An Unusual Simon and Kirby Offering on Cochran Auction

Last Friday Scoop had an interesting article, Simon & Kirby Rarity Added to Cochran Auction. A very small image was provided for what was said to be the original art for the unpublished cover for Stuntman #4* penciled by Jack Kirby and inked and colored by Joe Simon. Now the image was very small but to me it clearly looked like a recreation, not like original comic book art.

Russ Cochran’s web page includes a better image and rather interesting documentation (Simon and Kirby – Stuntman No. 4 color comic cover art 1946). The larger image confirms that it was what I would call a recreation and not original comic book art. The original art for this image does exists and can be seen on What If Kirby.

Cochran includes documentation where Joe certifies that this was original art. But read carefully what Simon states. Joe describes how the art was created in 1946 with Joe providing the layout and lettering and Jack doing the pencils. Then Joe states:

Around 2000, while searching through a pile of art work in my possession, I discovered the artwork for the cover of Stuntman #4 that Jack Kirby and I had created in 1946. I decided to ink and color the piece.

Note Joe says he inked and colored the piece in 2000. That means the original art was still just pencils when he completed it. That is not what I would call original art. Now I have not seen the actual piece so I cannot determine if there really were Kirby pencils beneath those modern inks. It is hard to be certain from just images, but the art appears to be done on something like Strathmore paper which Joe frequently used in his recreations. Original art for Simon and Kirby during that period was all done on illustration board. Joe did recreations of comic book art over many years. He not infrequently would put a piece aside uncompleted. Sometimes he would finish it later, sometimes not. My suspicion, and it is nothing more than just a suspicion, is that Joe started a recreation of the cover and stopped while it was still just pencils. He then put it aside only to forget about it. When he came across it again he had forgotten its origin and believed it was Kirby’s original pencils. I may not be certain exactly how the art came to be created, but I am convinced that Joe really believed the story he provides.


* Simon refers to this as the Stuntman #4 cover. What If Kirby calls is the cover for Stuntman #3. Neither is the correct designation. Actually there is an in house advertisement for Stuntman #2 that provides a small image of this cover. However the art was replaced when Stuntman #2 was released. So it is actually a rejected cover for issue #2.

4 thoughts on “An Unusual Simon and Kirby Offering on Cochran Auction

  1. Stan Taylor

    Hi Harry,

    Not sure how this fits in to your theory, but though similar, this is not an unused cover. It has many differences from the advertised cover including the word EXTRA next to Stuntman on the logo. The advert has no cover blurb highlighting a new Simon/Kirby thriller. Their are differences on the stagecoach passengers including a flying hat on the advert but not on this artwork. And the woman’s face has been changed from Kirby to Simon. The advert dosn’t have a cover binder with a #4 designation, and there’s a lefthand background formation not on the newer artwork. This was definitely a reworked piece from a later time.

  2. Harry Post author


    Nothing you said means anything. Joe Simon stated he inked and colored what he believed to be original pencils by Jack Kirby. Comparing the Cochran piece to the advertisement seems pointless since if those were Kirby’s uninked pencils than it obviously was not the basis for the advertise which was from an inked piece. Since Joe inked and colored the pencils it would by definition be a “reworked piece” and as I wrote in my post not what I would call original comic book art. But the question is whether it was a recreation or whether there are Kirby pencils under those more modern inks. While I suspect that there are no Kirby pencils the only way to be sure is to examine the original art. Lo-res scans are just not sufficient.

  3. Steve Robertson

    I have seen, and held in my hands the original black and white, penciled and inked artwork from the 1940s that this colored artwork by Joe Simon is based upon. The last person to have the vintage (circa late 1940s) original art that I know of was Mike Burkey, but it has since been sold. The artwork that I saw (not this colored piece) was certainly vintage art from the Simon + Kirby studios, on thick non-flexible illustration board, with pencils under the inks. This color piece being offered by Russ Cochran is without a doubt a recreation based on artwork that was penciled and inked in the late 1940s.

  4. Harry Post author


    I mentioned, and gave a link to, the original art that you discuss. But I think you are making a mistake in saying that since this piece existed any other piece must be “without a doubt a recreation”. But there I strongly disagree. Another piece of original art does not prove anything, there still could been another version made. The only way to prove “without a doubt” whether there are Kirby pencils under Simon inks of the Cochran piece is to closely examine that art. Something that cannot be done with lo-res scans.

Comments are closed.