The Best of Simon and Kirby

When I first opened this coffee table book, I expected more text, fewer comics, but it’s not that kind of retrospective. Instead, it’s a sampler of the many types of work Joe Simon and Jack Kirby produced over their long career in comics, with over two dozen comic stories reprinted.

The Best of Simon and Kirby cover
The Best of Simon and Kirby
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Grouped by genre — heroes, science fiction, war and adventure, romance, crime, western, horror, and sick humor — each section has an introductory essay by Kirby expert Mark Evanier. The book’s introduction is by Joe Simon himself, breezily covering the team’s history and many firsts.

The oversized hardcover is a pleasure to read due to the excellent reproduction and coloring on thick matte paper. Some of the work is rough — panel layouts that require arrows to show what to read next, dialogue balloons in the wrong order, bizarrely misshapen heads — but the energy and imagination and fast-paced action are there from the beginning.

Aside from reprints of stories from such titles as Captain America #1, Adventure Comics #75 (the Sandman vs. the Norse god Thor), Fighting American #2, and Blue Bolt #4, there’s also the debut of Stuntman, a promising title with circus and Hollywood settings killed by lack of distribution and too much competition. The stories date from 1940 to 1960, a wide-ranging overview. Most interesting to me were the lesser-seen war and romance ones. The book kept my interest all the way through, and this is perhaps the first time I’ve truly appreciated the skill of Kirby’s artwork.

Here’s some preview pages. This is promised to be only the first volume in The Official Simon and Kirby Library. Future volumes will be genre-specific: romance, horror, crime, and superheroes. (A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)

3 Responses to “The Best of Simon and Kirby”

  1. The Simon & Kirby Superheroes » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] in a series of Simon & Kirby “genre” collections, following after Titan’s earlier Best of Simon & Kirby. Titan Books has already announced follow-ups for S&K romance, crime, and horror anthologies, […]

  2. Joe Simon: My Life in Comics » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] terms. Currently, he’s up to his elbows in producing one of comics’ greatest archive projects. The Simon & Kirby Library is a multi-volume treasure trove of not only much of the team’s best work (pretty much everything […]

  3. The Simon and Kirby Library: Crime » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] and reprinting all of the non-DC and Marvel work by the duo. They’ve previously published a Best Of volume, a Superhero volume, and a complete softcover collection of all the Fighting American stories, as […]




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