Joe Simon and the Newsboy Legion Archives

The Newsboy Legion, volume 1

During a recent visit to Joe Simon I picked up a copy of DC’s “The Newsboy Legion by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby” volume 1. This post will not be an unbiased review as I was one of the contributors having provided all the covers. I have been extremely busy with restorations for “Simon and Kirby Superheroes” but I had previously scanned and cleaned up these Star Spangled covers so providing them to DC did impact my commitment with Titan. The covers are generally not what I would call full restorations but I think they came out rather well. The restoration of the stories was done by others (Rick Keene and Mike Montagna) and is even better than the work done for “Simon and Kirby’s Sandman”. I know there are some who are critical of DC’s approach but I am not one of them. I am pleased to see that only Marvel continues to follow the outdated technique of art “reconstruction” (a code word for recreation).

This first volume covers the work that appeared in Star Spangled issues #7 to #32 (April 1942 to May 1944). Joe and Jack provided DC with a handsome inventory before they went into military service. Because of that inventory this volume is almost exclusively work by Simon and Kirby with only three stories and a single cover drawn by other artists.

There are some aspects about this archive that I am less satisfied with. Mainly the smaller dimensions of the book requires that the art must be slightly reduced in size with narrow the gutters and margins. This was true for the Sandman archive as well. But I suspect this was all done to keep the cost of the book low. The dust jacket shows re-colored Simon and Kirby art. I am not a fan of the use of modern coloring on gold and silver age comic art. The line art was made for the type coloring and printing that it originally received. I have not seen any examples of the successful use of modern coloring applied to older art. But hey it is just the dust jacket and it is the contents of the book that really count.

A particular appeal feature of this reprint is the introduction written by Joe Simon. It seems so obvious a choice that I do not know why Joe is not asked to do more of these. Joe is a great writer and this is another of his fascinating essays. I will not discuss the contents at this time so the reader will just have to buy the book. But it does cover a wide range of the history that lies behind the Newsboy Legion.

Simon and Kirby’s Captain America was so innovative that it changed the comic book industry. However it was at DC that the Simon and Kirby collaboration really jelled. Which is why I am so pleased that DC will be reprinting so much of this important material. There should be a volume two for the Newsboy Legion and DC has announced the first Boy Command volume as coming out in November. Simon and Kirby fans live in exciting times.

12 thoughts on “Joe Simon and the Newsboy Legion Archives

  1. BobH

    Looks like this one should be out in stores this week, looking forward to seeing it. Glad to hear you had a part in the covers, and that they’re improving as they go along on the interior restoration.

    For the Amazon affiliate account by the way, I’m still tweaking it but I’ve added some Kirby items to this “astore”, which will have all the affiliate code if you order them from the links:

    In particular this subpage will have any S&K books

  2. mr mike

    there was no excuse at all for the terrible ‘sandman’ book. It was not welldone and it’s just being cheap not to do whatever it takes to make it look like new. I don’t want cheap scans of old yellowing comic books with a little recoloring of word balloons. that’s ok if you charge me ten bucks I guess. Marvel is right , the older D.C. archives looked GREAT. then came the monstrosities “starman volume 2″, and simon and kirby sandman” these looked like a good example of a sad excuse for publishing. D.C. needs to go back to the older way they published archives; like the great first volume of golden age sandman! now that looks great , if they can’t do it like that anymore then they shouldn’t even bother.

  3. Harry Post author


    Obvious we are coming from different view points. If you say that Marvel is right, then you really do not care about the actual artists who created the original work. I am much happier with scans then reconstructed art. Fortunately only Marvel continues that sad practice. You are unhappy with DC’s approach but with a rare exception (Daring Mystery vol 2) I stopped buying Marvel archives some time ago. And even in the case of Daring Mystery v. 2 I only bought it with reluctance.

  4. Harry Post author


    Nowhere in my post did I mention anything about tracing. That is only one of the reconstruction methods used for Marvel archives. It is the whole reconstruction approach that I consider outdated. Only Marvel continues those practices. I prefer the original artists work to what amounts to a re-interpretation by modern artists. Therefore I have for the most part stopped buying Marvel reprint volumes. Recently I made an exception for Daring Mystery vol. 2 and found the reconstruction pretty accurate but still a re-interpretation. I reported on it in //

  5. Harry Post author

    Oh please, you know very well what I object to. We have discussed this on the Marvel Masterworks list. I object to anything but completely accurate restoration of the line art. Every Masterwork volume that I have check with the original comics all had inaccuracies. You were part of the discussion where my restoration of a splash from a Vision story was compared to Marvel’s. As I keep repeating I am not interested in getting a modern artists re-interpretation of the original artist’s work. Scanning and printing technology have improved to the point where accurate scans can be published and Marvel’s method can be called out-dated.

  6. Chris Fama

    Well Harry, say what you want – but I don’t know how you can argue with Marvel reprinting material from original film rather than from scans of books.

  7. Harry Post author

    There you go again, we have covered this in our previous discussions. Of course there is nothing better than good stats, original art or original film. But Marvel has very little of that for pre-Silver Age or even most early Silver Age material. Perhaps their policy has changed, but none of the Marvel reprint volumes that I have say what is based on such material and what was reconstructed.

  8. Chris Fama

    Yes, and I believe I have corrected you several times, but I’ll give it another try. Cory Sedlemeier took on the project of sorting through Marvel film stored in three locations. In the process, he discovered almost all original film for the Silver Age and earlier.

    That’s not to say old issues of Masterworks from years ago were not redrawn or traced – some Golden Age certainly where, both at DC and Marvel in the early stages of these reprint lines.

    Take it from me – Marvel is not paying enough to hire an artist to redraw 220 pages of Tales to Astonish. Before the best film was found, guys like me would retouch reprint film from Monsters on the Prowl, etc.

    I did a few full Theakstonizing stories when the film was too weak, but I had to drag approval out of Marvel – these books don’t sell more than a few thousand copies, as I’m sure you are now aware. Even at that higher page rate which comes to around $10 an hour, every book would be deep in the red.

  9. Harry Post author

    If that were true why is it that every pre-Silver age Masterwork volume that I compared closely with the original comics showed inaccuracies. See my recent post about the recently released Daring Mystery vol 2. The amount of work published by Marvel using original film seems to be greatly exaggerated.

    Yes early DC reprints used reconstructed art just like Marvel, but they have abandoned that technique for a more accurate approach. I do not expect Marvel to do the same but I am not going to be buying Masterworks until I can be absolutely sure that I am getting the original artists and not what amounts to a reinterpretation by a modern artist.

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