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on November 1, 2011
This is the latest volume in the Simon & Kirby Library, reprinting 32 stories from titles published from 1947-49, and 2 from 1954 & 1955, for a total of 299 pages of comics. The titles are Clue Comics 1947 (4 stories), Real Clue Crime Stories 1947 (6), headline Comics 1947-48 (13), Justice Traps the Guilty 1947-49 (9), and one each from Police Trap #2 and #6, 1954 & 1955. There is also a cover gallery of 13 covers, one of which is a photo-cover featuring Jack Kirby as a nervous-looking safecracker facing Joe Simon's police revolver.

The stories range from 4 to 15 pages, but are mainly longer rather than shorter. Although set mainly in the `gangster' era, there are a couple of historical stories, and a couple set in Europe. Some are `true' stories and many are pure fiction - Max Allan Collins describes one of the `true' stories in his Introduction as being a `flirtation with fact'. Also, as Mr Collins notes, although dealing with crime, some of the stories are from other genres; there is a western, a couple of historical, and several are written in the `true romance' format, though also featuring machine guns. Of the `historical' (in relation to the 1940s that is, not just to us today) - one is the story of Guy Fawkes, which is actually quite accurate, despite being rather more melodramatic than was actually the case - but this is a comic-book! (Thinks... Mel Gibson as Guy Fawkes - misunderstood war hero who tries to save England - and Scotland - for the Catholic church, but ends up being tortured and executed for his courage in challenging the Evil British Empire...) Some stories are in theory documentary - but Joe & Jack manage to make them stand out from the drab stories of `Crime Does Not Pay' - see Blackjacked and Pistol-Whipped: The Best of Crime Does Not Pay for examples of those; here however, in "Gang Doctor" for example, a 7-page story, the second page, comprising six panels, is given over to a bank clerk on his first day at the job, who is shot by Dillinger in the final panel of the page. In the ensuing robbery, one of Dillinger's men is shot, and the services of the titular Gang Doctor is thus required, leading us on in to the main story. That page of the bank clerk was not relevant to the plot (and could be construed as filler by the uncharitable), but it `worked', and it showed Simon & Kirby adding that extra touch to the story that lifted their work above so many of their contemporaries.

Note that Dark Horse are going to produce an Archive series of `Crime Does Not Pay' - I recommend you check the `Best of' referenced above and compare the stories in this volume. I gave it 5-stars in my review, which it deserved for what it was, but this book is worth 15 stars by comparison. I will still be buying the Dark Horse series, because I collect stuff, but Simon & Kirby are the undoubted Kings of Crime.
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on December 10, 2011
'The Simon and Kirby Library: Crime [Titan Books; $49.95] reprints
nearly three dozen tales of con men, gangsters, and killers by the
legendary team of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. As odds as it seems in
reference to crime fiction and kind of sort of non-fiction, these
stories are big fun. Where the more successful Crime Does Not Pay
comics used huge blocks of copy to drive home the moral expressed
in its title, the Simon and Kirby approach put storytelling before
detail and preaching. They never failed to portray crime and its
perpetrators as true blights on society, but their writing was more
bold and Kirby's art was more action-packed than that seen in other
crime comic books of the era. Characters move across the "stage"
and emotions are portrayed in such an in-your-face manner that it's
like watching a 3-D movie.

Included in this 320-page, full-color collection are a handful of
stories starring recurring characters: the mysterious Gunmaster and
special investigator "Red Hot" Blaze. There are tales of criminals
past and present, some of them "true" in the sense that they only
play slightly loose with actual facts. There are character studies
of criminals who, sometimes too late, regret the bad choices they
made. Some of these characters even seek to make amends for their
crimes beyond serving their prison sentences.

Like every other book in Titan's Simon and Kirby Library, Crime is
worthy of award consideration. I treasure my copy and recommend it
to all fans of the legendary team and also to all serious students
of American comic books.
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on January 3, 2012
I can't really say much more than my two fellow reviewers have emoted thus far. Simon and Kirby's art and style is just masterful. I had some laugh outloud moments with the audaciousness of some criminals and their wise acre remarks while they're shooting it out with the "Bulls." I also read Crime Does Not Pay: Blackjacked and Pistol Whipped. By comparison, you can see just how much more refined Simon and Kirby were. However, you must remember that Simon and Kirby had the advantage of being able to stand on the shoulders, as it were, of the aforementioned publication. To me, Simon and Kirby's stories could have contained more by the way of 'ultraviolece' and 'the old in-out in-out', but that's just me. Good stuff and a beautiful collection. Highly recommended.
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on January 12, 2012
In all the talk around Dr. Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent and the resulting congressional hearings on comics, most of the discussion is focused on the gory horror comics of the time. But also causing much controversy back then were the plethora of crime comics popular with readers. This collection presents the combined works of two of the greats: Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

Since Titan Books has been collecting the Simon & Kirby Library, they've done a wonderful job of bringing the two comics legends' work to a new audience of readers. This volume gloriously features such real-life villains as Ma Barker and Al Capone, even dips back into the history of Guy Fawkes, and spans decades in its storytelling.

It's a world of tough dames, hard-nosed criminals, relentless investigators, come-on girls, and more. Even though the violence is there, there's a quaint innocence to it all that makes it seem...well, almost wholesome. Most of the criminals learn their lessons, eventually, or else they pay the ultimate price for their crimes.

And what to say about the story and art? It's Simon and Kirby, for goodness' sake. They're both brilliant. These stories capture both creators at the top of their game. It's a sheer pleasure to read, from beginning to end.

-- John Hogan
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on May 25, 2012
Unlike the terribly done recent d.c. archive aditions which feature bad reprints and bad color. (sandman) and others, this volume looks fantastic , the art is cleaned up and these are not scans of old comic books stories. These are remastered and excellent in appearance. Jack Kirby and Joe Simon did a great job on most of these crime comics too. The art is good , the stories are mostly good. Some are actually true even. Guy fawkes is even in this one. I like their superhero and horror stories better but this is a great vulume of 1947-55 crime comic stories from two of the masters in the field. Everything about this big book is first class, unlike d.c. these people actually cared about the comics they were reprinting.
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on April 4, 2013
Over 300 pages of 1940s crime stories by Simon and Kirby! Wow, this collection is great! It seemed like each story (mostly 8-10 pages each) got better and better as I read through it. Lots of true crime tales which prompted me to hop online and research the real-life criminals after reading the Simon/Kirby version of their exploits. I really can't recommend this enough. Looking forward to more volumes of the Simon/Kirby Library!
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on May 3, 2016
Think about Jack Kirby's work. What would you consider to be a "normal" story by Jack Kirby? Probably one with some sort of intergalactic warrior facing off against an unspeakably evil villain during a cosmic war against a back-group of some dimension that humanity has yet to discover.

What possibly then could Kirby have to contribute to the gritty genre of crime fiction? Well, with his partner and close friend Joe Simon by his side quite a lot (and even though I opened this review talking about Jack Kirby, Joe Simon really deserves an equal amount of credit for these stories). Every story here is beautifully drawn by Simon & Kirby. They manage to really capture the dirt and grime of the life of wrong-doers but also the swashbuckling adventure of a life of crime. The art is simply wonderful and easily equals the best work that either gentlemen did during their long careers in comics. The writing also has something that so many comics lack these days; wit. Pretty much all of these stories manage to keep the reader's interest through smart and efficient storytelling. Both the writing and drawing merge and compliment each other perfectly.

I know this review sounds like fanboy gushing, and in all honesty it probably is, but I can't help myself. Here we have a great slice of comics history from two legends of comic books that is worth the time of anyone who's even a casual fan of crime or old-school American comics. For readers who enjoy this I can heartily recommend the other volumes in the Simon & Kirby Library that Titan are releasing as well as some of the EC Crime material that Fantagraphics have released as part of the EC Comics Library.
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on September 10, 2014
the simon Kirby library collection is one of the best on market...if you enjoyed the art works of Jack Kirby and the pen off Simon you know you can't go wrong with this collection...plus it is a great price
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on April 12, 2014
Jack Kirby is awesome! I am so happy that I purchased this book as anything by Kirby is worth getting and his Crime works with Joe Simon are fantastic artistically and super fun to read..
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on May 26, 2013
My brother is a big reader! I gave this book to him as a gift for his birthday. He told me he enjoyed it because Jack Kirby is one of his favorites.
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