Category Archives: McCarty, Bob

Speaking of Art, Secondary Artists

Joe Simon had accumulated a rather large collection of art. Not surprisingly many were works that he created over his long career starting when he was a staff artist for a newspaper. Also as might be expected there are a fair number of works drawn by Joe’s long time collaborator, Jack Kirby. However that does not mean, as I suspect some people believe, that Kirby material dominates the collection. Rather much of Joe’s art collection consists of work by a variety of lesser known artists. I thought I would discuss just a few of them selected for various reasons.


Police Trap #3 (January 1955) “Tough Beat”, pencils and inks by Bill Draut

Long time readers of this blog are by now quite aware that Simon and Kirby were not just a great artistic team but also produced comic books that included work by a large assortment of artists. I have spent much time trying to identify the various artists who worked for Joe and Jack with some, but by no means complete, success. However any reader can correctly attribute the artist for a large majority of Simon and Kirby productions if they can learn to spot three particular artists. I have been fond of calling the three artists the usual suspects. Foremost among the usual suspects was Bill Draut who had a long history of working for Joe and Jack. While Draut contributed a lot of art to S&K productions, Simon’s collection only has work by Bill from three periods; from right after the war at the time S&K were producing Stuntman and Boy Explorers for Harvey Comics, from S&K own publishing company Mainline Comics, and from the 60’s when Harvey briefly tried to cash in the renewed interest in superheroes. The reason for the rather limited periods found in Joe’s collection is that Joe’s collected primarily from work on hand when a projects terminated or art he recovered years later from Harvey, Archie and DC.

Joe’s collection has a fair amount of work created by Bill Draut and the example I provide is from Police Trap a Mainline comic book. Although Draut did a lot of romance work (as did all the Simon and Kirby artists) he could be quite adept at depicting action as can be seen in the lower splash panel. What a great assortment of characters. Note the way Draut depicts the bricks in the background building; inked as simple rectangular black shapes obviously executed without the use of a straight edge and forming small isolated groups. This manner of drawing bricks was quite typical of Draut.

It is hard to tell from the low resolution image that I have provided, but the discoloration at the top of the page is not due to some odd staining but rather the yellowing of tracing paper that has been attached to the illustration board. Bill did this as a time saving device. The final panel of the last page of the story is the same street scene differently inked to suggest another time of day. Rather than redraw the same scene, Draut put tracing paper over the final panel and inked directly on the tracing paper. When finished he just attached the results to the top of the first page.


Chamber of Chills #24 (July 1954) “Credit and Loss”, pencils and inks by Mort Meskin

Simon’s collection does not include many examples of original art by the second of the usual suspects, Mort Meskin. This is not because Joe did not like Mort’s art. Quite the contrary as shown by the fact that Joe had gathered together flats* for many of Meskin’s splash pages. This was something that Simon had done for Mort and no other artist. But the absence of Meskin original art was due to the fact that Mort did not work for Simon and Kirby during the Stuntman period and did little work during the Mainline period except for some covers (where apparently Meskin kept the original art). The one good example of Meskin original art that Joe had was not created for Simon and Kirby but for Harvey Comics. I suspect that Joe had retrieved it from the Harvey inventory some years later. It was fortunate that Simon had done so because it is, in my opinion, the finest comic book work that Meskin had ever done since the war. Great control of the story telling through devices like use of the viewpoint, marvelous drawing and superb inking.

OrigArtPrentice3
Bullseye #1 (August 1954) “Bullseye, the Man”, pencils and inks by John Prentice

John Prentice is the final of the three usual suspects. Prentice started working for Simon and Kirby even later then Mort Meskin. Joe’s collection had some examples of Prentice’s art but perhaps the most interesting is the art he did for Bullseye. There was a time that many claimed that Kirby provided layouts for the artists that worked for Simon and Kirby. One of the primary methods that I have used to investigate that claim was the way different artists used panel shapes. From that I feel quite confident that as a rule Kirby did not provide layouts for the other artists. But there are exceptions to that rule and Bullseye maybe one of them. I am not saying that Kirby provided complete layouts for Prentice’s Bullseye work but did appear to do so for at least some parts.

Unfortunately when Simon and Kirby wanted to retell the origin story for Bullseye #3 rather than redraw it Joe simply cut desired panels out of the earlier original art and pasted them together. Because of this it is not unusual to see original art from the first issue of Bullseye missing a panel or two.


Bullseye #3 (December 1954) “The Adventures of Sheriff Shorty”, pencils and inks by Leonard Starr

Joe’s collection not only included art by the three usual suspects but other artists as well. Leonard Starr is much better known for his work on the syndication strip Mary Perkins On Stage but he also had a long career as a comic book artists included occasional work for Simon and Kirby. The example I select comes from Bullseye #3. As it was published the story appears to be unsigned but careful examination of the original art shows otherwise. The vertically oriented signature appears the bottom left edge of the splash panel. Or rather half the signature is there as the panel border now cuts through it. But enough remains to show that it is in facts Starr’s autograph.


Foxhole #3 (February 1955) “The Face”, pencils and inks by Joaquin Albistur

Some artists that worked for Simon and Kirby are pretty much unknown entities for today’s fans. Jo Albistur only worked for Joe and Jack for a little over a year but produced a fair amount of art during that time. But Albistur did very little comic book art for any other publisher and only a small number of his original art have ever appeared on the market. The gimmick used for Foxhole was that the stories were created by actual war veterans. Because Albistur was from Argentina and had not served in the U. S. military, he was not suitable to receive any credit in Foxhole. But when credit was provided in Foxhole it was not always just for the graphic artists for instance writer Jack Oleck also occasionally received Foxhole credits. For “The Face” credit is given to Jack Kirby. Now Kirby certainly was a war veteran but he neither drew nor laid out this story. Further (and I may get in trouble among certain fans) I am convinced he did not write this story either. However it is known that Jack provided plots to some of the script writers that Simon and Kirby employed and perhaps it was in that capacity that this story is credited to him.


Chamber of Chills #24 (July 1954) “Grim Years”, pencils? and inks? by Manny Stallman

The Simon collection includes work by Manny Stallman. I attribute the work to Stallman with some trepidation. Stallman provided signed work for Simon and Kirby productions but when that art is carefully examined it becomes obvious that four different artists did the penciling (It’s A Crime Chapter 7, Chapter 8 and Chapter 9). Apparently Stallman was using ghost artists to pencil the work that he would then ink and often sign as his own. The work by Stallman from Joe’s collection was not created for Simon and Kirby but rather for Harvey Comics. Unfortunately it was unsigned and the pencils done in yet another style so the attribution is very provisional. But whoever penciled and inked the work the final results are rather nice.

Artists like the ones discussed in this post do not get much recognition these days. That is a shame because they really were talented artists. Now I do not want sound disdainful of contemporary artists because there is a lot of great comic book work being produced today. But let us face it, not all of them are superstars. But I am sadden that original art by secondary contemporary artists sell for much, much more than that by earlier artists. That despite the fact that relatively little of the work of the older artists has survived. It is obvious that most of today’s fans really have little interest in older original comic book art. If the reader is a collector of original art that does not share this low opinion of older work, keep an eye on the upcoming Heritage auctions as I am sure some great deals can be made.

* flats – Proofs of the line art printed on sheets in the same way finished comic book would be.

Bullseye #2, Western Scout


Bullseye #2 (October 1954), pencils and inks by Jack Kirby

As I discussed in the previous chapter, the previous modus operandi for Simon and Kirby was to make much use of Kirby in the initial issues of a new title and then make more frequent use of other artists for later issues. However in general the Mainline titles deviated from that pattern. The first issue of Bullseye could be viewed as a somewhat scaled down version of the original MO in that Kirby drew the first chapter and provided layouts for the other two. Unlike the first issue, Bullseye #2 was not a long story divided into chapters but instead provided three independent stories each done by a different artist. One of the surprises here was that Kirby did not do the lead story.


Bullseye #2 (October 1954) “Trial By Fire”, art by an unidentified artist

Simon and Kirby used a lot of different artists during this period. This was probably due to the combination of supply (comics had begun to crash resulting in a number of artists looking for work) and demand (there was a need to replace the normally prolific Kirby who was preoccupied with business matters). With such a large selection of artists to choose from, I am surprised that Joe and Jack picked this one to do the lead story “Trial By Fire”. It is not that he is a poor artist (he actually did a pretty good job on this story) but I just cannot help feel that someone else (John Prentice or Bob McCarty) could have produce a superior story. As the reader may have gathered, I have not been able to identify the artist although further research should rectify that situation. The splash may have been laid out by Jack Kirby although without seeing other work by the artist it is hard to be sure.


Bullseye #2 (October 1954) “Trial By Fire” page 6, art by an unidentified artist

While it is possible that Kirby laid out the splash, it is clear that the rest of the story was not based on Kirby layouts. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with the fight scene on page 6, but it definitely was not drawn the way Jack would have done it.


Bullseye #2 (October 1954) “Union Jack”, pencils by Jack Kirby

The splash page is a typical Kirby fanfare. What a great splash panel. Back to back, Union Jack and Bullseye take on the world, or at least the room. Bullseye even seems to be enjoying himself. The story panels are also by Jack and he use of tall narrow panels is unusual for him. The inking looks a lot like the work of John Prentice, but that would be surprising as John was not the artist for the rest of the story.


Bullseye #2 (October 1954) “Union Jack” page 2, pencils and inks by Bob McCarty

For the remainder of the story, pencil honors went to Bob McCarty. For a short period Bob had become a Simon and Kirby regular and with good reason. This story is a good example of what McCarty was capable of. His handling of action was very unlike Kirby’s, but is by no means a criticism. I am a great admirer of McCarty and this story is arguably the best piece from Bullseye by an artist other than Jack.

McCarty typically made much use of a pen in his inking but without abandoning the brush. “Union Jack” shows less of the pen work than usual but I still believe it was inked by Bob. I am not, however, convinced that Bob inked the splash page as well. McCarty never signed his work for Simon and Kirby but some of his pieces for Foxhole were provided credits.


Bullseye #2 (October 1954) “Grand Prize”, pencils and inks by Jack Kirby

Humor almost always plays a part in Simon and Kirby creations but generally not so dominate a factor as found in “Grand Prize”. It is a marvelous little story with lots of purposely goofy characters and other visual humor. All the more enjoyable because Kirby supplies the inking himself. I suspect it was this emphasis on humor that explains why it was not used as the lead story, a spot normally taken by Kirby.

Art of Romance, Chapter 31, Kirby, Kirby and More Kirby

(January – April 1956: Young Romance #81 – #82, Young Love #69 – #70, Young Brides #26 – #27)

Number of Romance titles 1947 - 1958
Number of Romance titles 1947 – 1958 (the period covered in this chapter is shaded in blue)

Young Romance #81
Young Romance #81 (February 1956) “He Had Only Me”, art by Bill Draut

As discussed in the last chapter (Chapter 30), the three Prize romance titles would be almost entirely drawn by Jack Kirby. There are only two exceptions one being “He Had Only Me” by Bill Draut from Young Romance #81 (February 1956). Bill’s drawing style does not seem to differ from what we have seen in his previous work but his inking does reserve comment. Typically in the past Bill inked clothing folds in a rather blotchy manner. Here however is spotting is much smoother. This makes his brush techniques more similar to those of Marvin Stein. While there is little reason to believe that Stein was inking Draut’s pencils it does present a problem when trying to indentify either of those artists as an inker to Kirby pencils during this period.

Young Love #69
Young Love #69 (February 1956) “Bright Boy”, art by Bob McCarty

The other non-Kirby story from this period was “Bright Boy” by Bob McCarty. Like the one by Draut, this story was also has a February cover date suggesting that the two pieces were leftover from before the switch to all Kirby art. Previously McCarty’s art had become very similar to that done by John Prentice but here he reverts to a style more like his older one.

Young Love #70
Young Love #70 (April 1956) “A Week in Frisco”, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Bill Draut?

Much of the inking of Kirby’s pencils during this period were done by Jack himself, but not all. It is hard to be certain who were the inkers that Kirby used but there are two most probably candidates: Bill Draut and Marvin Stein. Unfortunately as we say about in the story that Draut drew himself (“He Had Only Me”) that Bill had converted to a cleaner, less blotchy brush style at least some of the time. The inking of the splash for “A Week in Frisco” shows thicker type of clothing folds that I normally associate with Draut and therefore I tentatively credit it to him.

Young Romance #81
Young Romance #81 (February 1956) “The Lady and the Truck Driver” page 3, pencils and inking by Jack Kirby

The Kirby’s Austere style of inking is characterized by an overall lighter spotting. Older techniques like picket fence crosshatching or drop strings (Inking Glossary) are used sparingly if at all. When larger dark areas are required they are made by flooding the region with ink. Page 3 from “The Lady and the Truck Driver” is a good example of Austere inking. However the real reason I choose this page is because of the delightful portrayal of the lady especially in panel 7. I just do not understand why people keep saying Kirby could not draw beautiful women!

Young Romance #82
Young Romance #82 (April 1956) “Bundle from Heaven”, pencils and inks by Jack Kirby

Actually I think I do understand why people continue to make the claim that Kirby could not draw beautiful women. In my opinion the reason is that Kirby never quite bought into what I call the Barbie look that so dominated romance art starting from the late 50’s. So many artists seem to try to draw women as attractively as possible but ended drawing females that were indistinguishable except by hair style and coloring. At least while doing romance for Prize, Kirby would try to give all the lady protagonists individual characteristics that were appropriate for whatever story he was drawing even if that meant that this might detract a little from their beauty. Sometimes Jack even managed to combine individuality and beauty as for example in “Bundle from Heaven”. Despite her haggard look would anyone doubt that the lady in the splash was anything but beautiful? Frankly I do not believe any inker other than Kirby himself would successfully achieved this nuance depiction.

While Kirby began to adopt the Austere inking style it was by no means a sudden switch. I would not hesitate to describe the above splash as Austere style inking and yet look at the man’s shirt with its picket fence crosshatching and drop string. Such holdovers from the older Studio style inking were still present but would become much more infrequent in the months to come.

Young Brides #26
Young Brides #26 (January 1956) “Love And Lamb Chops”, pencils and inks by Jack Kirby

Decisions, decisions, decisions! Lamb chops or jewelry, what is a woman to choose? Comic book stories were always meant to be a little over the top but this splash is just hilarious. But I kind of suspect that Jack knew that as well.

Young Brides #27
Young Brides #27 (March 1956) “Sad Wedding”, pencils and inks by Jack Kirby

I am really not completely certain that Jack inked the splash but I suspect so since he provided the spotting for the rest of the story. Such a simple splash is rather unusual for Jack who preferred scenes where people were prominent. Perhaps the splash appeals to me because the scene it portrays can still be found in Manhattan including my neighborhood. I am sure that had Kirby chosen to show the street level what we would see would hardly be mistaken for a more modern local but this higher viewpoint shows the architecture that has not changed much in many places. The only thing to give its age away are the clothes hanging of the lines.

Chapter 1, A New Genre (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 2, Early Artists (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 3, The Field No Longer Their’s Alone (YR #5 – #8)
Chapter 4, An Explosion of Romance (YR #9 – #12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 5, New Talent (YR #9 – 12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 6, Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 7, More Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 8, Kirby on the Range? (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 9, More Romance (YR #13 – #16, YL #5 – #6)
Chapter 10, The Peak of the Love Glut (YR #17 – #20, YL #7 – #8)
Chapter 11, After the Glut (YR #21 – #23, YL #9 – #10)
Chapter 12, A Smaller Studio (YR #24 – #26, YL #12 – #14)
Chapter 13, Romance Bottoms Out (YR #27 – #29, YL #15 – #17)
Chapter 14, The Third Suspect (YR #30 – #32, YL #18 – #20)
Chapter 15, The Action of Romance (YR #33 – #35, YL #21 – #23)
Chapter 16, Someone Old and Someone New (YR #36 – #38, YL #24 – #26)
Chapter 17, The Assistant (YR #39 – #41, YL #27 – #29)
Chapter 18, Meskin Takes Over (YR #42 – #44, YL #30 – #32)
Chapter 19, More Artists (YR #45 – #47, YL #33 – #35)
Chapter 20, Romance Still Matters (YR #48 – #50, YL #36 – #38, YB #1)
Chapter 21, Roussos Messes Up (YR #51 – #53, YL #39 – #41, YB #2 – 3)
Chapter 22, He’s the Man (YR #54 – #56, YL #42 – #44, YB #4)
Chapter 23, New Ways of Doing Things (YR #57 – #59, YL #45 – #47, YB #5 – #6)
Chapter 24, A New Artist (YR #60 – #62, YL #48 – #50, YB #7 – #8)
Chapter 25, More New Faces (YR #63 – #65, YLe #51 – #53, YB #9 – #11)
Chapter 26, Goodbye Jack (YR #66 – #68, YL #54 – #56, YB #12 – #14)
Chapter 27, The Return of Mort (YR #69 – #71, YL #57 – #59, YB #15 – #17)
Chapter 28, A Glut of Artists (YR #72 – #74, YL #60 – #62, YB #18 & #19, IL #1 & #2)
Chapter 29, Trouble Begins (YR #75 – #77, YL #63 – #65, YB #20 – #22, IL #3 – #5)
Chapter 30, Transition (YR #78 – #80, YL #66 – #68, YBs #23 – #25, IL #6, ILY #7)
Chapter 30, Appendix (YB #23)
Chapter 31, Kirby, Kirby and More Kirby (YR #81 – #82, YL #69 – #70, YB #26 – #27)
Chapter 32, The Kirby Beat Goes On (YR #83 – #84, YL #71 – #72, YB #28 – #29)
Chapter 33, End of an Era (YR #85 – #87, YL #73, YB #30, AFL #1)
Chapter 34, A New Prize Title (YR #88 – #91, AFL #2 – #5, PL #1 – #2)
Chapter 35, Settling In ( YR #92 – #94, AFL #6 – #8, PL #3 – #5)
Appendix, J.O. Is Joe Orlando
Chapter 36, More Kirby (YR #95 – #97, AFL #9 – #11, PL #6 – #8)
Chapter 37, Some Surprises (YR #98 – #100, AFL #12 – #14, PL #9 – #11)
Chapter 38, All Things Must End (YR #101 – #103, AFL #15 – #17, PL #12 – #14)

Art of Romance, Chapter 30, Transition

(July – December 1955: Young Romance #78 – #80, Young Love #66 – #68, Young Brides #23 – #25, In Love #6, I Love You #7)

Number of Romance titles 1947 - 1958
Number of Romance titles 1947 – 1958 (the period covered in this chapter is shaded in blue)

This continued to be troubling times for comic book publishers. Although the graph of the number of romance titles shows a relatively flat period, in fact the number of publishers of romance comics continued to decline (The Real Reason for the Decline of Comics). Simon and Kirby’s publishing venture (Mainline) ended in the period covered in the last chapter (Chapter 29) but they had transferred their titles to Charlton for publication. Even that did not save the Simon and Kirby titles for long. The Mainline romance title, In Love, ended at Charlton with issue #6 (July 1955).

There was an important change in the rostrum of artists supplying work for the Simon and Kirby romance comics, Jack Kirby was back providing art for the Prize love titles. During the period covered in this chapter Kirby would draw 47 pages of art followed by Joanquin Albistur (33 pages); Bill Draut (29 pages); Mort Meskin (16 pages); Bob McCarty, Ann Brewster and Marvin Stein were all tied (13 pages); Bill Benulis (7 pages); and John Prentice, Al Gordon and Lazurus (6 pages each). There were still a lot of relatively new and unidentified artists (58 pages). Kirby had returned to being the primary artists after a period of relative inactivity. However Kirby’s return came toward the end of this period but before that return the things were pretty much like it was during the last chapter.

Young Romance #78
Young Romance #78 (August 1955) “Army Nurse”, art by Joaquin Albistur

As noted above, Jo Albistur was the second most productive artists during this period. Albistur worked for Simon and Kirby for a little over a single year but during that time he was an important contributor to both Prize and Mainline titles and even appeared in Win A Prize (Charlton). However Albistur was never used for Black Magic, probably because that was not his strongest forte. Apparently Jo did a little work for another comic publisher (which I find much too dry) and appeared in Humorama as well (but too risque to be shown in this blog). Despite his short appearance, Jo Albistur is one of my favorite artist that worked for Simon and Kirby. He would last appear in Young Romance #79 (October 1955).

Young Romance #78
Young Romance #78 (August 1955) “Dream House for Two”, art by Bill Draut

Bill Draut could be described as the work horse for the Simon and Kirby studio. More than any other artists, Bill consistently produced a significant amount of art for all Simon and Kirby productions. He was also the longest running artist working for the studio having started on some features used in Stuntman and Boy Explorers titles that Joe and Jack launched after returning from military service. Draut met Joe Simon in Washington DC when both were still in the service (Bill in the Marines and Joe in the Coast Guard). It was Joe who convinced Bill to try working as a comic book artist. As far as I know the only other publisher that Draut worked for up to now was Harvey Comics. I do not know if Bill independently met Al Harvey or whether this connections was through Joe as well. Unlike the other artists in this post, we will see a little more work by Bill but not for a few chapters.

Young Love #68
Young Love #68 (December 1955) “No One To Marry”, pencils by Mort Meskin

Mort Meskin did not work for as long as Bill Draut but he certainly created more art than anyone other than Kirby and there were periods that he even out produced Jack. Mort has been a very over looked artist. This is partly because his work during the war has largely not be reprinted. Further during much of the fifties he was over shadowed by Kirby. Jack was THE best comic book artist but that does not mean all other artists are not worthy of recognition. The work that Meskin is most well know for was for DC horror titles during the late 50’s. Mort tried to adapt his art to look more like the DC studio style making that perhaps his lest artistically successful period. I intend to include in this serial post Prize romance titles not produced by Joe and Jack so we will see a little more work by Meskin. But Mort would never again work for Simon and Kirby.

Young Romance #79
Young Romance #79 (October 1955) “A Vision of Beauty”, art by John Prentice

John Prentice was the last of what I refer to as the usual suspects (along with Draut and Meskin). While he would appear in some Harvey titles that I believe were edited by Joe Simon, he also would not be used in any more Simon and Kirby productions nor in any of the other Prize romance titles. He would do a little work for DC but unlike Draut and Meskin, his later career was actually quite successful. Prentice was called upon to take over the Rip Kirby syndication strip after the untimely death of Alex Raymond. I cannot think of an artist better suited to this task. I am not saying Prentice was as good an artist as Raymond but John was so influenced by Alex that he was able to take the strip over without a too obvious style change. I am a great admirer of the work Prentice did for Joe and Jack but I believe his work on Rip Kirby was even greater. Unfortunately I doubt we will see Prentice’s Rip Kirby reprinted (at least in my life time) but I do intend to post about it someday.

Young Love #68
Young Love #68 (December 1955) “Language of Love”, art by Bob McCarty

Bob McCarty appeared often enough in Simon and Kirby productions that perhaps I should also include him in the “usual suspects. I have to admit that for sometime I credited work by McCarty from 1954 and 1955 to John Prentice. For some reason McCarty’s style changed to one more like Prentice’s at this time. This maybe nothing more than their being mutually influenced by Alex Raymond’s Rip Kirby strip. However the resemblance on occasion is so close that a more personal connection is possible.

Young Romance #79
Young Romance #79 (October 1955) “Poor Marcie”, art by Ann Brewster

This is at least the second time that Ann Brewster had worked for Joe and Jack although the first time seemed to have been limited to a single piece (Chapter 9). As far as I know she is the only female artist that ever worked for Simon and Kirby but then again there were not many women in the comic book field. Brewster’s talents was recognized by Joe and Jack because she was one of the few artists to be used for Prize romance covers. I am not sure whether this resulted in any financial gain for Ann as her covers were created from stats made from her splashes. That it was the splashes that were the source is shown by the “original” of the cover for Young Romance #79 that is part of Joe Simon’s collection.

Young Love #67
Young Love #67 (October 1955) “The Desperate Time”, art by Marvin Stein

With all the influx of new and returning artists during this last year it is surprising that it did not include more work by Marvin Stein. But Marvin does show up in a couple of stories late in 1955. Frankly I was not enthusiastic about much of Stein’s romance work although he had gotten better just before he stopped regularly providing work to Joe and Jack in 1952 (Chapter 16). Marvin returns as a much improved artist from the experience he accumulated as the lead artist for Headline and Justice Traps the Guilty (during the period when these titles were not produced by Simon and Kirby). The women that Stein would now draw were attractive and natural looking. While his drawing and inking has greatly improved Marvin still lacks the ability or inclination to depict intimacy; a serious failing in the romance genre. I am not overly enthusiastic about his romance art I find his work in the crime genre to be exceptional (I will be covering this in a future post).

In Love #6
In Love #6 (July 1955) “A Typical Teen Ager”, art by Art Gates

Art Gates has often been included in recent chapters of the Art of Romance however they were examples of his more realistic style. But I thought I would include one of his gag strips from In Love. Although as we have seen Gates did more realistic comic book art my impression is that he received more work doing gag features. But whatever the style Gates seemed to specialize in short one or two page features.

Young Love #67
Young Love #67 (October 1955) “Hazardous Honeymoon”, art by Bill Benulis

While I cannot identify a number of the studio artists from this period there are some that I believe I can and so I will include some examples. “Hazardous Honeymoon” is unsigned but I still believe it was done by Benulis. Benulis style has a more modern look compared to most artists working for the S&K studio but he did not do a lot of work for Joe and Jack.

Young Love #68
Young Love #68 (December 1955) “Echo of a Dream”, art by Harry Lazarus

I admit I might not have included “Echo of a Dream” in this chapter had it been unsigned. This is the only piece that I know of that Lazarus did for Simon and Kirby but he also did a story for Justice Traps the Guilty about the same time.

Young Brides #24
Young Brides #24 (September 1955) “Count Romance Out”, art by Al Gordon

Al Gordon is another artist who I might not have provided an example image for had he not signed the work. I do not want to give the impression that I thinks he or any of the unidentified artists are not competent it is just that in most case I cannot get to excited about them either. Gordon also do some work for Bullseye.

In Love #6
In Love #6 (July 1955) “I Deeply Regret”, art by unidentified artist

The period covered by this chapter does not seem to have much art purchased from other failing publishers. Such art picked up from failing romance titles seemed to be a significant feature of the comics covered in the previous two chapters. So far the only one I recognized for this chapter was “I Deeply Regret”. The lettering does not seemed to have been done by Ben Oda who was still the only letterer that Simon and Kirby used. That the lettering was not Oda’s is particularly obvious in the caption found in the splash. The floating captions with the unusual large first letter are also rather unique. I suspect with some searching it should be possible to identify the original source for this story.


I Love You #7 (September 1955), pencils by Jack Kirby

I wonder whether it was ever Charlton’s intention to continue to publish Simon and Kirby’s former Mainline titles? Perhaps they only wanted to pick up some finished art cheap and get the second class mailing licenses. Whatever their original plans were, Charlton replaced In Love with a new title, I Love You. Since the I Love You issue number picked up from where In Love left off it certainly was using In Love’s mailing license. There was even a cover by Jack Kirby, although not one of his best efforts. The interior art was done by different artists from those previously used by the Simon and Kirby studio. I presume they are all artists that had been working for Charlton. I Love You would become a long running Charlton romance title.

Young Brides #25
Young Brides #25 (November 1955), art by Joe Simon?

The contents of Young Brides #25 was very distinctive for reasons that I will discuss below but even the cover is rather unique. For most of the period covered in this chapter the covers were created by a small group of studio artists (Bill Draut, Mort Meskin and Ann Brewster). This was also true during the period covered in the previous two chapters except the list of artists also included John Prentice and Bob McCarty. The cover for Young Brides #25 was distinctive because it was one of two covers that clearly was not done by any of the previous cover artists. The inker for the cover included the use of picket fence crosshatching (Inking Glossary) which suggests the possibility that Jack Kirby may have been involved. Picket fence crosshatching was one of the techniques of the studio style that typically was used on Kirby’s pencils. I will not completely rule out Kirby having penciled the two figures but I am do not find them convincing examples of his drawing style either. However the dog in the background strongly reminds me of Joe Simon’s work and so I am questionably crediting this cover to him. If true this is one of the few covers that Joe did during the Simon and Kirby collaboration.

Young Brides #25
Young Brides #25 (November 1955) “Cafe Society Lover, pencils by Jack Kirby

Young Romance #79 (October 1955) included a short piece (“Problem Clinic”) by Jack Kirby. The piece itself is not all that good; perhaps spoiled by poor inking (I have questionably credited the inking to Marvin Stein). However it marked the return of Kirby to the Prize romance titles from which he has been completely absent for about a year.

Jack Kirby next appeared in Young Brides #25 (November 1955). But this issue was odd because it contained three full stories drawn by Jack; an unusually high number. These stories are all much better than his “Problem Clinic” from last month’s Young Romance #79. Perhaps this is due to a better inking job. While I cannot rule out Jack providing some touch-ups, the spotting does not appear to have been done by Kirby.

Young Romance #80
Young Romance #80 (December 1955) “Old Enough to Marry”, pencils by Jack Kirby

Young Love #68 and Young Romance #80 both came out in December 1953. YL #68 was very much the same as most of the issues discussed in this chapter; a Meskin cover and story art by Meskin, Draut, McCarty, Stein and Lazurus. YR #80 was something entirely different; not only did Jack draw the cover he also penciled every story.

A short comment about the splash for “Old Enough to Marry”. At a glance it might appear that Jack has returned to the old soliloquy splash layout where a character introduces the story with his speech balloon containing the title. But the older man’s speech is actually part of the story. Other studio artists had stopped using the story splash format. If he was aware of that, Kirby was undeterred and with good reason. Jack may not have been doing much romance art during the previous year but he certainly has not lost his touch.

I will close this chapter with a good news, bad news section. The bad news first. Simon and Kirby productions will never be the same. One of the fundamental themes of this blog is that Simon and Kirby productions are not just Jack drawing and Joe inking. What Simon and Kirby did was much, much more. They put together entire contents and the studio artists they employed played an important part in provided those comics with varied and interesting content. While we will see some of this artists again under special circumstances and different venues, the absence of so many artists from future Simon and Kirby productions begs for an explanation. I can offer two possibilities. The first is that future Simon and Kirby productions, which were all romance work, seems to have been done on the cheap. The artists used in the future were on a whole not of the same caliber as those previously used. Lower pay made working for Simon and Kirby not as attractive as it was previously. The second explanation for the missing studio artists was the sudden termination of any work for 1956. The entire comic industry was collapsing and this included the Simon and Kirby studio. I do not know precisely when the actual studio closed but I believe it had done so by the end of 1955. If not then certainly by the end of 1956 when Jack Kirby had begun doing freelance work for DC and Atlas. It must have been a shock for the studio artists that the work offered by Simon and Kirby came to a sudden end. Joe Simon has said that all the artists were paid and I believe him but I wonder if the cash flow problems may have meant that for some the payment was delayed. In any case I suspect the sudden end of it all left many of the artists with hard feelings.

Now the good news. Not only will Simon and Kirby productions will never be the same but for the next year they are going to be unlike anything that was done before. The Prize romance titles will for the most part be drawn by Kirby alone. Such all, or near all, Kirby titles have happened in the past but under special circumstances. For instance the early issues of Boys’ Ranch and Fighting American were almost entirely by Kirby. It was part of the Simon and Kirby modus operandi that Jack would dominate the initial issues of a new title. But the Prize romance titles were hardly new; Young Romance had been running for over 8 years. Such a long stretch of all Kirby comics was completely unprecedented. Not only do we get a lot of Kirby but he was in great form; Jack came back to romance work revitalized. We will even get to see numerous examples of Kirby inking his own pencils. This is more unusual than many Kirby fans think. In the past the studio provided assistants and inking was done like a production line with different hands performing different chores. when a piece is said to be inked by Kirby even in this blog what this really means is that Jack provided the finishing touches. Now that the studio was gone Jack got less assistance and he did more of the inking himself. He also developed an inking style that was quicker but still pleasing. I have previously written about this style (Jack Kirby’s Austere Inking) and happily I now will get a chance to show some more. I am sure that the next few chapters of the Art of Romance will please Kirby fans.

Chapter 1, A New Genre (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 2, Early Artists (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 3, The Field No Longer Their’s Alone (YR #5 – #8)
Chapter 4, An Explosion of Romance (YR #9 – #12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 5, New Talent (YR #9 – 12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 6, Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 7, More Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 8, Kirby on the Range? (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 9, More Romance (YR #13 – #16, YL #5 – #6)
Chapter 10, The Peak of the Love Glut (YR #17 – #20, YL #7 – #8)
Chapter 11, After the Glut (YR #21 – #23, YL #9 – #10)
Chapter 12, A Smaller Studio (YR #24 – #26, YL #12 – #14)
Chapter 13, Romance Bottoms Out (YR #27 – #29, YL #15 – #17)
Chapter 14, The Third Suspect (YR #30 – #32, YL #18 – #20)
Chapter 15, The Action of Romance (YR #33 – #35, YL #21 – #23)
Chapter 16, Someone Old and Someone New (YR #36 – #38, YL #24 – #26)
Chapter 17, The Assistant (YR #39 – #41, YL #27 – #29)
Chapter 18, Meskin Takes Over (YR #42 – #44, YL #30 – #32)
Chapter 19, More Artists (YR #45 – #47, YL #33 – #35)
Chapter 20, Romance Still Matters (YR #48 – #50, YL #36 – #38, YB #1)
Chapter 21, Roussos Messes Up (YR #51 – #53, YL #39 – #41, YB #2 – 3)
Chapter 22, He’s the Man (YR #54 – #56, YL #42 – #44, YB #4)
Chapter 23, New Ways of Doing Things (YR #57 – #59, YL #45 – #47, YB #5 – #6)
Chapter 24, A New Artist (YR #60 – #62, YL #48 – #50, YB #7 – #8)
Chapter 25, More New Faces (YR #63 – #65, YLe #51 – #53, YB #9 – #11)
Chapter 26, Goodbye Jack (YR #66 – #68, YL #54 – #56, YB #12 – #14)
Chapter 27, The Return of Mort (YR #69 – #71, YL #57 – #59, YB #15 – #17)
Chapter 28, A Glut of Artists (YR #72 – #74, YL #60 – #62, YB #18 & #19, IL #1 & #2)
Chapter 29, Trouble Begins (YR #75 – #77, YL #63 – #65, YB #20 – #22, IL #3 – #5)
Chapter 30, Transition (YR #78 – #80, YL #66 – #68, YBs #23 – #25, IL #6, ILY #7)
Chapter 30, Appendix (YB #23)
Chapter 31, Kirby, Kirby and More Kirby (YR #81 – #82, YL #69 – #70, YB #26 – #27)
Chapter 32, The Kirby Beat Goes On (YR #83 – #84, YL #71 – #72, YB #28 – #29)
Chapter 33, End of an Era (YR #85 – #87, YL #73, YB #30, AFL #1)
Chapter 34, A New Prize Title (YR #88 – #91, AFL #2 – #5, PL #1 – #2)
Chapter 35, Settling In ( YR #92 – #94, AFL #6 – #8, PL #3 – #5)
Appendix, J.O. Is Joe Orlando
Chapter 36, More Kirby (YR #95 – #97, AFL #9 – #11, PL #6 – #8)
Chapter 37, Some Surprises (YR #98 – #100, AFL #12 – #14, PL #9 – #11)
Chapter 38, All Things Must End (YR #101 – #103, AFL #15 – #17, PL #12 – #14)

Art of Romance, Chapter 29, Trouble Begins

(December 1954 – June 1955: Young Romance #75 – #77, Young Love #63 – #65, Young Brides #20 – #22, In Love #3 – #5)

Number of Romance titles 1947 - 1958
Number of Romance titles 1947 – 1958 (the period covered in this chapter is shaded in blue)

Comic book publishers were in trouble. One indication of this is the number of romance titles had reached a low point. This had happened a couple times before but previously there was a recovery, however not this time. While the number of romance titles will plateau for a while the number of romance comic publishers would continue to decline (The Real Reason for the Decline of Comics).

Simon and Kirby might not have noticed the trouble in the industry before but they could hardly miss it now. Young Romance and Young Love, two of the titles that Joe and Jack produced for Prize, had been monthlies for many years but with the December issues became bimonthlies. Something very odd happened with the February releases, there were none. Both Young Romance and Young Love should have come out that month but would only reappear in April (their next schedule date). In “The Comic Book Makers” Joe remarks on some problems that developed when the owners of Prize noticed that Simon and Kirby had recycled old art. Perhaps this is the explanation for the lost February. (So far I have not identified this reused art but this is not surprising considering the thousands of pages of romance art that Simon and Kirby produced. But there was Fighting American story from this time period that was based on an old Manhunter story (Fighting American, Jumping the Shark). In his book Joe mentions a November 1954 meeting that came about due to this problem. Add a couple of months (because comic cover dates are advanced) and that would be January very near the lost February.

Joe and Jack were also publishing their own comics but there were no lost months for their In Love. However In Love #4 (March 1955) would be the last issue Simon and Kirby would publish themselves. Their distributor, Leader News, was particularly hit by a public backlash against comics. With the failure of Leader News, Simon and Kirby would turn to Charlton to publish their titles. Charlton was notorious for their low pay scale so I suspect that whatever deal they made with Joe and Jack was not that great.

In this serial post I like to provide the line up of the artists based on their productivity. During the period covered in this chapter that would be Bill Draut (61 pages), Jo Albistur (31 pages), Bob McCarty (26 pages), Ann Brewster (25 pages), Jack Kirby (19 pages), John Prentice (11 pages), Ross Andru (12 pages), Leonard Starr (4 pages), Art Gates (3 pages) and Mort Meskin (2 pages). I will comment on most of these artists below. However this list is very incomplete as there are a number of artists that I have not been able to identify. While the individual contributions of these unidentified artists were not great, combined they provided 107 pages of art.

Young Brides #20
Young Brides #20 (December 1954) “Sinner by Night”, art by Bill Draut

Bill Draut was not only the most productive romance artists during this period he was the most important one in other ways as well. Bill did 8 of the 9 lead stories for the Prize titles. He also provided 6 covers for Prize and 1 for In Love. All these covers appear to be created by Bill specifically for the cover and were not recycled art from a story splash as recently was often the case.

Young Love #63
Young Love #63 (December 1954) “Another Love”, art by Bill Draut

Draut was a real work horse of the Simon and Kirby studio. While not as prolific as Jack Kirby or Mort Meskin, it seems Simon and Kirby could always count on Bill to provide great art. But there is something very unusual about “Another Love”. It starts out in a typical Draut manner but the following pages look different. The characters all look like they were drawn by Draut but the way the story is graphically told does not look like his.

Young Love #63
Young Love #63 (December 1954) “Another Love” page 6, pencils by unidentified artist

The last page of “Another Love” provides the answer. Panels 4 to 6 do not look like Draut’s pencil at all. It would appear that this story was drawn, or at least laid out, by another artist. Draut’s inking through most of the story helps hide this fact but either he did not ink the last page or did so with less deviation from the original pencils. Some experts have claimed that Simon and Kirby provided Draut with layouts, at least on occasion. However I have found no evidence to support that claim. This is the first example that I have seen of Draut working on art provided by another artist, although in this case it is not Kirby. Bill Draut was not a naturally prolific artist and I suspect that his recent workload caused him to turn to another artist for help. “Another Love” is the only story from this period that this seemed to be the case; all others look like Draut’s work alone.

Young Brides #22
Young Brides #22 (May 1955), art by Mort Meskin

In terms of numbers Mort Meskin’s contribution to this period was pretty meager two pages. Meskin’s period of work for Simon and Kirby is drawing to an end as he increasingly depends on working for DC. It is clear, however, that Simon and Kirby still valued Meskin’s contribution as both pages were covers.

Young Brides #20
Young Brides #20 (December 1954) “My Heart’s Torment”, art by John Prentice

John Prentice’s contribution was rather meager during this period (11 pages and no covers). Prentice was normally an active presence in Simon and Kirby’s romance comics and his contribution during the period covered by the last chapter was significant. I have no explanation for his relative absence now. “My Heart’s Torment is a rather nice story and although it may not be obvious at a glance the splash panel is actually part of the story. This format was very commonly used by all artists about a year earlier but almost completely abandoned since. Prentice seems to be the last artist who would sometime use this technique.

Young Brides #21
Young Brides #21 (March 1955) “Bad Impression”, art by Bob McCarty

In the past I have often confused Bob McCarty’s work from this period with that by John Prentice. McCarty style is much easier to distinguish in both earlier and later periods but for a while his style look liked Prentice’s. I suspect that this was due to both artists being influenced by Alex Raymond’s Rip Kirby syndication strip. The easiest way to distinguish the two is that McCarty’s men have larger eyes and faces that are not quite so long. While Bob was absent from the previous period his productivity exceeds Prentice during the current one (26 pages).

Young Love #65
Young Love #65 (June 1955) “The Wild One”, art by Jo Albistur

Jo Albistur was a recent contributor to the Simon and Kirby productions. Jo was from Argentina and would only work for Joe and Jack for about a year. He did some other comic book work but not a lot. Ger Apeldoorn has sent me scans of a cartoon that Albistur did for Humorama. I do not include it her because they are stylistically far removed from his comic book work and I prefer to keep my blog at a GP level and the Humorama pieces are decidedly rated R. While only a relatively newcomer, Albistur provided a substantial amount of art for this period (31 pages). While Albistur is not very well known he is one of my favorite romance artists.

Young Romance #77
Young Romance #77 (June 1955) “The Hangout”, art by Ann Brewster

Ann Brewster was another recent but much used artists. Some years ago she had done a little work for Simon and Kirby (Art of Romance, Chapter 9). Ann is another of my favorites and Simon and Kirby were obviously impressed by her as well. In fact she was one of the small group of artists who provided cover art for the Prize romance comics while Kirby was busy taking care of business (the other cover artists were Bill Draut, Mort Meskin, John Prentice and Bob McCarty). However Brewster’s covers art was not originally created for that purpose but rather derived from the splash from her story art. Simon and Kirby had converted splash art into covers before. It is the sort of thing Joe Simon would do in the future so I suspect he rather than Jack was behind these efforts.

Young Romance #75
Young Romance #75 (December 1954) “Too Wise to fall in Love”, art by Art Gates

Art Gates has returned to providing only single page pieces and not many of them either (3 pages). But such single page works seemed to have been a specialty of Gates. Art could provide either cartoons or more realistic art but there seemed no place for his gag cartoons in the Simon and Kirby romance comics.

Young Romance #75
Young Romance #75 (December 1954) “Too Plain for Love”, pencils by Ross Andru

There are two stories (12 pages) by Ross Andru during this period. As I mentioned in the last chapter, these stories by Andru were almost certainly obtained from left over work when Mikeross publishing failed (the publishing company owned by Mike Esposito and Andru Ross). “Too Plain for Love” was converted into a Nancy Hale story but it is not clear if there were any modifications beyond the title added to the top of the splash page. The story is very unusual in have the captions written in a cursive script.

Young Love #63
Young Love #63 (December 1954) “College Romeo”, art by unidentified artist and Ross Andru

The lady in the splash in “College Romeo” also appears to be drawn by Ross Andru. The rest of the art, however, was clearly done by another, less talented, artist. I suspect this is another worked picked up from the failed Mikeross publishing. The panel layout for the splash page is the same as that used by the stories that were completely done by Andru but this is not too significant because this was a commonly used formula.

Young Love #63
Young Love #63 (December 1954) “Lovely Liar”, art by unidentified artist

As I mentioned at the start of this post, there were quite a few artists working for Simon and Kirby during this period that I have not been able to identify. I will not be discussing them all but I thought I would provide a few examples.

Young Romance #75
Young Romance #75 (December 1954) “Personal “Secretary”, art by unidentified artist

The artist for “Personal Secretary” might have been the same one who did the previous example, “Lovely Liar”.

Young Romance #75
Young Romance #75 (December 1954) “Light of Love”, art by unidentified artist

The woman in the splash panel of “Light of Love” was done in a style somewhat like that of Ross Andru. I am not, however, convinced that Andru actually worked on this piece and it maybe nothing more then the actual penciler being influenced by Andru. Note the panel layout common to this page and the two previous examples. While a vertical splash panel is not that unusual in Simon and Kirby productions, that combined with tall narrow story panels is. Nor is this format found in any of the stories drawn by Ross Andru. I am sure that these pieces were picked up from a failed comic book title but perhaps from a publisher other than Mikeross.

Young Brides #20
Young Brides #20 (December 1954) “My Darkest Hour”, art by unidentified artist

Parts of “My Darkest Hour” remind me of the work of Bob Powell but not enough to convince me he actually drew the piece. I remember it has been said that he employed artists to help with his work load. Perhaps this is a case of a studio hand producing a Powell imitation. Note the rather nice touch of placing the story title in the theater marquee.

In Love #5
In Love #5 (May 1955) “New Flame”, art by unidentified artist

Artists new to Simon and Kirby romance productions were not limited to the Prize titles but appeared in their own In Love as well. The first three issues of In Love included a very long story that left room only for a single backup story and some single page pieces. However use of a long story was dropped with In Love #4. This allowed for a greater number of artists to appear. Some of the artists such as Bill Draut, Bob McCarty and Art Gates appeared in the Prize titles as well. One artist, Leonard Starr, had worked for Simon and Kirby in the past but only infrequently in recent times. And yes there are artists that I have not yet identified.

Each publisher tended to have his own house style. While “New Flame” is not too different from the typical Simon and Kirby story it reminds me much more of work that appeared in the Harvey romance comics. In fact the use of lower case letters in captions was typical of one of the letters employed by Harvey. The use by Simon and Kirby of art that originally was meant for Harvey occurred previously (Art of Romance, Chapter 13) but that was during the romance glut. During the glut Harvey cancelled some romance titles and put other on hold. Therefore it seems reasonable that Harvey might have wanted to unload some of his art. But while Harvey probably suffered decreased sales during this period, I do not believe he cancelled any titles. So was this really Harvey art? And if so, how did Simon and Kirby get a hold of it?

In Love #3
In Love #3 (January 1955) “Search for Inspiration” (original art), pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Simon

I have previously written on Jack Kirby’s contribution to In Love #3 (In Love #3 and Artist Loves Model). While Kirby’s piece for In Love #3 was a long one most of it was recycled art from a failed syndication attempt. This relative absence of Kirby from even his and Joe’s Mainline comics suggests that Jack was more involved in business matters then he previously had been.

In Love #5
In Love #5 (May 1955), art by Jack Kirby

As mentioned earlier, Simon and Kirby’s own publishing company, Mainline, failed due to financial difficulties that the distributor Leader News encountered during a public backlash at comic books. Joe and Jack made a deal with Charlton comic to publish the Mainline titles including In Love. The fifth issue was the first Charlton published one and it featured a beautiful Kirby drawn and inked cover. The original art still exists but has the title Exciting Romances. Apparently Simon and Kirby were using it as portfolio piece to show perspective publishers.

If nothing else it makes a nice end to a chapter for a period with very little Kirby art.

Chapter 1, A New Genre (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 2, Early Artists (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 3, The Field No Longer Their’s Alone (YR #5 – #8)
Chapter 4, An Explosion of Romance (YR #9 – #12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 5, New Talent (YR #9 – 12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 6, Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 7, More Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 8, Kirby on the Range? (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 9, More Romance (YR #13 – #16, YL #5 – #6)
Chapter 10, The Peak of the Love Glut (YR #17 – #20, YL #7 – #8)
Chapter 11, After the Glut (YR #21 – #23, YL #9 – #10)
Chapter 12, A Smaller Studio (YR #24 – #26, YL #12 – #14)
Chapter 13, Romance Bottoms Out (YR #27 – #29, YL #15 – #17)
Chapter 14, The Third Suspect (YR #30 – #32, YL #18 – #20)
Chapter 15, The Action of Romance (YR #33 – #35, YL #21 – #23)
Chapter 16, Someone Old and Someone New (YR #36 – #38, YL #24 – #26)
Chapter 17, The Assistant (YR #39 – #41, YL #27 – #29)
Chapter 18, Meskin Takes Over (YR #42 – #44, YL #30 – #32)
Chapter 19, More Artists (YR #45 – #47, YL #33 – #35)
Chapter 20, Romance Still Matters (YR #48 – #50, YL #36 – #38, YB #1)
Chapter 21, Roussos Messes Up (YR #51 – #53, YL #39 – #41, YB #2 – 3)
Chapter 22, He’s the Man (YR #54 – #56, YL #42 – #44, YB #4)
Chapter 23, New Ways of Doing Things (YR #57 – #59, YL #45 – #47, YB #5 – #6)
Chapter 24, A New Artist (YR #60 – #62, YL #48 – #50, YB #7 – #8)
Chapter 25, More New Faces (YR #63 – #65, YLe #51 – #53, YB #9 – #11)
Chapter 26, Goodbye Jack (YR #66 – #68, YL #54 – #56, YB #12 – #14)
Chapter 27, The Return of Mort (YR #69 – #71, YL #57 – #59, YB #15 – #17)
Chapter 28, A Glut of Artists (YR #72 – #74, YL #60 – #62, YB #18 & #19, IL #1 & #2)
Chapter 29, Trouble Begins (YR #75 – #77, YL #63 – #65, YB #20 – #22, IL #3 – #5)
Chapter 30, Transition (YR #78 – #80, YL #66 – #68, YBs #23 – #25, IL #6, ILY #7)
Chapter 30, Appendix (YB #23)
Chapter 31, Kirby, Kirby and More Kirby (YR #81 – #82, YL #69 – #70, YB #26 – #27)
Chapter 32, The Kirby Beat Goes On (YR #83 – #84, YL #71 – #72, YB #28 – #29)
Chapter 33, End of an Era (YR #85 – #87, YL #73, YB #30, AFL #1)
Chapter 34, A New Prize Title (YR #88 – #91, AFL #2 – #5, PL #1 – #2)
Chapter 35, Settling In ( YR #92 – #94, AFL #6 – #8, PL #3 – #5)
Appendix, J.O. Is Joe Orlando
Chapter 36, More Kirby (YR #95 – #97, AFL #9 – #11, PL #6 – #8)
Chapter 37, Some Surprises (YR #98 – #100, AFL #12 – #14, PL #9 – #11)
Chapter 38, All Things Must End (YR #101 – #103, AFL #15 – #17, PL #12 – #14)

Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 10, A Special Visitor

(November 1953 – March 1954, Black Magic #27 – #29)

In the previous chapter Black Magic went on a bimonthly schedule (with issue #25, July 1953). The three issues I am covering in this chapter fall onto the same period as chapters 25 and 26 of The Art of Romance (but not chapter 27). Just like what was seen in the romance titles, Black Magic story format switched to using either splash-less stories or splashes that were actually part of the story.

Jack Kirby is the most prolific artist during this period; providing a total of 24 pages (including the covers). The second place is taken by a new comer, Steve Ditko (17 pages). The third place was taken by Bob McCarty (15 pages) with Al Eadeh and Bill Benulis (each doing a single 5 pages story). There are also some single page and one double page feature done by an unidentified artist, probably a studio assistant.

Ditko’s appearance in the Simon and Kirby studio was particularly timely because he was on hand to help with the inking of Captain 3D (December 1953). But Steve’s presence in Simon and Kirby productions was short lived as these three issues are the only ones from this run that he worked on. Most of the artists employed by Simon and Kirby were given assignments in all the genre but Ditko was one of the exceptions as he did not do any of the much more abundant romance work. I do not know who made the decision to limit Ditko to the Black Magic title but it was probably a good one. Frankly the only romance work that I have seen by Ditko suggests that romance simply was not his forte.

One of the surprising aspects of issues cover in this chapter concerns the artists that do not appear. Bill Draut was a prolific artist for the romance titles but did not provide a single piece for Black Magic at this time. Mort Meskin complete absence is a little less surprising since he during the early part of this period he did not appear that much in the romance titles. However that changed during the later part of this period and so I would normally expect something by him to show up here. John Prentice also did no Black Magic work despite providing a lot of romance art. However Prentice appears to be an exception to the studio artists in that he always seemed to do much more romance work than horror. This biased use of Prentice is highlighted by the contrast provided by Bob McCarty. Prentice and McCarty were both doing a similar amount of romance art but only McCarty made an appearance in Black Magic.

Black Magic #28
Black Magic #28 (January 1954) “Alive after Five Thousand Years”, art by Jack Kirby

As discussed in the introduction, Black Magic stories had become either splash-less or with a splash that was actually part of the story. Here Kirby has technically adhered to the second format since the next panel clearly is an advance of what is presented in the splash. However by eliminating the use of any speech balloons, the splash became more like a traditional splash. This technique was simple but rather effective that I wonder why it was not used more often.

Lately I have not been discussing the inking of Kirby’s stories because other projects that I am involved in simply do not leave me the time to adequately research inking attributions. But when I reviewed this story my initial reactions was the splash was inked by Kirby himself. However on further reflection I thought the spotting to be overly methodical. Kirby’s own inking usually has a very spontaneous nature of an artist with a clear mental image of what he is trying to create and complete mastery of the tools (in this case the inking brush) to create it.

Black Magic #27
Black Magic #27 (November 1953) “The Merry Ghosts of Campbell Castle”, art by Jack Kirby

The inking of Kirby’s pencils during the Simon and Kirby period was like a production line with different artists. Nonetheless a particular inker could impart such an effect on the art that in effect he can be called the primary inker. The best of these inkers were, in my opinion, Jack himself, Joe Simon and Mort Meskin. There were other artists who gave the inking their own unique look but frankly they were not just nearly as good. The inking of “The Merry Ghosts of Campbell Castle” is one that shows a distinct hand; only in this case a very talented one. Brush techniques characteristic of what I call the Studio Inking were used but they do not appear to be done in quite the same manner as Kirby, Simon or Meskin might have used. The picket fence crosshatching on the curtain in the splash for example does not seem to have the spontaneity of Kirby, the roughness of Simon or the tight control of Meskin. There is other brush work that seems rather unique such as the inking on the stonework in the splash. I have not made a detailed comparison but it is possible that this is the same inker that worked on “Alive after Five Thousand Years”. In any case he was a talented inker; I just wish I had some idea who he might have been.

Black Magic #28
Black Magic #28 (January 1954) “Buried Alive”, art by Steve Ditko

The work Steve Ditko did for the Simon and Kirby was from the very start of his career. There are a few earlier pieces he did for other publishers but not many. Even so it is not hard to see his distinct hand in part of these pieces. Perhaps less so with the first page of “Buried Alive” but that page does show Steve already had a strong sense of how to graphically tell a story. The shifting view points are all very effective. Still there are aspects of his art that can be considered primitive compared to what Ditko would do in the future.

Should the first panel be called a splash? Frankly the distinction between a splash-less story and a story splash is pretty arbitrary in some cases. What is important is that the story starts right away without a tradition splash that served as a preview of the story.

Black Magic #27
Black Magic #27 (November 1953) “Don’t Call on the Dead”, art by Bob McCarty

I have remarked how similar the art of Bob McCarty and John Prentice had become in the Art of Romance serial posts. Oddly this similarity does not extend to the work McCarty did for Black Magic. It is as if McCarty is purposely adjusting his style to the genre he is working on; something he had not done in the past. Do not misunderstand me the work in the Prize romance titles and Black Magic were clearly done by the same artist but for the love titles McCarty more strongly emulates Alex Raymond (and therefore more closely resembles Prentice) and for Black Magic retains more aspects of his earlier art.

Black Magic #28
Black Magic #28 (January 1954) “Miss Fancher’s Living Death”, art by Al Eadeh

Al Eadeh’s art appears in Black Magic later then he does in the romance titles. The last romance work by Eadeh was in Young Romance #65 (January 1954) but Al appears in Black Magic #29 (March). I will return to this question in the next chapter of the Little Shop of Horrors.

Black Magic #28
Black Magic #28 (January 1954) “Screaming Doll”, art by Bill Benulis

Ben Benulis seems to have made a very brief stop at the Simon and Kirby studio. He only did three pieces (at least during this period) and they all appeared in January 1954. His romance work was the most interesting but “Screaming Doll” is still a nice piece of work.

The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 1 (#1 – 3), Expanding Their Fields
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 2 (#4 – 6), Up and Running
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 3 (#7 – 8), The Same Old Gang
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 4 (#9 – 11), Another Hit
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 5 (#12 – 14), New Faces
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 6 (#15 – 17), Mix Bag
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 7 (#18 – 20), Kirby Returns
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 8 (#21 – 23), The Gang’s All Here
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 9 (#24 – 26), The Party’s Ovetr
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 10 (#27 – 29), A Special Visitor

Art of Romance, Chapter 27, The Return of Mort

(May 1954 – July 1954: Young Romance #69 – #71, Young Love #57 – #59, Young Brides #15 – #17)

Simon and Kirby had done more than well with romance, they had done great. Their deal with Prize entitled Joe and Jack to a share in the profits. While it is true that they had to pay all the expenses that were required to produce the art, the sales of the romance titles was high enough that Simon and Kirby made a lot of money. Much more than anything else they had produced. But this was going to change and the first signs of that change started now.

Young Brides was the third title of what for all practical purposes had the same format as the other two titles. Even so the title had been selling well enough that it went on a monthly release schedule with the October 1953 issue. However sales apparently did not remain high and Young Brides returned to a bimonthly schedule with the July issue.

Number of Romance Titles 1947 - 1958
Number of Romance Titles 1947 – 1958 (the period covered in this chapter is shaded in blue)

Was schedule change for Young Brides just a sign that the Prize romance titles had reached the limit of what the market would bare? Perhaps, but it was also possible that Young Brides was just caught up in a bigger market change for comics in general. I have increased the period covered in the chart of the number of romance titles that I include in each chapter. I did this to provide a better perspective on what was occurring. June 1954 marked a local high in the number of romance titles published. There had been two previous peaks followed by recoveries but this time there would be no recovery. What was to come was actually a bit worse that the chart suggests. The chart shows a plateau of about 50 titles was reached by January 1955. However underlying that plateau was a steady decline in the number publishers doing romance comics. The chart also shows that a new plateau was reached at January 1957. But the number of romance titles at this time was inflated by Charlton’s desire to keep their presses running. For a more complete description of these events please see my post “The Real Reason for the Decline of Comics“. History had begun to catch up with Simon and Kirby.

I mentioned in my last chapter that I thought the story format may have been changing. Well I can verify that. Typically comic features started with a splash that served as a preview of the story. For the previous year Prize romance features started with a splash that was actually part of the story line, either that or no splash at all. Now the Prize romance titles return the splash to its traditional function. The format switch is not complete as some features continue to use the story splash or are splash-less.

However it is not a complete return to the earlier format. During the earlier years of Simon and Kirby romance productions at least some of the stories would have a full page splash but such large splashes remain absent as they did during the previous year. During the earlier years some features, and in particular the lead story, would have a splash where a protagonist would introduce the story and the word balloon would include the feature’s title. I call that format a soliloquy splash. The disappeared during the previous year and do not return.

In the comments to the last chapter, Bob Cosgrove pointed out that the logo for Young Love changed with issue #56 (April 1954). I totally missed that fact but Bob is correct. The new, more modern looking, logo would remain on Young Love for some time. The logos for Young Romance and Young Brides however would remain unchanged.

As I mentioned in the last chapter, this is a period where Jack Kirby does not appear in any of the Prize romance comics. I suspect that means I have lost 90% of my readers. But don’t loose heart fans, Jack will be back in the next chapter (just not in Prize romances). As I mentioned before, even though Kirby art does not appear in these romance comics that does not mean they are now longer Simon and Kirby productions. The lead story is clearly marked as such and the same artists appear. Also Joe Simon’s collection still contains some cover proofs. One of them is the cover for Young Brides #16 (June), only it is not the one eventually published there but instead was published as Young Love #57 (May). Another proof shows that the cover that was actually published as Young Brides #16 (June) was first considered for Young Brides #15 (May).

In prior chapter Kirby’s absence was taken up by John Prentice and Bob McCarty. While those artists remain important contributors to the romance titles the number one spot is taken by Mort Meskin. This is a surprising turn as Mort had been a minor player for a little over a year. However cover art was still dominated by Prentice (4 covers) and McCarty (3 covers) with Meskin and Draut only contributing a cover each. The line up for this chapter is Meskin (57 pages), McCarty (38 pages), Prentice (34 pages), unidentified artist A (34 pages), unidentified artist B (24 pages), Draut (19 pages), unidentified artist C (12 pages) and Gates (8 pages). Note the significant presence of three unidentified artist. After a period where most of the work was done by the same set of artists (Kirby, Draut, Meskin, Prentice, McCarty and Eadeh), the studio now enters a time where new faces appear. However the artists working on the Prize romance titles are still different from those used in Prize Comics Western, Headline and Justice Traps the Guilty (titles not produced by Simon and Kirby at this time).

Young Brides #15
Young Brides #15 (May 1954), art by Bob McCarty

One of the big dividends of my reviewing the all the romance titles in sequence is I now realize that some of the work that I previously attributed to John Prentice was actually done by Bob McCarty. At this point in time they have similar art styles both being heavily influenced by Alex Raymond. They generally can most easily be distinguished by their different manners of drawing eyes on men; McCarty are larger and more open and Prentice smaller and almost beady eyed. This attribution technique works well with stories but is more problematical with covers. The cover for Young Brides #15 is an example where this attribution technique is just not helpful.

Young Brides #15
Young Brides #15 (May 1954) “Dancing Doll”, art by Bob McCarty

Fortunately for the cover for Young Brides #15 is based on first story panel for “Dancing Doll” which includes pages that obviously were done by Bob McCarty. The cover and story panel are not just similar they are so close that without doubt one is based on a stat taken from the other. I believe it is the cover that was based on a stat of the splash because that was the technique used by another example that will be discussed in a future chapter. However it is not simply of using a stat because both the cover and the splash include art that does not appear on the other. This is the earliest use of stats in a Simon and Kirby production that I have found. There will be more and all cases involve the cover.

Young Romance #70
Young Romance #70 (June 1954), art by Bill Draut

I mentioned above that Bill Draut did a single cover during this period (Young Romance #70). But there is a catch in that this is another case of a cover being based on a stat of the splash of the story “Gotta Get Married”.

Bill Draut is a relatively minor player in the romance titles during this period. This may be due to the same reason as Jack Kirby’s absence as Draut played an important hand in one of the Mainline titles that will soon appear.

Young Love #58
Young Love #58 (June 1954) “Perfect Lady”, art by John Prentice

I cannot resist the artist and model theme, and apparently neither could Simon and Kirby. John would do the cover for Young Love #58 based on the “Perfect Lady” as well. For interior he uses the borderless splash that I find so effective.

Young Romance #71
Young Romance #71 (July 1954) “Beauty Loves the Beast”, art by Bob McCarty

The “Beauty Loves the Beast” provides a good example of McCarty’s art during this period. Note the larger eyes of the man in the last panel. But also observe how similar the women are to those drawn by John Prentice. They are not identical but are close enough to make distinguishing the two artists difficult.

Young Brides #15
Young Brides #15 (May 1954) “Lavender and Old Lies”, art by Bob McCarty

The first page of “Lavender and Old Lies” is not as good example of McCarty’s art as “Beauty Loves the Beast”. However I could not resist a splash with so much skin. Woman in swimsuits do appear in these romance comics from time to time but it is unusual for a man to be so prominently displayed.

Young Romance #71
Young Romance #71 (July 1954) “Forsaking All Others” page 2, art by Mort Meskin

Not surprisingly Mort Meskin does some nice work but I wanted to show the inking found in some of this work. Note the fine crosshatching on the faces in panel 3, 5 and 7. While Meskin’s inking technique includes crosshatching it usually is not so fine. I suspect that some of these stories were inked by another artist.

Young Romance #69
Young Romance #69 (May 1954) “Added Attraction”, art by unidentified artist

As I mentioned above there are some unidentified artists found during this period. Such unknown artists had appeared during previous periods but usually not so prominently. One of the unidentified artists not only tied John Prentice for third place but also did the lead story for Young Romance #69, “Added Attraction”. Whoever this artist is he has a more modern style than most of the other studio artists.

Young Romance #69
Young Romance #69 (May 1954) “I’ll Never Let You Go”, art by unidentified artist

The second unknown artist is not as talented as the one discussed above but he does have his dramatic moments. He has a manner of providing his men with unusual eyebrows. The eyebrows give his men a somewhat puzzled look.

Young Love #59
Young Love #59 (June 1954) “Little Cheat”, art by unidentified artist

The third unknown artist is no where near as talented as the other two. I might have skipped him in this post altogether except look at the splash from “Little Cheat”. The splash, and in particular the woman, look like something Kirby might do. In cases like this it is hard to be sure what is going on. Only the splash looks so Kirby-like. I believe this is a case of someone swiping Kirby and not someone working from a Kirby layout of the splash. But it is hard to be certain.

Young Brides #17
Young Brides #17 (July 1954) “Every Man for Herself”, art by Art Gates

Art Gates generally provides single page features but “Every Man for Herself” but is longer but at three pages not by much. Gates was an unusual artist in that he did both cartoon-like gag features and more realistic work.

Chapter 1, A New Genre (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 2, Early Artists (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 3, The Field No Longer Their’s Alone (YR #5 – #8)
Chapter 4, An Explosion of Romance (YR #9 – #12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 5, New Talent (YR #9 – 12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 6, Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 7, More Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 8, Kirby on the Range? (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 9, More Romance (YR #13 – #16, YL #5 – #6)
Chapter 10, The Peak of the Love Glut (YR #17 – #20, YL #7 – #8)
Chapter 11, After the Glut (YR #21 – #23, YL #9 – #10)
Chapter 12, A Smaller Studio (YR #24 – #26, YL #12 – #14)
Chapter 13, Romance Bottoms Out (YR #27 – #29, YL #15 – #17)
Chapter 14, The Third Suspect (YR #30 – #32, YL #18 – #20)
Chapter 15, The Action of Romance (YR #33 – #35, YL #21 – #23)
Chapter 16, Someone Old and Someone New (YR #36 – #38, YL #24 – #26)
Chapter 17, The Assistant (YR #39 – #41, YL #27 – #29)
Chapter 18, Meskin Takes Over (YR #42 – #44, YL #30 – #32)
Chapter 19, More Artists (YR #45 – #47, YL #33 – #35)
Chapter 20, Romance Still Matters (YR #48 – #50, YL #36 – #38, YB #1)
Chapter 21, Roussos Messes Up (YR #51 – #53, YL #39 – #41, YB #2 – 3)
Chapter 22, He’s the Man (YR #54 – #56, YL #42 – #44, YB #4)
Chapter 23, New Ways of Doing Things (YR #57 – #59, YL #45 – #47, YB #5 – #6)
Chapter 24, A New Artist (YR #60 – #62, YL #48 – #50, YB #7 – #8)
Chapter 25, More New Faces (YR #63 – #65, YLe #51 – #53, YB #9 – #11)
Chapter 26, Goodbye Jack (YR #66 – #68, YL #54 – #56, YB #12 – #14)
Chapter 27, The Return of Mort (YR #69 – #71, YL #57 – #59, YB #15 – #17)
Chapter 28, A Glut of Artists (YR #72 – #74, YL #60 – #62, YB #18 & #19, IL #1 & #2)
Chapter 29, Trouble Begins (YR #75 – #77, YL #63 – #65, YB #20 – #22, IL #3 – #5)
Chapter 30, Transition (YR #78 – #80, YL #66 – #68, YBs #23 – #25, IL #6, ILY #7)
Chapter 30, Appendix (YB #23)
Chapter 31, Kirby, Kirby and More Kirby (YR #81 – #82, YL #69 – #70, YB #26 – #27)
Chapter 32, The Kirby Beat Goes On (YR #83 – #84, YL #71 – #72, YB #28 – #29)
Chapter 33, End of an Era (YR #85 – #87, YL #73, YB #30, AFL #1)
Chapter 34, A New Prize Title (YR #88 – #91, AFL #2 – #5, PL #1 – #2)
Chapter 35, Settling In ( YR #92 – #94, AFL #6 – #8, PL #3 – #5)
Appendix, J.O. Is Joe Orlando
Chapter 36, More Kirby (YR #95 – #97, AFL #9 – #11, PL #6 – #8)
Chapter 37, Some Surprises (YR #98 – #100, AFL #12 – #14, PL #9 – #11)
Chapter 38, All Things Must End (YR #101 – #103, AFL #15 – #17, PL #12 – #14)

Art of Romance, Chapter 26, Goodbye Jack

(February 1954 – April 1954: Young Romance #66 – #68, Young Love #54 – #56, Young Brides #12 – #14)

Number of Romance Titles 1947 - 1954
Number of Romance Titles 1947 – 1954 (the period covered in this chapter is shaded in blue)

Simon and Kirby started using photographic covers for their romance comics in April 1949. There were short periods when they reverted back to graphic covers but beginning in May 1951 for Young Romance and July 1951 for Young Love all the romance covers used photographs. Now after three years they suddenly switched back to drawn covers; Young Brides #13 (March 1954) would be their last photographic cover. Why the switch? Unfortunately I do not have a clue.

An even bigger surprise was that Jack Kirby would not draw any of these romance covers. Up to this point there was only one comic produced by Simon and Kirby with a cover drawn by another artist (My Date #4, September 1947, drawn by Mort Meskin and Jerry Robinson). Other artists will be provided covers for the Prize romances for some time. The artists that appeared on the covers were the same ones that dominated the interiors; for the most part that would be Bill Draut, Mort Meskin and John Prentice.

For approximately the last year Kirby was producing much more of the Prize romance art then any other artist. That was not particularly surprising because that was typical for the Simon and Kirby studio. However there had been a period when Mort Meskin produced most of the love art. Now once again Kirby’s output dropped. The line up for the period covered in this chapter is Bob McCarty (50 pages), John Prentice (49 pages), Bill Draut (44 pages), Mort Meskin (37 pages) and Jack Kirby (25 pages) with some very minor contributions by some other artists. Not only was there a dramatic drop in Kirby contribution he did not appear in any of the April issues and would not again for some time to come.

A Simon and Kirby production without Kirby art is a rare thing. A run of Simon and Kirby comics without Kirby was simply unprecedented. And make no mistake these are Simon and Kirby comics. As we will see the same artist will provide work for these Kirby-lacking issues that had been used previously. Further the first interior page would continue to use the cartouche declaring it “A Simon and Kirby Production”. While I do not have an explanation for the switch to photographic covers, I do believe I can provide a good reason for Kirby’s absence. Simon and Kirby would launch a new Prize title Fighting American in April (cover date). Even more significant the first Mainline comic, Bullseye, would appear in July. With Mainline Simon and Kirby would become publishers themselves. Most of the Fighting American art was drawn by Jack but he his contributions to the Mainline titles (Bullseye, In Love, Police Trap and Foxhole) would be relatively low. Many people believe that Kirby did the art while Simon handled the business but the reality is that both Jack and Joe did whatever had to be done to get the comics out. I am sure some of these more mundane but essential business needs kept Kirby from the drawing board.

One thing that did not change about the Prize romance titles was the story format. With just a couple exceptions the features start with a story splash (a splash that is actually part of the story) or no splash at all. Full page splashes continue to be missing.

Young Brides #12
Young Brides #12 (February 1954) “Big Baby”, art by Jack Kirby

I thought I would present Kirby’s farewell (at least for now) from the Prize romance comics with a bang. Jack always had a tendency to introduce action into his romance stories. Kirby is also famous for his fights were everything goes flying. Well this is not fight but the only things not rushing through the air are the irate husband and his frightened wife. One of the things that attract me to Simon and Kirby romance comics, besides the great art, is how well they reflect the times. It is a view of 50’s culture as if it was an ant stuck in a piece of amber. The husband’s uncontrolled temper is portrayed as the title says, a “Big Baby”. But today he would just be considered (quite rightly) as abusive. However Simon and Kirby were well aware of the danger in the husbands rage as he learns his lesson when his temper turns on some pet birds. The wife says “these were only birds, tomorrow it might be human beings”.

Note the odd panel shape that Kirby uses for the splash. At this time it was actually one that he preferred but not often used by the other studio artists. The upper right corner might be a “dead zone” but Jack manages to create a diagonal in the lower portion of the splash that connects it to the right side. The second panel hardly seems to intrude at all.


Young Love #55 (March 1954) “Love War”, art by Jack Kirby

Another action splash by Jack Kirby. Note the same odd panel shape although this time Kirby did not successfully connect the upper right with the rest of the image. This is also one of the few true splashes from the period covered by this chapter. The fight scene does not lead into the story but serves the more tradition purpose of providing a preview. And what an unusual story this is. Usually when Jack inserts violence into a romance story it is the men who fight but in “Love War” we get lots of female on female violence.


Young Love #55 (March 1954), art by John Prentice

As mentioned above, the cover art was not provided by Kirby. Of the five drawn covers from March and April three of them illustrated a story from the interior. For the Young Love #55 cover John Prentice’s drawing is based on the story that Kirby did, “Love War”. Simon and Kirby always kept the more controversial images inside and this is no exceptions. Still Prentice makes it quite clear where his scene is heading for. As the man says “this party’s getting rough”.

Young Love #56
Young Love #56 (April 1954), art by Mort Meskin

One of the covers (Young Romance #67) is unrelated to any story within. The same could be said for Meskin’s cover for Young Love #56. It is clear that was not the original intent as the depicted scene clearly relates to the title provided in the caption, “Two Sisters, One Man”. However a story with that title not only does not appear inside it would never be published by Simon and Kirby. Further none of the April issues had a story involving a sibling love triangle. Whatever happened to “Two Sisters, One Man”?

Young Brides #14
Young Brides #14 (April 1954) “Faithless”, art by Mort Meskin

Don’t get me wrong, I like Meskin’s romance work. But I do regret that Mort never did any more action packed stories like those he drew during the war, features like the Vigilante and Johnny Quick. It is not much of a splash, perhaps it should not be called a splash at all, but it shows that the old Mort still had what it took to do action. Just a couple of running kids but probably better then anybody actually doing superheroes at this time except, of course, for Jack Kirby.

Young Love #56
Young Love #56 (April 1954) “Lola’s Other Life”, art by Mort Meskin

For various reasons I guess I am going to provide a bit more of Meskin’s work then usual but he is such a great artist anyway. The story’s protagonist, Lola, lives a double life which Meskin highlights with his splash. Remember this is a period where most features start with a story splash so this was a bit of a deviation.

Young Love #56
Young Love #56 (April 1954) “Lola’s Other Life”
left panel from page 2,
right panel from page 3, art by Mort Meskin

While the splash is interesting in itself, but the real reason I want to post about this story is that Mort repeats the splash posses in the story as well. Can an artist be said to swipe from himself? But look closely at the positions of things like the arms and the reader will see that these are in fact redrawn and not just stats. While the use of stats would be common in work that Joe Simon did years later, I have not been able to find any examples from the Simon and Kirby collaboration up to this point in time. Stats were added expense and had to be sent out of the studio to be made. It was easier and quicker to just draw the art. The one important exception was the stats used for cover titles. Even then the stats were generally removed from old cover art and recycled onto new ones.

Young Romance #68
Young Romance #68 (April 1954) “The Man I Couldn’t Have”, art by Mort Meskin

Another great Meskin splash but note that here he uses the same inverted ‘L’ shaped splash that Kirby prefers. Unfortunately he does not really pull it off since the upper right corner does not visually connect with the rest of the splash. Probably the only reason Mort used this panel shape was the room it provided for the speech balloons.

Young Romance #68
Young Romance #68 (April 1954) “The Man I Couldn’t Have” page 4, pencils by Mort Meskin

The first two pages of “The Man I Couldn’t Have” looked like they were inked by Meskin himself. But not the rest of the story. I have no idea who this inker is but his inking certainly has given Meskin’s pencils a rather unique look. While I prefer Meskin’s own inking, this unknown inker is rather interesting and much better then George Roussos inks. Page 3 has a more intermediate look to the inking. I think this was done on purpose to make the switch in�distinct styles less jarring to the reader.

Young Romance #66
Young Romance #66 (February 1954) “Fools Rush In”, art by Bill Draut

While “Fools Rush In” has story splash so prevalent in the more recent Prize romance comics, Draut was able to provide a more standard size splash. While I find the story splashes and splash-less stories interesting, I must admit to missing the more traditional splashes. There seem to be more deviations to the type of splashes used during the period covered in this chapter. Perhaps this is a hint that Simon and Kirby are moving away from their more recent approach.

Young Romance #68
Young Romance #68 (April 1954) “High Class Trash”, art by John Prentice

Even Prentice gets a chance to provide a tradition splash. Recently he had been mainly doing splash-less stories. This is another of the borderless splashes that John did from time to time. It is a simple device but I think it gives his art a special touch.

Young Brides #13
Young Brides #13 (March 1954) “Little Coquette”, art by Bob McCarty

Bob McCarty gets a chance to provide some action in his splash. McCarty’s art provide an interesting and effective fight scene. Not the way Kirby would have done it but I think it is rather successful.

Bob supplies cover art for Young Romance #68 which is based on the “High Class Trash” story that Prentice did for that issue. This would be one of the few exceptions of a Prize romance cover done from this period by an artist other then Draut, Meskin or Prentice.

Young Love #54
Young Love #54 (February 1954) “Kisses For a Stranger”, art by Vic Donahue?

There are a few stories done by other artists most of which I cannot identify. I think I can attribute “Kisses for a Stranger” to Vic Donahue. Donahue last appeared in Young Love #13 (September 1950) so he has been missing for some time. While this does look like Donahue’s work it seems a rather poor piece of art considering the quality of work Vic was doing four years ago. Perhaps Donahue was just doing a rush job.

Young Love #54
Young Love #54 (February 1954) “Love Me, Love My Family”, art by unidentified artist

Usually I only include examples of the unidentified artists if they were sufficiently talented. Unfortunately “Love Me, Love My Family” does not fall into the more talented category. But look at the inking. A blunt brush and shoulder blots are not typical inking techniques for most artists. While not all the inking in the story is done in this manner it does show up in places. I believe this story was touched up, in this case by Joe Simon.

Young Love #56
Young Love #56 (April 1954) “Too Young To Love”, art by Art Gates

Single page features were often done by less talented artists who were probably studio assistants. However now one artist would appear that specialized in these often overlooked stories. Art Gates not only did typical comic art but also gag strips. Fortunately he often signed his work but in the last panel.

Chapter 1, A New Genre (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 2, Early Artists (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 3, The Field No Longer Their’s Alone (YR #5 – #8)
Chapter 4, An Explosion of Romance (YR #9 – #12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 5, New Talent (YR #9 – 12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 6, Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 7, More Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 8, Kirby on the Range? (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 9, More Romance (YR #13 – #16, YL #5 – #6)
Chapter 10, The Peak of the Love Glut (YR #17 – #20, YL #7 – #8)
Chapter 11, After the Glut (YR #21 – #23, YL #9 – #10)
Chapter 12, A Smaller Studio (YR #24 – #26, YL #12 – #14)
Chapter 13, Romance Bottoms Out (YR #27 – #29, YL #15 – #17)
Chapter 14, The Third Suspect (YR #30 – #32, YL #18 – #20)
Chapter 15, The Action of Romance (YR #33 – #35, YL #21 – #23)
Chapter 16, Someone Old and Someone New (YR #36 – #38, YL #24 – #26)
Chapter 17, The Assistant (YR #39 – #41, YL #27 – #29)
Chapter 18, Meskin Takes Over (YR #42 – #44, YL #30 – #32)
Chapter 19, More Artists (YR #45 – #47, YL #33 – #35)
Chapter 20, Romance Still Matters (YR #48 – #50, YL #36 – #38, YB #1)
Chapter 21, Roussos Messes Up (YR #51 – #53, YL #39 – #41, YB #2 – 3)
Chapter 22, He’s the Man (YR #54 – #56, YL #42 – #44, YB #4)
Chapter 23, New Ways of Doing Things (YR #57 – #59, YL #45 – #47, YB #5 – #6)
Chapter 24, A New Artist (YR #60 – #62, YL #48 – #50, YB #7 – #8)
Chapter 25, More New Faces (YR #63 – #65, YLe #51 – #53, YB #9 – #11)
Chapter 26, Goodbye Jack (YR #66 – #68, YL #54 – #56, YB #12 – #14)
Chapter 27, The Return of Mort (YR #69 – #71, YL #57 – #59, YB #15 – #17)
Chapter 28, A Glut of Artists (YR #72 – #74, YL #60 – #62, YB #18 & #19, IL #1 & #2)
Chapter 29, Trouble Begins (YR #75 – #77, YL #63 – #65, YB #20 – #22, IL #3 – #5)
Chapter 30, Transition (YR #78 – #80, YL #66 – #68, YBs #23 – #25, IL #6, ILY #7)
Chapter 30, Appendix (YB #23)
Chapter 31, Kirby, Kirby and More Kirby (YR #81 – #82, YL #69 – #70, YB #26 – #27)
Chapter 32, The Kirby Beat Goes On (YR #83 – #84, YL #71 – #72, YB #28 – #29)
Chapter 33, End of an Era (YR #85 – #87, YL #73, YB #30, AFL #1)
Chapter 34, A New Prize Title (YR #88 – #91, AFL #2 – #5, PL #1 – #2)
Chapter 35, Settling In ( YR #92 – #94, AFL #6 – #8, PL #3 – #5)
Appendix, J.O. Is Joe Orlando
Chapter 36, More Kirby (YR #95 – #97, AFL #9 – #11, PL #6 – #8)
Chapter 37, Some Surprises (YR #98 – #100, AFL #12 – #14, PL #9 – #11)
Chapter 38, All Things Must End (YR #101 – #103, AFL #15 – #17, PL #12 – #14)

Art of Romance, Chapter 25, More New Faces

(November 1953 – January 1954: Young Romance #63 – #65, Young Love #51 – #53, Young Brides #9 – #11)

Number of Romance Titles 1947 - 1954
Number of Romance Titles 1947 – 1954 (the period covered in this chapter is shaded in blue)

There have been no significant changes in the romance comics from that reported in the previous two chapters. One variation, or rather the lack thereof, is that almost all the stories are exactly 6 pages long. The only exceptions are some two or single page features, two stories by Jack Kirby (7 and 8 pages long) and one by Al Eadeh (4 pages). Previously the title Young Brides had become a monthly publication and so this chapter covers 9 comics. The line up of contributing artists is Jack Kirby (63 pages), Bill Draut (36 pages), John Prentice (36 pages, Mort Meskin (18 pages), Bob McCarty and an unidentified artist (13 pages each), Mort Laurence and Bill Benulis (12 pages each), Al Eadeh (10 pages), a single story by another unidentified artist (6 pages) and 6 single page features but a probably studio assistant. As can be seen in the list there are some new names among the studio artists.

Young Romance #64
Young Romance #64 (December 1953) “The Heartbreaker”, art by Jack Kirby

There were no full page splashes but Jack Kirby’s art is still first rate, even compared to his work from other periods. With the reduced size splashes Kirby favored an angular format. Such a panel shape would have been a challenged for most artist but Jack makes good use of it. Observe how the main action of the splash for “The Heartbreaker” occurs in the lower corner making it visually fit in with the second panel. Kirby then uses the helmets of the soldiers ascending a boarding ramp to provide a diagonal from the lower left to the upper right. The second panel hardly seems to intrude at all.

Young Romance #63
Young Romance #63 (November 1953) “A Matter of Pride” page 3, art by Jack Kirby

While I usually provide examples of the splash pages, it is important to remember that Kirby was primarily a story teller. Once again during this period Jack’s graphical story-telling is first rate. I particularly like the way Kirby drew older men. The craggy face of white haired man in this story perfectly matches his rustic life.

Young Brides #10
Young Brides #10 (November 1953) “The Stranger in His Heart”, art by Bill Draut

Most romance stories are about, not surprisingly, young love. However stories with other themes would occasionally appear in Simon and Kirby romance titles. “The Stranger in His Heart” is about the entry of the orphaned son of a combat buddy into the life of his young wife. It is the sort of story that Bill Draut is particularly good out, being second only to Jack Kirby among the studio artists.

Young Romance #64
Young Romance #64 (December 1953) “The Doctor is in Love” page 2, art by John Prentice

One of the formats that John Prentice would use during the period involved the use of tall narrow panels. This type of panel layout had previously been used by artists like Leonard Starr, Mort Meskin and Ross Andru; however at this time Prentice seemed to be the only studio artist that would sometimes use such narrow panels.

Young Love #52
Young Love #52 (December 1953) “Loving Sister”, art by Mort Meskin

As I have remarked in the previous couple of chapters, Mort Meskin contributed much less than what would be expected towards Simon and Kirby productions. For a few years Mort had been working almost exclusively for Joe and Jack. However in recent months his work had been appearing in other publishers’ comic books. But it would appear that Meskin’s combined output was much lower then previously. Whatever the reason behind this change, it must have been financially tough times for Meskin.

Young Love #51
Young Love #51 (November 1953) “The Will to Love” page 2, art by Al Eadeh

Al Eadeh had not been a major contributor to S&K productions but he had been a regular one for some about a year and a half. Eadeh was not the greatest of the studio artist but he showed some improvements over time. His earlier work for Joe and Jack were rather stiff but in his more recent work he does quite well in graphically telling a story. I love this page of the interaction of the good hearted nurse and a gold-digger. Sure it is a little over the top, but that is what comics are for!

Young Romance #63
Young Romance #63 (November 1953) “The Two Mrs. McGillicudys”, art by unidentified artist

“The Two Mrs. McGillicudys” and “Summer Replacement” are two stories by the same unidentified artist I mentioned in the last chapter. I am quite fond of this mystery artist and I am sure he must have been doing romance art for some other publisher prior to doing this work. In some ways the above page is a good example of the format he liked to start his stories with. The first story panel covers an area a little more then two regular story panels. This makes it not much of a splash although more of one then some other studio artists, such as John Prentice, used. The artist also includes a head in the title box. Only one other artist, Jack Kirby, would include such head shots in the title caption. But in this case the artist increased the size of the head and provided speech balloon. Thus he as effectively turned the title into a second splash. It is almost a soliloquy splash since the woman is introducing the story, but it differs from the classic S&K soliloquy splash in that the title is not part of the speech balloon. True Soliloquy splashes no longer appeared in Simon and Kirby romances and nobody else did anything like this.

Young Love #51
Young Love #51 (November 1953) “Speed”, art by Bob McCarty

During the review I conducted in preparation for this chapter I found two stories by Bob McCarty that in my database I had previously to another artist. I will discuss this more below. The splash for “Speed” is probably the most typical splash in all the issues covered in this post. The title is not separated into its own box, the splash takes up the full width of the page and vertically it is much greater then the row of story panels. It splash art still adheres to the latest formula of actually being part of the story but otherwise it is a perfectly typical splash.

Young Love #53
Young Love #53 (January 1954) “Sweet Talking Man” page 5, art by Bob McCarty

Both of the stories that I am now attributing to McCarty I had previously entered into my database as by John Prentice. My original entries into my database were made as I obtained the comics and depending on when that was would dictate how accurate I was likely to be. That is one of the reasons that I find the reviews that I am now conducting so useful. I find it interesting that the work Bob McCarty resembles the art of John Prentice more now then he did previously or would later. This might be due to influence; not so much Prentice influencing McCarty’s art as much as both of them being influenced by the great syndicate artist Alex Raymond as particularly seen in his Rip Kirby strip. Another possibility is that McCarty and Prentice knew one another and that Prentice may have helped in some on these particular stories.

I purposely choose page 5 from “Sweet Talking Man” because it most clearly shows McCarty’s hand. The doctor in the final panel as eyes that art larger then Prentice would use but typical for McCarty. The woman also lacks Prentice’s more sophisticated beauty. The fact that I have now found three stories by McCarty that I have previously missed makes me suspect that perhaps more will be uncovered as I continue my reviews.

Young Love #52
Young Love #52 (December 1953) “Worthless”, art by Mort Lawrence

New to the Simon and Kirby productions, but certainly not new to the comic industry, is Mort Lawrence. The GCD� only lists a single romance work by Lawrence (Love Diary #2, October 1949). I suspect that is just due to the general bias against love comics by most comic book collectors. That said, judging by the work he did for S&K Lawrence really was not that great at the romance genre. But check out the older man in the splash. A similarly downtrodden gentleman appears in the splash of Lawrence’s “Love Me, or Else” (YR #65, January 1953) as well.

Young Love #53
Young Love #53 (January 1954) “You’ll Be Sorry”, art by Bill Benulis

Another new artist to start working for Simon and Kirby was Bill Benulis. Benulis was new to comics and his art has a more modern approach. I like some of his techniques but he gives his woman a scratchy look which is very unfortunate thing to do in romance comics. Benulis entry into comics was ill timed and he seems to have been a victim of the crash that would affect the comic industry in a few years.

Chapter 1, A New Genre (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 2, Early Artists (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 3, The Field No Longer Their’s Alone (YR #5 – #8)
Chapter 4, An Explosion of Romance (YR #9 – #12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 5, New Talent (YR #9 – 12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 6, Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 7, More Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 8, Kirby on the Range? (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 9, More Romance (YR #13 – #16, YL #5 – #6)
Chapter 10, The Peak of the Love Glut (YR #17 – #20, YL #7 – #8)
Chapter 11, After the Glut (YR #21 – #23, YL #9 – #10)
Chapter 12, A Smaller Studio (YR #24 – #26, YL #12 – #14)
Chapter 13, Romance Bottoms Out (YR #27 – #29, YL #15 – #17)
Chapter 14, The Third Suspect (YR #30 – #32, YL #18 – #20)
Chapter 15, The Action of Romance (YR #33 – #35, YL #21 – #23)
Chapter 16, Someone Old and Someone New (YR #36 – #38, YL #24 – #26)
Chapter 17, The Assistant (YR #39 – #41, YL #27 – #29)
Chapter 18, Meskin Takes Over (YR #42 – #44, YL #30 – #32)
Chapter 19, More Artists (YR #45 – #47, YL #33 – #35)
Chapter 20, Romance Still Matters (YR #48 – #50, YL #36 – #38, YB #1)
Chapter 21, Roussos Messes Up (YR #51 – #53, YL #39 – #41, YB #2 – 3)
Chapter 22, He’s the Man (YR #54 – #56, YL #42 – #44, YB #4)
Chapter 23, New Ways of Doing Things (YR #57 – #59, YL #45 – #47, YB #5 – #6)
Chapter 24, A New Artist (YR #60 – #62, YL #48 – #50, YB #7 – #8)
Chapter 25, More New Faces (YR #63 – #65, YLe #51 – #53, YB #9 – #11)
Chapter 26, Goodbye Jack (YR #66 – #68, YL #54 – #56, YB #12 – #14)
Chapter 27, The Return of Mort (YR #69 – #71, YL #57 – #59, YB #15 – #17)
Chapter 28, A Glut of Artists (YR #72 – #74, YL #60 – #62, YB #18 & #19, IL #1 & #2)
Chapter 29, Trouble Begins (YR #75 – #77, YL #63 – #65, YB #20 – #22, IL #3 – #5)
Chapter 30, Transition (YR #78 – #80, YL #66 – #68, YBs #23 – #25, IL #6, ILY #7)
Chapter 30, Appendix (YB #23)
Chapter 31, Kirby, Kirby and More Kirby (YR #81 – #82, YL #69 – #70, YB #26 – #27)
Chapter 32, The Kirby Beat Goes On (YR #83 – #84, YL #71 – #72, YB #28 – #29)
Chapter 33, End of an Era (YR #85 – #87, YL #73, YB #30, AFL #1)
Chapter 34, A New Prize Title (YR #88 – #91, AFL #2 – #5, PL #1 – #2)
Chapter 35, Settling In ( YR #92 – #94, AFL #6 – #8, PL #3 – #5)
Appendix, J.O. Is Joe Orlando
Chapter 36, More Kirby (YR #95 – #97, AFL #9 – #11, PL #6 – #8)
Chapter 37, Some Surprises (YR #98 – #100, AFL #12 – #14, PL #9 – #11)
Chapter 38, All Things Must End (YR #101 – #103, AFL #15 – #17, PL #12 – #14)

Art of Romance, Chapter 24, A New Artist

(August 1953 – October 1953: Young Romance #60 – #62, Young Love #48 – #50, Young Brides #7 – #8)

Number of Romance Titles 1947 - 1954
Number of Romance Titles 1947 – 1954 (the period covered in this chapter is shaded in blue)

I had discussed in Chapter 9 of the Little Shop of Horrors that the title Black Magic went to a bi-monthly schedule starting with the September issue (BM #25). This is a certain indication that sales of Black Magic was not doing as well as previously. However with the October release, Young Brides would assume a monthly schedule. This is just as clear a sign that the romance titles were still doing very well. This despite the fact that the number of romance titles published in the industry had reached a local low in August.

This period marked the 50th issue of Young Love. Admittedly this is just a psychological marker but it does serve as a reminder that Simon and Kirby had done quite well over a relatively long time with their romance titles (about the last six years). Since their deal with Prize Comics gave them a share of the profits, Joe and Jack made a lot of money off of romance. Simon and Kirby paid for all the expenses for producing the art however that was recently offset by the fact that Jack had been drawing a significant proportion of the titles. But things would not remain so favorable for Simon and Kirby. A very different state of affairs would exist about a year later.

The story format used during this period pretty much matches that found in the last chapter. Full pages splashes were often found throughout most of the run of the romance titles that is until recently. There is not a single full page splash in the comics from the period covered in this chapter. Before the period that started in the last chapter splashes played a role similar to a movie trailer; they provide a sort of synopsis to entice the viewer to buy the comic and read the story. During this period only three stories used such a standard splash. By far the most common use of the splash, found in 18 stories, was for the splash to actually be part of the story. Less common (6 stories) was the complete elimination of the splash panel. One uncommon format (3 stories) was to include heads in the story title panel. I do not consider this a true splash because the heads occupy a very small portion of the panel. There is also a single example of what I call a theme title that I will discuss below.

Once again during this period Jack Kirby was the most prolific of the romance artists having penciled 79 pages. The next most prolific artist was Bill Draut (44 pages), followed by John Prentice (32 pages), Mort Meskin (16 pages), an unidentified artist (10 pages). Two artists (Bob McCarty and Al Eadeh) each supplied only a single story. Another unidentified artist did two single pages pieces. As discussed in the last chapter, I find Mort Meskin’s much diminished contribution rather surprising. As I mentioned in Chapter 9 of the Little Shop of Horrors, Meskin had begun to produce art for other publishers during at this time; Harvey (July), DC (August), Standard (August) and Marvel (September).

Young Romance #62
Young Romance #62 (October 1953) “The Mystery Blonde of Lover’s Lane”, art by Jack Kirby

The Prize romance comics may have been running for some time but Simon and Kirby still managed to provide good stories with just a suggestion of the risque. The start of “The Mystery Blonde of Lover’s Lane” can accurately be described as an attempted rape. One wonders whether the man would have given up even after the woman left the car had that hobo did not happen to be on the scene. By the way, this is a good example of splash that is actually the start of the story.

Young Brides #7
Young Brides #7 (September 1953) “A Husband for Tracy”, art by Jack Kirby

For “A Husband for Tracy” Kirby tackles the subject of love an overweight woman. I remember this theme was used before but in that story the lady in question lost her weight to become popular. That is not the approach of this story where except for a change of attitude, the protagonist is unaltered throughout the story. This is an example of a standard splash. As I said earlier there were only 3 standard splashes and all of them were done by Kirby.

Young Love #48
Young Love #48 (September 1953) “The Marrying Kind”, art by Jack Kirby

In the previous chapter I discussed a story by Bill Draut (“The Hard Guy”) where Bill added some drawing to the title box to provide a sort of a theme. I did not consider this a splash because the title dominated the box and the art did not depict anything specific about the story. At the time I wrote that none of the other artist picked up the technique. Well now Kirby has with “The Marrying Kind”. Jack has increased the amount of art so the panel is now more splash-like. However the art still lacks specificity normally supplied by a splash. Since little more then a cruise ship is depicted the question is was this really drawn by Kirby? I think it was because the brushwork found in the inking of the foreground trees look like Jack’s hand to me.

Young Love #49
Young Love #49 (September 1953) “Highway of Dreams”, art by Bill Draut

Although I have classified “Highway of Dreams” as a story splash the panel is nothing more then two standard story panels combined. While Bill, like the rest of the studio artist, does a good job with this new format one wonders what was behind this new approach.

Young Romance #61
Young Romance #61 (September 1953) “Tried and Untrue”, art by John Prentice

All the romance work that John Prentice did during this period was in the form of splash-less stories. While the new formats seem to have been a direction to the studio artists (almost certainly from Simon and Kirby) there seems to have been some variation on the precise approach adopted by the different creators.

Young Brides #7
Young Brides #7 (September 1953) “Mind Your Own Marriage”, art by Mort Meskin

As discussed about, Mort Meskin was only a minor contributor. At least some of the work he did pencil was inked by some other artist. “Mind Your Own Marriage” does not look like it was inked by either Mort or his frequent inker at this time, George Roussos. I am not sure who the inker is but he does a nice job.

Young Romance #60
Young Romance #60 (August 1953) “First Kiss”, art by Al Eadeh

While Al Eadeh has been doing little work for Simon and Kirby, his occasional pieces still keep showing up.

Young Love #50
Young Love #50 (October 1953) “Miss Puritan” page 5, art by Bob McCarty

Up till now Bob McCarty mostly did horror stories for Simon and Kirby and very little romance work. His last romance piece appeared some months ago (YL #41, January 1953). His last Simon and Kirby piece was Black Magic #21 (February 1953). I do not know why he has been absent from the S&K productions and he will not appear regularly again until late 1954. “Miss Puritan” marks a mid-way place between the earlier art he did for Simon and Kirby and the later material. Previously I had noted some differences between the two and I was not certain they were done by the same artist. In “Miss Puritan” McCarty has largely stopped depicting over-sized eyes but retains enough of his older style to be recognized. Thus I am now confident that all this work was done by McCarty and I have stopped adding the question mark to his attributions.

Young Love #49
Young Love #49 (September 1953) “The Doormat” page 3, art by unidentified artist

The unidentified artists who worked for Simon and Kirby in the more recent few years have all been artists of lesser talent that were only assigned very short pieces. With “The Doormat” however, there is an artist of exceptional talent. The example page I provide above shows that he was more than comfortable with romance, he excelled at it. I do not know who he is but I examination of work by other publishers from this period might identify him.

Young Love #50
Young Love #50 (October 1953) “Two Kisses For Your Anniversary” page 4, art by unidentified artist

Another example from the same mystery artist. Both of the stories he did start with his own version of the story splash. The splash was formed by vertically joining two panels. So while the stories adhere to some sort of direction from Simon and Kirby that direction did not seem to be in the form of a layout. More likely it was a direction from the script. Page 4 of “Two Kisses for Your Anniversary” not only shows a similarly vertical panel but also an unusual borderless panel of talking heads that spans the width of the page. No other Simon and Kirby studio artists used such a device. This is further evidence that this artist was not working from Kirby layouts.

Chapter 1, A New Genre (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 2, Early Artists (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 3, The Field No Longer Their’s Alone (YR #5 – #8)
Chapter 4, An Explosion of Romance (YR #9 – #12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 5, New Talent (YR #9 – 12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 6, Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 7, More Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 8, Kirby on the Range? (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 9, More Romance (YR #13 – #16, YL #5 – #6)
Chapter 10, The Peak of the Love Glut (YR #17 – #20, YL #7 – #8)
Chapter 11, After the Glut (YR #21 – #23, YL #9 – #10)
Chapter 12, A Smaller Studio (YR #24 – #26, YL #12 – #14)
Chapter 13, Romance Bottoms Out (YR #27 – #29, YL #15 – #17)
Chapter 14, The Third Suspect (YR #30 – #32, YL #18 – #20)
Chapter 15, The Action of Romance (YR #33 – #35, YL #21 – #23)
Chapter 16, Someone Old and Someone New (YR #36 – #38, YL #24 – #26)
Chapter 17, The Assistant (YR #39 – #41, YL #27 – #29)
Chapter 18, Meskin Takes Over (YR #42 – #44, YL #30 – #32)
Chapter 19, More Artists (YR #45 – #47, YL #33 – #35)
Chapter 20, Romance Still Matters (YR #48 – #50, YL #36 – #38, YB #1)
Chapter 21, Roussos Messes Up (YR #51 – #53, YL #39 – #41, YB #2 – 3)
Chapter 22, He’s the Man (YR #54 – #56, YL #42 – #44, YB #4)
Chapter 23, New Ways of Doing Things (YR #57 – #59, YL #45 – #47, YB #5 – #6)
Chapter 24, A New Artist (YR #60 – #62, YL #48 – #50, YB #7 – #8)
Chapter 25, More New Faces (YR #63 – #65, YLe #51 – #53, YB #9 – #11)
Chapter 26, Goodbye Jack (YR #66 – #68, YL #54 – #56, YB #12 – #14)
Chapter 27, The Return of Mort (YR #69 – #71, YL #57 – #59, YB #15 – #17)
Chapter 28, A Glut of Artists (YR #72 – #74, YL #60 – #62, YB #18 & #19, IL #1 & #2)
Chapter 29, Trouble Begins (YR #75 – #77, YL #63 – #65, YB #20 – #22, IL #3 – #5)
Chapter 30, Transition (YR #78 – #80, YL #66 – #68, YBs #23 – #25, IL #6, ILY #7)
Chapter 30, Appendix (YB #23)
Chapter 31, Kirby, Kirby and More Kirby (YR #81 – #82, YL #69 – #70, YB #26 – #27)
Chapter 32, The Kirby Beat Goes On (YR #83 – #84, YL #71 – #72, YB #28 – #29)
Chapter 33, End of an Era (YR #85 – #87, YL #73, YB #30, AFL #1)
Chapter 34, A New Prize Title (YR #88 – #91, AFL #2 – #5, PL #1 – #2)
Chapter 35, Settling In ( YR #92 – #94, AFL #6 – #8, PL #3 – #5)
Appendix, J.O. Is Joe Orlando
Chapter 36, More Kirby (YR #95 – #97, AFL #9 – #11, PL #6 – #8)
Chapter 37, Some Surprises (YR #98 – #100, AFL #12 – #14, PL #9 – #11)
Chapter 38, All Things Must End (YR #101 – #103, AFL #15 – #17, PL #12 – #14)