Last year Titan Books published The Simon & Kurby Library: Science Fiction, a fantastic collection of comics by the writer/artist team of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.
This volume concentrates on their science fiction work for publishers such as Fox (not the cable network), and Harvey Comics from their first job together in 1940 to the late fifties.
(Click here to reserve our copy.)
In the forties, Simon & Kirby ran their own "shop" where they packaged comics for various publishers, including their joint creation "Captain America" for Timely (later Marvel) Comics, and "Sandman", "Manhunter", The Boy Commandos" and "The Newsboy Legion" for DC. Before working for those publishers however, S & K did crude but spirited stuff like "Solar Legion" (Kirby on his own), and their first team effort, "Blue Bolt", a superhero take on "Flash Gordon". Their entire 10-issue run on "Bolt" is reprinted here.
For the rest of the deacde, S & K continued to turn out superhero and crime comics. But with the coming of the 1950s,, they returned to science fiction with a renewed enthusiasm. A number of then-unheard-of concepts, including cloning (1957's "The Cadmus Seed"), evolution ("Today, I Am A...?") and artificial intelligence ( "I Want To Be A Man!"), made their way as short but suspenseful (and sometimes funny) five page stories in such comics as Alarming Tales and Black Cat Mystic.
Slightly lighter stuff, like "The Three Rocketeers" would focus on space exploration in the pages of Harvey's Race For The Moon. But as the 50s wound down, S & K split up and moved on other projects/publishers, with Kirby and Stan Lee co-creating Marvel Comics' various superheroes ("Fantastic Four", "X-Men", "Thor" and "The Incredible Hulk", among others) during the sixties.
Simon briefly put together some comics for Harvey in 1965-67, where previously unpublished S & K stories (some inked by Al Williamson) were paired with new stories by Williamson, Wally Wood, Reed Crandall, and Angelo Torres in titles like Blast-Off and Unearthly Spectaculars. These new stories, including Williamson & Wood's "Clawfang" and Wood's "Earthman" (a take-off on Superman), are included here as a bonus.
A visual treat for the eyes, as well as containing some solid stories, The Simon & Kirby Library: Science Fiction is essential reading (though not in just one sitting) for science fiction comics fans everywhere!
(In the 70s, Kirby returned to some of the concepts, such as cloning, that he and Simon came up with in his solo work for DC. Read this review of mine for more info.)
(Follow me on Twitter.)