Kirby wasn’t used much on Marvel’s romance books for his first few years back there in the pre-superhero days, with only a handful of stories and covers in three years. Interestingly, his work in those books actually increased around the time FANTASTIC FOUR launched, and he was a regular on the covers and interiors until the last book was canceled in 1963.
Anyway, this is one of those earlier covers, a pretty attractive little job inked by Vince Colletta. The various outstretched hands in the mighty Kirby manner are pretty nice.
One more of the many romance covers by Kirby to show up on various Harvey titles in 1956. Not one of the best, the foreground figures seem a bit stiffer than usual for Kirby. That cop in the background is good, though.
As you may or may not have heard, Archie is going to “modernize” the look of their characters for a few stories, at least. On this prototype cover, Veronica doesn’t look too happy that Betty is having a good time over there with Reggie, while Archie seems to be paying more attention to his radio than to her (they might want to change the radio to an mp3 player). Plus she’s really overdressed for a picnic, so I’m sure she thought Archie was going to take her somewhere nicer than this.
Okay, maybe it’s actually just an old Harvey cover. Still, a nice example of a low-key classic style romance cover, with the tender foreground scene and promises of jealous rivalry.
I think there was some rule that said Kirby had to do at least one artist/model themed romance cover for every publisher he did romance comics for. This is the one from Marvel, featuring a very leggy model making a play for the artist in the background, who seems to fill his studio with a lot of sexy women. What would Roz have thought if Kirby tried that?
Inked by Colletta.
TRUE BRIDE-TO-BE ROMANCE #17, 1956. A Harvey romance comic. That guy in the backgound looks like he’s going to cause some trouble. Not one of my favourites among the Harvey covers Kirby did, a lot of them seem a bit dull and pretty much by-the-book, though a few work well.
IN LOVE #5, 1955, published by Charlton. One of the titles taken over from Mainline and featuring left-over work from the ill-fated Simon&Kirby publishing venture, with just a cover with S&K art on this one. It’s kind of interesting that this is promising 10 complete (presumably very short) stories, since the tagline for the Mainline IN LOVE was “Book Length Love Novel”, with the covers made out to look like prose romance novels. I wonder if there was a long story meant for this cover (whether by S&K or not) that was unused or appeared in another Charlton book.
Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta provide the cover for this Marvel romance comic. I really like the movie poster style on this one, with just a hint of what the actual story might be about. A nice change from the exposition and blurb heavy usual style. This is one of my favourite of the roughly two dozen romance covers Kirby did at Marvel.
Update from the comments, the background figure is actually taken from Kirby’s cover to LR #85, and it’s not clear if the foreground figures are original or modified from a Kirby drawing or from elsewhere. Let us know what you think.
Another romance image of the classic design (couple in the foreground, jealous potential rival in the background), this one published by Harvey. Very attractive girl (though maybe redrawn a bit? Or heavily inked?), and there seems to be a bit of young Reed Richards in the face of the guy in the foreground.
I was just playing around with dropping colours off a scan, and thought this would be a good example to show off that great trademark S&K inking of the early 1950s. Look at that definition on that hand, bursting in from off-panel.
The romance books were riding high at this point, with S&K doing stories in both YOUNG ROMANCE and spin-off YOUNG LOVE (which as an ad in this issue mentions, had just been upgraded to monthly, as YR had a year earlier). This one has a 14-page Simon&Kirby classic, “Hands Off Lucy”.
Opening with the usual strong confessional title page, the story begins with a flashback to our hero Lucy as a child, where we see that Caesar was the neighbourhood bully, as well as Lucy’s next-door neighbour. As they got older he tried to ask her out, but she wasn’t interested, until he called one time after a date she planned suddenly cancelled. Of course Caesar is as violent as ever, though not with her, and winds up very possessive of her, especially when an old flame returns to town, and Caesar finally gets his comeuppance as all bullies in comics eventually do.
A very nice story, with really powerful artwork from Kirby. Lots of chances for action thanks to Caesar’s bouts of violence, and great depictions of body language and backgrounds.
A pretty decent image from this Harvey romance comic, but I have to say that a lot of the Harvey covers are very low-key compared to the covers for the Prize comics (when they weren’t using photo covers). Often the most interesting thing is the background character, like the jeweller sensing an upcoming sale on this one.