The Art of Joe Simon, Chapter 12, Covering the Fly

When I “completed” my recent serial post “The Art of Joe Simon” Stan Taylor pointed out that I had left out Joe’s work on the Archie series “The Adventures of the Fly”. What a slipup! I have renumbered the chapters so that this one gets in the proper sequence. The stories are obviously the work of a number of different artists. Sorting out who did what would be a Herculean task which I am not prepare to venture into at this time. But I get the impression that Joe did little, if any, of the actual interior art. However Joe was involved in all the covers. In fact the Fly covers supply a full range of Simon’s working methods.

I included an image for the cover for Fly #1 (August 1959) in Chapter 10 of “The End of Simon & Kirby”. This cover was made from stats of the double page splash by Jack Kirby, the various parts rearranged to fit the cover properly. I say the cover was made from the splash and not the other way around because the original art for the splash still exists and it includes no stats. It is not certain, but Joe was probably responsible for the physical construction of the cover. Of course that does not take away credit and Jack Kirby should be regarded as the primary penciler for this cover.

Adventures of the Fly #2
Adventures of the Fly #2 (September 1959) part by Joe Simon

The cover for Fly #2 (September 1959) is generally attributed to Jack Kirby. But I believe Simon put it together using different sources. Joe did the figure of the Fly swiping the pose from Captain America #7. I do not believe that Joe drew the diminutive robot operator it looks like he was done by the same artist that did the interior story and is not a swipe. The robots on the cover however are done in a very different manner then the story. It could have been done by a different artist but it seems unlikely. The operator and the robot fit together so well it is hard to believe that different artist could have done them.

Adventures of the Fly #3
Adventures of the Fly #3 (November 1959) by Joe Simon

With the third Fly cover Joe appears to turn to a more standard penciling approach. It is not possible to prove swiping was not used. Nevertheless the pose seems to be original and not a copy. Joe told me once that he used himself as a model drawing in front of a mirror.

Adventures of the Fly #4
Adventures of the Fly #4 (January 1960) by Joe Simon

For the cover of the last Fly comic that he produced, Joe turned to what was for him a more standard technique. That is doing the entire cover and turning to swipes for portions of it. The source for figure of the Fly was the Sandman from the cover of Adventure #88 (see below). As by his normal practice, Joe did not do a close copy, but altered it to suit his purpose. The pose is adjusted slightly, largely because Sandman was squatting on a flat ground while the Fly is on a slanted roof. But the position of the right arm was also modified. Joe also corrected Sandman’s ears which Jack had made oversized as he so commonly did at that time. In the end even though the source was Adventure #88 the finished product was all Joe’s. I cannot say if there are any other swipes on this cover, but I would not rule it out. At this stage in his career, Joe is very adept at what he does and this is a nicely designed cover. Yes swiping was used but it is so well done that we know about it only by comparing it to the source material (Adventure #88). Otherwise there is nothing about the cover that gives it away.

Adventure #88
Adventure #88 (October 1943) by Jack Kirby

Art by Joe Simon, Chapter 11, The Party Is Over

Art by Joe Simon, Chapter 13, Wrap Up

4 thoughts on “The Art of Joe Simon, Chapter 12, Covering the Fly

  1. Scotty Moore

    While the cover image to Adventures of the Fly #3 is not a direct swipe, it closely follows the image pose(and “oath”) of the cover to Black Hood Comics #9 (MLJ, Winter 1943).

  2. Harry Post author


    Great spotting. Like you said not a direct swipe but I sure suspect that this was the source of the concept. And it may not have been a coincident that the source was published by the same company as the Fly title.

  3. Bruce Younger

    As always, I find your commentary and depth of discussion fascinating. Something else I find fascinating is that I’ve never heard or read anyone mention the biggest glaring error in the Fly #2 cover swipe – the Fly has 2 left hands! If you look closely, you’ll see the thumb on his right hand (the upper placement on the rope)is on the wrong side, and the fingers are bent to the outside rather than the inside. Since the hands aren’t visible in the CA source figure for the swipe, I can only attribut it to the error of the swipee, although I have a hard time believing an experienced illustrator like Joe Simon would have missed a detail like that.

  4. Harry Post author


    I am not sure I fully follow your description of the hands but I do find that the placement of the hands somewhat unnatural with the palms facing forward instead of the more natural back of hands forward.

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