Category Archives: Prentice, John

Police Trap #2


Police Trap #2 (November 1954), pencils and inks by Jack Kirby

A cover similar in concept to that used for the first issue. This time the muster room is portrayed:

This is where the officers relax, unbutton their jackets, have their shoes shined, smoke, bull session, rough-house, write reports, and just ease up after a hard day on the beat…

But would we really expect a muster room to have a shoe shine stand or a drunk sleeping it off? But perhaps the most unusual feature of this cover is one easy to overlook. Look carefully at the third policeman from our left, he is African American. Race did not play an important part of Simon and Kirby productions. When other races were depicted, most often it was Asians but otherwise Simon and Kirby comics were almost uniformly populated by whites. African Americans were generally invisible as they were in many popular media of the day. One glaring exception was Whitewash from the Young Allies a Simon and Kirby creation for Timely Comics. However stereotypical and (to modern eyes) objectionable characters like Whitewash were not part of Simon and Kirby productions that preceded or followed Young Allies. Further Whitewash seems to be delegated small rolls in the splashes from Young Allies that were actually drawn by Jack Kirby (Young Allies and the L Word). This suggests that the presence of Whitewash in Young Allies was not due to Simon and Kirby idea but dictated by someone else. As for the Police Trap #2 cover it is not at all obvious that the policeman was drawn by Jack Kirby as an African American but rather it was the colorist who made him so. Unlike their other comics where the coloring was the responsibility of the publisher, Simon and Kirby were the actual publisher of Police Trap and therefore they were responsible at some level for the coloring. I do not know if Joe or Jack actually colored this cover but minimally they assigned the colorist and approved the results.


Police Trap #2 (November 1954) “The Hoodlum”, pencils and inks by John Prentice

“Usual suspects” Bill Draut and Mort Meskin are absent from the second issue of Police Trap but it does contain the third of the regular Simon and Kirby artists, John Prentice. John does his typical excellent job on the art. Perhaps my only criticism is that he has made the two policemen too similar in appearance. At times I find it difficult to determine who is being represented as for example the last panel of this page.


Police Trap #2 (November 1954) “The Patsy”, art by unidentified artist

In the past I have never come up with even a guess on who did the art for “The Patsy”. But on reviewing it now I find parts, just parts, that remind me of Bob McCarty. For instance the man on the extreme left of the splash panel. But there are other parts that seem so untypical for McCarty such as the unusual perspectives found the last two panels on the same page. I am unable to make sense of this combination of aspects that look like McCarty and those that do not so I continue to leave the attribution as unidentified.


Police Trap #2 (November 1954) “The Alibi Twins”, two panel splash penciled and inks by Jack Kirby, rest of the story by unidentified artist

Except for the covers and one pinup, Jack Kirby did not supply much art for Police Trap until the latter issues. But obviously Jack was still playing his normal roll as untitled art director. Here Kirby provides the first two panels, effectively combining to form a splash, for a story otherwise executed by another unidentified artist. While the vast majority of the stories in Simon and Kirby productions were completely drawn by one artist, it was not that unusual for Kirby to provide the splash either.

The story artist is another of those that appeared only briefly in Simon and Kirby productions of this period. Note the rather bizarre inking in the last panel. The man is completely blacked out except for the hat and his hands. This story is a little longer (9 pages) than most found in Police Trap which were usually 4 to 6 pages long. Further the focus of the story is on the criminal, not the police as was normally the case for this title. Add the unusual lettering in some places (in particular the use of a script for the first letter of captions) and this suggests that the piece may not have been commissioned by Simon and Kirby but instead picked up from some failing comic book publisher.


Police Trap #2 (November 1954) “Desk Sergeant”, pencils and inks by Jack Kirby

I have recently discussed “Desk Sergeant” (The Police Trap Pinup) so will skip commenting on it here.


Police Trap #2 (November 1954) “Gambler’s End”, art by unidentified artist

A short two page piece by an unidentified artist. Unusual use of the first letter of some of the captions (for instance the bold ‘I’ in the splash caption) suggests that this story may also have been picked up from some failed comic book publisher.


Police Trap #2 (November 1954) “Police Trap”, art by unidentified artist

Another short two page piece by an unidentified artist. A lot of talking heads. A better artist might have been able to carry it off but this one is too stiff and the result is a rather uninteresting story. I have detected nothing unusual about the lettering so this piece might have been commissioned by Simon and Kirby.


Police Trap #2 (November 1954) “The Grouch”, pencils and inks by John Prentice

Prentice opens and closes this issue of Police Trap. Actually he is the artist who really carries this issue what with a rather minimal contribution by Jack Kirby and none by Bill Draut or Mort Meskin. All the other artists are just nothing more than adequate. So in effect Prentice pretty much carries this issue.

Police Trap #1, Title for the Heroes



Police Trap #1 (September 1954), pencils and inks by Jack Kirby

Crime comics received a lot of undesirable attention during their heyday. It is generally acknowledged now that this criticism was pretty much unwarranted but at that time it accepted by most of the public. One criticism was that crime comics glorified the criminals. Again any modern reader would see that this clearly was not the case, at least for the great majority of crime comics and especially for those that had been produced by Simon and Kirby. But Joe and Jack were well aware of this criticism and so when they launched their own publishing company, Mainline, they included a title Police Trap where the focus was not on the criminals but rather on the police.


Police Trap #1 (September 1954) “The Capture”, pencils and inks by Mort Meskin

Mort Meskin was one of the “usual suspects” of artists that contributed frequently to Simon and Kirby productions. He not only arrived in the studio in time to provide art for some of the crime comics produced by Simon and Kirby but he also continued to supply art for the titles even after they were no longer put together by Joe and Jack (Criminal Artists, Mort Meskin). However this would be the only piece that Mort drew for Police Trap. In fact Meskin typically prolific output seems to have decreased greatly at about this time. He would continue to supply work for the Prize romances but very little for any of the Mainline titles.


Police Trap #1 (September 1954) “Masher”, pencils and inks by Bill Draut

“Usual suspect” Bill Draut drew and inked “Masher”. Draut is most famous for his romance art but he does a fine job on this story. This is probably the most unusual story of this issue and certainly my favorite. The main protagonist is a female police officer. On a personal note my great grandmother was one of the earliest female detective of the New York Police Department. Unfortunately I know very little about her career but among other things she was used as a decoy. She was not very tall but when it came time to apprehend someone she would hold on to them so tightly that the suspects would be unable to escape before her backup arrived to secure the arrest.


Police Trap #1 (September 1954) “Beer Party”, pencils and inks by John Prentice

John Prentice was also a regular contributor to Simon and Kirby productions which means this issue of Police Trap has all the usual suspects. Prentice first work for Joe and Jack appeared in a May 1951 issue of Young Love and he continued to provide art up until the end of the Simon and Kirby studio. John was used primarily for romance comics but he did provide some art for Black Magic. Unfortunately Simon and Kirby were no longer producing crime titles at the time of Prentice’s first appearance but John did so some really nice work in the crime genre prior to that. So “Beer Party” marks a much appreciated return of Prentice to crime. With some nicely handled action and such beautiful art, what is not to like? I particularly love the splash panel. Nobody appears in the splash but it still is a marvelous portrait. Missing plaster and cracked walls show how run down the police station has become. If anything the minimal decorations seem make the room even more depressing. The title captions talks about a shindig but obviously this was going to be a rather small affair. But could you image having a beer party inside a police station today?


Police Trap #1 (September 1954) “The Grafter”, art by unidentified artist

At this time Simon and Kirby were producing four Mainline and four Prize titles. Most of the titles were bimonthlies except for Young Romance and Young Love which were monthly. I suspect producing these titles and running Mainline required a lot of effort for both Joe and Jack. The amount of art that Kirby penciled seems to have dropped and his only contribution to this Police Trap issue was the cover. Further artists new to Simon and Kirby productions make their appearance. One such artist provided the art for “The Grafter”. I cannot claim to be very excited about art but he did an adequate job.


Police Trap #1 (September 1954) “The Beefer”, pencils and inks by Joaquin Albistur

I have recently discussed the part that “The Beefer” played in relationship to the pinup used in Police Trap #2 (The Police Trap Pinup). This story and two others that appeared in Young Romance and Young Love marked the first appearance of Joaquin Albistur in the Simon and Kirby studio. Most of the artist that appeared during this period made rather limited contributions to Simon and Kirby productions but Albistur would provide much work for the relatively short period that he was employed by Joe and Jack (13 months).

Bullseye #1, Simon and Kirby’s Own Western


Bullseye #1 (August 1954), pencils and inks by Jack Kirby

In 1954 Simon and Kirby launched their own company which they called Mainline. For years Joe and Jack had produced comics but this time they would be publishers themselves. Mainline released four titles: Bullseye*, In Love, Foxhole and Police Trap. I have previously written about Foxhole and In Love, but had not gotten around to the other two titles. For various reasons this seems like a good time to correct that neglect. Certainly my delay in discussing Bullseye was not due to it being an inferior comic. While Foxhole remains my personal favorite of the Mainline titles, Bullseye has much to recommend it particularly for Kirby fans.

Simon and Kirby’s modus operandi for creating new titles was for Jack Kirby to provide much of the art for the initial issues with less support from Jack in latter releases. This was decidedly not the MO for the Mainline titles. The closest any of them come to the original MO was In Love where for the premier issue Jack drew the featured story, a whooping 20 pages. Kirby drew little for the second issue and while In Love #3 had a lot of Kirby almost all of it was a recycled syndication proposal strip. Kirby provided no story art for Foxhole #1 but 8 pages for Foxhole #2 and nothing thereafter until Foxhole #6. Jack provided very little for Police Trap until the final issues. Why the change in MO? It certainly was not due to any change of opinion about the value of Jack’s art. After all he would provide most of the cover art. The logical explanation is that much of Kirby’s time was required to help run the new company. I have seen a invoice submitted to Simon and Kirby during this period that deducts an advance Jack Kirby gave to the artist.

The way Simon and Kirby introduced new features changed over the years. The Captain America origin story is short and seems little more than something to get quickly out of the way so they could go with the more interesting stories. The origin story seem to become more important to Simon and Kirby over the years. With Bullseye, except for a few fillers, the entire magazine is dedicated to the origin story. The origin is told in three chapters; “The Boy”, “The Youth”, and “The Man”.


Bullseye #1 (August 1954) “Bullseye, The Boy”, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by John Prentice

The saga starts with Bullseye’s birth during an Indian attack. The raid turns into a massacre and only the baby and his grandfather, Deadeye Dick, escape. The boy is raised by his grandfather and an old Indian scout, Long Drink. Under the old man’s tutelage, Bullseye becomes a master marksman. The Indians return and brand the boy’s chest with a target, the Bullseye mark that plays an important roll in the design of the comic covers and splashes.

The boy being an orphan is a common theme for Simon and Kirby. Previously the Newsboy Legion, the Boy Commandos and the boys of Boys’ Ranch had all been orphans. Much has been made of Kirby’s making orphans of their characters but it is good to remember that he was not the only one doing this. After all Superman, Robin and Billy Bates (Captain Marvel’s alter ego) were orphans as well.


Bullseye #1 (August 1954) “Bullseye, The Boy” page 5, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by John Prentice

The first chapter is drawn by Jack Kirby and inked by John Prentice. Well except for page 2 which is sufficiently different from the rest that I believe Prentice drew it as well. Prentice does not use the Studio style inking that was so commonly applied to Kirby’s pencils but instead John works in a manner more typical of his own work. Kirby’s art was influenced by Milton Caniff while Prentice followed the footsteps of Alex Raymond. With such disparity in styles you would think the combination of Kirby pencils and Prentice inks would be a poor mix but I think it comes off surprisingly well. Jack’s inkers during the Simon and Kirby collaboration range the gamut from horrible to amazing but I feel Prentice ranks among Kirby’s top inkers. However I do not believe John ever inked Jack’s pencils other than in this Bullseye issue.


Bullseye #1 (August 1954) “Bullseye, The Youth”, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by John Prentice

Bullseye not only the master of pistols and rifles, but in all manners of weapons that are shot or thrown. For this splash Kirby has created a classic example of exaggerated perspective. What a great combination of action and humor. John Prentice did the inking but it appears Kirby did some touch-ups (for example adding the picket fence crosshatching on the green shirt and the drop strings on the grey pants, see my Inking Glossary). Generally Simon or Kirby would ink the splash page but having Prentice do the inking provides a much better integrated chapter. John does a much better job ink the splash for this chapter than he did for the previous one.


Bullseye #1 (August 1954) “Bullseye, The Youth” page 5, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by John Prentice

The rest of the chapter following the splash page was penciled and inked by John Prentice. John does a good job, but of course I expect Kirby fans would prefer that Jack had done the honors. I have chosen one of the more uncharacteristic pages from the chapter to show above. I provide this page because it best address the question of Kirby layouts. One of the conclusions I reached in my long serial post Art of Romance was that Kirby did not generally provide layouts for stories drawn by other artists as has so often been asserted by Kirby fans in the past. When I previously showed this page in the blog (John Prentice, Usual Suspect #3) Nick Caputo pointed out that the Judge looked like a Kirby creation. I have to admit that the heavy set Judge does not look like a typical Prentice character. However I find panel 2 to be an even more convincing example of a Kirby layout. It seems so typical for Jack and I have never seen John do anything like it. So I agree that Kirby may have been providing layouts for this chapter. There are other panels that look more like Prentices’s own layouts so I suspect that either Kirby provided only a rough or incomplete layout or that Prentice felt free to modify them whenever he desired.


Bullseye #1 (August 1954) “Bullseye, The Man” page 7, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by John Prentice

The third chapter was executed in the same manner as the previous chapter; a Kirby penciled and Prentice inked splash followed by a story drawn and inked by Prentice. Once again there are indications the Kirby provided some layouts. Panel 4 of the page shown above is a really good piece of evidence supporting a Kirby layout. While Prentice did not do a lot of action scenes during the time he worked for Simon and Kirby, what fight scenes he did looked nothing like this one. I do not recall ever seeing among Prentices’s art such a rotational slug or the way the man falls back. But both are frequently occurring motifs in Kirby’s work.

So does the fact that Kirby provided layouts of some sort for Bullseye contradict my conclusion based on the romance comics that he did not provide layouts? Not really because during the Mainline period things were done rather differently than what had previously been the norm. Typically Kirby’s contribution to the first issue of a new title would be more significant than what occurred in Bullseye. Apparently Jack was too busy with Mainline business matters to devote much time to the art. Providing layouts was the next best thing to doing drawing himself.

This begins another serial post. I am not sure yet whether I will write a separate article on each issue or combine some. While each Mainline title has its own unique qualities, Bullseye is something special. Particularly for Kirby fans.

footnotes:

* This title is most commonly called Bulls-Eye but I am not sure why. Bullseye is a name and it should be spelled in the manner used by the creators of that name. The hyphen was never used in the actually comics. On the cover and splashes the name occupies two lines so I suppose a good argument can be made that Bulls Eye should be the proper designation. That name format also appears in some of the indices, but others use the single word form, Bullseye. When the character is referred to in the actual stories he is always called Bullseye.

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)

Art of Romance, Chapter 28, A Glut of Artists

(August 1954 – November 1954: Young Romance #72 – #74, Young Love #60 – #62, Young Brides #18 & #19, In Love #1 & #2)

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

As can be seen in the above chart romance comics had entered into a decline during this period. Did Joe Simon and Jack Kirby notice this? Had they been observant they might have for as will be shown they benefited from the failure of other titles. But then again there were always fluctuations in the number of titles and publishers so perhaps Joe and Jack were not aware that things had become very different. Or perhaps they were too caught up in their own business to notice the bigger picture. August 1954 (cover date) marked the release of Bullseye the first title for Mainline, Simon and Kirby’s own publishing company. In Love, the romance title for Mainline, would be released in September. Starting their own publishing company was a big step for Simon and Kirby but unfortunately their timing was particularly bad.

In chapter 27 I noted the appearance of some new artists in the Simon and Kirby productions (unfortunately as of yet unidentified). The art covered in the last chapter was created by 8 artists which in itself was an increase over the earlier period. I have identified 12 artists for the period covered by this chapter and that does not include unidentified artists. There are more pages of unattributed art than those by any identified artist. Frankly I have not sorted them all out but I believe that there are at least 5 or 6 artists that I cannot identify. A couple of these additions to the studio had appeared previously in Simon and Kirby productions and almost all would only provide a few pieces before disappearing from the studio. Oddly one artist, Bob McCarty, who played an important part in the two previous chapters, is completely missing in this one. However McCarty will be returning in future chapters.

The artist line-up based on their productivity was Bill Draut (42 pages), John Prentice (41 pages), Jack Kirby (25 pages), Mort Meskin (20 pages), Art Gates (19 pages) with Leonard Starr and Jo Albistur tied (12 pages). The rest of the artists provide a single story or a small number of single page features. There are 65 pages by unidentified artists but as I wrote above these were distributed among 5 or more artists.

With one exception the covers for the Prize romance titles were done by Draut and Prentice. As seen previously, some of the covers were made from stats of a splash panel (or visa versa). The one exception is the cover of Young Brides #19 (November 1954) which I have tentatively attributed to Joe Simon. This assignment is not based on art style but rather on evidence from Joe Simon’s art collection. I hope that someday I will be able to write about this cover.

In Love #1
In Love #1 (September 1954) “Bride of the Star” Chapter 1 “The First Pang of Love”, art by Jack Kirby

As I promised last chapter, Jack Kirby returns to romance comics after a short absence. However he appears only in Mainline’s In Love and not in any of the Prize romance titles. Kirby’s absence from Prize romances will continue for some time. In Love was an interesting title whose “hook” was the long story contained in each issue. Kirby did all 20 pages of the art for the “Bride of the Star” from In Love #1. I will not write much about this story here because I covered it in a previous post on In Love #1.

Besides the length of the story, one of the things that distinguish In Love from the Prize romance titles is that Jack returns to full page splashes for all the three chapters. Frankly I already illustrated the best splash in my previous post but I felt I must include one of the other ones here. To be honest it is not one of Kirby’s best pieces but I feel that the splash for the other chapter to be even more inferior. But all of the story art is actually quite good.

Kirby on contributed a small part to the featured story “Marilyn’s Men” from In Love #2 (November 1954) with most of the work being done by Bill Draut. Since the post whose link I provided covers this story I will forego further comments here.

The cover for In Love #1 was one of the rare collaborations between Jack Kirby and an artist other the Joe Simon, in this case John Prentice (Jerry Robinson at the Jack Kirby Tribute Panel). Not only was the cover drawn by different artists but inked by different hands as well. Prentice’s back was clearly inked by himself and I suspect, though I am by no means certain, that Jack inked his own pencils as well.

Young Romance #74
Young Romance #74 (November 1954) “The Kissoff”, art by Bill Draut

Bill Draut was the most prolific artist during this period but not by much. His recent decreased presence in S&K productions is a bit hard to understand. I once surmised that it might be due because of the work he was doing in preparation for the launch of Mainline. But on reflection there just does not seem enough work by Draut in those early issues of the Mainline comics to impact his normal work load. So I now suppose that his recent decreased contribution was due to some personal reason. Draut is one of the more consistent artists to work for Simon and Kirby but his style did not change much over the years. This makes it difficult to have new things to say about him. The same link I provided above for my post on In Love #2 goes into more detail about Draut’s work on “Marilyn’s Men”. I also did a post (Swiping Off of Kirby) about the use Bill made of art from an earlier story by Kirby.

Young Romance #73
Young Romance #73 (September 1954) “Girl from the Old Country”, art by John Prentice

John Prentice was just behind Draut in productivity. This is one of the examples where a stat of the splash for this story was used to create the cover. Note that while story splashes were no longer being used in the Prize romance titles, Prentice is still providing a smaller than typical splash panel.

Young Love #60
Young Love #60 (August 1954) “Outcast”, art by Mort Meskin

There was an unexpected surge in productivity by Meskin in the last chapter and now there is a just as sudden drop in his output. I must admit that I am a little perplexed about what is going on with Mort. He was working for other publishers and that suggests that he was no longer working in the actual Simon and Kirby studio. But how does one explain the ups and downs since then? I have heard of discussion somewhere on the web where it has been suggested that when Meskin left the S&K studio to work in his own studio that Mort was once again plagued with difficulties in starting work on a blank page. I have no way of saying whether this is true but perhaps it would explain his varied, but often unusually low, output in Simon and Kirby productions. Even if Meskin’s productivity was poor during this period he still did some very nice work. “Outcast” is a good example of a real nice piece by Meskin (I believe he inked it as well). I previously posted on a Mort’s “After the Honey-Moon” from In Love #1 which while very short is one of his masterpieces.

Young Brides #18
Young Brides #18 (September 1954) “My Cheating Heart”, art by Mort Meskin

“My Cheating Heart” is another great piece by Mort Meskin. I particularly like the inking in this piece. The solid blacks are used very effectively. I am pretty sure this is not Meskin’s own inking or that of George Roussos either but I cannot suggest who the inker was.

Young Romance #74
Young Romance #74 (November 1954) “A Holiday for Love”, art by Art Gates

Art Gates continue to supply numerous single page features but he is also did a few 3 page stories. At 6 pages, “A Holiday for Love” is the longest work Gates has yet done for Simon and Kirby. I cannot say that Art is one of my favorite Simon and Kirby artists but I admire the way he can do pieces like this a more cartoon-like gag features as well.

Young Love #61
Young Love #61 (September 1954) “Miss Moneybags”, art by Leonard Starr

Leonard Starr was not a new artist for Simon and Kirby productions but a returning one. He played an important part in the Prize romance titles for a little under two years ending in February 1951. His style has not changed that much during his absence and even without a signature “Miss Moneybags” (Young Love #61, September 1954) and “Cinderella’s Sisters” (Young Love #62, November 1954) were clearly done by Starr. However Leonard style had evolved somewhat so it is just as clear that this is not left over material. Although Starr was no longer using page formats that provided a series of tall and narrow panels he still had a predilection for such panels and was using alternative ways to introduce them. While it is possible that the reviews I perform for future chapters of this serial post may uncover one or two other stories by Starr, I am pretty confident that there will not be more than that. Leonard Starr would be like a number of artists from this chapter in that he made a brief appearance and then disappeared from Simon and Kirby productions. In Starr’s case he would be starting his own syndication strip, “Mary Perkins on Stage”, in a year or so.

Young Love #61
Young Love #61 (September 1954) “Mother Never Told Me”, art by George Roussos?

I am by no means certain, but “Mother Never Told Me” looks like it might have been done by George Roussos. The resemblance is mostly in the men with the woman reminding a little bit like the work of Marvin Stein. But overall I believe the Roussos seems the best fit. George last appeared in a Simon and Kirby production in Black Magic #24 (May 1953). If this attribution is correct, Roussos like Starr will not appear in a future Simon and Kirby productions.

Young Romance #73
Young Romance #73 (September 1954) “Afraid of Marriage”, art by Jo Albistur

Although unsigned, “Afraid of Marriage” and “Just For Kicks” (Young Love #61, September 1954) are both clearly the work of Joaquin Albistur (he also appeared in Police Trap #1 in this same month). I had previously used Joe as the first name for this artist but it is now clear that he was an artist from Argentine (Joaquin Albistur the Same As Joe Albistur?). Joe Simon does not remember Albistur by name, but he does recollect someone from South America doing work for Simon and Kirby. Most people assume Simon was thinking of Bruno Premiani, but I believe it is even more likely that it was Albistur that Joe was recalling.

Unlike most of the new artists in this chapter, Albistur will play an important part in Simon and Kirby productions in the coming year. Jo is not well known among fans and I am not sure how much comic book work he did outside of Simon and Kirby productions. I have seen some original art from “The World Around Us” from 1961 that has been attributed to Albistur. I am not convinced but if it was his work Albistur had adopted a particularly unpleasing dry style. Despite Jo’s short time working for Simon and Kirby he is one of my favorite studio artists. His woman have an earthy beauty that I like, he had an eye for gestures, used interesting compositions and was skillful at graphically telling a story.

Young Love #62
Young Love #62 (November 1954) “Too Darned Innocent”, art by W. G. Hargis

There is one signed piece by W. G. Hargis, “Too Darned Innocent”. However given the number of unidentified artists appearing in Simon and Kirby productions there is the distinct possibility that other unsigned worked may have been done by Hargis during this period as well. In fact I have heard of suggestions that Hargis may have been responsible for a story in Police Trap.

In Love #2
In Love #2 (November 1954) “Mother by Proxy”, art by Tom Scheuer

Tom Scheuer is another artist that only did one signed work for Simon and Kirby. Scheuer (who much later changed his name to Sawyer) is perhaps better known for his advertisement comic work (see For Boys Only from Those Fabulous Fifties and Comic Strip Ad Artist Tom Scheuer from Today’s Inspirations; both great blogs).

Joe Simon’s collection includes the original art for a page from this story. On the back is the name Art Sehrby, a telephone number and a street address. This raises the possibility that Simon and Kirby obtained Scheuer’s piece, and perhaps those of some other artists, from an agent.

Young Brides #19
Young Brides #19 (November 1954) “Love for Sale”, pencils by Ross Andru, inks by Martin Thall

There is a story behind “Love for Sale” that has been discussed on the Kirby list but I do not believe I have written about in my blog. Mike Esposito and Ross Andru launched their own publishing company Mikeross with their earliest comic having a cover date of December 1953 (3-D Love). This then was well in advance of Simon and Kirby’s Mainline Comics whose first issue (Bullseye) came out in August.

Mikeross only published four titles (3-D Love, 3-D Romance, Get Lost and Heart and Soul. The 3-D romance titles were single issues and I suspect that their timing was a little off. The initial 3D comics sold very well but were apparently a novelty item. My understanding is that Simon and Kirby’s Captain 3-D which came out in December 1953 was already a bit late and sales were not that great. Since the Mikeross 3D romance titles have cover dates of December and January, I suspect they suffered from lower sales as well. Get Lost went to issue #3 while Heart and Soul only lasted to issue #2. Usually when a title is cancelled after just 2 or 3 issues it is a sign that something other than poor sales was involved. I suspect that the returns from their first comic, 3-D Love were so poor that the distributor pulled the plug on the whole deal.

I do not have the biography of Mike Esposito that came out a few years ago but I did have the chance to flip through it to see what he had to say about what happened next. If I remember correctly Esposito claimed that the distributor forced them to hand over their unpublished artwork to Simon and Kirby. Frankly this is a pretty suspicious claim because a distributor does not have any legal claim to the artwork. Further in my discussions with Joe Simon he has vigorously denied that it happened. Martin Thall gave an interview published in Alter Ego #52 where he stated that in order to recover some money they sold some art to Simon and Kirby and that Kirby was the one who arranged and received it. This makes a lot more sense and is the version that I accept.

The last issue of Heart and Soul was cover dated June so the next one would be expected for August. “Love for Sale” was used in Young Brides #19 (November). The timing is so perfect that there is little doubt that this story was among the art sold to Simon and Kirby. What makes that even more convincing is that the lettering was not done by Ben Oda like almost all of Simon and Kirby’s productions.

This is not Ross Andru’s first appearance in Simon and Kirby productions as a story by him appeared in May 1952 (Chapter 16) and two in May and June of 1953 (Chapter 19). Another Andru story will be seen in the next chapter which also was probably bought from the defunct Mikeross publishing company.

Young Brides #19
Young Brides #19 (November 1954) “Telephone Romeo”, art by unidentified artist

Since one story from Mikeross has been identified the question becomes can any others be found? Such art need not have been used right away but it is interesting that Young Brides #19 contains another story, “Telephone Romeo” that was not lettered by Ben Oda. However the letterer is not the same one that did “Love for Sale”. I have only examined the 3-D Love, 3-D Romance and Heart and Soul #1 but none of them used this artist. Actually I find Andru’s hand through most of them and I suspect Ross and Mike did all the art themselves. So it cannot be said with any certainty that “Telephone Romeo” was another piece sold by Mikeross but it can be confidently said that is was bought from some distressed publisher or artist stuck with unused art.

Young Love #62
Young Love #62 (November 1954) “My Scheming Sister”, art by unidentified artist

There is yet another piece, “My Scheming Sister”, with lettering clearly not done by Ben Oda. Look at the caption to the first story panel, Simon and Kirby productions did not typically use lower case letters in their captions. Once again this was a piece bought by Simon and Kirby but not necessarily from Mikeross. Whoever the artist was he was one of the better of the unknowns from this period. A smooth confident line and great characterization.

Young Romance #72
Young Romance #72 (August 1954) “Reform School Babe”, art by unidentified artist

Not all the unidentified artists were new; the one that did “Reform School Babe” had been an important contributor to Simon and Kirby productions for some months. I believe one of my commenters suggested Vince Colletta, at least for the inking, but I am not sufficiently knowledgeable about that artist/inker to hazard a guess.

Young Romance #74
Young Romance #74 (November 1954) “Idol Worship”, art by unidentified artist

I will not be supplying examples of all the unidentified artists from these romance titles as I have not sorted them all out and anyway some are not that great. But I did want to provide an image from “Idol Worship” by one of the better artists working at this time for Simon and Kirby.

In summary, Simon and Kirby were using a number of new artists. Some like Jo Albistur would play important contribution to S&K productions; others like Tom Scheuer would make a brief appearance and not be seen again. Some may have been hired from the street but there is also the suggestion that some work may have come from an art agent. Further there is good evidence that some of the work came from the failed Mikeross publishing and perhaps other publishers as well. I have not yet done a review of Ben Oda’s lettering like I have those by Joe Simon, Jack Kirby and Howard Ferguson. I suspect a careful comparison of Ben Oda’s lettering with that used in the stories from this period will reveal others that came from romance titles that were failed. Simon and Kirby’s use of such material is not surprising because they had previously obtained art from Harvey after the love glut (Chapter 13, Romance Bottoms Out).

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)

Art of Romance, Chapter 23, New Ways of Doing Things

(May 1953 – July 1953: Young Romance #57 – #59, Young Love #45 – #47, Young Brides #5 – #6)

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

The artists who contributed to the romance titles during this period were the same as those covered in the last chapter; Jack Kirby, Bill Draut, Mort Meskin, John Prentice and Al Eadeh. Kirby was by far the most prolific having penciled 97 pages of art. Second place went to Draut (41 pages), followed by Prentice (21 pages), Meskin (18 pages) and then Eadeh (12 pages). The only other artist involved only produced two single page features both in the same issue (YR #57) and was likely a studio assistant. Still missing were some other artists that not so long ago had been doing a share of the work; Bob McCarty(?), Bill Walton and George Roussos.

Over a period of about half a year there has been a dramatic shift in the amount of art produced by Mort Meskin and Jack Kirby. Prior to this shift Meskin was producing a lot of romance art while Kirby was doing much less. Now the rolls were reverse with Jack being quite productive and Mort doing relatively little work. I do not think this reversal was coincidental. It would appear that Kirby was doing the work that had previously been going to Meskin. It is not at all clear whether this was because Meskin for some reason could no longer produce the same amount of work or whether Simon and Kirby decided to give him much less work to do. There is no sign that Mort made up for this loss of work by doing more in the titles he appeared in that were not produced by Simon and Kirby (Headline, Justice Traps the Guilty and Prize Comics Western). Nor had Meskin at this time begun working for other comic book publishers. Whatever the explanation, Mort’s had suffered a rather drastic drop in income.

Young Romance #59
Young Romance #59 (July 1953) “A Family Affair”, pencils and inking by Jack Kirby

There were some significant format changes that fully developed during the period covered by this chapter. One of the most noticeable is the almost complete abandonment of full page splashes. The splash for “A Family Affair” is the only full page splash in any of the 8 issues. The move away from the larger splash was obviously not due to any flagging talent on Kirby’s part as this splash is full of Kirby punch (pun intended). I am not sure what the teen-age girl purchasers of the day felt about such action in a romance comic, but it sure makes a dramatic splash for a modern reader. Jack makes great use of the often awkward space left over from the inclusion of the single story panel. Kirby creates a powerful diagonal that starts at the lower left and ascends to the upper right corner. Almost all the parts of the composition takes part in that diagonal except for the female protagonist who balances out the story panel where she also appears.

The first story panel for “A Family Affair” is an example of another of the format changes that occurred during this period. It is not a true story panel but rather a soliloquy panel where the protagonists introduce the story. Previously we have seen the frequent use of what I have described as a soliloquy splash where a characters also introduces the story and where the speech balloon forms the title of the story. Soliloquy splashes still are used although perhaps not quite as commonly as before (there are four). I do not want to over emphasize the use of soliloquy story panels; there are only four features that use them.

Jack may have been producing a lot more art than he had for some time but this did not affect the quality of what art he did create. If anything his work is stronger then ever. I think this maybe due to Kirby doing a greater percentage of the inking then he has been. Certainly the spotting in the splash for “A Family Affair” looks like Kirby’s brushwork.

Young Romance #57
Young Romance #57 (May 1953) “Peeping Tom”, art by Jack Kirby

A more significant format change that became common during this period concerns the use of the splash panel. Previously Simon and Kirby productions, and in fact almost all comics by any publisher, used the splash as the comic book equivalent of the movie trailer. That is the splash would provide a sort of synopsis of the story to entice the reader. Now some of the Simon and Kirby productions would have a splash that was actually the first panel of the story. “Peeping Tom” is a good example. Carefully done, as in “Peeping Tom”, the splash still entices the reader but it is also an essential start to the story. Remove it and the following panels are difficult to understand.

Young Romance #59
Young Romance #59 (July 1953) “You Stole My Girl”, art by Mort Meskin

Some stories have gone even further then making the splash into the first panel of the story, in them the splash panel is eliminated entirely. This would even be done in the first, or lead, story of a comic. The “produced by Simon and Kirby” cartouche would still appear but it would seem a bit oversized and out of place in the first panel.

Young Romance #58Young Romance #58 (June 1953) “Love That Landlady”, art by Bill Draut

For some pieces two of the new story formats would be combined. In “Love That Landlady” the splash panel has been eliminated and the first panel provides a soliloquy by the male protagonists. Most of the soliloquy story panels were used in features without splashes.

Young Love #46
Young Love #46 (June 1953) “The Hard Guy”, art by Bill Draut

One consequence of using the splash as the first story panel or eliminating it entirely was that the title ended up isolated in a band at the top of the page. Frankly this resulted in a visually un-integrated and rather uninteresting title caption box. Only one artist appeared to address this deficiency and that was Bill Draut in “The Hard Guy”. The art work in the title caption would never be mistaken for a splash and it certainly was not the start of the story. All it provided was an ambiance of a run down waterfront to the title. Not much but in my opinion very effective. However none of the other artists seem to have picked up this approach and Draut did not repeat it, at least for the titles covered in this chapter.

Young Love #47
Young Love #47 (July 1953) “The Web We Weave”, art by John Prentice

Except for the unidentified artists of two single page features, all the artists did stories with the new formats. I provide above an example of a splashless story by John Prentice.

Young Brides #5
Young Brides #5 (May 1953) “Stepchild”, art by John Prentice

Not all the stories used the new formats; some were pretty much indistinguishable from those of earlier issues. I have a fondness for the borderless splashes that John Prentice occasionally uses and so I provide an image from “Stepchild”. Perhaps this is not the best example of an older format because the first story panel is a soliloquy introduction.

Young Romance #59
Young Romance #59 (July 1953) “Love Me, Don’t Laugh at Me”, art by Bill Draut

Simon and Kirby productions could still provide strong story lines. “Love Me, Don’t Laugh at Me” begins (in the splash) with an attempted suicide. Pretty strong stuff but of course the protagonist does not die in the end. In a way this is another example of soliloquy as the lady proceeds to tell her life story to explain how see arrived at such an emotional state.

Young Romance #57
Young Romance #57 (May 1953) “Little Flirt”, art by Al Eadeh

Al Eadeh only did two stories for this period. I could have chosen “The Perfect Setup” as a further example of the use of the new formats (in this case without a splash) but “Little Flirt” is probably the best drawn romance story that Eadeh has provided Simon and Kirby. It is in a more standard format.

I have finally settled my mind about attributing these works to Al Eadeh. I had previously visited the Atlas Tales site but had then concentrated on the females because Eadeh does them in such a distinctive manner. Unfortunately there were few examples in Atlas Tales that provided examples of women. This time I returned but concentrated on the men. Sure enough there are some signed works that clearly were done by the same artist that was working for Simon and Kirby.

Splashes that are actually the start of the story, splashless stories and stories with soliloquy introductions are pretty recent and sudden developments. Actually Chapter 21 included “Loving is Believing” by Bob McCarty with a splash that was the beginning of the story. Not all stories used the new formats, actually there still were 13 standard and 4 soliloquy splash with 5 story splashes and 8 no splashes. While Kirby did 3 story splashes he did not do any features without a splash. If we remove Kirby from the statistics we get 4 standard splashes, 1 soliloquy splash, 2 story splashes and 8 no splashes. What was behind this shift? It could be just the use of a new script writer. However since Simon and Kirby always placed much importance on the splash I rather expect that this was a directive from one of them. Since Kirby did not participate in the new format as much as the other artists I suspect therefore this was largely Simon’s doing.

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)