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The Simon and Kirby Library: Horror (2011)

av Joe Simon, Jack Kirby (Illustratör)

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243765,994 (4.6)Ingen/inga
At every point, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby raised the bar. When they came to comics, Superman had been around for about a year, and the medium was still in its infancy. They took the action and made it explode, breaking out of the panels and sprinting across the page. They showed what comics could do, experimenting with layout and design, creating the first full-page panels and double page spreads. Their first million-seller was a superhero (Captain America), and their next was military adventure that outsold Superman (DC's Boy Commandos). These two guys from Rochester and Brooklyn broke all the rules when they created the first romance comics, and they blazed trails in every genre: horror, science fiction, crime etc ... Their work in the legendary title Black Magic was acclaimed by readers. It was held up on national television by the Senate Committee on Juvenile Delinquency, where experts claimed Black Magic contributed to the corruption of American youth! Also included here are the Simon and Kirby stories from the experimental terror title Strange World of Your Dreams.… (mer)
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The Simon And Kirby – Horror’ book collects macabre stories from the fifties put out by the Simon and Kirby studio. Most of the tales are from the renowned horror anthology magazine ‘Black Magic’, published by Prize Comics from 1950-1961. This book features selected stories from issues # 1-33. At the back are some interesting vignettes from ‘The Strange World of Your Dreams’, an odd magazine in which readers sent in their dreams for ‘dramatization and analysis by Richard Temple’. It only lasted four issues from 1952-1953.

The ‘Black Magic’ stories are many and varied. ‘A Giant Walks The Earth’ is a tale of daring set in the interior of India and it’s more H. Rider Haggard than horror. A small plane crashes and the two pilots investigate a huge footprint. Kirby always thought anything big was good, as his work shows. Like many of the tales, this is told retrospectively by the man to whom it happened, pilot Jim Handley, in this case. ‘The Thing In The Fog’ is told from bed by seaman John Karski. ‘Detour Lorelei On Highway 52’ is told from his bed by Davis, a trucking man. A cop tells two fellows the story of ‘Donavan’s Demon’ when they ask him who was the greatest man in the world.

The stories are usually tightly plotted and if they seem hackneyed, well, bear in mind how old they are. The scripting is often elegant, if redolent of pulp fiction. ‘Arlington’s eyes bulged in a frog-like fashion’ and ‘dropped into the soft arms of Morpheus’ are two examples from ‘A Giant Walks The Earth’. ‘Up There!’ is narrated by test pilot Tolliver, a man who ‘flew along the edge of death for a paycheck’. ‘I returned to the cold night’, he says, ‘to the darkness which men fight with artificial lighting, mechanical sounds and the futile voice of massed humanity.’ Old Tolly could get a job as a writer when he’s too old to fly.

‘A Rag – A Bone And A Hank of Hair’ is a slightly silly story about a dummy coming to life but again the script has some good moments: ‘So it began! An accident! But then, was not the first vague stirring of life in the steaming seas of lost millenniums also an accident.’ Such stuff may be a bit purple but it has some vigour at least. The wordy captions, incidentally, appeared again in Kirby’s solo work during the seventies, proving either that he learned nothing from the sparser style of Stan Lee or, more likely, preferred the style of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

Like many anthologies, especially of very short stories, this is best taken in small doses. The original ‘Black Magic’ came out bi-monthly at first and then monthly, so it was not designed for bulk consumption. To be honest, the quality tailed off a bit as it continued. Perhaps the need for more material meant lower grade stuff passed muster. I think it was Simon and Kirby’s practice to launch a magazine with a lot of input from themselves then slowly let other studio hands contribute more. The other studio people included Mort Meskin, no mean talent, and the standard never got very low.

Meskin received credit as ‘associate editor’ on ‘The Strange World Of Your Dreams’ because he gave Simon and Kirby the idea. He had great nightmares and used to tell his colleagues about them. He also went for psychoanalysis, that wonderful American hobby. Presumably, they learned enough of the jargon to get away with these yarns, which are quite interesting in a quirky way, though I can’t vouch for their accuracy as psychotherapy. I wonder did readers really send in their dreams or are Miss Ellen K. of Boston, Massachusetts, Mrs C.C.D. of Parkersburg, West Virginian and Mr Thomas R. of Holiet, Illinois just made up names. At least, if they’re still around, they can now get their dreams in a nice hardback edition on quality paper.

The art herein collected is mostly by Jack Kirby. It’s not his best work, probably because it was turned out pretty fast, but his neat design sense, dramatic layouts and sound storytelling shines through as ever. The inking looks sort of muddy in places, which doesn’t help. Had the guys in the studio known that their work would be collected in deluxe hardback editions sixty years later, I’m sure they would have taken more care. They did the best they could in the circumstances and the results are generally pleasing. An excellent volume, overall, and a good addition to the wonderful ‘Simon And Kirby Library’.

Eamonn Murphy
This review first appeared at https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/ ( )
  bigfootmurf | Aug 11, 2019 |
Before playing Lennon to Stan Lee’s McCartney, Jacky Kirby teamed with writer/artist Joe Simon to create a legacy that included Captain America, the romance comic, and numerous other creations. The latest volume of Titan’s handsome, full color collections of the duo’s collaborative works features horror tales from Black Magic and The Strange World of Your Dreams. The former enjoyed a 33 issue run from 1950-1954 (though it was later resurrected years later with #34, but sans Simon/Kirby) and the latter beginning in 1952 for a scant 4 issues, a rare business failure for the pair. Simon and Kirby did not work on every story in either title but rather employed a small group of artists which included the amazing Mort Meskin and Bruno Premiani. Though Kirby did draw the majority of the tales, he often just contributed the splash page with others providing the rest of the story. This volume reproduces and restores every story from the two series that contained any Kirby art.

The stories themselves rise above much of the muck, some just below the era’s horror gold standard EC. Perhaps the volume’s biggest flaw lies not with the largely excellent stories but rather with the scant historical data. Series editor Steve Saffel penned the introduction that offers some interesting background material, but acknowledging the credits to other artists when known (or even suspected) would certainly have enhanced the project. Even with that minor quibble, The Simon and Kirby Library: Horror successfully encapsulates this lesser known epoch of Kirby’s impressive output and should be part of every well stocked comics library. ( )
  rickklaw | Oct 13, 2017 |
Great stories! Too bad there are numerous typos in the restoration's text. ( )
  lesindy | Nov 1, 2014 |
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Joe Simonprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Kirby, JackIllustratörhuvudförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat

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At every point, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby raised the bar. When they came to comics, Superman had been around for about a year, and the medium was still in its infancy. They took the action and made it explode, breaking out of the panels and sprinting across the page. They showed what comics could do, experimenting with layout and design, creating the first full-page panels and double page spreads. Their first million-seller was a superhero (Captain America), and their next was military adventure that outsold Superman (DC's Boy Commandos). These two guys from Rochester and Brooklyn broke all the rules when they created the first romance comics, and they blazed trails in every genre: horror, science fiction, crime etc ... Their work in the legendary title Black Magic was acclaimed by readers. It was held up on national television by the Senate Committee on Juvenile Delinquency, where experts claimed Black Magic contributed to the corruption of American youth! Also included here are the Simon and Kirby stories from the experimental terror title Strange World of Your Dreams.

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