Sunday, October 15, 2006
Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
I've been a fan of these two giants ever since I saw a re-print of their early Captain America in '66. Imagine reading their comics and seeing The Beatles on Ed Sullivan at the same time and you'll get a pretty good idea of what it was like back then. "The Modern Marvel Age" of comics was in full swing by then, but these crude-looking stories being published in "Fantasy Masterpieces" looked like nothing I had ever seen before. Heroes fighting for freedom during World War II, instead of Bank Robbers and Evil Scientists or Radiated Evil Bank-Robbing Scientists. No Cosmic Rays or Radiated Spider Bites here, just clear lines of "them against us", written and drawn with an energy and a sense of purpose. The creators were as committed as their comics creations; Joe Simon stayed stateside, assigned to Combat Art Corps at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington D.C., while Jack Kirby was a Combat Infantryman and saw action in Germany.
Last winter Marvel published "All Winners" Comics Volume 1 in their hardcover Masterworks series. One of the stories was Simon & Kirby's "The Hollow Men", their next-to-last Captain America yarn produced for Marvel. I'd never seen this one before, it was never re-printed. Earlier in the day I bought a new Brush Pen and a tiny sketch book, and began copying S & K panels at the kitchen table; like I did over forty years ago.
It was nice to go home again.
Here are the results...
( I'm including one of S & K's Splash Pages for the uninitiated, and a color scan below of one of the panels that I've "re-mixed", for comparison.)