The Best of Simon and KirbyCourtesy of Titan Books, we're proud to bring Newsarama readers a preview of The Best of Simon and Kirby, a collection of classic comics from the duo, and a celebration of their work together.
For a description of the book from an admittedly biased source, we hit up the project's editor, Steve Saffel.
Here's how Steve describes the volume.
Oh, and click here for the preview - trust us, if you've never seen the original Blue Bolt pages, you'll want to.On to Steve... The Best of Simon and Kirby is a labor of love. Under the watchful eye of Joe himself, the Titan team selected stories that cover the two decades the Dream Team worked together. They worked together from 1940 until about 1960, constantly raising the bar, changing the nature of the medium, and thrilling millions of readers. Thanks to DC Comics and Marvel Comics, we were able to include some of S&K's most famous features, including the first appearance of the Red Skull in Captain America Comics, the first time Jack ever drew Thor in Adventure Comics, and an example of their mega-hit, Boy Commandos, with a guest shot by Joe and Jack!
The book features 240 pages of hard-hitting, guns blazing, bombshell action and adventure in every genre--and Simon and Kirby conquered them all. Cap was their first million-seller, followed by the Boy Commandos, but this unlikely team also developed the first romance comic books ever published. Young Romance sold millions of copies, and spawned hundreds of imitators--yet Simon and Kirby still did it best.
Harry Mendryk, well-known for his presence at the online Jack Kirby Museum, painstakingly restored all of the stories included in the book. He based his work on the stories as they appeared in the original comics, to bring out every detail, correct every flaw he could, and re-create the experience readers had when they pulled the issues off of the newsstand. The Titan team worked closely with Harry and the printer to make certain the final product fulfilled Joe and Harry's vision in every way.
Mark Evanier, author of the wonderful Kirby: King of Comics, wrote fabulous introductions to each section of the book, and we're including the one that led into the Blue Bolt story. As Mark noted, "Joe was one of the true pioneers of comics. He could write, he could draw, he could letter, he could design, he could edit. Kirby used to say, 'Joe knows comics,' and that was the highest compliment Jack could bestow on a colleague."
Having met at Fox Comics, where Joe was acting as the editor and Jack was working in the bullpen, Simon and Kirby hit the ground running. As Joe said, "When I first laid eyes on young Jack's work, I was stunned. It was so powerful, so well crafted..." They joined forces on Blue Bolt, a costumed science fiction hero Joe had created, beginning with the second issue. By issue #4, seen here, the team was really clicking, and as of issue #5 the byline "by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby" first appeared.
Shortly thereafter Joe became the first editor at Timely Comics--the company that became Marvel--and Jack moved over with him. There they created their first blockbuster, Captain America. Over the next two decades they produced masterpieces for DC, Harvey, Prize, Headline, Archie, Charlton, and other major publishers across the industry. The Best of Simon and Kirby represents the best of their work, and there's more to come.
At age 95, Joe has a seven-book deal for the official Simon and Kirby Library, already slated to include superheroes, horror, detective fiction, and romance, as well as Joe's own autobiography. The next volume will be the Simon and Kirby Superheroes, and plans are underway to make it particularly ambitious. Along the way we'll be talking with the fans and hard-core S&K aficionados, to find new and unusual ways to make these books as exciting as they can be.
And with Simon and Kirby, there's really no limit to the excitement.
The Best of Simon and Kirby is on-sale May 12, an oversized hardcover priced at just $39.95. There have been reports that copies have already made it into comic book stores, though.