Kirby Or Not, Young Romance #85

Young Romance #85
Young Romance #85 (December 1956) by Jack Kirby

I have renamed this topic from “Not Kirby” to “Kirby Or Not”. The title was fine originally since most of my post were about entries in the Jack Kirby Checklist that attributed work to Jack that was actually done by other artists. But lately I have delt with some work actually done by Kirby that was not included in the Checklist. The greatest majority of errors in the Checklist are those that falsely attribute work to Jack, but there are some of the opposite mistakes. I believe this imbalance is due to the fact that most experts look for “signs” of Kirby but fail to look for indications typical of other artists. Jack Kirby was much respected among artists and influenced their work either directly (swiping), indirectly (model), or all the grades between. Since experts are not always carefully watching for indications of other artist “fingerprints”, the tendency will be to err on the side of falsely attributing work to Kirby.

This particular cover comes toward the end of the Simon and Kirby collaboration. Previously they had tried to launch their own comic publishing company called Mainline. During the Mainline period Jack stopped penciling anything for the Prize romance comics, although I believe S&K still produced these comics. I suspect the business effort involved in Mainline was more then Joe could handle and so required Jack’s involvement also. Artists like Ann Brewster, Joe Albistur and John Prentice would take the place in these romance comics of the missing Kirby. But when Mainline finally failed Jack returned to doing work for Prize romances with a vengeance. For about a year Kirby would do pretty much all the art for Young Romance, Young Love and Young Brides. Such all Kirby comics were pretty unusual and had only occurred once before when S&K turned Headline into a crime genre comic. In the case of Headline all Kirby comics were done because Joe and Jack were trying to start up their studio after a previous failed attempt (Stuntman and Boy Explorers Comics). Once Headline was shown to be successful S&K began to use other artists. The late all Kirby romances was probably a similar attempt to restore the studio after the Mainline failure. If so it was not successful and Jack would begin doing freelance work for DC and Atlas.

I do not know why the Checklist missed attributing this cover to Jack. It seems a pretty obvious Kirby to me. I am not sure who did the inking but it was not the greatest job. The poor inking does have the affect of hiding Jack’s more subtle penciling. But the elderly man appears to be one of Kirby’s stock background characters.

Although not the best romance cover that Jack penciled I am still rather fond of it. It is pretty obvious that the humor was supposed to be the waitress so intent on the kiss that she fails to stop pouring the coffee. But for me the real humor is the old man. I love the way he stuffs his face with the piece of bread as he observes the couple.