Speed #19 (June 1942)

Speed #19

June is Joe Simon’s months since he did both Champ #19 and Speed #19. Both signed as Jon Henri. To me the give-a-way that this is Joe’s penciling is the depiction of the Japanese impersonator. The whole idea of the Japanese setting up to disguise himself as Captain Freedom only to be interrupted by the real thing that seem to me to be something Simon would come up with. Captain Freedom’s fist is square like Jack Kirby would do it. But Joe had inked Jack’s work and was familiar with these sort of traits.

This Speed cover depicts a horde of Japanese soldiers coming down a flight of stairs and entering the room. Actually this is not too unusual at the time. Compare it to the cover for Speed #17 penciled by Jack Kirby where it is Captain Freedom who enters from a stairway. Some covers by Al Avison ( Speed #16 and Pocket #3 have the horde of advancing enemies, but lack the stairs. But in Speed #14 Avison had the stairs, but fewer enemies. But after this period where this motif seemed somewhat popular, I don’t remember S&K ever returning to the enemies entering from stairway motif. But surprisingly it shows up much later in art Joe Simon did which I believe was meant to be the cover for Fighting American #2 by Harvey meant for 1966. The art has a smaller number of enemies but it does show the stairs.

Harvey’s FA #2 was never published and the art I mentioned above has no indications for what it was intended. But Joe still has original art for two Fighting American stories that are marked as Fighting American #2. They are done on Bristol board, not the thick illustration board used for the Prize Fighting American art (1954/55). One of the stories (“The Beef Box”) got published in the Fighting American reprint volume published by Marvel in 1989. All the art intended for FA #2, including the cover, was done by Joe Simon.