Titan Announces Expanded Simon and Kirby Library

The following is a press release from Titan:


Titan to Collect the Works of Two Comic Book Legends

Titan Books Signs Exclusive Agreement to Publish Works by Comics’ Greatest Creative Team, with Full Involvement of Living Legend Joe Simon and the Jack Kirby Estate

Titan Books has expanded its publishing agreement with comic book pioneer Joe Simon, co-creator of Captain America, to launch The Official Simon and Kirby Library beginning in 2009. In addition to the previously announced volumes The Best of Simon and Kirby and The Simon and Kirby Superheroes, the library will include volumes collecting the greatest horror, detective, and romance stories ever produced by the legendary Dream Team of comics.

Joe Simon and Jack Kirby first joined forces on the superhero character Blue Bolt in 1940, and later that year created the seminal hero Captain America (soon to be featured in a major motion picture by Marvel Studios). “When Jack and I created Captain America, it sent a shock across the nation even before America had entered World War II,” Simon noted. “But that was only the beginning, and we followed it up with titles like Boy Commandos and Young Romance. They weren’t superhero books, but each one sold millions of copies.”

Beginning in summer 2009 with The Best of Simon and Kirby, Titan Books will release full-color hardcover editions featuring some of the greatest stories ever told in the graphic medium, painstakingly restored by Simon and Kirby historian Harry Mendryk. Simon himself will oversee the process, and will offer original insights and secrets from behind the scenes.

The volume will feature the team’s most famous characters, including Fighting American, Stuntman, and The Fly, as well as genre adventures from such legendary titles as Black Magic, Justice Traps the Guilty, and the industry’s first romance title, Young Romance. Through the generous support of Marvel Comics and DC Comics, The Best of Simon and Kirby will include stories featuring Captain America, The Vision, Sandman, and The Boy Commandos.

“It’s simply astonishing, the materials Joe has kept over the years,” Titan owner and publisher Nick Landau said. “It shows uncanny foresight that he retained so many rights, and preserved those wonderful stories so that today’s readers will be able to enjoy some of the finest comics ever produced.” Details on the contents and format of the books are still being determined, as Landau added, “We want to come up with editions that are as perfect as they can be.”

Simon will attend the February 2009 New York ComicCon to celebrate the launch of The Official Simon and Kirby Library, and will sign exclusive limited edition lithographs. Titan plans to release two books a year, and these will be the only editions authorized by both Joe Simon and the estate of Jack Kirby. In addition to The Official Simon and Kirby Library, Titan will publish the autobiography of Joe Simon in 2010.

Titan Books is a leading publisher of licensed entertainment. The UK’s top publisher of graphic novels and World renowned for television and film companions, including Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd, Frank Miller and Will Eisner’s The Spirit, Watching the Watchmen by Dave Gibbons, plus the official Watchmen and Terminator: Salvation movie tie-ins. Titan Books also publishes a series of high-end art books, and biographies such as the New York Times bestselling My Boring-Ass Life: The Uncomfortably Candid Diary of Kevin Smith.

I would like to emphasize of few points found in the release. The first is that I did not write this release and was surprised to find that I was mentioned in it. I am sure I will comment further on my contribution; most likely when the first book, “The Best of Simon and Kirby”, gets released this summer.

When Titan told me they wanted to include some stories from Marvel and DC in “The Best of Simon and Kirby” I must admit I was a bit skeptical. I have never been so pleased to have been proven wrong. The release describes DC Comics and Marvel Comics support as “generous” with which I heartedly agree.

I said this before, but it is worth repeating. Both Joe Simon and the Jack Kirby estate will financially benefit from these books.

Most immediately important is that the release mentions Joe Simon will be appearing at upcoming New York ComicCon. Joe does not make many appearances so this will be a special chance for fans to meet him. I will have further announcements in the near future when his schedule becomes firmed up.

9 thoughts on “Titan Announces Expanded Simon and Kirby Library

  1. BobH

    Excellent news all around. I was leafing through Gibbons’ WATCHING THE WATCHMEN the other day, and the production on that is excellent, so I’m sure they’ll hold up their end, and with Simon’s archives and the care you’ve shown with restoration for the stuff on this site I’m confident there. DC and Marvel letting their characters appear is a nice bonus, and should help with the marketing side.

  2. Patrick Ford

    Harry, I assume this as a given, but will you just confirm that in instances where no original art or proofs exist scans will be used rather than bleached and retouched pages. Pat Ford

  3. Patrick Ford

    Harry, Just to follow up it’s my hope that when DC and Marvel see the kind of quality job I’m sure you will put together on the restorations, compared to the horrible looking eyesores they’ve been publishing, it may cause them to rethink their current unfortunate approach. Pat Ford

  4. Harry Post author


    I really do not want to get into details about these books, at least not until they actually are released. But I will say that so far no bleached comic pages were used in the restorations. Too be honest this is more of an economic decision then anything else; in these days bleaching comics is just too expensive. But in my view it is not the bleaching technique that Marvel uses (I am not very familiar with DC reprints other then The Spirit which are fantastic) that makes for such poor final results, it is what they do afterwards. I have posted before about how I am not interested in buying reprints based on recreated art but prefer scans instead.

  5. Daniel

    Harry – if you need scans from any of the Aussie reprints I have here then let me know. This looks like an excellent project indeed. Good luck!

  6. Patrick Ford

    Thanks for the information Harry. The whole notion of using the ancient Jack Adler colour removal technique, or it’s progeny(photographed with filters, bleached, or digital) with or without subsequent reinking should be moot at this point. As you say it’s now less expensive to print in colour from scans than to use an antiquated method intended to allow letter-press reproduction where original B&W printing sources no longer exist. It boggles my mind that the majors continue to pay more for a result which is not just inferior but near criminal, when the reinking is bungled. Pat Ford

  7. Stan Taylor

    Hi Harry,

    Just got my computer back after 3 days going cold turkey. This is great news and something to really look forward to. I may be wrong, but I credit you with a lot of this, I think your help and drive re-energised Joe and gave him something to keep him young. You’re my hero!!!


  8. Ger Apeldoorn

    Good luck Harry. I hope they use you for the factual side of it as well as the illustrations.

  9. Dave Newton

    I bought this book this weekend…HOLEY MOLEY, what a fantastic treasure to behold! I’m ecstatic that more Simon & Kirby books in this format are forthcoming…a dream come true for this fan.

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