Tagged: Joe Simon

Review: The Simon and Kirby Superheroes

Review: The Simon and Kirby Superheroes

Pound for pound, you’re unlikely to find a better
superhero collection than Titan Books’ The Simon and Kirby Superheroes
. It weighs in at 4.2 pounds and, at
Amazon.com’s $32.97, that means you are paying fifty cents an ounce for the
stuff that made Joe Simon and Jack Kirby legends.

You might not have heard of some of these characters –
Stuntman, Fighting American, Vagabond Prince, Captain 3-D (in 2-D, but now in
color),[[[Private Strong]]] (the Shield #2), and [[[The Fly]]]. Over the decades many have
been reprinted; this book also includes a number of stories that had never been
published. All are gems. Every one of them. All 480 pages of them.

Of course, Simon and Kirby are better known for their
Marvel and DC creations: [[[Boy Commandos]]], [[[The Guardian]]] and [[[the Newsboy Legion]]],and – most prominently – [[[Captain America]]]. All of these stories have been collected in hardcover in recent years, along with their work on DC’s Sandman
series. OK, for the nit-pickers in the audience, the Boy Commandos volume ships from DC at the end of November.

As fond as I am of these creations – and Captain America
is as iconic a costumed hero as they come – I have always been more
enthusiastic about the characters represented in this mammoth tome. The action leaps off the page, the stories
border on the outrageous and the concepts are pure unbridled fun. Their own
company published some, others were published by Archie Comics or Harvey
Comics. I gather their editors simply gave them more latitude; certainly, the
corporate structures were obviously more willing to bend to Simon and Kirby’s
strengths than the uptights at Marvel (Timely) and DC.

In other words, when it comes to Simon and Kirby
superheroes, this is the real stuff.

Kudos to editor Steve Saffel, who has spent at least four
years working on this series of books along with Joe Simon (age 97) and his son
Jim. It’s the second volume of the Simon and Kirby Library, but this book is
wisely unnumbered. It started with The Best of Simon and Kirby
, an overview that included reprints of DC and
Marvel stories; it will continue with separate volumes devoted, respectively,
to their crime, horror and romance comics. For the uninformed, Simon and Kirby invented the romance comics genre.

Neil Gaiman contributed the introductory essay, and it
comes off as a labor of love. I can relate to that. Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
gave the American comic book genre its heart and its soul. They brought emotion
and energy to the four-color page, and [[[ The
Simon and Kirby Superheroes]]]
is an educational experience illuminating the
power of the comic book story in its most formative days.

If you’re reading this review, you should be reading The Simon
and Kirby Superheroes.
You need to.

IDs: top – Simon, Kirby; bottom – Saffel, Book

2009 Harvey Awards Nominees Announced

The 2009 Harvey Awards Nominees have been announced along with the release of the final ballot. Anyone “professionally involved in a creative capacity within the comics field” is eligible to vote. All submissions must be sent to the Harvey Awards before Friday, August 7, 2010. The awards will be presented by Scott Kurtz (PVP Online) at the 2010 Baltimore Comic-Con on August 28.

The Harvey Awards, named in honor of the late cartoonist Harvey
Kurtzman, recognize outstanding work in comics and sequential art. They are the comic book industry’s oldest and most respected awards, and are the only awards to have nominees selected and chosen by individuals creatively involved in the comics field.

There are over a hundred nominated names and titles, including Geoff Johns (“Blackest Knight”), Klaus Janson (“Amazing Spider-Man”), and
“The Walking Dead” (Image Comics), to choose from twenty-two categories. The categories range from Best Writer to Best New Series to Best Online Comics Work.

There is a lot of talent listed among the nominees, and voting will certainly be no easy task. Jeff Kinney (“Diary of a Wimpy Kid”) was nominated in four categories, Zuda had creators and comics nominated in seven categories, and “All-Star Superman” creators were nominated in four categories. Hopefully three weeks is enough time for voters to mull over all the fantastic nominees and cast their ballots.


Joe Simon extra signing at NYCC

Joe Simon extra signing at NYCC

Living comics legend Joe Simon, still going strong at 95 (!), will attend the New York Comic Con as Titan Books hosts him in their first year as exhibitors. In fact, he’s going so strong, he just announced an extra hour of signing at the Titan booth (#1514) before his Saturday panel.

Following the recent announcement of Titan’s plans to publish The Official Simon and Kirby Library, launching this May with a deluxe compendium of the duo’s work entitled The Best of Simon and Kirby, Simon will be the subject of a special Spotlight panel, ‘Secret Origins of the Comic Book World’ [Saturday, Feb.7,  4-5pm]. Simon’s audience will be treated to jaw-dropping anecdotes from the Golden Era of American comics, revealing the stories behind the creators and creations that shaped an American art form.

Before and after the panel on Saturday, Feb. 7, from 2:30-3:30pm and 5:30-6:30pm, Joe Simon will be appearing at Titan’s booth to sign exclusive printed lithographs for fans. Two designs will be available, one featuring the iconic Fighting American and the other starring the perennially seductive The Girl Who Tempted Me. With each one hand-numbered from 1 through 100 and signed by Joe Simon himself, these glorious limited edition lithographs will be on sale for $75 each and only available at NYCC.

Full size copies after the jump.


ComicMix Six: Fictional Presidents in comics

ComicMix Six: Fictional Presidents in comics

We’ve had a lot of US Presidents show up in the comics, Jossip and the Chicago Tribune both hit on the major ones– Nixon in Watchmen, Bill Clinton speaking at Superman’s funeral, Reagan in The Dark Knight Returns, JFK impersonating Clark Kent. But there are many more that stick in t here are a few truly fictional US Presidents from the comics:

1. President Ken WInd — not wind like a watch, but wind as in freedom. A dead ringer for Dan Quayle and a tool of the Beast, he was set up to become President so he could start a nucelar war. He was stopped by Elektra and a goddammed agent of SHIELD. (Elektra: Assassin)

2. President Howard Johnson Nissen. The former Secretary of Agriculture, he became president when President Rexall and the rest of his cabinet were killed in an explosion. (Give Me Liberty) Incidentally, Secretary of Agriculture Margaret Valentine also got the top spot when all the men above her in the line of succession died. (Y: The Last Man)

3. President Prez Rickard. The first teenaged president of the United States, and the only one on this list to have his own series, this creation of Joe Simon made things run on time. Later written by Ed Brubaker, Neil Gaiman, and Frank Miller– he does that a lot, doesn’t he?

4. President Gary Callahan, a.k.a. "The Smiler". A rictus grin in a suit, he hates everyone and only wants to be President in order to control and oppress people, and has no problems killing anyone whose death will help him gain or keep power, or even get a rise in the polls– up to and including his own wife and children. The sworn enemy of Spider Jerusalem. (Transmetropolitan)

5. President Melanie Henderson. Okay, that was the name of the actress playing the President in the Spidey Super Stories short, "Spidey vs. the Funny Bunny", where a mischievous woman dressing in a rabbit costume and damaging Easter baskets by sitting on them. Spidey eventually foils the villain’s plans to disrupt the annual White House Easter Egg roll. Some sources indicate that Melanie may have been the first African American actress to portray an American president on television.

6. President Lex Luthor. Yes, Luthor won the 2000 Presidential Election. Couldn’t have been worse than what really happened, right?

ComicMix QuickPicks – January 13, 2009

ComicMix QuickPicks – January 13, 2009

Today’s installment of comic-related news items that wouldn’t generate a post of their own, but may be of interest…

* Even Batman can’t save everybody at Warner Brothers from a lousy economy. Reuters reports the studio is considering ways to cut its budget by 10 percent, saving tens of millions of dollars via layoffs or other steps. "No decisions have been made," said a Warner Bros spokesman regarding the cost cuts, which are widely expected to result in an unspecified number of layoffs at the studio. Warner Bros is owned by Time Warner Inc, which last week projected a loss for the year, compared with a previous forecast of earnings of $1.04 to $1.07 per share.

Hey… isn’t DC Comics owned by Warner Brothers? Watch your backs, folks.

* Hexed #1. Free. Downloadable. CBZ file, even. Enjoy. I did.

* ICV2: "Titan Books has announced the expansion of its publishing agreement with Golden Age comics pioneer Joe Simon, the co-creator of Captain America.  This summer Titan will launch The Official Simon and Kirby Library, which will now include full color hardcover volumes collecting Simon & Kirby’s horror, detective, and romance comics." I detect the fine hand of Steve Saffel in this; way to go, Steve.

* According to a recent study, forty-six per cent of Canadians can’t name a single Canadian writer. Here, let me give you two. Ty Templeton. Robert J. Sawyer. You’re welcome.

* Laurel Maury reviews Jonathan Lethem’s Omega The Unknown for NPR. (Come back to the Malibu, Laurel, we miss you!)

* Friday night’s airing of the start of season 4.5 of Battlestar Galactica will run 3.5 minutes long according to information released by SciFi. Dish Network has already adjusted the run time but you should double check any PVR’s you may have set up. You’ve been warned.

* An interview with Dean Mullaney.

* Why I dislike Batwoman too.

Anything else? Consider this an open thread.

Comic du jour from Hugh MacLeod, the creator of Mr. Hell.