Simon and Kirby’s Office, LOL

Comic Book Creators, Jack Kirby
Jack Kirby from “Comic Book Creators, Jack Kirby” by Sue Hamilton

I finally got my copy of Sue Hamilton’s “Comic Book Creators, Jack Kirby”. The delay was my fault I had both taken my time in ordering it and tied the order with another book that had not been released yet. Anyway I previously posted on this book. It was written for young adults but I knew it had some nice photos in it so I wanted a copy. I have not read it yet but I did notice one inaccuracy. This comes after a description of Jack meeting Joe at Fox Comics and asking Joe for freelance work to supplement his income from Fox:

Together Jacob and Joe rented a one-room office. They began working nights and weekends on such comics as The Blue Beetle”.

Well both Jack and Joe did work on the Blue Beetle but not at the freelance office. The Blue Beetle belonged to Fox Comics. At Fox Jack was drawing the syndication strip while Joe was editor and cover artist for the comic book version. Yes it is a small detail but it shows that the book was not written by someone not familiar with comic book history.

Still the book has some very nice photographs of a younger Jack and actually that was why I bought it. While looking through them I stopped at the one I show above and had to laugh. The caption was:

Jack Kirby proofing comic book covers in his office in 1949.

The reason I found this funny was that recently I had scan a photograph of Joe Simon at a desk (see below). Joe commented that they never had their own office and he had used Teddy Epstein’s office for the photo. Teddy was one of the owners of Prize Comics. So without a doubt Jack had done the same thing. I cannot blame Hamilton for this small mistake. After all I would have made the same error had not Joe not made his comment. Because seeing is believing we mistakenly judge photographs as objective evidence. As shown by these photos, and especially today with Photoshop, care most always be taken when using a photograph.

The two photographs were taken at either different locations or different times. The two photos have dissimilar desk arrangements and the items being examined are not the same. Jack is looking at some cover proofs. I cannot made out two of them but ones I can read are Young Love and Young Romance. The YL one is issue #5 (October 1949). The YR is a bit of a mystery as I have not been able to identify the issue. I wonder if it ever actually got published? Joe is looking at Headline, Young Romance and Justice Traps the Guilty comic books. Two of these I cannot make out but the YR is issue #2 (November 1947).

Joe Simon
Joe Simon

4 thoughts on “Simon and Kirby’s Office, LOL

  1. RAB

    Love love love the photo of Jack at Ted Epstein’s desk. I have no idea why I get such a kick out of it, I just do.

    And it’s so strange to look at that bow-tied young man and realize this is the same Joe Simon who was at last year’s NYCC — to whatever extent any of us can be said to be “the same” from decade to decade, let alone more than five of them.

  2. Mike Cagle

    Doesn’t it look like Jack was holding a cigar — which has probably been “Photoshopped out” because the book is aimed at younger readers. Makes me think of something very similar described in the book “Time Was Soft There” (about the bookstore Shakespeare and Company); also the author photo for “Godnight Moon” was changed in the same way for a recent edition. So, whenever you see an old photo of someone and they are holding their hand in a funny way, suspect s deleted cigarette or cigar. I wonder if anyone has seen an unaltered version of this photo of Jack? Regardless, it’s neat to see it.

  3. Harry Post author


    When I first looked at this photo I also thought that Jack looked like he was holding a cigar. When I scanned it for use here I was absolutely convinced I could see a cigarette. After you comment I went back to look at it with a magnifying glass and realized there was no cigarette. Was it Photoshoped? I can’t say but like you I sure wonder about it.


  4. Harry Post author


    After adding the above comment I just remembered a story. Jerry Dienes once painted a portrait of Joe Simon. I have not seen the original but I do have a copy of a photo of it. Joe is holding a paint brush but there is something funny looking about it. When you look at it carefully you realize it originally was a cigar. Actually Jerry did a poor job of the conversion from cigar to paintbrush which actually draws attention to it.


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