My 'Take' On:
The Best Of Simon And Kirby From Titan Books!
As Seen At The San Diego Comic-Con International 2010!
Above Uppermost Photo: Michael D Hamersky and Steve Saffel In the Titan Books Booth at 2010 SDCC!
Above Top Photo: Steve Saffel Showing The Next Simon & Kirby Book: 'The Simon And Kirby Superheroes' to Those In the Audience at the Jack Kirby Annual Tribute Moderated by Mark Evanier!
At the Top Left: The Front Cover to the Book Reviewed Here Today!
At the Bottom Left: The Logo for the Comic Con International: San Diego - a.k.a. San Diego Comic Con 2010.
TODAY'S FEATURE - Blog #3207:
Today's post is almost a continuation from yesterday's blog post when my wife, Tina LoSasso, guest blogged. That's because while Tina and I were at the Titan Books Booth on the last day of the Comic-Con, I met up with another of my Facebook Friends, Steve Saffel.
Steve is an Editor with Titan Books, and I had seen him earlier at the Annual Jack Kirby Tribute. Mark Evanier, the moderator of the panel, had asked Steve to come up and talk about Titan Book's next book, 'The Simon And Kirby Superheroes'. A picture from that panel is shown at the top right of this post.
Steve mentioned to me that the series of books that Titan was starting to publish would be several volumes. I had heard about the first book, but had not yet read it.
You see, when I was first starting to read comics, I started with 'funnybooks' and then TV Westerns as I have blogged about before. Slowly other genres came into my reading habits.
It wasn't until Journey Into Mystery #72, (Sept 1961), with art by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers, and written by Stan Lee, that I realized that there were actual people that illustrated and wrote these comics! That's how BIG of an impression that Jack Kirby made on me. That's the first comic that I remember reading and then wanting to 'collect' comics.
By that time the comics 'team' was Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, as the earlier team of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby had ended.
It wasn't until Marvel Comics started reprinting some of the earlier classics in 'Fantasy Masterpieces' that I realized that 'Marvel' had existed before the 1950's!
You see, there were only spinner racks in the 'Good Old Days' when I grew up! Comic Book Shops per se, had not truly come into existence in the early 1960's... There were a couple of early shops, but those were in sections of used book stores, etc.
So, it wasn't until the beginning of Fandom, and books like this one came into print that I was able to read about the early history of comics, and of those that were the comic book creators...
Here is 'My Take' on this book that Steve brought to my attention, with a little bit of promo blurbs first:
The Best Of Simon and Kirby
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Titan Books (May 12, 2009)
Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 9.4 x 1 inches
"A collection of complete comic book stories from the legendary team of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, covering every genre in which they made their mark.
From the very beginning in the late 1930s, Simon and Kirby produced the finest stories around, creating dramatic new super heroes (Captain America, Blue Bolt, Fighting American, The Fly), western action (Boys Ranch), gruesome horror (Black Magic), explosive detective fiction (Justice Traps the Guilty), and the very first romance comics (Young Romance). They were the dream team.
This is the only edition authorised by both Joe Simon and the estate of Jack Kirby; each story is hand-picked by Joe Simon himself."
As stated at the beginning of this review, I wasn't all that familar with the works of Simon and Kirby when I first started reading comics. In fact Simon and Kirby were working individually when I actually started 'collecting' comics. Thus I missed out on a lot of these tales told in different comics for different publishers.
I mentioned that I saw this book series being publicized at Mark Evanier's Annual Jack Kirby Tribute Panel. I have attend all of them conducted at the San Diego Comic Con International since he started them the year of Jack's passing. So for anyone to write an introduction to each one of the chapters presented in this book...Well, Mark would be the one to do so.
What I mean by 'chapters' is this. Each chapter is on a different genre of comics that either Joe Simon or Jack Kirby was involved in individually, or as the team of Simon and Kirby.
The chapters / genres cover include: The Heroes, Way Out Science Fiction, War And Adventure, The Birth of Romance, Crime Drama, The Great Western, Oh! The HoRRoR, and 'Sick' Humor. Each of those chapters could have been expanded into a book themselves!
Which is what I understand that this series will / would do, depending on reception by the intended audience and sales. I for one enjoyed each of the chapters presented in this book. This is not my 'normal' review as it isn't a 'comic book' or a 'graphic novel' that I'm reviewing today. It's more like a 'coffee table book' that could reach more than its limited target market.
I for one enjoyed reading this compilation of 'The Best' of Simon and Kirby. I'm not the only one...
There was also news recently that 'The Best of Simon & Kirby' has received two Harvey Award nominations for BEST DOMESTIC REPRINT PROJECT and BEST BIOGRAPHICAL, HISTORICAL OR JOURNALISTIC PRESENTATION!
Here is editor Steve Saffel's reaction on hearing the news:
"It's been an amazing year for The Best of Simon and Kirby. First we were nominated for the Eisner Award--in essence, the Oscars of the comics industry, awarded at the San Diego ComicCon International. And now we've been nominated in two categories of the Harvey Awards--"Best Domestic Reprint Project" and "Best Biographical, Historical, or Journalistic Presentation." If the Eisners are the Oscars, then I suppose the Harveys are the Emmys (or maybe the BAFTA Awards). We're in the company of giants--Harvey Kurtzman, Alex Raymond, Art Spiegelman, and more. There's no way to predict what's going to happen, but it's an amazing journey along the way!"
So this book has achieved the critical acclaim it so richly desrves!
Now all it needs is the 'popular' acclaim and sales figures to match...
I'm giving this book a NEAR MINT (NM) 9.4 out of a 10.0 grading scale. Even though it isn't a comic book or graphic novel!
The presentation of just the cream of the crop in each of the comics genres published is done very well in this oversized book. The intros to each chapter by Mark Evanier are an added plus. Kudos to all who had a hand in getting this book published!
Please note that the features presented in this book cover a long range of publishing dates, from August 1940 to February of 1966. Thus this is just a preview of the works of Simon and Kirby, b oth individually and as a team.
The added feature 'A Simon And Kirby Checklist' starting on page 238 ends the book. Another added Plus!
Oh, and I did say there was another book coming out soon, right?!
At the Comic-Con there were "signed advance copies of the gorgeous SIMON AND KIRBY SUPERHEROES! With a specially designed bookplate featuring Fighting American and Speedboy, these copies are signed by Joe Simon himself; plus a limited number are also signed by Neil Gaiman, who provided the introduction to the book, giving fans two autographs for the price of one! Outside of their work for Marvel and DC, this hardback compendium features all of the duo’s finest superhero stories and characters, including Fighting American, The Fly, Lancelot Strong and The Stuntman, fully restored to their original glory".
This is not a review of the second book, but since I have your attention...Here's just a teaser of what it is about:
"Beginning with Blue Bolt in June, 1940, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby set the standard for costumed heroes. Their creation Captain America, remains one of the most famous heroes in comic book history, and their work for Timely and DC Comics raised the bar.
This volume introduces some of their most exciting characters: Fighting American, their cold-war take on the patriotic hero, The Fly, with origins in an unknown Spider-Man prototype, Lancelot Strong, the man with the double life, and the Hollywood swashbuckler known as Stuntman.
This is the only edition authorized by both Joe Simon and the estate of Jack Kirby, gathered from the official Simon and Kirby archives."
ISBN: 9781848563650 Dimensions: 7 1/2” x 11” Hardback: 480pp Publication date: Oct. 12, 2010
Jack Kirby, Joe Simon
This is definitely something to look forward to! You might want to ask for either one of these two books as a gift for the Holidays Gift Giving Season in 2010!
Thanks Steve for bringing this book to my attention at Comic-Con! For more on this book and others that Titan Publishing is printing in the near future please check out their web site at TitanBooks.com. Plus they have a Facebook Fan Page at Titan Books! For the individual listing for 'The Best of Simon and Kirby' click here. For more info on the upcoming book 'The Simon and Kirby Superheroes' book click here.
PLUS: My thanks again to all of YOU reading this blog and our archived blog posts, now over 3,205 total posts in number! I do appreciate your continued reading and support of this Blog!~ Michael D Hamersky @ ComicBookCollectorsBlog.com
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