Tag Archives: howard ferguson

In the Beginning, Chapter 12, Their First Hit


Blue Bolt #10 (March 1941) Blue Bolt, pencils by Jack Kirby, letters by Howard Ferguson

Blue Bolt was a comic serial feature. Except for the first issue, the plot for each story reached a satisfactory completion but the end always included what effectively was the start of the next story. However the story for BB #10 ends with the green sorceress promising to give up her evil goals of domination and letting Blue Bolt go free. What would Blue Bolt be without the green sorceress as a nemesis? The inside cover was titled “Ye Editor’s Page” which states:

Most of you are tired of seeing the green sorceress constantly fighting Blue Bolt. Hereafter, this strip will be improved by showing new and more exciting action without the green sorceress.

Blue Bolt would continue but without Simon and Kirby. 


Captain America #1 (March 1941) Meet Captain America, pencils by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, letters by Howard Ferguson

I doubt very much whether Simon and Kirby’s leaving Blue Bolt had anything to do with any dissatisfaction with the work they had done on the feature. Rather I suspect they stopped moonlighting to devote more attention to Captain America, their new creation for Timely Comics. Joe and Jack had made a deal with Goodman, the owner of Timely, in which they would get a share in the profits. It therefore made sense to give priority to the work that they would do for Timely. Since Simon and Kirby would create all the work that appeared in Captain America, 61 pages for the first issue, this meant a substantial increase in they amount of work they had to produce each month. (Although the Captain Marvel Adventures that Simon and Kirby had done previously required a similar number of pages.)

While Kirby is usually credited with drawing Captain America, some of it was actually penciled by Simon particularly in the first issue. For instance the standing figure of Captain America shown above was drawn by Joe while the rest of the page, including the running Bucky, were done by Kirby.


Captain America #1 (March 1941) Captain America and the Chess-board of Death page 9, pencils by Jack Kirby, letters by Howard Ferguson

In a previous post (Chapter 10) it was observed that Simon and Kirby had begun using some new layout devices. One, picked up from Lou Fine, was to extend figures beyond the panel borders. If anything, Joe and Jack made even greater use of this device in Captain America. Sometimes to extremes as for instance the standing Bucky in the upper left of the page shown above whose figure extends over three panels. In Captain America Simon and Kirby began using unusually shaped panels as well such as the circular panel and others with a curved border shown above. Even Ferguson got into the act by using vertical letters for normal text in the speech balloons while using slanted letters in captions and when emphasis was desired. It appears that Simon and Kirby were doing whatever they could to make Captain America art stand out.


Captain America #1 (March 1941) Hurricane, pencils, inks and letters by Jack Kirby

While all the Captain America stories from the first issue were drawn by both Kirby and Simon, inked by various hands and lettered by Howard Ferguson there were two backup features that were drawn, inked and lettered by Kirby alone. That is not to say that Simon was not involved just that there is no evidence to prove he was. One feature, Hurricane, concerned the return of the god Mercury to the human sphere. As such it was the first Kirby piece with a mythological theme.


Captain America #1 (March 1941) Tuk Caveboy, pencils, inks and letters by Jack Kirby

The other all Kirby piece was Tuk Caveboy.


Marvel Mystery #17 (March 1941) Vision, pencils and inks by Jack Kirby, letters by unidentified letterer (from Golden Masterworks reprint)

Kirby also drew and inked the Vision story for Marvel Mystery #17 but, as with the previous issue, he did not do the lettering.

Captain America was a break through comic for Simon and Kirby, particularly for Kirby. Simon’s Blue Bolt had been an important enough of a creation to be the featured story of a new comic book title with the same name. It probably was popular enough but nowhere near as big a seller as Captain America. Up until then none of Kirby’s comics received any real attention. Captain America changed all that and made Simon and Kirby a brand name. While somewhat primitive compared to what Simon and Kirby would produce even a single year later, Captain America was well advanced relative to the comics published at that time. Pretty much everyone noticed and the comic book industry was changed forever.

It would be a great story to say that when Simon met Kirby they shortly began their classic collaboration. A great story but not what actually happened. Instead what appeared to occur was a variety of working conditions. Sometimes Jack helped out with some pages of art (for instance Blue Bolt #2 and #3), sometimes Kirby would do the pencils and Simon the inking (Blue Bolt #4 to #7), sometimes Kirby would do the pencils and other the inking (Blue Bolt #8 and #9), occasionally both Joe and Jack would pencil and others would do the inking (Captain America #1) and finally both might do their own individual projects (like Simon’s Fiery Mask in the Human Torch #2(1) and Kirby’s Vision stories in Marvel Mystery #13 to #15). While the overall tendency was for greater dependency on Kirby’s undeniable artistic skills as time went on, what appears to be happening was Simon taking on the roll of a true or acting editor using Kirby (or not) in whatever combination needed to get the job done. In my opinion it was not until Simon and Kirby left Timely for DC that they began to truly forge their business and artistic collaboration.

So ends another serial post. I am sure that someday I will do one on Joe and Jack’s Captain America but that day is not today.

In the Beginning, Chapter 11, Calm Before the Storm


Blue Bolt #9 (February 1941) Blue Bolt, pencils by Jack Kirby, letters by Howard Ferguson

Once again some rather poor inking mars an otherwise great Simon and Kirby piece. As mentioned previously the inking was very likely the work of one or more of the Timely studio assistants; Al Avison, Al Gabriel and Syd Shores. Unfortunately this time Kirby did not even ink the splash.

A recent “innovation” was the used of a blue field to encircle the page and separate the panels. Simon and Kirby had not used this device either before or since. The other features in the comic book had similar color fields although using colors other than cyan (blue) so it was likely an addition by the publisher. I have to say I find this color field unnecessary and somewhat distracting.


Blue Bolt #9 (February 1941) Blue Bolt page 5, pencils by Jack Kirby, letters by Howard Ferguson

Joe and Jack included in this story a reporter by the name of Bucky Williams. Of course Bucky was the name of Captain America’s sidekick and actually Bucky Williams fills the roll of a temporary sidekick. The use of the name Bucky was not the only things found in BB #9 to predate their use in Captain America which would premier next month. For the first time Simon and Kirby would extend figures outside of the panel borders (see above image). This was not an Simon and Kirby innovation (they picked it up from Lou Fine) but nonetheless was followed by some other artists once Captain America became a big success.


Prize Comics #9 (February 1941) Black Owl, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Simon, letters by Howard Ferguson

Simon and Kirby return for one final Black Owl story. With Simon providing inks to Kirby’s pencils this story is much more attractive than the Blue Bolt #9 from the same month. The story includes a reporter who plays the part of a temporary sidekick for the Black Owl. This is basically the same plot device played by the reporter Bucky Williams in BB #9. In the art for this story Simon and Kirby extended figures beyond the panel borders just as they had in Blue Bolt #9.

I do not know who to blame, but note the rather odd shadowing of the letter ‘O’ in the title, in particular the center of the letter. When I restored this page for the “Simon and Kirby Library: Superheroes” book I got a email from an editor at Titan asking if I got the restoration wrong. Well of course it is wrong only it was not my error.


Marvel Mystery #16 (January 1941) The Human Torch, pencils by Carl Burgos, letters by Howard Ferguson (from Golden Age Masterworks reprint volume)

Howard Ferguson provided the lettering for the Human Torch story from Marvel Mystery #16. Ferguson did not provide the lettering for all the Human Torch stories in the issues of Marvel Mystery but he did letter some of the Human Torch and Terry Vance stories but only those two features. Why Howard was restricted to just those two features is unclear but that would eventually change but not during the period covered by this serial post.


Marvel Mystery #16 (January 1941) Vision, pencils and inks by Jack Kirby, letters by unidentified letterer (from Golden Age Masterworks reprint volume)

While Ferguson provided lettering for all the moonlighting work that Simon and Kirby produced for this month he did not letter their single Timely piece, the Vision from Marvel Mystery #16. That would not been surprising had Kirby provided the lettering as has he had done in previous Visions stories but oddly some other letterer was used. Since credits were not supplied in the comics of those days it is unlikely this particular letterer will ever be identified.

In the Beginning, Chapter 10, Captain Marvel and Others


Blue Bolt #8 (January 1941) Blue Bold, pencils and splash inks by Jack Kirby, letters by Howard Ferguson

Blue Bolt #8 initiates a working methodology that Simon and Kirby would use often in years to come. Kirby would ink his own splash panel while leaving the rest of the story to be inked by other artists (besides Joe Simon). Kirby’s inking tops off an already spectacular splash. While in later years Jack’s primary interest was the story art, during his collaboration with Joe much emphasis was placed on covers and splashes. Great stories may have built the Simon and Kirby reputation but covers and splashes are what drew attention and persuaded comic book readers to spend their money. Of course having all the story inked by either Kirby or Simon would be preferable but if that was not possible the next best thing was for Jack to ink the splash.

It has been said that Kirby pencils could withstand even poor inkers. Well the story art to Blue Bolt #8 certainly puts that claim to the test. As I mentioned previously, I will not try to identified the inkers other than either Kirby or Simon but one or more of the assistants from the Timely bullpen were likely candidates for this work. Al Avison, Al Gabriel and Syd Shores were very young and just learning their trade.


Prize Comics #8 (January 1941) Black Owl, pencils and letters by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Simon

Blue Bolt was a serialized comic feature. Not quite like in the movie serials as Blue Bolt did not have “cliff hangers” endings. Instead each story would be complete but with an ending that left open the question of where the tale would go from there. The Black Owl feature from Prize Comics #7 leads to PC #8 in the same manner. However the ending in PC #8 does not suggest further development of the story in the next issue.  This issue was included in a previous post (Simon and Kirby’s Black Owl).


Prize Comics #8 (January 1941) Black Owl, letters by Jack Kirby

Kirby provided the lettering for PC #8 and since I have prepared samples for a previous post (Jack Kirby as a Letterer) I will repeat them here. But truth be told Kirby’s lettering really has not changed from the previous sample that I provided (Red Raven #1, August 1940, shown in Chapter 5).


Marvel Mystery #15 (January 1941) Vision, pencils, inks and letters by Jack Kirby (from Marvel’s Golden Age Masterpieces reprint)

As with Marvel Mystery #13 and #14, Kirby seemingly does it all, or at least all the visuals, for the Vision story in MM #15 (January 1941). Of course Simon might have had something to do with this feature, he was after all the editor.

Ferguson provided the lettering in Marvel Mystery #15 for the Human Torch and Terry Vance features.


Captain Marvel Adventures #1, Pencils by Jack Kirby (from a bleached page)

I have chosen this chapter to include some moonlighting work that Simon and Kirby did for Fawcett. Unfortunately the dating of this work for is uncertain as the comic books lack dates on the covers or in the indices. One of the works was Captain Marvel Adventures #1. This was the first comic book dedicated to Fawcett’s new hit Captain Marvel. It must have seemed a rather troublesome assignment. Not only did the art have to look like the work that C. C. Beck had previously done on the character, but also Simon and Kirby were not allowed to alter the scripts (Joe Simon’s Fawcett Testimony). The pencils had to be returned to Fawcett for lettering and then picked up again for inking. Yet despite all this the final art is rather nice. Kirby was never very good at imitating other artists and despite the simple lines of the artwork Kirby style keeps showing up. Beck might not have been pleased but in my opinion Simon and Kirby’s version was much more interesting. I have no idea who the inker was but it certainly was not Kirby, Simon or any of the assistants from the Timely bullpen. Whoever it was they did a marvelous job.


Wow Comics #1, Mister Scarlet, Pencils and inks by Jack Kirby, letters by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon

It is uncertain whether this work was done before or after Captain Marvel. In the Fawcett testimony Simon said it came later however that testimony was given some eight years later and therefore might not be accurate.

Mister Scarlet appears to largely be the work of Jack Kirby but Joe Simon’s presence is revealed in some of lettering. His distinctive ‘W’, ‘M’ and other letters make their appearance in some of the text as for instance in the captions in panels 1, 4 and 6 from page 2 shown above. All the Simon letter that I have spotted so far comes from captions and not the word balloons. This suggests that Joe was trying to make an existing story clearer. This feature is also a good reminder about the problems of identifying Joe’s contributions in Simon and Kirby productions. Had this story been lettered by someone other than Kirby and Simon, Joe’s additions would have gone unnoticed.

In the Beginning, Chapter 9, More Moonlighting


Blue Bolt #7 (December 1940) Blue Bolt, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Simon, letters by Howard Ferguson

Blue Bolt #7 continues the Simon and Kirby collaboration in its purist form, that is with Jack doing the pencils and Joe providing the inks. The only other feature from December that showed such a degree of collaboration was the Black Owl from Prize Comics #7 which I will discuss below. Both of these features were done while moonlighting. As we will see below the features created for their regular gig at Timely were not quite the same joint effort.

The enlarging World War II, romance, betrayal, spies and assassins are just some of the elements of this engaging story. Simon and Kirby were not satisfied with telling a simple confrontation between a hero and a villain they had to put in as much as possible. Ten pages hardly seemed enough to fit all that they included. It does not seem that Blue Bolt had any significant impact on the rest of the comic book industry of the day but it should have.


Blue Bolt #7 (December 1940) Blue Bolt page 8 panel 1, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Simon, letters by Howard Ferguson (horizontally flipped image)

Sure Blue Bolt was science fiction but that did not mean that the hero always used a ray gun. Previously Kirby had a penchant for dramatic slugfests but now he began to take that art to a new level.

I present the above image in reverse…


Captain America #1 (March 1941), pencils by Jack Kirby

as I want to highlight that roll Blue Bolt played in laying the groundwork for a future hit. Captain America would appear on newsstands just three months later.


Prize Comics #7 (December 1940) The Black Owl, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Simon?, letters by Howard Ferguson

Blue Bolt was not the only moonlighting job that Simon and Kirby produced for December they also did Black Owl for Prize Comics #7. Joe and Jack would end up doing a Black Owl story for three issues which I discussed previously (Simon and Kirby’s Black Owl). All three stories were reprinted in Titan’s “Simon and Kirby Library: Superheroes” (shameless plug). The Black Owl was not a Simon and Kirby creation and I really do not know much about previous appearances of the character.  But of course Simon and Kirby added their distinct touch if in nothing more than the story and art.


Prize Comics #7 (December 1940) The Black Owl, letters by Howard Ferguson

Howard Ferguson provided the lettering for the Black Owl story. I have previously provided the lettering samples for Ferguson’s Prize Comics #7 but I have since made a correction and some additions to it. A recap of the more useful features would seem in order. The most useful trait for identifying Ferguson lettering is the little vertical stroke attached to the upper end of the letter ‘C’. Another useful trait is the very shallow hook for the letter ‘J’ but unfortunately that is not a common letter. Some other traits are less useful but still should be noted particularly the way the upper portions of the letters ‘P’ and ‘R’ predominate over the lower portion. The letter ‘S’ is similarly often affected by a predominate upper portion but there is some variation in this feature. Another trait is found in some but not all ‘N’ is the manner that the left vertical stroke is sometimes tilted downward to the left somewhat. Perhaps not as useful than the letter ‘C’ but certainly easier spot is Ferguson’s special handling of the first letter in captions (examples are provided above). I believe all these traits (except the special ‘N’) were retained by Ferguson the rest of his career. I plan to review his entire career after I finish this serial post.

In is at this time that in my opinion Ferguson’s lettering has gone from good to great. This is not due to form of his letters which has changed only a little from previous work. Rather it steady and firm hand used and the spacing and legibility of the final results. Ferguson’s work is not mechanical but neither is it overly variable.

Besides an improvement in quality, the lettering differs from what was done not that long ago for Blue Bolt #5 (October 1940) by three changes.

I have previously pointed out the special handling of the first letter in captions. Such enlarged and specially formed letters are similar to the first letter of chapters often found in older books. The analogy is not perfect but it is close enough that I have decided to adopt the name given to them, drop capitals (or drop caps for short). Drop caps were used by other comic book letterers but Ferguson began using a special version where the letter is created a negative space in a black field such as the two final examples in the image above. I shall refer to these as negative drop caps. It was the introduction of negative drop caps that is one of the things that distinguish Prize #7 from Blue Bolt #5. But there appears to be two flavors of negative drop caps. The first that appeared in Blue Bolt #6 and the Terry Vance feature from Marvel Mystery #13 (both November 1940) had vertically oriented letters. Later in Blue Bolt #7, Prize Comics #7 and the Human Torch and the Terry Vance features from Marvel Mystery #14 (all December 1940) Ferguson introduced negative spot caps that were tilted.

The second change in Ferguson lettering concerns the letter ‘G’. In Blue Bolt #6 (November 1940) and earlier Howard constructed the ‘G’ with a small horizontal element on the left side of the bottom of the character and does not extend to the right. In Prize Comics #7 and the Human Torch story from Marvel Mystery #14 (both December 1940) Ferguson extends the small horizontal so that it appears on both the left and the right side. Interestingly Blue Bolt #7 (December 1940) uses the old form of ‘G’ for most of the first page of the story while otherwise using the new ‘G’. The old ‘G’ is used in BB #5 (October), BB #6 (November) and the Terry Vance stories from MM #13 and #14 (November and December). As mentioned both forms of ‘G’ appear in BB #7 (December). Only the newer ‘G’ appears in the Human Torch of MM #14 (December).

The third change involves the form of the letters ‘I’ and ‘J’. Ferguson’s older form for these letters excluded any horizontal elements while the newer form did. While the letter ‘I’ is common enough, horizontal strokes are not supposed to be added when the letter is used with others to form a word. Unfortunately the isolated use of ‘I’ and the use of ‘J’ are not too common. The old form of ‘I’ and ‘J’ appear in BB #5 (October), BB #6, Terry Vance from MM #13 (November) and BB #7 (December) with the new forms used in PC #7 and the Terry Vance feature of MM #14 (both December).

With these three changes in Ferguson’s lettering it would seem possible to sort out the relative order that Ferguson lettered the work appearing in the months from October to December. Regrettably it turns out that no ordering is possible that will satisfy all three criteria for all cases. The few cases of lettering by Ferguson from later periods suggest that perhaps he was not consistent in his use of ‘G’. Hopefully this question will be answered as my review progresses.


Marvel Mystery #14 (December 1940) The Vision, pencils, inks and letters by Jack Kirby,

The Vision became a regular Marvel Mystery Comics features with his second appearance in MM #14 (December 1940). As in the previous issue, Kirby would provide pencils, inks and letters for the Vision story. Even today the Simon and Kirby Vision is a largely neglected feature and at that time it was very much overshadowed by the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner. (This story was reprinted in “The Best of Simon and Kirby”, another shameless plug).

Lettering by Howard Ferguson also appeared in Marvel Mystery #14 in the Human Torch and the Terry Vance features.


Human Torch #2(1) (Fall 1940) the Human Torch “Introducing Toro”, pencils by Carl Burgos, lettering by Howard Ferguson

As mentioned in the previous chapter, Timely did not release a Red Raven #2 issue. Instead that titles mailing license was used instead for a new title, Human Torch Comics #2. That the first issue was numbered 2 has brought about confusion to the numbering of the title even back when it was released. I have added “(1)” to the issue number to indicate it is actually the first issue. The cover is dated as Fall 1940 which means there might be some question as to what month to assign it. However Marvel Mystery #13 (November 1940) and #14 (December 1940) have house advertisement for the Human Torch #2(1). The MM ads provides a release date of September 25. Normally comics are cover dated about two months after their release so it is seems appropriate to assign HT #2(1) to December.

This issue has been reprinted in the Golden Age Masterwork series. Unfortunately Marvel did a horrendous job re-creating it. I have discussed this previously (The Human Torch #2) but I feel I need to emphasize here that the reprint volume is useless for anything beyond a casual reading. It is simply not possible to use this reprint book to examine the art or lettering. Luckily I will be using scans from the original comic in my discussions here.


Human Torch #2(1) (Fall 1940) the Fiery Mask “The Strange Case of the Bloodless Corpses”, pencils and inks by Joe Simon, letters by Howard Ferguson

The Fiery Mask was one of Simon’s earliest creations having first appeared in Daring Mystery #1 (January 1940, Daring Mystery and Joe Simon BK (Before Kirby)). Another artist drew the character for Daring Mystery #5 (June 1940) but Simon returned with Kirby’s help to provide the Fiery Mask for Daring Mystery #6 (September 1940). Simon worked on the Fiery Mask one last time for Human Torch #2(1) (Fall 1940). I periodically get asked, but I really feel this was a solo effort because I cannot find any sign that Kirby had anything to do with this Fiery Mask story, “The Strange Case of the Bloodless Corpses”. Simon’s comic book art improved rapidly so that even though only a short period had past the art style for HT #2(1) Fiery Mask story shows it was definitely drawn when Simon became editor at Timely and was not some older inventoried story from when he first started working in comics. Still it would be nice to provide a more accurate date for the story as it theoretically have been done a few months earlier and inventoried or it could have been drawn later specifically for the HT #2(1) issue.

Fortunately the lettering Howard Ferguson did for the story may provide a clue. As mentioned before Ferguson’s work had been undergoing development during this period. The Fiery Mask story lacks negative drop caps and uses the older form of the letters ‘G’, ‘I’ and ‘J’. Therefore I believe it must have been done no later than the work for Blue Bolt #5 (October 1940). It likely was originally intended for Daring Mystery #7 which possibly was meant to be released in October or November but that publication of that issue was delayed until April 1941. Or alternatively it might have been meant for Red Raven Comics #2 which should have come out in October but that title got cancelled. But in any case the Fiery Mask story was done earlier than the Human Torch story in the same issue as that story was lettered by Ferguson but with the tilted negative drop caps, the new ‘I’ and ‘J’ and mostly using the new ‘G’ all of which suggests a December date.

In the Beginning, Chapter 8, A New Title


Blue Bolt #6 (November 1940), pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Simon, letters by Howard Ferguson and Joe Simon

Blue Bolt #6 is the second feature to include Simon and Kirby credits. Once again Kirby provides the pencils while Simon does the inking. Although it is not known who wrote the script, the story has the special Simon and Kirby quality that already was very different from the standard comic book fare of the day. Now the green sorceress is joined by Marto, a man with enlarged head and an atrophied body who uses a special mechanical device to overcome his physical limitations.


Famous Funnies #76 (November 1940) Lightnin’ and the Lone Rider, pencils, inks and letters by Jack Kirby

Kirby seemed to have a fascination with advanced beings with large heads. The earliest prototype appeared in a western feature that Jack work on called Lightnin’ and the Lone Rider. Actually this feature had been appearing in Famous Funnies at the same time as Blue Bolt #6. The Lone Rider was initially developed as a syndication strip back in late 1938 to early 1939 (Early Jack Kirby, Chapter 1, Lighting and the Lone Ranger). However it appears Kirby returned to the feature sometime later. Exactly when is uncertain but I believe it was while Kirby was still working for Fox Comics (Early Jack Kirby, Chapter 3, Moonlighting). However based on the art style I believe it was done before Kirby started working with Joe Simon and therefore outside the current discussion. However the recent appearance of the large headed adversary in Famous Funnies may have inspired Kirby to create an updated version for Blue Bolt.


Tales of Suspense #94 (October 1967) pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Sinnott, letters by Sam Rosen

It is surprising how some ideas seem to lay dormant for years before Kirby would return to them. If there was another appearance of the Marto character I do not recall it. But in 1967 Kirby returned to the theme when he created Modok. While the background stories were very different, the similarity between Marto and Modok is too great to be require much discussion.


Blue Bolt #6 (November 1940), letters by Howard Ferguson

The first six pages of the Blue Bolt feature were lettered by Howard Ferguson. The seventh page has some lettering by Ferguson but most of the page was lettered by Joe Simon. The style of the letters has not change at all from examples from the previous month. The use of circular or square shapes attached to the first letter of captions is also the same as what has been seen earlier. One new feature in Ferguson’s repertoire is the use of other abstract shapes with the first caption letter such as the oval and double square show above. The most interesting addition is the rendering of the letter as a negative space on a circular black field such as the ‘C’ and ‘M’ shown above. This simple but elegant design was the most effective design that Ferguson adopted. Unfortunately Ferguson had no control on how the colorist would handle it. When a separate color was added the letter would stand out. But without that special color addition the design becomes more abstract and harder to read as a letter. Unfortunately the colorist failed to apply a separate color to many of these negative letters in Blue Bolt #6.


Blue Bolt #6 (November 1940), letters by Joe Simon

Joe Simon did the lettering for most of page 7 and all of pages 8 to 10. Here Simon does a more careful job at lettering but the basic form of the letters remains the same. As mention previously the ‘W’ that Simon used is very helpful in spotting his work and while not quite as distinct his ‘M’ is useful as well. There still are occasional little elaborations that Simon uses like the ‘S’ and ‘R’ shown above. The lettering for page 9 seems particularly well done. Also found on that page are special first caption letters, something Simon normally did not do. While unusual for Simon, the use of open letters (which allow the addition of a color) was also done by other letterers. However Joe places one ‘B’ as a negative letter on a black circular field. This must have been a response to what Ferguson was doing in the same story. Simon’s design is not as abstract as Ferguson’s but it still an effective device.


Marvel Mystery #13 (November 1940) The Vision, pencils, inks and letters by Jack Kirby

In the previous chapter I mentioned the unusual lack of Kirby art in the Timely comics for October. The one explanation I provided was that Kirby might have done some art for Red Raven #2 only it was never published due to the abrupt cancellation of that title. Here I will suggest another (but not necessarily conflicting) explanation. Kirby might have been busy creating a new feature as in this month Marvel Mystery #13 debuted “The Vision”. The pencils, inks and letters were all done by Kirby. The only thing that suggests that Simon was involved (other than as the editor) was the motif of the Vision being able to appear from smoke of any kind. This is similar to the power of the Flame, a Fox comics feature, who could transport using fire as a portal. While Kirby had worked for Fox Comics he had nothing to do with the Flame. Simon on the other hand was not only the editor for the comics that included the Flame but had also drew the character on some of the covers.

As I mentioned Jack did the lettering for the Vision story. Kirby’s lettering was unchanged from the last time we saw it (Red Raven #1, August 1940 see In the Beginning, Chapter 5). Ferguson provided lettering for the Terry Vance feature from MM #13 in a style that matches his work in Blue Bolt #6.

In the Beginning, Chapter 6, Blue Bolt #4


Blue Bolt #4 (September 1940), pencils by Jack Kirby, inking by Joe Simon

Blue Bolt #4 was the first story created in the definitive Simon and Kirby manner with all the pencils done by Jack and the inking by Joe. While previous Blue Bolt installments were quite nice, it is with BB #4 that the Simon and Kirby magic really unfolds. Exciting visuals, unusual perspectives and a great story. Both Joe and Jack had done their own individual work before this but it lacked the special qualities found in BB #4. Even the work they had done together in Blue Bolt #2 and #3 or Daring Mystery #6 is not quite as good. Only Kirby’s “Mercury in the 20th Century” for Red Raven #1 matches BB #4. The Blue Bolt story may have been signed by Joe Simon alone, but it was certainly a Simon and Kirby creation.

The Kirby Checklist states that Simon got assists in the inking from Avison and Gabriele. While I cannot prove this to be incorrect I also cannot find any evidence of it. The inking looks like the hand of one artist and that was Simon. Joe had made great strides in his inking and much of that can probably be credited to his working with Jack. In fact the inking of the robot and some of the other devices was done in the manner that Kirby had already been doing for his science fiction stories. While Kirby was and would remain a better inker, Simon’s inking talent far exceeded the abilities at that time of Avison or Gabriele.

One of the star attractions of the Blue Bolt #4 story was the formidable robot. The splash panel shows a exciting confrontation between Blue Bolt and the mechanical foe. The story takes a different, but still dramatic, turn. The robot’s murderous rampage is handled with what would be typical Simon and Kirby restraint. A restraint that would not diminish but actually enhance the effect. Close-ups, silhouettes and shadows would provide the substance while leaving it to the reader’s imagination to fill in the rest.


Marvel Stories v2 n2 (November 1940) “A Dictator for all Time”, art by Jack Kirby

Both Simon and Kirby would do more than just comic books while working at Timely. They would also supply art for some of the pulps that the company produced. The pulp art was created under different circumstances and with unique techniques. As far as I can tell illustrations were not joint efforts but were individually executed instead. The pencils and inks that were used to create comic book art were replaced with the use of a special textured paper that would translate pencils into dots suitable for printing. While the pulp art may not shed much light on the beginnings of the Simon and Kirby partnership they sometimes are not completely independent of the comic book art. The horrific robot from Blue Bolt #4 makes a reappearance in Marvel Stories volume 2 number 2 a couple of months later. The details may differ but both share one clawed hand with the other arm transformed into a gun. While the robot drawn for the pulp story “A Dictator for all Time” might have been impressive it really had nothing to do with the story. There we find a rather benign machine more of an immense computer than a terrifying weapon.


Blue Bolt #4 (September 1940), letters by unidentified letterer

Another unidentified letter was used for Blue Bolt #4. This letter differed from the one used for BB #3 in the form of the letters used for ‘G’, ‘J’, ‘K’, ‘M’ and ‘W’. It may seem surprising that so many different letterers would work on Blue Bolt but Joe’s position as editor for first Fox then Timely probably provided a lot of resources to turn to. The letterer for Blue Bolt #4 did the most professional work to appear in Blue Bolt to date. One of his interesting contributions was to do caption lettering with a slight slant upward to the right while keeping balloon text as vertical.


Marvel Mystery #11 (September 1940) “The Human Torch”, letters by Howard Ferguson

The letterer for BB #4 used some larger and specially formed first letters in the captions. A similar approach was used by Howard Ferguson at this time but his first caption letters are even more special. While the BB #4 letterer provided one of this first caption letter with a 3-D effect shadow he never provides the sort of abstract black shapes that Ferguson used. The difference between the two letterers also shows up in their letters ‘G’ and ‘J’.


Blue Bolt #4 (September 1940), page 9 letters by unidentified letterer

Actually not all of Blue Bolt #4 was lettered by the individual discussed above. One page, page 9, was lettered by yet another artist. This page lacks the slanted lettering to the captions as well as any special effects to the first caption letter. The letters ‘G’ and ‘Y’ are distinct between the two. The second letterer also had a tendency to fail to properly connect the lines in ‘B’ and ‘R’ as shown in the bottom line of lettering examples above. His letter ‘S’ is somewhat variable but often has a bottom that is proportionally larger than the top.

As if it was not enough that there were two letterers to work on Blue Bolt #4, one caption (panel 6 on page 9) was lettered by Joe Simon. It has his very distinctive ‘W’ and recognizable ‘M’.

When Simon and Kirby first started working together for story art it was Jack helping out on a few pages for Blue Bolt #2 (July 1940) and #3 (August 1940). In August and September work was also done for Timely. Some of this later work (Blue Bolt #4) was done in what would be the classic Simon and Kirby manner, that is Jack providing the pencils with Joe doing the inking. But other work seems to have been mostly done by Kirby with little, if any, help from Simon (“Cosmic Carson”, Red Raven #1). Other distribution of working efforts were also done. Even greater variation is found in the lettering. Sometimes Simon or Kirby would do the lettering. Otherwise a number of different letterers were employed. Some more professional than others. One of these was Howard Ferguson who in the future would play an important roll as the definitive Simon and Kirby letterer. However initially Ferguson did more lettering for features not created by Simon and Kirby. What we have seen so far is not the sudden teaming up of Simon and Kirby but rather Joe putting together comic books using a variety of resources in a variety of ways.

In the Beginning, Chapter 5, Timely and Howard Ferguson


Marvel Mystery #11 (September 1940) “The Human Torch”, pencils by Carl Burgos, letters by Howard Ferguson

Joe Simon was hired by Timely for the purpose of setting up a bullpen so that the comic book art could be created in-house. Previously Timely’s Marvel Mystery Comics, Daring Mystery Comics and Mystic Comics had be done by Funnies Inc. a shop run by Lloyd Jacquet. In “The Comic Book Makers” Joe says that he was to make things difficult for Funnies Inc. so that they would give up on the features they had doing for Timely. This must have put Joe in a rather awkward situation as he at that time he was also supplying Funnies Inc. with Blue Bolt stories.


Marvel Mystery #11 (September 1940) “The Human Torch”, letters by Howard Ferguson

September 1940 is the earliest cover date that I comfortably assign lettering credits to Howard Ferguson. This attribution is mainly based on the special lettering Ferguson applied to the first letter of a caption. This was the comic book equivalent of the oversized and often stylized first letter of a chapter that used to be very popular but has more recently gone out of fashion. A number of letterers emphasized the first letter often by enlarging and opening up its interior so that it could be colored. Some also included a “shadow” affect to the letter. But Ferguson was the only letterer that I am aware of who would place behind the letter not its shadow but an abstract black shape often of a square of circular shape. Todd Klein (Howard Ferguson, letterer) does not seem to appreciate them but I find this technique a great way to attract the attention and provide an element of design to the captions which are often overly plain.

Howard lettered a number of stories release in September but based on the form of the letters he used I believe the earliest ones he did were those for “The Human Torch” and “Terry Vance” stories from  Marvel Mystery #11 (September 1940). This may seem odd because these stories were still being provided by Jacquet’s shop. Ferguson seems to make an effort to make his lettering special, in particular the special first letters of the captions. Therefore I find it unlikely that he was moonlighting for Funnies Inc. without Simon being aware of it. Perhaps this was part of Joe’s campaign to make things difficult for the Funnies shop.


Marvel Mystery #10 (August 1940) “The Human Torch”, pencils by Carl Burgos, letters by an unidentified letterer (from Marvel Masterworks*)

Most captions for the “The Human Torch” and “Terry Vance” from Marvel Mystery #11 (September 1940) have a wavy line for a border. That is except for the one caption found on the splash page. The double line border has been cited as a Ferguson trademark and in fact we will see its use by Ferguson in the future. A double line border also appears in the captions throughout “The Human Torch” from Marvel Mystery #10 (August 1940).


Marvel Mystery #10 (August 1940) “The Human Torch”, letters by an unidentified letterer (from Marvel Masterworks*)

Comparison of the lettering in “The Human Torch” of Marvel Mystery #10 to that found in the same feature from Marvel Mystery #11 suggests that they were not done by the same letterer. Nowhere in MM #10 does the letterer use the special first letters for the captions like Ferguson used for MM #11. The closest the unknown letter gets to that is some over sized and open interior letters. Note the different form used for the letter ‘M’. In MM #10 the letter ‘S’ has the lower portion larger than the upper “half” while Ferguson typically did the reverse. But most importantly the letters for MM #10 just did not have the firm hand that Ferguson had. Often the strokes for the letters are not quite straight but curve slightly instead. In some places the letters ‘R’ and ‘K’ are not correctly connected (I provide some examples at the bottom of the letter guide above). I just do not believe Ferguson lettered “The Human Torch” from Marvel Mystery #10. Because of this and the use of this technique by other letterers it does not seem advisable to use double line caption borders as sufficient criteria for crediting lettering to Howard Ferguson.


Blue Bolt #3 (August 1940) letters by unidentified letterer

Now that I have Ferguson’s lettering for Marvel Mystery #11 to compare with I want to briefly return to examples from the previous month that some have credited to him. First I would like to compare it to Blue Bolt #3. Note the difference in the letters ‘M’ and ‘W’. In BB #3 the center angle of each does not extend are far as the outer lets while in MM #11 the center angle extends the full distance. Also note the differences between the two for the form of the letter ‘G’ or ‘K’.


Red Raven #1 (August 1940) “The Red Raven”, letters by unidentified letterer

The lettering for Red Raven #1 also differs from Ferguson’s for Marvel Mystery #11. The letters ‘K and ‘Y’ are different between the two. The outer legs for ‘M’ are almost vertical in MM #11 while they have a distinct slant in RR #1. However it will be shown below that Ferguson’s lettering changed somewhat for Daring Mystery #6 done the same month as Marvel Mystery #11. I believe we are seeing Ferguson in the process of learning what for him was a new craft. It is quite possible that Howard had done some lettering for earlier comics. Perhaps the lettering for Red Raven #1, Blue Bolt #3 or Marvel Mystery #10 might have been done by Ferguson only in yet a more primitive stage of his development. The problem is how to identify which, if any, were done by Ferguson particularly since each seems to have been done by a different letterer. At this time I will simply attribute RR #1, BB #3 and MM #11 to an unknown letterers and accept the work in MM #11 as the earliest examples that can confidently be credited to Ferguson.
 

Marvel Mystery #11 (September 1940) house ad

The inside front cover for Marvel Mystery #11 has a black and white house ad which shows the three other titles that Timely was publishing at that time. Red Raven #1 was released in the previous month but being a bi-monthly was still considered the current issue. The fourth panel for the advertisement does not show a cover but advertises a feature, the Fiery Mask. This was a Joe Simon creation that had been included in Daring Mystery although the last couple appearances (Daring Mystery #4 and #5) were not drawn by Simon. The presence of the Fiery Mask in this ad together with the two Kirby covers clearly was an attempt to promote those features which Simon was most responsible for.

Simon probably had little to do with Mystics Comics #4 that was in the Marvel Mystery #11 house ad. It seems that there is an inconsistency in the dating of that comic with the cover indicating August and the indicia listing it as July. Such discrepancies are not that unusual and I always go with the cover date since it was used for indicating when the comic might be removed from the rack and therefore would generally provide a more reliable date.


Daring Mystery #6 (September 1940) house ad

The house ad found in Daring Mystery #6 is entirely given over to the Red Raven #1. All Red Raven features are listed including the short comic filler “Officer O’Krime.


Daring Mystery #6 (September 1940) pencils by Jack Kirby, inking and lettering by Joe Simon

Simon and Kirby involvement in Daring Mystery #6 is obvious as they produced two stories for that issue. The cover was also a Simon and Kirby production with Jack providing the pencils, Joe the inking and lettering. That it was Simon’s lettering is clear by the letter ‘R’ in the word “their” which sometimes turns up in his lettering (see below for an example). Also the ‘W’ in “new” is done in the typical Simon manner (see below as well). The lettering for the covers of Daring Mystery #6 and Red Raven #1 are really well done. This might come as a surprise considering that Joe himself describes his lettering as not professional. However a really well done story lettering requires both precision and speed, a combination that Joe never mastered in his lettering. On the other hand more time would be expended on covers allowing Simon to use his talent for design and his skills with the brush.


Daring Mystery #6 (September 1940) “Introducing Marvel Boy” pencils and inking by Joe Simon, lettering by Howard Ferguson

The art for “Introducing Marvel Boy” was created by an unusual assortment of artists. The first three pages were drawn and inked by Joe Simon with no sign of any involvement by Jack Kirby. The hero’s gloves, boots and skull cap show would be used again six months later in another Simon and Kirby creation, Captain America.


Daring Mystery #6 (September 1940) “Introducing Marvel Boy” lettering by Howard Ferguson

The lettering for the first three pages of the Marvel Boy story, the same pages Simon drew, was done by Howard Ferguson. One of the things that identifies this as Ferguson’s work is the presence of the same first caption letters that we saw in Marvel Mystery #11 (September 1940). Ferguson has even gone further and on the splash page provided the first caption with an enlarged, scripted and colored word “the”. This highlighting of the first word of a caption would appear again in future lettering by Ferguson. I have previously described Marvel Mystery #11 as providing the earliest work that can be confidently credited to Ferguson. The reason I gave MM #11 that distinction and not this story from DM #6 is that the Marvel Boy story shows the first appearance of a small vertical stroke applied to the letter ‘C’. This would be virtual trademark of Ferguson throughout most of his career and an easy and reliable indicator of his lettering. Ferguson has adjusted the letter ‘M’ to his more frequent format with distinctly slanted outer legs although since so many other letterers use this form it is of lesser importance in identifying Howard’s work. Oddly for DM #6 Ferguson has altered his letter ‘K’ to a shape not typical for him at all. But the letter ‘G’ still has not been altered to Ferguson’s more typical later form.


Daring Mystery #6 (September 1940) “Introducing Marvel Boy” page 8, pencils by Jack Kirby, lettering by Joe Simon

While Simon drew the first three pages of the Marvel Boy story it was Jack Kirby who penciled the remaining seven pages. The inking credit for these Kirby pages is hard to determine. Certainly Jack was not inking this work. Perhaps Joe was involved but to me it looks like the work of a number of different inkers. So it seems likely that by this time Simon had hired some studio assistants to help with choirs such as inking. I have been asked a number of times about who did what inking in this early Timely bullpen but to be honest I have not worked that out myself and I am dubious that such inking attributions can be reliably determined. So except for those cases where the inking was done primarily by Kirby or Simon I will leave off inking credits in this serial post.


Daring Mystery #6 (September 1940) “Introducing Marvel Boy” lettering by Joe Simon

The lettering for the Kirby pages was not done by Ferguson but by Joe Simon. This clearly indicated by the presence of Joe’s rather unique letter ‘W’. While not quite as useful, Joe’s letter ‘M’ is also of use in spotting his lettering. For the most part Simon tries to be more professional than some of his earlier lettering work but occasionally he provides his letters with dramatic extensions such as the ‘R’ and ‘E’ show at the bottom of the above letter samples. Even today Joe likes to use such flairs in his signature.


Daring Mystery #6 (September 1940) “The Fiery Mask” page 3, pencils by Joe Simon

Both Simon and Kirby worked on “The Fiery Mask” story in Daring Mystery #6. Once again it is Joe that penciled the start of the story (pages 1 to 4). Also like the Marvel Boy story, Joe inked his own pages. Simon’s pages contain a number of swipes from Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon (Art by Joe Simon, Chapter 5).


Daring Mystery #6 (September 1940) “The Fiery Mask” page 5, pencils by Jack Kirby

Kirby penciled pages 5 to 10 of “The Fiery Mask”. While Simon’s pages include a number of swipes I am not aware of any in those penciled by Kirby. The most likely conclusion is that in this story Kirby is not working from Simon layouts or if he was Jack felt free to alter them.


Daring Mystery #6 (September 1940) “The Fiery Mask” page 5, pencils by Jack Kirby with some inking by Joe Simon

Like the Kirby pages from the Marvel Boy story, the inking seems to have been done by a number of different hands. But Simon’s inking seems present in some places particular the lower half of the last page. However there is some inking using fine lines, such as in the second panel of page 5, that is untypical of Simon. None of the inking seems attributable to Kirby.


Daring Mystery #6 (September 1940) “The Fiery Mask” lettering by Joe Simon?

The lettering for the Fiery Mask story was handled by two letterers. I very questionably attribute the lettering of the first two pages to Simon. Completely missing is Joe’s characteristic ‘W’ or anything that could be described as flaring of the letters. However the ‘M’ looks very much like Joe’s. The question mark is similar to Simon’s as well. Further the rather amateurish quality to the lettering is very much in agreement with Simon’s ability. Letter size varies and while all the lettering is vertically oriented in some places it actually slants slightly upward to the left. But I would like to emphasize that the attribution of this letter to Simon is provisional as I have not have had a chance to study some of Joe’s later lettering.


Daring Mystery #6 (September 1940) “The Fiery Mask” lettering by unidentified letter

Pages 3 to 10 of the Fiery Mask story were done by a different lettering. I have taken all the letter examples shown above from the speech balloons where the letters are all vertically oriented. However in all the captions the letters are slanted upward to the right. The letters ‘M’ and ‘Y’ are not like Joe’s. The second letterer does a little more profession job. Letter sizes are more consistent and the letters themselves seemed done with firmer control. However sometimes the letter ‘R’ lacks the connection as shown at the bottom of the lettering examples above. Also occasionally the ‘U’ gets an almost horseshoe shape.


Red Raven #1 (August 1940) “Mercury in the 20th Century” lettering by Jack Kirby

I somehow failed to include an example of Kirby lettering when I discussed Red Raven #1 and so I provide it here. As reported previously, Jack had a very distinctive, horseshoe shaped, letter ‘U’ that is very useful in identifying his work. Kirby’s ‘G’ is also rather distinctive with its small vertical stroke attached to the letter’s hook. While the second letterer for the Fiery Mask story occasionally makes a horse shoe shape ‘U’ Kirby only occasionally makes one that does not have that shape. Further the second letterer’s ‘G’ lacks Kirby’s unique form. So I do not believe the second letter in the Fiery Mask story is Jack.

Still to be discussed is Blue Bolt #4 also cover dated September which I will cover in the next chapter.

* I have been forced to use the Marvel Masterworks because I do not have access to original comics for some of the issues that I will be discussing. This is not without risks because Marvel is notorious for the use of recreated art for their reprints.

In the Beginning, Chapter 3, Blue Bolt #3


Blue Bolt #3 (August 1940) pencils and inks by Joe Simon

Although Simon and Kirby did 10 issues of Blue Bolt, they only provided 2 covers. The cover for Blue Bolt #3 is based on a panel from the story that also was done by Joe and it in turn was a swipe from Flash Gordon by Alex Raymond (Art by Joe Simon, Chapter 4, Footnote). But none of them could be described as close copies. For the cover Simon takes an extremely low view point so that we can see the sole of his boot. The men that Blue Bolt is leading appear to be coming over a ridge through a narrow pass.


Blue Bolt #3 (August 1940) page 10, pencils and inks by Joe Simon

The same Blue Bolt figure appears in panel 3 of page 10. The view point is a little higher than on the cover but still rather low. The background figures are not the same and in the story we can see the soldiers as they advance over a plain. But the story panel still has the narrow pass. 


Blue Bolt #3 (August 1940) page 6, pencils and inks by Joe Simon

Most of the panels on page 10 are distant views which make it harder to see how far Joe’s art has advanced. Page 6 provides closer views allowing that better show his artistic improvement. Simon’s work had already been steadily improving but working with Kirby probably helped.

There is a regular improvement as well in the quality of the writing in the first three issues of Blue Bolt. Actually the story for BB #3 is greatly advanced over BB #2. Was this due to Joe learning as he went? Or is it possible that the script was written by someone else? I doubt if Kirby had anything to do with the improvement as his contribution to BB #3 seems so small (see below). In the future most stories would be written by others after which Joe and Jack would rewrite them to give their stories the special Simon and Kirby quality.


Blue Bolt #3 (August 1940) page 1, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Simon

Although the splash panel credits Joe Simon alone, Jack Kirby drew the first page and two other (pages 2 and 7). Whatever their working arrangement was it seems clear that it was not the full partnership that would exist later. Kirby provides even fewer pages for Blue Bolt #3 that he had for BB #2. While Kirby inked his own pages for BB #2 it was Simon that inked Kirby’s pages for BB #3. So Kirby’s contribution had actually diminished.


Blue Bolt #3 (August 1940) page 7, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Simon

Joe Simon became quite good at inking Jack Kirby’s pencils. So good that it is often difficult to determine who providing the inking. But for BB #3 Joe’s hand is revealed by his handling of eyes and eyebrows which are merged into one angular form. In the previous chapter I suggested someone other than Joe or Jack inked the cover to Champion #9 (July 1940). Now seeing pages from BB #3 like the one shown above I realize that cover was in fact inked by Simon. Note the smooth and stylized folds on the clothing which are like those found on the Champion #9 cover.


Champion #10 (August 1940) pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Simon

While there is disagreement on what credits should be applied to the art for the covers of Champion #8 (June 1940) and #9 (July 1940) it is pretty much agreed that Kirby drew the Champion #10 cover. Jack is already showing some of his typical traits such as the hero’s unruly hair, the use of exaggerated perspective and a running stride that is more impressive than realistic.


Blue Bolt #3 (August 1940) letters by unidentified letter

The lettering for Blue Bolt #3 is different from that of BB #1 (by Joe Simon) or BB #2 (by an unidentified letterer). Absent from BB #3 are Simon’s rather unique ‘W’, Kirby’s special horseshoe shaped ‘U’ or BB #2 letterer’s unusual ‘E’. The BB #3 letterer uses a special ‘G’ with a long straight segment that pushes the horizontal bar to a great height. The angular ‘J’ is also unusual but that is not a commonly used letter. Other letters to note are the ‘W’ and ‘M’ where the inner angle does not extend as far as the outer leg segments. Further the ‘M’ has vertical outer lines.


Prize Comics #7 (December 1940) “The Black Owl” letters by Howard Ferguson

Some have suggested that Howard Ferguson did the lettering for BB #3. The timing is certainly possible because at that time Joe Simon had left Fox to become Timely’s first editor where Howard Ferguson was working. I have discussed Ferguson’s lettering (Some Lettering by Howard Ferguson) and I include above an example of his work from just a few months later. They do not look like the same letterer to me. Note the very different forms for the letters ‘C’, ‘G’, ‘J’, ‘K’, ‘M’, and ‘W’. Some have argued that at Ferguson had just begun to do lettering at this time and his work was not initially as professional as it would be later. The suggestion has been made that the unusual double line border to the captions found in BB #3 (see above images) is a  Ferguson trademark. However as we will see in a future chapter Ferguson was not the only one using this special caption border.

When I started this serial post my intentions were to concentrate on Blue Bolt using it to show the beginnings of the Simon and Kirby collaboration. However I find myself referring more and more to sources outside of that title to clarify what is going on. So I have decided to make this a serial post on the early stages of the Simon and Kirby team up with Blue Bolt as just one of the comics included in the discussion. My new plan is to examine Simon and Kirby up to the creation of Captain America. The first two chapters have been re-titled accordingly but otherwise remain unchanged.

A Review of Lettering by Howard Ferguson

Todd Klein provides a fascinating post of Simon and Kirby letterer Howard Ferguson. I do not always agree with him but it is great to read one letterer’s opinions about another. One word of caution, Todd includes a quote that claims Ferguson was an African American, not true. I even called Joe Simon to make sure.