Some of my favorite covers were done for a not yet popular line of comics; Speed, Pocket, Champ and a few Green Hornet comics. These covers were dated from August 1941 to October 1942. Considering the name of this blog, it should not come as a surprise that they were done by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Some were signed, but they were signed as Jon Henri, a pseudonym. But which artist did what? I’ve heard a number of different takes on the answer to that question, and I have my own opinions.
But before I get into that I want to write about a third artist that did some covers for these comics as well. Al Avison was part of the team at Timely producing comics like Captain America. There he work with both Joe and Jack and was obviously very influenced by them. Joe was a friend of Al Harvey who published these comics. Perhaps Joe introduced Avison to Harvey. However they met, there started a long working relationship.
The first cover Avison did for Harvey seems to have been Speed #14 dated September 1941. Fortunately Al signed this cover so it serves as a good reference when trying to sort out the attributions. This was early in his career, so although he tried to use what he learned from working with Simon and Kirby he could not yet pull it off. But he matured quickly so that when Joe and Jack left Timely in a few months, Al became the head artist for Captain America for a while.