Every once in a while, a book kind of sells itself. As soon as you hold that book in your hands, you know you have to own it – or know that you have to give that book to a certain friend who is absolutely guaranteed to love it.
The Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio is one of those sorts of books. Published by the good people at Abrams Comic Arts, Art of Simon and Kirby is an oversized, ridiculously thick collection of stories, covers and pages produced from the studio of these artistic greats, 375 pages in all, all reproduced from the original art. Here finally we have an opportunity to look closely at some extremely old and extremely wonderful material by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, along with luminaries like Mort Meskin, Al Williamson, Doug Wildey and George Tuska, among many others. It’s like having a museum in your hands, except that the museum features thrilling two-fisted action.
This not-quite-an-artists-edition book is 9×12 in size, so it’s not quite the same size as the original art, but the large page size (and perfectly thick paper stock) was produced for long hours staring at this brilliant comic material, reproduced with some of the greatest clarity of any comics from the time period in which they were created.
Art of S&K reproduces hundreds of pages of work produced by Simon, Kirby and their many studiomates from the early Golden Age in 1942 all the way to their collaboration in 1974 – a thirty-plus year collaboration that chronicles decades of comics history. Compiler Mark Evanier brings together some of the team’s finest work, including several stories from the luminous Boys Ranch (often considered some of the finest comic art of the 1950s, and including a story that both Simon and Kirby often referred to as their favorite that they ever produced), and examples of from crime, romance, science fiction and super-hero stores.
A book like this is a gift for any comics fan this holiday season, and if you’re looking to buy something special for the person in your life who loves the classics, this book is for you. I know I’ll keep reading and rereading The Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio long past Christmas.
Here’s a gallery of some wonderful pages from the book:
The Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio
By Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Selected and with an introduction by Mark Evanier; Afterword by Jim Simon
Published by Abrams ComicArts
All images are copyright the Estates of Joseph H. Simon and Jack Kirby.