Posted byat 4th May, 2009
(Author’s Note: This is an expanded version of next Friday’s Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind podcast on The Point; you’re getting an early look, you lucky debbil. Yeah, I know, I did this last week too, but I’m out of town, time is short, and my attention span is even shorter. As always, to get the full experience, read this, listen to The Point and dig the music from Danny Elfman, Paul McCartney [!] and Al Hirt [!!], and grok the subtle sarcasm of my melodious voice.)
Okay, you people who wallow in popular culture and, given the pedigree of many of the contributors to this site, probably enjoy comic books as well. It’s honking-big-comic-book-buying-time. And it’s a great one this time, worth putting down your Purell to purchase. Because this one’s magic.
Damn near everybody knows about Jack Kirby. When he died 15 years ago, long before comics became cool, he was eulogized on the network news. He partnered with Joe Simon throughout the 1940s and 1950s. In case you didn’t know, Joe was Marvel Comics’ first editor-in-chief, and he’s still with us today. Together, Joe and Jack created some of the most powerful work of the era, in all genres. War, crime, mystery, humor, s-f, superheroes such as Captain America, The Fly and my favorite, Fighting American. They even created the romance comic book.
Just about everything Jack did at Marvel and DC in the 60s and 70s has been reprinted in hardcover, but while some of their higher profile creations like Captain America have once again seen the light of day, the bulk of Simon and Kirby’s massive and massively important output has been restricted to those wealthy enough to buy the original comics. At long last, this has changed.
Last month, The Best of Simon and Kirby released by Titan Books. Introduced by the 95 year-old Joe Simon, edited by Steve Saffel and annotated by Kirby biographer and former assistant editor Mark Evanier, this brilliant 240-page tome covers all aspects of their work, including their creations for Marvel and DC during the period. The art restoration is impeccable; perhaps the best I’ve ever seen.
For people who are enthusiasts of the medium, interested in our 20th century cultural history, or simply looking for a read that’s great fun, you will not do better. The Best of Simon and Kirby is but the first of several volumes, and I eagerly await the next.
By the way, this series has motivated DC to publish the Simon and Kirby run of The Sandman, from the 1940s. It will be out in August.
The Best of Simon and Kirby, Titan Books, edited by Steve Saffel, $39.95 retail, available at your friendly neighborhood comic book store (well, at least they can order it for you, and maybe they’ll give you a discount if you pay in advance) and from the usual retail and online sources.
Mike Gold’s Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind rants can be heard every Monday and Friday on The Point podcasts, , available right here at www.michaeldavisworld.com, as well as at comicmix.com, getthepointradio.com, zzcomics.com, and ravenwolfstudios.com. You can subscribe to The Point at iTunes by searching under “The Point Radio.” This is the best way to hear his dulcet tones while doing your daily jog. By the way, he loves writing about himself in the third-person.