In the late 1940s, while they were working on the successful line of romance comics, Simon&Kirby put together a six week proposal for a comic strip, Inky, featuring cartoonist Inky Spotts and his struggles to establish himself. The strip didn’t sell, although a few years later they did make use of parts of it for the romance comic IN LOVE #3. In 1986, Greg Theakston published BURIED TREASURE v1#2 and included the 36 strips in nine pages.
The story is incomplete, unfortunately, just the first chapter in a longer story. As it begins, Inky is an assistant to a successful older cartoonist, who dies (killing his character in the process). After that he tries to pitch his own strip, but while he’s technically good the syndicate editor says his work lacks soul. Eventually he gets suckered into working with Donna Dreame, a society columnist who plans to use him to make a fortune (in comics?), but passes off a stolen concept as her own. As the six-week sample closes, Inky has a confrontation with the editor, who knows the strip was stolen and wants to find out who’s responsible.
I’m not sure I can disagree with the syndicates for not buying, since I have trouble seeing the set-up, at least based on what was done, holding up a strip for the years that would be required for a daily strip after the initial storyline was over. How many action-filled adventures could you credibly put a cartoonist into? Still, it would have made a good extended opening story, and the art is spectacular.
Also in this issue, a short essay with quotes from Joe Simon about the history of romance comics, plus a colour backcover with the cover of IN LOVE #3 reprinted. Non-Kirby work includes reprints of Alex Toth and Bill Ward comics.