COMIC REVIEW: Simon & Kirby Library

By Nick Durham

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Whether you really know it or not, you know who Jack Kirby is. That name may not have that instant resonance in your brain that say, Stan Lee does, but you've seen Kirby's work and probably never realized it. The medium of the comic book would not be what it is without Jack Kirby. Hell, it may not even exist at all to be totally honest. Jack Kirby co-created most of the Marvel Universe as we know it. Stan Lee gets most, if not all, of the credit for that, but Jack Kirby is as much a part of that is Stan is. His art style was like nothing anyone had ever seen before, and it inspired countless artists in the industry for generations to come.

Joe Simon may not ring a bell at first either, but he is the man that co-created Captain America with Kirby. Besides superheroes, the duo dabbled in many other comic book genres at the time; ranging from war comics, to science fiction, to even fucking romance (minus the fucking of course). They also played around with horror, to some really great effect as well. That's what we get here with this edition of The Simon & Kirby Library, which focuses on the duo's horror work during the Golden Age of comics.

1950s pre-code horror comics would get shit on quite a bit and were somehow attributed to "the delinquency of juveniles" according to a then Senate Committee which believed comic books were more evil than Hitler. The work of Simon and Kirby in the horror realm was no different, as what is collected here was, believe it or not, once considered evil and pornographic. Collecting their run on Black Magic, as well as some selected stories from their The Strange World of Your Dreams, this handsome hardcover collection is lovingly bound and features restored artwork, making Kirby's pencils look clean, crisp, and just plain beautiful. The restoration done on Kirby's art is worth the price of admission alone for this book.

The quality of the stories featured here varies, but Joe Simon's scripts were ahead of their time and provided some wonderful chills back in the day. Granted I believe the duo's best work was with the science fiction genre more so than horror, but their work here is just so damn ahead of its time that you can't help but admire it so damn much. The weirdness of the stories isn't anything you haven't seen already, but it set the stage for horror comics to come as the years would go by, and they have their place in history because of that.

All in all, if horror comics are your thing, particularly vintage ones, this needs to be in your collection. I wholeheartedly recommend every book from The Simon & Kirby Library regardless, but this horror edition deserves to be seen by your eyes. You won't be able to get enough of it, or of the legacy of Simon and Kirby.

Rating: 5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee

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