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The Best of Simon and Kirby Hardcover – May 12, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


"Joe Simon and Jack Kirby are comics’ Lennon/McCartney dream duo. Teaming in the 1940s, Simon was the seasoned writer/editor/inker and Kirby the hot young artist who ultimately became one of the industry’s most influential and creative personalities. They invented Captain America, received the first cover bylines, and their jump-off-the-pages action told the story as strongly as the words, changing comics forever. This first in a six-volume series offers a broad look at their collaborations. They worked in many genres, and chapters spotlight heroes, science fiction, war and adventure, crime drama, Westerns, horror, sick humor, and romance (future volumes will cover some subjects individually), each with a background intro by Kirby biographer Mark Evanier. The book sports 25 gloriously restored comics selected by Simon plus five additional covers—the art is absolutely killer!—and is capped with a checklist of all the comics they produced together/apart. Dazzling from beginning to end, The Best of Simon and Kirby is a monumental piece of comics’ history and a hunk of Americana that is a dream come true for legions of fans. Buy it for your graphic novels, art, or pop-culture collections, but buy it. Essential." — Library Journal

About the Author

Joe Simon, with Jack Kirby, created one of the most enduring American heroes in 1940 with the first issue of Captain America Comics from Timely Comics—the company that became Marvel Comics. Simon proved to be a brilliant editor, writer, penciller, inker, and businessman, serving as an editor for Archie, Harvey, Fox, Crestwood, and Mainline Publications—Simon and Kirby’s own company.

Jack Kirby is one of the most famous illustrators in comic book history. Having begun in the Fox Comics Bullpen in 1939, he teamed with Joe Simon on such seminal series as Blue Bolt and Captain Marvel Adventures. In subsequent years they worked in every genre imaginable, often seeing their titles sell in excess of one million copies.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books; First Edition edition (May 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845769317
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845769314
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1 x 12.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,065,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mark Vaz on May 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
ASIN: "The Best of Simon and Kirby"
"The Best of Simon and Kirby" is a joy to behold. I think it's great that a generation raised on TV, the Internet blogosphere, cell phones, and i-pods gets a taste of two-fisted Golden Age comic book action. This book delivers, and with style.

This book marks that seminal territory where American popular culture took off, where the Marvel Age of Comics really began. The sheer exuberance, the youthful quality if you will, of the comics medium is evident on every page, both in the wild storylines and dramatic action. Jack Kirby's figures practically feel rubberized, about to bounce through the panel borders (and occasionally do).

The art restoration by Harry Mendryk reminds me of the best film restoration work. Many comics reprints, particularly from the 1940s, often have a dark and blurry look. In this book every line pops, the visuals are crisp and vibrant.

I did have the good fortune to meet Joe Simon a few years ago, in the company of this book's editor, Steve Saffel. The term "living legend" absolutely applied, and it's great that Joe is around to see this wonderful tribute to the pioneering work of the immortal team of Simon and Kirby.
Mark Vaz
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By F. Scott Valeri on May 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Titan Books and Steve Saffel ( editor ) have just done all of us who love comic book history a tremendous service in releasing this wonderful volume of golden age Simon and Kirby hit stories. This is a sampler of all genres, but superheroes are well represented. The book is gloriously oversized with the best production values of any book of this type that I have ever seen. If you had mint condition books you still could not experience these stories with the clarity and size and loving reproduction that this book delivers. The colors are perfect (not overdone with modern production techniques ) and the art is a master showcase of Jack Kirby talent. If you are reading this review STOP and buy this book NOW ! You know you want to ! You will be more pleased than you can possibly imagine.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By William Cross on May 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are very few names as magical as Simon & Kirby in the history of comic book creators. This gorgeous volume is a long-overdue look at one of the most prolific and inventive teams in the field.

Joe Simon & Jack Kirby created some of the most memorable super-heroes beginning with Captain America and continuing until the team broke up in the 1950's. Most of their better known creations are all here with a representative story each.

But thank goodness this "must have" hardcover doesn't end with the super-heroes because S&K could never be pigeon-holed by any one genre. In addition to creating Romance Comics, they made significant contributions to just about every type of book you could imagine. This BEST OF volume gives you a sampling of their War, Horror, Crime, Science Fiction, Romance, Humor and Western (Yes, BOYS RANCH & BULLS EYE are here) work as well.

The book itself has been lovingly produced. The scan work is the best I have ever seen, actually improving on the color registration and correcting other flaws in the source material.

The oversiize format is terrific. Joe & Jack's art is often so crammed with detail that having it reproduced slightly larger than the old comic books really saves on the eye strain.

Future volumes will focus on specific genres, but this comprehensive overview is the perfect way to kick off the series. Highly recommended to fans of pop culture in general and exciting, action-packed comics in particular.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tim Lasiuta on May 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Carly Simon wrote a song once, "Nobody Does it Better, nobody quite like you..." Now, I know that the song was about a person, not a creative team, but in the case of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, that phrase is so true.

From the early days of the comic book artform (1941), Simon and Kirby created industry conventions, broke industry conventions, and through sheer talent and perserverance, redefined the industry. The `Best' of Simon and Kirby is a misnomer as there is so much that is amazing. Harry Mendryk, Steve Saffel, Joe Simon, and Jim Simon have selected work that is outstanding for many reasons. A partial listing of the characters featured includes Stuntman, Captain America, The Fly, Boys Ranch, Sandman, and selections from Sick Magazine and the Romance genre. There are several amazing stories in the book, the most notable for myself is the Red Skull story from Captain America (Timely) that reveals the Skull as George Maxon. Obviously, in later years, the Skull would be resurrected and become as memorable a villain as Galactus (another Kirby artistic gem). I also enjoyed Stuntman, Boys Ranch, the "Savage in Me" (a western romance), and "The Scorn of the Faceless People".
Artwise, we can see a progression from a young artist with enthusiasm and talent who illustrated great stories but did not always practice good anatomy, to a great artist who bent the rules with spectacular results. `Crude' art can be seen in the Captain America story as Cap's head often is misaligned while his sense of panel structure overpowers any weaknesses. The net result is still art that makes you go `Wow'! Represented in this book, too, is Joe Simon art, writing and editing. His art in Sick and on Blue Bolt is remarkable.
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