Tag Archives: bill draut

Speaking of Art, Secondary Artists

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

Speaking of Art, Young Love #66


Young Love #66 unused cover (August 1955), pencils by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, inks by Bill Draut? and Jack Kirby

Joe Simon’s collection includes the original art for an unused cover. I do not believe that this cover art has every been made public before and once again I have permission from the Simon estate to do so here. Although subsequently crossed out, the notation in the upper left indicates it was initially intended for Young Love #66. This work was created during a difficult period for Simon and Kirby. Joe and Jack had launched their own publishing company, Mainline, with Bullseye #1 (cover date July 1954). But Mainline quickly became in trouble as its distributor, Leading News, entered into its own difficulties. By the time of Young Love #66 the former Mainline titles would be published by Charlton, notorious for their low payment to their artistic creators.

While previously Jack Kirby had provided the pencils for almost all the cover art for the titles that Simon and Kirby produced, his contributions during the Mainline and subsequent period was very limited. In particular the covers for the Prize romance titles were done by other artists such as Bill Draut, Mort Meskin, John Prentice and Bob McCarty. Joe Simon’s drawing of any comic book art was even more limited. Basically Joe and done no actual pencils since the Stuntman and Boy Explorers titles failed in 1946 except for 48 Famous Americans (a J.C. Penny giveaway from 1947). So Joe and Jack’s involvement in this cover is quite unusual.


Young Love #66 unused cover (August 1955), pencils by Joe Simon, inks by Bill Draut?

The art is a bit of an construction on the illustration board that Simon and Kirby preferred. Only the foreground young couple were executed on the original illustration board. They were penciled by Joe Simon however the inking does not appear to be his. I am not certain but the brushwork looks like it was done by Bill Draut. The final results does look like a cross between the styles of the two artists.


Young Love #66 unused cover (August 1955)

Another layer was added to the illustration board; a larger piece on the left side and a smaller one on the right together covering the former background. Unfortunately the larger piece has been almost completely covered up and cannot be examined. The smaller piece was also covered up but the glue (probably rubber cement) has subsequently failed. That is the part that is shown above. Regrettably it does not seem sufficient for determining of an attribution and I would not want to hazarded a guess.


Young Love #66 unused cover (August 1955)

The third layer is also in two parts; a larger left piece and a smaller right that pretty much match the shape and size of the underlying pieces. However they two pieces are of different paper. The right piece seems to have been tracing paper with white-out applied to make it more opaque. The art work consists of little of a couple of pencil lines depicting drapery.


Young Love #66 unused cover (August 1955), pencils and inks by Jack Kirby

The more substantial third layer from the left side was drawn and inked by Jack Kirby. Kirby is well known, and rightly so, for his action drawing but here we have as simple yet warm portrayal as one could hope to find.

It is simply no longer possible to determine what the background was for the initial work on the illustration board. A small area of white-out remains that covers some inking indicates that there was some sort of background. What little can be seen of the second layer suggests a poorly constructed fence, perhaps a street scene from a poor neighborhood. The final layer has hanging drapery, maybe a wedding chapel.


Young Love #66 (August 1955), pencils and inks by Mort Meskin

The back of the original art has two Comic Code Authority Approval Stamps; one dated March 2, 1955 and the other March 8. But note that both are approval stamps and  therefore the rework was not due to any rejection from the Comic Code. The changes appear to be an effort to improve the cover but in the end they decided to use a cover created by Mort Meskin. While I find the Simon and Kirby cover interesting I believe it was the correct decision. The Meskin cover is just a wonderful one with the contrast between the casually dressed teenager and the fancifully attired couple that she is daydreaming about.

Police Trap #5

Police Trap and the other Mainline titles had been distributed by Leader News. During this period there was a renew public protest about the contents of comic books. The publisher that attracted the greatest amount of negative criticism was probably EC and some newsstands refused to accept their comics. Unfortunately Leader News also distributed EC and the boycott lead to their eventual failure. Without a distributor this meant the end of Simon and Kirby’s publishing company as well. But work had already begun on the art for the unpublished issues of the Mainline comics so Joe and Jack looked for a publisher willing to take on the titles. They made a deal Charlton and after an addition two month delay Police Trap #5 finally made it to the newsstands. This was the first issue of Police Traps to be submitted to the new Comic Code Authority although I doubt there was much of a problem with getting approval.


Police Trap #5 (July 1955), pencils and inks by Jack Kirby

Compared to previous issue, the cover was not all that great. I cannot think of a Simon and Kirby cover that I would describe as poor but obviously some were better than others and this one was one of their poorest. I suspect that with the failure of Mainline and the search for a new publisher, Simon and Kirby just did not give the cover art as much attention as they previously would have.


Police Trap #5 (July 1955) “The Gun”, pencils and inks by Bill Draut

Bill Draut had drawn stories for Police Trap #1 and #3 so his presence here comes as no surprise. Draut provides “The Gun” with his usual well crafted art. However coming after his really great work on “Tough Beat” (Police Trap #3) this story can seem to be a bit of a let down. Due to financial problems arising from the collapse of Mainline, Simon and Kirby were forced to close down their studio. It seems that Joe and Jack continued to work together for a time but limited or stopped employing other artists. “The Gun” was probably work already completed before Mainline’s sudden collapse. Simon and Kirby would use some further work by Draut in the coming months but not much. Draut would work for other publishers but with the collapse of the comic book industry it must have been a difficult time for him. I am sure he eventually looked back at his time with Simon and Kirby as the golden age of his career.


Police Trap #5 (July 1955) “The Test”, pencils and inks by Joaquin Albistur

“The Test” was another fine piece of work by Joaquin Albistur. Albistur only worked for Simon and Kirby for a limited period of time, a little over a year. Probably Joaquin also looked for work after the closing of the Simon and Kirby studio. I have seen some original art for a smaller publisher but I am not sure when it was done. Albistur may have found some work but it does not appear he found much. At some point he returned to his native country Argentina.


Police Trap #5 (July 1955) “Bad Influence”, art by an unidentified artist

I am not sure who the artist was that drew “Bad Influence”. I will not claim he was one of my favorite Simon and Kirby artists but he did a good job on this story.


Police Trap #5 (July 1955) “Short Visit”, art by an unidentified artist

Another unidentified artist only in this case not nearly as talented as the one who did “Bad Influence”. Note the rather awkward pose of the policeman.


Police Trap #5 (July 1955) “Alibi?”, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Mort Meskin?

Up to now, Jack Kirby’s contribution to Police Trap was limited to the covers, one pinup (derived from an unused cover) and one splash panel. Was “Alibi” originally planned for issue #5 or was Jack filling in for working missing at the time of the collapse of Mainline? Who can say? But it is nice to see a Kirby working on a crime story again since the last one he did back in 1950. The tall vertical splash was rather unusual for Kirby and a reminder that Kirby was comfortable with any panel layout.

I am a little puzzled by the inking of this piece. Previously I have attributed the inking to Mort Meskin and there are parts that remind me of his work. Particularly the elderly woman in the second story panel. However there are other portions that do not look like Meskin’s brush for instance the sleeve of the older detective in the splash panel. During earlier periods I would explain this by the use of multiple artists sometimes used to ink Kirby’s art (describe by Joe Simon as an assembly line). With the bust up of the Simon and Kirby studio this now seems likely that only a single inker would be used (although either Simon or Kirby could be expected to do some touch up work). While I may hesitate to attribute the inking of this piece to Meskin, Mort was the inker for some other Kirby pencils that will be discussed when issue #6 is covered.

Police Trap #3


Police Trap #3 (January 1955), pencils and inks by Jack Kirby

The cover for Police Trap #3 departed from the more serene covers used for the first two issues. Instead PT #3 was a typically well done Kirby slugfest. Such dramatic punches were often found in Simon and Kirby stories but rarely appeared on the crime covers. I can think of only one other case (Headline #45, January 1951) and that one was not nearly as nicely done as this cover. There was another cover considered for issue #3 but in the end never used. The alternative cover featured some motorcycle policeman and while a good cover it was not nearly as dramatic as this one.


Police Trap #3 (January 1955), “Hick Cop”, art by W. E. Hargis

It is always nice when an artist signs his work. Otherwise it becomes difficult to determine attributions since credits were not usually provided. There was also another signed S&K production piece by William Hargis (Young Love #62, October 1954, “Too Darned Innocent” ). I really need to do some careful comparison with some of the other unattributed pieces from this period as it is likely there exists some unsigned pieces by Hargis as well. Still it appears that Hargis only worked for Joe and Jack during a short period. Most of his work at this time seemed to have been for Quality Comics.

A number of artists appeared for a short time in Simon and Kirby productions from this period. Most were not that impressive but Hargis was an exception. He graphically tells the story well and has a pleasing drawing style. Hargis uses details to provide insight into his characters. I love the way that the sheriff has a hole in the sole of his shoe in the first story panel.


Police Trap #3 (January 1955), “The Mountie”, pencils and inks by Joaquin Albistur

Albistur is one of my favorite S&K artists from this period. “The Mountie” is a typical example of his talent. The mounted policemen have disappeared from most American cities but still have a presence, although diminished, in New York City. I have not seen any in the last few months but I would regularly hear them go down my street. It is not at all clear to me whether horses are an effective police tool but they certainly make for great public relations. Whenever I see them they always attract photographers and animal lovers.


Police Trap #3 (January 1955), “Murder At The Frolics”, art by an unidentified artist

AS I have said, there were a number of artists that worked a short time for Joe and Jack during this period. Of course I wish I could identify them all but for academic reasons as frankly many were little more than adequate. The biggest problem with this particular artist is that his figures tend to be a bit stiff as, for instance, in the last panel of this page.


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

I really like Bill Draut’s art, at least while he worked for Simon and Kirby. But this particular splash page has got to be one of my favorites. Generally Bill did not do full page splashes and in a way this is not one either. What Draut has done was combine two splashes separated by the title caption. The top shows a deserted neighborhood with only a single policeman in the background. Very simple but lovingly handled with great attention to the tenement buildings. The bottom seems pure chaos but actually is not. Helped by nice work by the colorist, the lower splash focuses on the confrontation between a cop and some locals seemingly concerning some youth the policeman has apprehended. Bill has provided an interesting and varied crowd. The juxtaposition of the quiet and noisy street scenes makes the page all that more interesting.


Police Trap #3 (January 1955), “Tough Beat” last panel of page 6, pencils and inks by Bill Draut

I have seen the original art for “Tough Beat” and the upper portion of the splash page, the quiet street scene, was inked on tracing paper. I found this puzzling until I noticed the last panel of the story was the same street scene with different inking. Apparently Draut placed the tracing paper over the final panel and used it as a guide for working on the upper part of the splash page. Faster than manually copying the art onto the actual illustration board while the use of tracing paper would be undetectable in the final printed version.

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).

Criminal Artist, Chapter 3, Bill Draut

After Simon and Kirby stopped producing the Prize crime titles, Bill Draut did not contribute much as compared to artists previously discussed in this serial post, Marvin Stein and Mort Meskin. But he is an artist that I admire and it is nice to see him get a chance to work on a genre other than romance.


Justice Traps the Guilty #71 (February 1955) “Escape” page 3, pencils and inks by Bill Draut

Draut’s first return to the Prize crime titles occurring in Justice Traps the Guilty #71 (“Escape”, February 1955). I do not understand why Bill decided to do this piece. Draut seemed to be getting a fair amount of work from Joe and Jack so why do work for the Prize crime comics which I believed offered less money? But whatever the motivation, Draut did a nice job. I provide an example of an action sequence which Bill handles quite well. Still it does not read quite as well as say similar fight sequences by Marvin Stein. How did the hero manage to flip the attacking criminal in the last two panels?

Draut did his own inking on just about everything he did, well at least up to 60’s. His inking manner in “Escape” pretty much matches what he had been using earlier. I guess the best description would be splotchy. Not really messy but with clothing dominated by rounded areas of black and with little use of narrow smooth folds.


Headline #74 (January 1956) “Never See Morning”, pencils and inks by Bill Draut

Whatever reasons Draut had for doing “Escape” it was an isolated piece. Draut would not do any other crime work for the rest of 1955 (cover date). His return to the crime titles in 1956 is easy to explain. During that year Jack Kirby began to draw pretty much all the contents of the Prize romance comics. Since those romance titles were the main source of work for Draut, this left him much in need of other sources of income.

Draut would draw a peculiar series for Headline. The hero of the feature was a gossip columnist whose evening work at places like night clubs placed him in a position to fight crime as well. But that is not was peculiar about the feature, what was odd was that there never was anything in the title to indicate that this was a serial feature. You learned his name, Nick Kolby, in the story but it was only once mentioned in the title and even then not prominently. There seemed no reason not promote the feature as that was done for another returning feature in Headline at that time, Flash Cameron, a newspaper photographer who also fights crime. If Prize thought another newspaper crime fighter was too much, then why have not have Draut do some other type of crime fighter?


Headline #75 (March 1956) “Hot Stuff”, pencils and inks by Bill Draut

Nick Kolby could handle himself pretty well for a gossip columnist. This gave Draut a chance to do some action scenes which were something that he did not often get to do for the romance art that predominated his work for Simon and Kirby. Much earlier in his career Bill did action in some features like the Red Demon and Calamity Jane and Draut has greatly improved in his ability to draw convincing and effective action.

Draut inking seems to be changing having less of the splotchy effect with cleaner lines and an over all lighter look. Previously I had credited his style change as due to working for DC but I do not believe Bill had started with DC yet. However it was his inking style that was changing, not the way he did his pencils.


Headline #75 (March 1956) “Hot Stuff” page 4, pencils and inks by Bill Draut

“Hot Stuff” also provides and example of Draut handling an action sequence. He does it quite well although panel 5 takes a closer examination in order to figure out what the hero was doing (tripping his first pursuer). This is not quite the action choreography as used by Jack Kirby or even Marvin Stein, but Bill does have his own way of handling it.


Headline #76 (May 1956), pencils and inks by Bill Draut

I used to think that Jack Kirby and Marvin Stein were the only artists who drew covers for Headline Comics. However Headline #76 (May 1956) eluded me until recently and I previously believed it was by Stein based on some low resolution scans I had seen. But when I finally got a copy I saw I had clearly been mistaken. There were Bill’s classic eyebrows and the way the bricks are clustered into isolated patches is a typical Draut technique. It is surprising that Draut instead of Stein did this cover since Marvin was the primary artist at this time. Also surprising is that Bill’s cover illustrates Flash Cameron a feature that Ted Galindo drew in this issue. Now there are any number of contingencies that we would never know about that might brought about Draut providing this cover, but I would like to suggest one possibility. Perhaps the cover was originally meant to portray Nick Kolby, a feature that Bill drew. Take away the camera and the press pass in the hat and this is a good match for Kolby. Those two features could have easily been added by Bill or another artist to convert it from Kolby to Cameron. Without the original art we will never know for sure.


Headline #77 (September 1956) “Hide and Seek”, pencils and inks by Bill Draut

I could not resist on last example from Draut’s Nick Kolby feature. This was also Bill’s last appearance in Headline and Nick Kolby ended here as well. Since this feature was drawn by Draut and no other artist, it seems likely that Draut was involved in its creation. I never heard of Draut writing scripts but perhaps he teamed up with some writer.


Justice Traps the Guilty #82 (May 1955) “Doomsday”, pencils and inks by Bill Draut

I do not want to convey the false impression that Bill Draut was only providing work for Headline during this period. Draut was doing work for Justice Traps the Guilty as well. However that work was for individual stories and not some continuing feature.

Art of Romance, Chapter 33, End of an Era

(November 1956 – April 1957: Young Romance #85 – #87, Young Love #73, Young Brides #30, All For Love #1)

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

We now come to the end of the all Kirby Price romance comics and transition into a new and significantly different period of Prize Comics. Young Brides #30 (November 1956) and Young Romance #85 (December 1956) qualify as all-Kirby comics but only half of Young Love #73 (December 1956) was drawn by Kirby with the rest of the art done by Bill Draut. Unfortunately the comic book crash had finally caught up to Prize Comics. Young Love #73 and Young Brides #30 would be the final issues of those two titles although Young Love would be resurrected in 1960. At the point of cancellation Prize Comics would only be publishing three titles; Young Romance, Justice Traps the Guilty and Prize Comics Western. Since all were bi-monthlies this was a rather small line-up even for such a small company.

Starting with issue #86, Young Romance was a very changed title. The annual postal statements still listed Joe Simon and Jack Kirby as the editors but whatever working arrangement the two had it clearly was not the same as before. Kirby had started doing freelance work for DC and Atlas while Simon was doing some editorial work for Harvey Comics. Most, but not all, issues would include art drawn by Jack Kirby. Previously cover art was typically done by Kirby alone but now most covers would be done by other artists. The biggest change that came over the title was the largely complete absence of the earlier S&K Studio artists. Artists who previously played prominent rolls in the title such as Bill Draut, Mort Meskin, John Prentice and Bob McCarty would never again appear in Young Romance. The fact that some of these artists would show up in Prize romance titles not edited by Simon and Kirby suggests that there may have been some hard feelings between the artists and their former employers.

The change in Prize Comics was not a complete retreat but rather a reorganization. In April 1957 Prize came out with a new romance title, All For Love. It may seem strange to cancel two romance titles only to start up a new one. The answer is suggested by the Postal Statements which list Joe Genalo as the editor for All For Love. Prize not only wanted a new title, they particularly did not want Simon and Kirby to produce it.

Young Romance #85
Young Romance #85 (December 1956) “Lizzie’s Back In Town”, pencils by Jack Kirby

As I mentioned earlier, YR #85 was one of the issues that was drawn entirely by Jack Kirby. While the story art was often first rate, the splashes frequently left something to be desired. At least compared to the work Kirby had done in earlier years. The splash for “Lizzie’s Back In Town” is a good example of this. There is nothing wrong with the splash and granted it was probably a challenge to instill interest into some standing figures, but it was just this sort of romance splash that earlier Kirby was so good at. I suspect Kirby was just trying to do too much romance art in too little time. Some interesting splashes will be found in the future issues when Jack had returned to a more measured output of romance stories.

Young Romance #86
Young Romance #86 (February 1957) “Reject”, pencils by Jack Kirby

There are exceptions to lackluster splashes. I certainly like the one for “Reject”. This is not because of the subject matter because once again all there is are some standing figures. Nor is it the how well the art was handled; I suspect the original pencils were much better than what was left after the inker got finished with it. I think what appeals to me is the characterizations of the players; the stern central figure and the gossipers in the background. I also like the way the title of the story is placed on a placard worn by the lady.

Young Brides #30
Young Brides #30 (November 1956) “The Unhappy Housewife”, pencils by Jack Kirby

There seems to have been one inker used for all the works penciled by Kirby during this period and a good portion of the art from the all-Kirby romance issues. In the past I had considered it likely that the inker was Marvin Stein. I have heard others advance Bill Draut and Joe Simon as candidates. During the review for this chapter I have come to the conclusion that I am just not sure who he was. In some places it looks like Bill Draut, other Marvin Stein or even Joe Simon. But I also feel it is quite possible that it was someone else entirely.

One interesting feature of the inking of the splash for “The Unhappy Housewife” is the presence of picket fence crosshatching (Inking Glossary). This technique was once a staple of the inking of Kirby pencils during much of the Simon and Kirby collaboration. Part of what I refer to as the Studio style inking. Picket fence crosshatching appears on some of the covers from this period but is largely absent in the stories.

Young Romance #85
Young Romance #85 (December 1956) “Resort Romeo” page 2, pencils by Jack Kirby

The inking of eyebrows during this period were often done in a simplified but exaggerated manner. The women in panel 5 of the page shown above is a good example. There is some resemblance between these eyebrows and those used by Bill Draut which is the main reason to suggest Draut was the inker for these Kirby pencils. Unfortunately I cannot find any other evidence to support crediting Draut as Kirby’s inker during this period. But I will return to this subject below.

Young Romance #87
Young Romance #87 (April 1957) “Rock n’ Roll Sweetheart” page 4, pencils by Jack Kirby

Note the inking of the man’s face in the last panel from page 4 of “Rock n’ Roll Sweetheart”. The black shadow down one side of the face is what I refer to as negative highlights. I have never seen Bill Draut use negative highlights but Marvin Stein did and his looked very much like this example. Because the inking evidence does not consistantly suggest one inker, I have decided to no longer attribute the inking to Marvin Stein and for now leave it as an open question.

Young Love #73
Young Love #73 (December 1956) “Soldier’s Homecoming”, pencils and inks by Bill Draut

Bill Draut provided two of the four stories from the final issue of Young Love. The style is similar to that he was using just prior to the start of the all-Kirby run. However even that was somewhat different from his earlier work. This is most notably seen in the clothing folds which earlier had been somewhat splotchy but now where cleaner and more streamlined.

Young Romance #86
Young Romance #86 (February 1957) “I Took The Easy Way Out”, art by unidentified artist

The first issue (YR #87) of Young Romance after the cancellation of Young Love and Young Brides had only a single Kirby story. Oddly the other three stories were all done by the same artist. He is not a bad artist, but I do not believe I have seen him in a Simon and Kirby production before. It is a puzzle why he suddenly achieved such dominance in this romance title.

All For Love #1
All For Love #1 (April 1957) “Dream Wedding”, art by Bill Draut

As mentioned above, the new Prize romance title All For Love, was not produced by Simon and Kirby. One of the things I will be looking for in future chapters of the Art of Romance was whether the same artists would appear in Young Romance and the Prize titles that were not produced by Simon and Kirby. One artist that shows up in the first issue is Bill Draut. Not only does Draut provide a story but he did the cover art as well. Here Bill is working in the same style we saw Young Romance #86 (February 1957).

Bill had also been appearing in some of the Harvey romance titles at this time which I believe were edited by Joe Simon. But it is unclear whether these were new stories or reprints of older material. In any case work by Draut for Harvey would end at this same time. Draut would not work with Joe Simon on comics until 1966. Bill did work on Sick but right now I am not sure when that was.

All For Love #1
All For Love #1 (April 1957) “Hollow Triumph” page 3, art by Mort Meskin?

There are two stories in All For Love #1 that I am somewhat uncertain about. I some ways “Hollow Triumph” reminds me of the work of Mort Meskin. The way the eyebrows are inked might suggest Bill Draut but the story lacks any of Draut’s mannerisms of graphically telling the story, in particular the body language depicted and how the use of view points. Meskin is a better fit in just these graphic qualities. However if this was drawn by Mort I am certain it was not inked by him. Some of the inking reminds me of the unidentified inker for Kirby that I discussed above.

All For Love #1
All For Love #1 (April 1957) “My Wishful Heart”, art by Bill Draut?

“My Wishful Heart” is the other story that I questionably attribute to Mort Meskin. Although not identical to “Hollow Triumph” it is close enough to suggest it was done by the same artist.

All For Love #1
All For Love #1 (April 1957) “I Was Only Cheating Myself”, art by Ted Galindo

The only other romance artist from this period that I can identify other than Jack Kirby, Bill Draut and possibly Mort Meskin was Ted Galindo. Ted does a real nice job on his romance stories. His women are attractive and his art style more modern than most of the artists that I have discussed so far. Galindo’s use of changing viewpoints keeps his stories graphically interesting. we will be seeing more of his work

We are now coming into the final period covered by the Art of Romance. It was always my intention to take this serial post up to 1960. However I am really uncertain how many chapters remain. Frankly overall I find the Prize romance titles from this point on the least interesting of the series. If not for the presence of Jack Kirby I might be tempted to cover it in some future serial post. But there is some really great Kirby art, much of it inked by Jack himself. Plus some other interesting artists appeared from time to time.

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 32, The Kirby Beat Goes On

(May – October 1956: Young Romance #83 – #84, Young Love #71 – #72, Young Brides #28 – #29)

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

This is part of the period that saw the collapse of comic, the end of the golden age. While the number of romance titles has been steady the number of publishers of romance comics has been declining (The Real Reason for the Decline of Comics).

Young Love #71
Young Love #71 (June 1956) “Love Me Or Leave Me”, pencils and inks by Bill Draut

Although I describe this period as being all Kirby romances, that is not completely accurate as other artists did appear. Of the six issues discussed in this chapter five were truly all Kirby while one (Young Love #71) was a more normal Simon and Kirby production. For YL #71 Kirby does the cover and one story but the three other stories were by other artists. It is odd that all the artists were placed in this one issue while Young Romance #83, which came out in the same month, was all Kirby. All of the artists for YL #71 had been used prior to this year but one only in a war genre title. Therefore it is uncertain whether this was left over inventory or not.

Bill Draut’s art has the somewhat cleaner look that his art showed in the last chapter. Clothing folds are smoother and more sweeping and not so blotchy as was his style previously. The GCD lists Bill in DC’s Tales of the Unexpected #2 (April 1956) so I wonder if this change is an attempt to change his style to one more acceptable to DC. If so it is the beginning of a change that would rob Draut’s art of much of what I admire and replace it with a style that was not that much appreciated by DC or any other publisher.

Young Love #71
Young Love #71 (June 1956) “Birthday Present” page 3, pencils and inks? by Ann Brewster

“Birthday Present” would be Ann Brewster’s last work for Simon and Kirby. Joe and Jack only used her for the romance titles but this story does allow Ann to show how she can handle action. That she does so well with action should not come as a surprise because he she was doing superheroes earlier in her career (Ann Brewster, Not One of the Guys).

Young Love #71
Young Love #71 (June 1956) “Love That Money”, pencils and inks? by Ted Galindo

This is Ted Galindo’s first appearance in the “Art of Romance” but he did work for Simon and Kirby in Foxhole (Foxhole #4, Enter the Comic Code). Frankly the art for Foxhole was not all that great so it comes as a surprise what a wonderful job Galindo would do in “Love That Money”. We will see even more impressive work by Ted when I cover him in “Criminal Artists”, my serial post on the post S&K Prize crime titles. For “Love That Money” Ted’s women are beautiful and elegant and he works in a more modern comic book art style. It is a shame that Simon and Kirby did not make more use of Galindo before this but perhaps they also were put off by the poorer job he did for Foxhole.


Young Romance #83 (June 1956), pencils by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon

There was one other exception to the otherwise all Kirby art for this chapter besides those found in Young Love #1 and that is the cover for Young Romance #83 (June 1956). Oh that certainly is Kirby’s pencils for the foreground figures but he did not do the figures projected on the screen. The black and white art looks like the work of Joe Simon. The screen was done using special art boards that provide several degrees of tone based on chemical applied to it. Years later these boards were used by Joe and the artists working for him for work on Sick. Joe still has some of these boards and once offered to show me how they worked. Unfortunately all the required chemicals that I could find had dried up.


Young Love #71 (June 1956), pencils and inks by Jack Kirby

Young Love #71 provides a more typical example of a Prize romance cover than Young Romance #83. The inking for this cover was done in Austere inking style that Kirby worked in during this period (Jack Kirby’s Austere Inking). The ink lines are so fine that it would be reasonable to suggest that the work was done using a pen. However the original art is part of Joe Simon’s collection and a close examinations shows that it was done with a brush. While story art was usually done twice up (twice the size compared to as it would be published), generally the art for the Prize covers were done at about 1 1/2 size. But the truly twice up size of the original art for YL #71 allowed Kirby to achieve such fine lines with a brush.

Young Romance #83
Young Romance #83 (June 1956) “Dancing Doll” page 7, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Jack Kirby and Marvin Stein?

I find Kirby inking Kirby to be particularly interesting and therefore want to provide a number of examples below. However much of the inking of Kirby’s pencils during this period was not done by Jack himself. I therefore think I would be remiss if I did not provide at least one example of Kirby inked by another artist. While the inking on “Dancing Doll” is rather nice it does have some characteristics that I believe exclude crediting it to Kirby. For instance, although it is hard to make out from the image I provide, the cheek of the main in panel 4 has some fine feathering that I have not seen Kirby use. Inking attributions during this period are particularly difficult. There are two leading candidates; Bill Draut and Marvin Stein. There are some examples that can be confidently attributed to each of them. But these are the exceptions and in most cases it is hard to tell if one of them inked it or some unidentified artist. “Dancing Doll is just such an example. However the way the inking is done around the mouth of the man in panel 4 suggests to me it might have been done by Marvin Stein.

Young Romance #83
Young Romance #83 (June 1956) “The Serious Type”, pencils and inks by Jack Kirby

Some of the work from this period appears to be a combination of inking by Jack himself and some other artist. This is true for “The Serious Type” with the other inker questionably identified as Marvin Stein. However the work on the splash page appears to me to be inked by Kirby alone. Note the simple, spatulate forms that the clothing folds on the waitress in the splash and the shoulder blots throughout. Admittedly not the most exciting splash, even by standards of the romance genre, but still a well executed piece.

Young Brides #28
Young Brides #28 (May 1956) “Under New Management” page 4, pencils and inks by Jack Kirby

“Under New Management” is another jointly inked work and again by Kirby and possibly Stein. This seems to be a case of inkers working on particular pages; Kirby on pages 2 to 4 and 7 with Stein doing pages 1, 5 and 6. Besides the simply shaped clothing folds and shoulder blots there are also a couple of abstract arch shadows (panels 1 and 4). These are all typical of Kirby’s inking although Joe Simon used these techniques as well. I feel it fair to point out that I am a bit uncertain about whether Kirby inked the nose and eyebrows of the man in panel 4.

Young Brides #28
Young Brides #28 (May 1956) “New Boy In Town”, pencils and inks by Jack Kirby

I believe that all of the “New Boy In Town” was inked by Jack himself. Again while I cannot fault his drawing or inking it is not one of his more exciting splashes. The same theme is covered in a much more interesting manner on the cover.

Young Brides #29
Young Brides #29 (July 1956) “The Sound Of Wedding Bells”, pencils and inks by Jack Kirby

Only the wedding couple’s hands are shown in the foreground. Behind their hands are the man presiding over the ceremony (a judge?) and a witness. The background is filled with clamoring bells announcing the festive occasion. This is certainly the most interesting romance splash Kirby has done during this period.

Still more all-Kirby romance comics to come in the next chapter of The Art of Romance.

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 31, Kirby, Kirby and More Kirby

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Art of Romance, Chapter 30, Transition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A short comment about the splash for “Old Enough to Marry”. At a glance it might appear that Jack has returned to the old confessional 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)