The Day After

I was going to work tonight on a couple more “Not Kirby” posts. But somehow it just does not seem appropriate the day after Jack’s birthday. So I have decided to continue with progressive proofs of covers. As I said yesterday progressive proofs provide prints of the individual colors which I scan separately and combine using Photoshop. I believe this provides the most accurate idea of what the cover looked like when it was first published. No retouching or color adjustments are required. Joe Simon only had progressive proofs for five covers left. Not surprisingly they were all for Mainline Comics, the short lived comic publishing company that Joe and Jack started.

In Love #1
In Love #1 (September 1954) by Jack Kirby and John Prentice

I have posted a smaller image of this cover proof before although I did not mention then that it was based on progressive proofs. In Love was the romance title for Mainline. Jack did the foreground figures and John Prentice drew the background ones. This is a unique example of two S&K artists working on the same cover. I wish that the original art was still around. Perhaps it could provide evidence as to why this was done by two artists.

Foxhole #4 (April 1955) by Jack Kirby

Joe Simon has told me that they (the S&K shop) did not do the color guides for the comics, that was the responsibility of the publisher. Once Joe was pointing out the artists in a photograph of the S&K studio. Joe said that one of the artists, whose name I forget, was the colorist. At the time I though Joe was contradicting himself. But later Joe described the financial deal that he had for producing comics for Prize. S&K had to cover all costs for producing the comics. When a certain percentage of the printed comics were shipped, S&K would get some money back and then share the profits from the actual sales. But I believe that when the deal was made making the color guides was not part of the work that S&K would have to do. But it would not make sense for the colorist to work elsewhere, in fact Prize may not have had their own artist bullpen. So the colorist would work in the S&K studio but be paid by the publisher Prize.

However Mainline Comics were S&K’s own company and so all work in creating the comics were their responsibility. So they oversaw, if they were not actually involved, in making the color guides. It seems to me that some of the Mainline cover color work is very different from work done for Prize. In fact some of them are in my opinion the best color work ever done for Simon and Kirby comics. The cover for Foxhole #4 is certainly one of these great color jobs. In fact it would not be anywhere near as dramatic without the colors.

Police Trap #2
Police Trap #2 (November 1954) by Jack Kirby

The first two Police Trap covers show the interior of a police station. Even though they were swipes from some paintings, they are just great Kirby covers.

In Love #4
In Love #4 (March 1955) by Bill Draut

Jack Kirby did not draw most of the work in the Mainline comics despite the fact that during this period he stop drawing anything for the Prize romances. Joe Simon is said to have handled most of the business aspects of the S&K shop but I suspect running their own publishing company required more business effort which even Jack had to help with. But there were other fine artists to help such as Bill Draut who did this cover. Actually yesterday when I wrote that Jack Kirby did the cover for In Love #3 that was not technically correct. The insert of the book cover was done by Draut.

2 thoughts on “The Day After

  1. Scotty Moore

    RE Prentice work on In Love #1 cover- there is at least one other example of this sort of division of labor. The splash page to the story “No Love for Me” (First Love #69, Harvey Publications) has all background work by John Prentice, with the foreground figures drawn by (I believe) Carmine Infantino. This makes sense in this case since I believe Johnny Prentice was the inker for the story as well. I think this book was packaged in its entirety by the S&K shop, but am not absolutely sure.

  2. Harry Post author


    When I called In Love #1 unique I was referring to just the covers for that period.

    I am afraid I have to disagree with you about John Prentice’s involvement in “No Love for Me”. The inking does not look like John to me, nor do the backgroud pencils for the splash. But Prentice did do pencils and inks for “Bedeviled” in the same issue.

    This sort of differences in attributions sure make you wish they gave credits in those days.


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