matt Baker. Baker had entered the industry in 1944, and quickly gained a reputation for drawing sexy “good girl” art, featuring suggestive, titillating females, such as on the iconic cover of Phantom Lady #17—an image that was used in the 1950s crusade against the comics books that many thought were a cause of juvenile delinquency. But Baker also more modestly rendered some of the most beautiful and stylish females in comics, often in romance stories. Unbeknownst to comics readers of the day, Matt Baker was black—the first African-American to have a successful career in the comics industry. It’s uncertain whether Baker and Kirby knew each other—Eric NolenWeathington (co-author of Matt Baker: The Art of Glamour) doesn’t think they ever worked at the same place at the same time, and Baker wasn’t known to socialize with other artists much outside of work. At one point in the late 1950s, he was indirectly drawing stories for Marvel Comics (then still called Atlas Comics) by working in Vince Colletta’s

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Matt Baker.


By 1967, Life magazine declared that computer dating was all the rage, as commercial services were jumping on the bandwagon, using a questionnaire based on a 1957 study, and eventually charging up to $150 by 1970 for a chance at love. Kirby’s breezy story about the trend is a fun romp, accented nicely with inks by Tony DeZuniga—an interesting artistic choice DC apparently made after getting distributor feedback on the other Soul Love tales Vince Colletta had already inked and altered. There are some uncomfortable moments in these stories—upon present day reflection, “Dedicated Nurse” borders on fat-shaming, for example. If anything here seems to be tinged with stereotypes of the time, it can be written-off to Kirby’s non-black life experience. Similarly, as a Caucasian, I may not be the best person to judge the quality of this work. I grew up attending newly integrated schools in the Deep South of 1960s and ’70s Alabama, and my daily existence was filled with people from different cultures. I made friends with kids from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, and from my youthful vantage point, I wasn’t fully aware of the backwoods racist reputation that governor George Wallace’s state deservedly earned in the 1960s. Still, that doesn’t mean I am qualified to analyze Kirby’s Soul Love stories from a viewpoint of the Black Experience of 1971. So I enlisted Jerry Boyd, one of the most erudite Kirby commentators I’ve had the pleasure of working with on the Jack Kirby Collector magazine for over two decades. That he is black and grew up during that era made him a candidate for the job of commenting on Soul Love— but he only got the nod because of the respect I have for his fine body of work about Jack. Before you read Jerry’s assessment which follows, I hope you’ll form your own opinion based on a fun little game of “what if...?” I decided to play in this book.

What if... DC Comics had delivered on much of what Kirby envisioned for his Speak-Out Series, with full-color printing, nice paper stock, top production values, and major advertisers for Soul Love? Would this fledgling effort have had the legs to survive on newsstands in the era of Jet and Ebony magazines? Would the truncated In The Days Of The Mob and Spirit World (or True-Life Divorce, for that matter) have fared better if the company had taken the financial risk to do them up right? Since DC Comics of 1971 didn’t realize that vision, I decided to do it myself, and posthumously give Soul Love its best shot at success in readers’ eyes. The first task was the cover. Kirby’s own version (at left) was loosely drawn, inked, and watercolored, leading me to think it was meant only as a guide for producing the real cover, as he had done for Mob and Spirit World. I didn’t have the budget to hire models and stage a photo shoot to properly complete Kirby’s concept, but I did attempt a couple of my own photo covers by compositing parts of various shots from early 1970s magazines. The task of finding matching poses in existing images was daunting, but I managed to come up with a couple of passable versions using black celebrities of that period, including boxer Muhammad Ali, actor Sidney Poitier, and singer Freda Payne. Still, I wasn’t 100% certain Jack (or DC) hadn’t envisioned an illustrated cover image instead of a photo. So on a whim (and a tight deadline), I contacted

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Another Introduction by Mark Evanier

In

Joe Simon (left) and Kirby in a DC Comics publicity photo taken during their 1940s Boy Commandos days. This image ran in a newspaper article of that era, while a similar photo appeared in Kirby’s 1971 self-published Kirby Unleashed portfolio.

late 1973, DC Comics canceled The Demon, a monthly title that Jack was editing, writing, and drawing. His contract called for him to write, draw, and edit a minimum of 15 pages per week for the firm, so he needed to come up with another comic per month to replace it. At the same time, Jack’s old partner, Joe Simon, had come to work for DC as an editor. He too was being asked to come up with new books. Several folks in the office—editor-artist Joe Kubert was the most vocal—had suggested that Simon and Kirby team up again to launch a new “kid gang” comic in the vein of their Golden Age hits “The Newsboy Legion” and The Boy Commandos. Neither Joe nor Jack were at that point interested in collaborating again, so each man invented his own. Joe’s was called The Green Team (his son Jim named it) and it was about youthful zillionaires who used their wealth to fight crime and help others. Jack’s new kid team was The Dingbats of Danger Street, who were anything but rich, but who also fought crime and helped others. With no consultation or contact, Joe and Jack each produced first issues. DC Publisher Carmine Infantino liked both, but what he liked more was another pilot issue Jack produced after he finished the first Dingbats story. This was OMAC, a Kirbyesque view of the future. OMAC #1 was scheduled for immediate release and Jack went to work on subsequent issues. The decision was made to produce more issues of Dingbats and Green Team but to not schedule either book’s release just yet. (Also, Jack was persuaded to take over as editor and artist of a project Joe Simon was developing—a new hero with the name Sandman, written by Joe and originally drawn by Jerry Grandenetti. But that’s another long chunk of history and I only have so many words for this intro.) Around this time, there was a mounting crisis at DC: Sales were down, Marvel was flooding the market with new product, and DC feared being crowded off the newsstands. Infantino huddled with the firm’s distribution folks and others, leading to the decision to go “head-to-head” (as he called it) and to seriously up the number of titles DC was putting out. All of the firm’s editors, Kirby and Simon included, were charged with finding or conceiving new titles and then producing first issues as pilots. Each new first issue was then evaluated in the office and a decision was made about its future, if any. Those deemed most promising would be launched as new books. Those regarded as unworthy would be discarded, though some of them wound up seeing print years later in two lowcirculation volumes of a black-&-white in-house publication called Cancelled Comic Cavalcade, produced to secure the stories’ copyright. Some of those that fell between the two categories would be slotted as issues of a monthly book called 1st Issue Special. These were generally proposals that DC management felt were not strong enough to be launched as new comics but... well, maybe in 1st Issue Special, they’d draw enough

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Dange r Street's Back Alleys In

by John Morrow

the early 1970s, it seemed like “everybody was kung fu fighting,” as the song by Carl Douglas went. So it’s not that surprising to learn Jack Kirby’s final kid gang, Dingbats of Danger Street, had its foundation in the era’s martial arts craze, best exemplified by the 1973 action film Enter The Dragon starring Bruce Lee, and David Carradine’s television show Kung Fu. Kirby himself was a street fighter (note his bandaged hand in the 1939 photo at left), having grown up in New York’s Lower East Side ghetto in the 1920s, surrounded by rival ethnicities on adjacent blocks. Each street had its own gang of kids who’d battle the others, throwing rocks and punches on a near daily basis. Naturally, that experience made its way into his comics in a long string of “kid gang” strips, another inspiration for which was the early Our Gang comedies (starring “The Little Rascals”) of the 1920s-1940s. From the Young Allies at Timely (Marvel) Comics in 1941, to 1942 DC Comics creations The Newsboy Legion and the Boy Commandos (the latter becoming one of the top-selling comics of the WWII era), Kirby and partner Joe Simon quickly set a pattern for these groups of orphans. Even through 1946’s Boy Explorers and 1950’s Boys’ Ranch, there would generally be a tough street fighter (Scrapper, Brooklyn, Gashouse, Angel), a smart kid (Big Words, Gadget), the handsome guy (Tommy, André, Smiley, Dandy), and the comic relief (Gabby, Zero, Wabash)—with an adult mentor (Jim Harper, Rip Carter, Commodore Sinbad, Clay Duncan, and later Jimmy Olsen) to keep them on the straight-and-narrow. After Boys’ Ranch ended in 1951, Kirby abandoned the conventional kid gang concept, instead developing what might be considered more mature versions. The adult Challengers of the Unknown and Fantastic Four loosely follow the structure, and the X-Men are basically a super-powered teenage kid gang. But traditional

(above) The Boy Commandos debut (1942). (below) The kid cowboys of Boys’ Ranch, the adventuresome Boy Explorers, and the Newsboy Legion in Jimmy Olsen.

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© DC Comics. Used with permission.


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IF YOU ENJOYED THIS PREVIEW, CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO ORDER THIS BOOK!

JACK KIRBY’S DINGBAT LOVE

JACK KIRBY’S

♥ Unpublished ’70s Stories by the King of Comics!

Love

In cooperation with DC Comics, TwoMorrows compiles Dingbats of Danger a tempestuous trio of never-seen 1970s Kirby projects! Street! These are the final complete, unpublished Jack Kirby stories in existence, presented here for the first time! Included are: Two unused Dingbats of Danger Street tales (Kirby’s final Kid Gang group, inked by Mike Royer and D. Bruce Berry, and newly colored for this book)! True-Life Divorce, the abandoned newsstand magazine that was too hot for its time (reproduced from Jack’s pencil art—and as a bonus, we’ve commissioned Mike Royer to ink one of the stories)! And Soul Love, the unseen ’70s romance book so funky, even a jive turkey will dig the unretouched inks by Vince Soul Love! Colletta and Tony DeZuniga. PLUS: There’s Kirby historian John Morrow’s in-depth examination of why these projects got left back, concept art and uninked pencils from Dingbats, and an Introduction and Afterword by ’70s Kirby assistants Mark Evanier and Steve Sherman! True-Life Divorce!

(176-page FULL-COLOR HARDCOVER) $43.95 ISBN: 978-1-60549-091-5 • (Digital Edition) $14.95 • Diamond Order Code: JUN191992 http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=95_97&products_id=1434

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Profile for TwoMorrows Publishing

Jack Kirby's Dingbat Love  

In cooperation with DC Comics, TwoMorrows compiles a tempestuous trio of never-seen 1970s Kirby projects! These are the final complete, unpu...

Jack Kirby's Dingbat Love  

In cooperation with DC Comics, TwoMorrows compiles a tempestuous trio of never-seen 1970s Kirby projects! These are the final complete, unpu...

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