Category Archives: Anthologies

Prize Comics Western, a Rough History

Ger Apeldoorn’s comments to chapter 9 of “It’s A Crime” led me to search Prize Comics Western for examples of artists that had also worked for Simon and Kirby. Because of that search I have decide to post a rough outline of this western title. It is rough because I only have access to a little more then half the issues. The biggest gap consists of three missing issues (PCW #86 to #88, March to July 1951). So while it is quite probable that I may miss some artists it is unlikely that any of them played an important part in the title’s history.

Prize Comics Western #74 (March 1949), art by Al Carreno

Prize Comics started as a superhero anthology in March 1940 (cover date). However the popularity of superheroes was in a decline in the late 40’s. Probably spurned on by the success of Simon and Kirby’s crime and romance titles, Prize Comics was renamed Prize Comics Western with issue #69 (May 1948). The primary feature was Dusty Bellows which was a typical, if nondescript, western genre piece. One of the recurring backup features was the Black Bull. While the hero had a western theme, his costume really makes him look like a typical superhero and a bit out of place in the western genre the title had now adopted. Another regular backup was the Lazo Kid.

The earlier issues of PCW would use Al Carreno as the primary artist. Carreno would do the art for the cover and the lead story as well as generally providing a backup story as well. It was Al that was most often called on to work on the title’s main feature, Dusty Bellows. Al Carreno was a competent artist but I have to admit I am not particularly moved by his work.

Prize Comics Western #71 (July 1948) “Bullets at Salt Lick”, art by Dick Briefer

Other artists besides Al Carreno would appear as well. As Ger indicated in his comment, one of them was Dick Briefer. Besides “Bullets at Salt Lick”, Briefer also did “Rod Roper” (PCW #69, May 1948) and “Black Bull Bulldogs a Bandit” (PCW #77, September 1949). Due to the gaps in my collection, it is quite possible he did other stories as well. Briefer was most famous for his long work on Frankenstein, but as seen in my serial post, It’s A Crime, Dick also did some work for a period for Simon and Kirby. Briefer’s work for S&K appeared in Charlie Chan, Headline and Justice Traps the Guilty from October 1948 to October 1949 which was slightly later then his work in PCW.

Prize Comics Western #70 (July 1948) “Rocky Dawn and Windy Smith”, art by Warren Broderick

Another Simon and Kirby artist that appeared in PCW was Warren Broderick. So far I have only found one example of his work in this western title but it a good match for the works that Broderick did for Simon and Kirby. There are 11 stories I credit as having been drawn by Warren they are all from the crime titles Headline and Justice Traps the Guilty. Broderick was involved in only one romance story (“Mother Said No”, Young Romance #7, September 1948) and even then only as an inker on Kirby’s pencils.

Prize Comics Western #73 (January 1949) “The Black Bull Saves the Ranch”, art by John Severin

The first appearance of John Severin in PCW was with issue #73 (or possibly #72 since I do not have that comic). This was some months before the first work that he did for Simon and Kirby (Headline #35, May 1949). In the early period of PCW, Severin only did backup stories and he did not sign his art. But once he arrived he did seem to be a consistent presence in Prize Comics Western.

Prize Comics Western #75 (May 1949), art by Jack Kirby

Most, if not all, of the covers for the early period of Prize Comics Western were done by Al Carreno. The one exception that I am aware of was the cover for PCW #75 which was done by Simon and Kirby. What can I say, while I find it hard to be enthusiastic about Al Carreno’s covers, the one drawn by Jack is a gem. When a gunfight is depicted on a comic book cover it is usually either the moment before the fight begins or it would show the actually fight. Here Kirby shows us the aftermath, or nearly so as the Senorita is just about dispatch the sole surviving enemy. This is very fortunate for Dusty Bellew as he has already turned his back to his fallen foes. Dusty does not have any obvious injuries but the way his right arm hangs suggest he might have been winged. But even if he is physically unscathed, his expression shows that the fight has left him wearied. Pathos in triumph, Jack has depicted Dusty as an unconventional hero. Jack Kirby would draw the cover for PCW #83 as well but it was no were near as effective as this cover.

Prize Comics Western #78 (November 1949) “Bullet Code”, art by Mart Bailey

Like most of the comics published by Prize, PCW switched to photographic covers with issue #76 (July 1949). More importantly there was a change in contents. Al Carreno no longer provided work and his place as lead artist was taking by a new comer for the title, Mart Bailey. As part of the change, the lead story became a movie adaptation. I suspect it was because of the movie adaptation that Bailey was used. While Al Correno could draw well I doubt that he was able to achieve the type of realism Bailey showed in these movie adaptations. I am not saying Bailey’s realism was better art but it probably was more acceptable to RKO. The use of movie adaptations was not long lasting, the last one may have been “Stage To Chino” from PCW #79 (January 1949). However Mart continued used as the primary artist and his artwork was no longer quite so realistic.

Prize Comics Western #85 (January 1951) “American Eagle”, art by John Severin

Issue #85 started the third period for Prize Comics Western. American Eagle was introduced as the new main feature. From this point American Eagle would be on every cover and always was the lead story. Generally there would be at least one backup story, sometimes more, on the American Eagle as well. John Severin had appeared in PCW for some time but now he became the lead artist. It was a position he would retain for much longer then his predecessors Al Carreno and Mart Bailey. Bailey continued doing some backup stories for a few issues before disappearing from the title. John Severin had also worked for Simon and Kirby but not after having attained the position of lead artist for Prize Comics Western.

Prize Comics Western #85 (January 1951) “The Prairie Badman”, art by Marvin Stein

Another artist who had also worked for the Simon and Kirby studio began providing art for Prize Comics Western during this period. Initially Marvin Stein did various backup stories but he most commonly drew the Lazo Kid feature. In his interview with Jim Amash, Joe Simon describes “trading” Stein. Besides his work for PCW, Marvin also became the primary artist for Headline and Justice Traps the Guilty.

The period with John Severin as the primary artist came to an end with issue #113 (September 1955). A short period followed where Marvin Stein became the primary artist. However, unlike before this did not mean that Marvin did all the covers and lead stories.

Prize Comics Western #115 (January 1956) “The Drifter”, art by Mort Meskin

It was during the fourth period that Mort Meskin began doing some backup stories for Prize Comics Western. Of all the artists that had work on PCW, Mort is certainly the one with the greatest ties to the Simon and Kirby studio.

Prize Comics Western #118 (July 1956) “Liberty Belle”, art by Ted Galindo

Another artist with Simon and Kirby connections who appeared during the fourth period was Ted Galindo. Ted even did the lead story, “Liberty Belle” for issue #118. Galindo did a piece for Foxhole #4, but most of the work he did for what might be called Simon and Kirby productions came after the breakup of the studio.
The fourth period was short and it marked the end of the title with issue #119 (September 1956).

There are a number of artists used throughout the history of Prize Comics Western that I have not discussed here. The number of stories they provided were limited, I have not been able to identify them, and their artistic talents were limited.

In his original comment that prompted this post, Ger wrote that Vic Donahue was one of the artists common to the Simon and Kirby studio and Prize Comics Western. I did not encountered Donahue in the search I did on my PCW issues. I asked Ger to double check and he has not been able to find him either. I am not sure that even the combined collections are not complete so there is still the possibility that Donahue did work on PCW.

One artist, who shows up in Prize Comics Western that I have discussed yet in my serial post, It’s A Crime, was Moe Marcus (“Buffalo Stampede”, PCW #92, March 1952). While Marcus appeared in Headline and Justice Traps the Guilty he did so during the period that these titles were not produced by Simon and Kirby. “Buffalo Stampede” was inked by Rocco “Rocke” Mastroserio. Rocke is most widely known for the work he did for Charlton.

At this point it might seem that there were a lot of comics artist that work on Prize Comics Western as well as on Simon and Kirby productions. However there were more Simon and Kirby studio artists that, as far as I have been able to determine, did not work on PCW. Important studio artists like Bill Draut, John Prentice, Vic Donahue, Leonard Starr, Bruno Premiani?, Jo Albistur and Ann Brewster. There are some lesser S&K studio artists as well such as A. C. Hollingsworth, Charles Nicholas, George Gregg, Manny Stallman and Al Eadeh. Conversely, two of the primary artists for Prize Comics Western, Al Correno and Mart Bailey, never worked for Simon and Kirby. John Severin did work for both, but by the time he became primary artist for PCW he was no longer providing work for Simon and Kirby. I have already written about Joe Simon’s statement about trading Marvin Stein. Mort Meskin was an important S&K studio artist and he provided work for PCW as well. But the work Mort did on PCW was largely done after he stopped working for Simon and Kirby. Actually it is a little surprising that Mort did not supply work earlier then that as he had provided such work for Headline and JTTG when these were not produced by S&K.

The handling of Prize Comics Western seems very different from Simon and Kirby productions. As described above the history of PCW the title was very much defined by the primary artist. During each period it was the primary artist that supplied the covers, did the lead story and at least one backup story as well. Jack was the primary artist for Simon and Kirby productions. If there was a cover to be made it was almost always done by Kirby. But Jack would only dominate the contents of a new title. After the initial launching period of a title, Kirby would not dominate the contents so much and a variety of artists would be used. The type of handling of Prize comics Western was similar to that used for Frankenstein Comics and, as we will see in a future chapter to “It’s A Crime”, the same reliance on a primary artist would be adopted by the crime titles as well.

Featured Cover, Strange World of Your Dreams #2

Strange World of Your Dreams #1
Strange World of Your Dreams #1 (August 1952)

I had a brief discussion with someone at the Big Apple Con yesterday. He mentioned a Kirby cover of a woman in a rowboat and suggested a name of the comic. Neither the comic name or the image rang any bells with me at first. Then I thought perhaps he was thinking of Strange World of Your Dreams #1. I suggested he visit my blog because I had posted on SWYD and thought I had included the cover for issue #1. When I finally got around to check it turned out I that in the post I had used SWYD #3 instead. So in case the gentleman decides to check my blog out here is the cover for SWYD #1.

As I said I have already posted on Strange World of Your Dreams. This title is as unusual as its name but unfortunately the comics themselves are a bit expensive. For anyone with a more limited budget who is curious about this title you might want to check out DC’s Black Magic #8 and #9 which reprint a few stories:

  • BM #8 “The Girl In The Grave” (from SWYD #2)
  • BM #8 “Send Us Your Dreams” (from SWYD #2)
  • BM #9 “The Woman In The Tower” (from SWYD #3)

These were published in 1975 and can still be found at a reasonable fee at comic conventions and eBay. As I have said before, I have mixed feelings about DC’s Black Magic. On the one hand it is great that some of these stories were reprinted. But unfortunately the artwork restoration looses some of the special inking quality of the original comics and gives them a sort of woodcut look. The three SWYD stories that were reprinted are good selections. “The Woman In The Tower” is not only the best in the original series, it is also one of Simon and Kirby’s most unusual stories ever.

Strange Worlds of Your Dreams, strange indeed

Strange World of Your Dreams #3
Strange World of Your Dreams #3 (November 1952) by Jack Kirby

Your Dreams was certainly the oddest comic anthology that Simon and Kirby produced. It can be viewed as a spin off of the successful Black Magic comics that started a couple of years earlier. But its focus on the dream theme gave it a special flavor. The idea of a dream comic came from Mort Meskin, one of the few artists working for S&K who worked in the studio. Credits are printed on the first page of the comic with Simon and Kirby as the producers and Mort Meskin as associative editor. This is the only case in S&K productions where someone else is called an editor.

YD #3 The Women In The Tower
Strange World of Your Dreams #3 (November 1952) “The Women In The Tower” by Jack Kirby

The stories can be divided into three categories. The first is dream analysis, well that is how they present it. Despite the ads offering to pay for dreams, it is hard to believe that these stories portray real dreams. After all where is the one in the middle of giving a book report in front of the class you realize you are not wearing any clothes? The analysis does not look anymore authentic then the dreams, no Oedipus complex here. What is real is the opportunity for Kirby to go wild, which Jack takes full advantage of. Most of the dream analysis stories were done by Jack, and most of the stories he did in this series were dream analysis. I can only conclude that he relished this chance, he certainly makes effective use of it.

YD #3 Send Us Your Dreams
Strange World of Your Dreams #3 (November 1952) “Send Us Your Dreams” by Bill Draut

The dream analysis stories were occasionally done by other artists, including Mort Meskin and Bill Draut. As much as I admire these artists, Meskin and Draut in particular, I feel that they were not at all comfortable with this theme. Bill spent more time with the non-dream portions and little on the dream, whereas Kirby did most of the story on the dream itself. Most of these analysis stories tended to be very short, just a couple of pages long.

YD #1 The Dreaming Tower
Strange World of Your Dreams #1 (August 1952) “The Dreaming Tower” by Mort Meskin

A second story category for this anthology was fictional stories. When I provided Joe Simon with restorations of these comics, Joe commented that he must have pulled those stories from the Black Magic drawer. They are the type of story that would fit very well in a Black Magic comic. But if there truly was such a drawer full of Black Magic inventory, the ones that were selected were only those with a dream theme. Bill Draut presents a story of a man who finds himself in a perfect world, only to be told it is a dream. Despite warnings and pleadings he insists in waking the dreamer. Of course he regrets it when he succeeds (“Don’t Wake The Sleeper”, SWYD #1, August 1952). But the best of the Your Dreams fictional stories, in fact the masterpiece of the entire series, was Mort Meskin’s “The Dreaming Tower” (SWYD #1). Mort uses his blacks and manipulate his panels to build up suspense without even providing why there would be such tension. Kirby could have done the revelation panel better, but Jack could never have orchestrated the build up as masterfully as Mort.

YD #4 Romance In The Stars
Strange World of Your Dreams #4 (January 1953) “Romance In The Stars” by unidentified artist

The third and final category of story types was introduced in the final two issues (#3 and #4). It is astrology based stories. I have no idea why a comic based on dreams should include astrology also. The way the stories worked was the “characteristics” of people with a particular sign are given and then a story provided to illustrate these supposed characteristics. These stories are not the horror variety of the fictional stories of the second category. The astrology stories would generally fit pretty well in a romance comic. But they are not true romances, a better description would be comic drama.

Strange World of Your Dreams #5
Strange World of Your Dreams #5 (March 1953) by Jack Kirby

This was an oddball of a comic. It is one of the most interesting to read of all the S&K creations. But much of the interest lies in the uniqueness of a comic based on dreams. It is hard to believe that even Simon and Kirby could have maintained that interest over a long run. Still Joe and Jack were obviously aiming to try because they had the cover for the fifth issue done before the plug was pulled on this title.

Crime Does Pay

After returning from war service, Simon and Kirby made a deal with Al Harvey to produce Stuntman and Boy Explorers comics. Because of the post-war glut of comics, this venture was short lived. Both comics were cancelled but Harvey would eventually use work that was already produced in both Green Hornet and Black Cat Comics. Joe and Jack then did a variety of work for publisher Hillman, funny animals (“Earl the Rich Rabbit” and “Lockjaw the Alligator”), adventure (“The Flying Fool”), teenage humor (“My Date Comics”) and crime (for “Real Clue Crime Stories”). They did a surprisingly good job on the funny animal stories. But their efforts were probably lost on the younger audience for that type of comics and they must have realized that it was not their forte. The adventure and teen humor were more suited to their style but other publishers already dominated those areas. However the crime stories were even a better match for them and at that time it was a popular genre. The only problem was that their work for Hillman appears to have been work for hire, and they wanted something more.

Headline Comics #23

So S&K made a deal with Prize Publications to produce a crime comic for a share of the profits. This would be the first of a number of deals where Joe and Jack would do produce the artwork for the entire comic with Prize handling the printing and distribution ends. Prize already had a bi-monthly hero anthology called “Headline Comics”. Headline was a pretty good title for a crime comic and perhaps it was not doing all that well, so it was converted to crime. The expected cover date for issue #23 was delayed two months for a March 1947 crime issue. Unlike their previous deal with Harvey, initial work was pretty much a solo Simon & Kirby effort with Jack doing all the pencils. With both work for Hillman and Prize going on at the same time, this resulted in a incredible page count, over 60 pages a month (in September alone it was 139). In fact this rate is so high, and the preceding months so low, that I suspect that much of it was done well before actual publication. If that is true then Joe and Jack probably already had decided to pitch a crime comic package before working for Hillman. Joe says when they wanted to make a proposal to a publisher they would do the entire comic first. That way if a publisher liked the idea but did not want to hire them to do it they could still get it out before him by finding another publisher.

Justice Traps The Guilty #1

There are two signs that a comic was a success. One is that goes monthly and the other is that a spin-off is made. S&K’s Young Romance must have been very popular because it did both. Black Magic went monthly but never did a spin-off, unless you consider the short lived Strange World of Your Dreams as such. Headline did not go monthly, but S&K and Prize did launch Justice Traps The Guilty (October 1947). Guilty was also a bi-monthly and alternated in the schedule with Headline. If this was not enough work for Simon and Kirby, after Headline they had also been pitching the first romance comic which came out in September. This was an awful lot of work, even for Jack. But it was never the intention of S&K to do all the art themselves, so they began to field out work to other artists. For instance Bill Draut (usual suspect #1) returns with “G-Man Trap” in the first Justice Traps The Guilty. Joe and Jack had finally succeeded in going from comic book artists to comic book producers.

Headlive Comics #37

Now that the Simon and Kirby studio was up and running, Jack’s penciling efforts were generally directed to the latest launched product. At this time Kirby continued to provide the pencils for all the covers. There were some good artists working for them, but Jack was still the star. But Young Love #2 (April 1949) had the first non-Kirby cover, a photograph. Soon the other comics followed; Headline #36 (July), Young Romance #13 (September) and Justice Traps the Guilty #12 (October). The romance photographs seemed to be supplied by various agencies, but S&K had a hand in at least some of the enactments of the crime photo covers since Jack appears on Headline #37 September 1949). But photograph covers did not last long for the Prize crime comics, the last one for Guilty #17 (August 1950) and for Headline was #43 (September 1950). With the end of photo covers we have the return of Kirby covers, but not for long. Headline #45 January 1951) was the last one Jack did for that crime title. As for Justice Traps the Guilty Jack’s last cover appears on #23 (February 1951). However Guilty #20 has a cover by some other artist (probably Marvin Stein). Headline #46 has postal statement listing Nevin Fiddler as the magazine’s editor. The contents changed also since the artists normally supplying art to S&K productions started to disappear from these crime comics. It would appear that Simon and Kirby were no longer producing Headline and Justice Traps the Guilty. Both comics would have a long history after S&K, with Marvin Stein frequently doing the covers. But it just wasn’t the same.

Headline Comics #51

That Old Black Magic

As I mentioned previously Simon & Kirby’s longest running comics were their anthologies. Although the Prize romances were clearly their greatest success, they also appeared to do pretty well with their take on the horror genre, Black Magic. This series was also published by Prize, but at least initially was a Simon and Kirby production. Black Magic #1 came out with a cover date of October 1950.

Black Magic #1

Like most S&K comics, Black Magic was originally a bimonthly It went monthly with issue #10 (March 1952). But it is not safe to consider the delay before going monthly as a sign that it was not that popular. Young Romance and Young Love were by all accounts immense successes right from the start and both of them took over a year before going monthly. This delay was more likely due to the publishers concern that even a popular title might turn out to be just a fad. One indication of how important Black Magic was to S&K is that Jack penciled every cover up to #33. But Black Magic was nowhere nearly as popular as the Young Romance since there never was any spin-offs like Young Love was for the romances. Further Black Magic went back to bimonthly with issue #26 (September 1953).

Like the Prize romances, Black Magic was a Simon and Kirby production and labeled as such. That is until after #32 when the S&K label disappears. This was September 1954, about the same time the label disappears from the Prize romance comics. But unlike the romance comics, Black Magic would have only one issue without the S&K label and then it would be cancelled. Could this be retribution by Prize for S&K’s Mainline comics that came out at this time? If that was the case why didn’t they just hand the title to another editor? An alternative explanation was that it just was not selling that well. After all it had gone back to a bimonthly schedule a year before. Whatever the reason, Black Magic would end a year before Young Love.

It seems that until it was cancelled, Black Magic was produced by Simon and Kirby. They were listed as editors in the postal statement from March 1952 to March 1954. Further the usual suspects (Bill Draut, Mort Meskin and John Prentice) show up frequently.

Prize would relaunch Black Magic almost three years later (September 1957). Although Jack Kirby was still doing work for Young Romance at this time, he would never pencil anything for the resurrected Black Magic.

Black Magic #17

Now For A Not So Little Romance

I blogged about Simon & Kirby acting as editors, but now I want to discuss what comics they actually produced. But I will be leaving aside the hero theme comics for which S&K are famous. Comics like Fighting American, Boys’ Ranch, and Bullseye. These were classics but their short runs show that they were commercial failures. Simon and Kirby had their greatest success in comic anthologies. Comics like the long running Young Romance Comics.

Young Romance #1

I once asked Joe about what sort of deal he had with Young Romance, the comic that started a whole new, and very profitable genre. He said that S&K paid all the costs of producing and packaging the art. They received nothing in advance from the publisher. The money would only start coming in when 40% of the printed comic was shipped to the distributor. After the shipping advance they would start sharing the profits. Joe remarked that contrary to his reputation as a savvy business man, it really wasn’t that a great deal. Most of the financial risk was on S&K, and if Young Romance wasn’t as widely successful as it was, they would have lost a bundle.

Young Romance #1 has a cover date of September 1947 and it had a very long run published first by Prize (124 issues) then by National. Like many others, S&K copied their own success and produced Young Love also published by Prize (94 issues) and National. But the romance genre continued to be profitable so S&K later produced Young Brides, that title was not so long running (30 issues) and was only published by Prize. But since YR and YL were so long running, clearly S&K did not produce them all. So which ones did they do? Well they pretty much told us about some of them. Starting with YR #13 (September 1949) the lead story of the comic would be labeled as a “Simon and Kirby Production”. It didn’t matter who the artist was and the label would only show up on the lead story. Once started, the S&K label would appear on pretty much every YR, YL and YB they produced. With only a few exceptions until about around August 1954 (YR #73, YL #61 and YB #16). The S&K label did not reappear until May of 1955. Even then it was used sporadically (YR #78, #80, YL #64 and YB #22, #24 and #25). The last appearance of the label was in December 1955 (YR #80).

So why the gap in use of the S&K label? Well one thing that happened at the beginning of the gap is that S&K started Mainline and became publishers of their own comics. Bullseye #1 first appeared with a cover date of August 1954, the same date the S&K last appears. Mainline was a commercial failure and its last comics was cover dated April 1955. The S&K label reappears in the romance comics in May 1955. One reasonable explanation would be that while Mainline was in operation S&K were not producing the Prize romances. Perhaps there was friction because Prize now viewed S&K as competition, particularly since Mainline had there own romance line, In Love.

As I said it is reasonable to say that between August 1954 and May 1955 (cover dates) that S&K were not producing Prize’s romance comics. It may be reasonable, but I don’t believe it is true. The first reasons is what I refer to as the usual suspects. S&K studio employed a number of artists on a freelance basis. But Bill Draut, Mort Meskin and John Prentice were regulars both in the length of time and amount of art. We may not be able to follow the money, but we can follow the artists. We have to be a little cautious since they did not work exclusively for S&K. But any comic where the usual suspects are prominent was likely to have been produced by Simon & Kirby. And the usual suspects were prominent during the gap. In fact they did most of the covers.

Another reason to believe S&K continued producing the Prize romances is a story Martin Thall tells. The comic company of Mike Esposito and Ross Andru also met their demise during the comic crisis of this period. According to Thall, they sold unused romance artwork to S&K (at a bargain price) and delivering it to Jack Kirby’s house. Three stories penciled by Andru appear in the Prize romances of November and December 1954 (YB #19, YL #63 and YR #75). Andru also did some work for S&K in 1952 but that was too early to be what Martin is talking about. But the 1954 stories fit the timeline perfectly. And this is right in the middle of the S&K label gap.

But if S&K produced these romance comics through the 1954 and 1955, when did they stop? Well if we follow the usual suspects we find them prominent until December 1955. Then something surprising happens, Kirby is all over the place. From YR #80 until YR #86 (December 1956) Jack did pretty much the entire issues for all the Prize romances. This includes YL #69 to #73 as well as YB #26 to #30. Jack did 74 stories and covers over this period. Joe seemed to have been part of this because the cover to YR #83 appears to have both their hands involved. Further the cover to YB #30 depicts a couple with twin babies, Joe had twin girls. Finally Joe still has the original art to YL #71. In these issues John Prentice has only one story (YL #69), Bill Draut 3 (#71 and two in #73) and other artists provided only three more stories (Ann Brewster and Ted Galindo both in YL #70 and an unidentified artist in YR #81).

Young Romance #80

Why was Kirby so prominent in these particular romance comics? Well perhaps one reason is after the failure of Mainline, S&K had financial problems and perhaps could not afford to continue to pay their freelancers. In fact they may have had trouble finding work for themselves. YR and YL were monthly titles. But after the December 1954 issues the next YR would have a cover date of April 1955 and become a bimonthly. YL would not be published again until 1960. Although this is all after the Kirby romance run, it may reflect that the Prize romance comics had become less profitable. Remember Joe and Jack shared in the profits but had to pay the expenses to produce the art.

Starting in 1957, Jack’s pencils would appear in most issues of YR until #103 (December 1959). But the usual suspects would not. There is one other piece of evidence that can help. At one point comics started to include a yearly statement. The statement included the name of the editors. I’ve heard that this statement was not always reliable. But that was for editors that worked directly for the publisher. I think that in the cases of S&K this statement may be more trustworthy. The earliest statement is the February 1950 issue of YL where Joe and Jack are listed as editors. The last time they are so listed is the April 1959 issue of YR. Starting with the June 1960 issue of YR only Joe Simon is listed as editor. The August issue of the resumed YL also list only Joe as editor. My information may be incomplete, but the last time I have a listing for editor as Joe is the April 1963 YL. But in a few months National would take over publication of YR and YL and I suspect they would use their own editors.

So it would appear that Jack’s involvement in the Prize romances ended in early in 1959. Even that is surprising since in 1957 he started to work for other publishers like National and Atlas. Although Jack may have taken S&K ideas to these publishers (such as Challengers of the Unknown), nothing indicates that Joe did any work for them. To me this means that by 1957 there was no Simon & Kirby studio. Whatever working relationship Jack and Joe had, it was a very different one then they had during most of their partership.