Tag Archives: Broderick

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.

It’s A Crime, Chapter 9, Not The Same

(Justice Traps the Guilty #9 – #12, Headline #35 – #38)

This chapter will cover the Prize crime comics from the period March through November 1949. Both Justice Traps the Guilty and Headline were bimonthly titles. The other nominally crime title, Charlie Chan, had been discontinued after February. Simon and Kirby were also producing Young Romance at the start of this period as a bimonthly but switching to a monthly in September. The first Young Love was released just prior to this period in February and would be a bimonthly throughout the time covered by this chapter. The western romance titles came out during this period; Real West Romance in April and Western Love in July. They were both bimonthlies. Thus at the start of this period Simon and Kirby were producing 4 titles and by the end 6 titles. Most of the titles were bimonthlies and I find it more significant to count bimonthlies as half a title. Using that counting technique at the start S&K were producing 2 titles and by the end 3.5 titles.

Justice Traps the Guilty #9 (April 1949) “This Way to The Gallows”, art by Jack Kirby

As is generally the case when discussing Simon and Kirby productions, Jack was the primary artist during the time covered by this chapter. This is however a little misleading as Kirby only supplied 5 stories with 38 pages out of a total of 43 stories with 325 pages. While not quite at Kirby’s level, other artists supplied significant amount of work. John Serevin did 5 stories and 32 pages; Vic Donahue had 4 stories and 30 pages and Warren Broderick may have done 4 stories with 31 pages.

A trend that started earlier was continued; Jack’s splashes for the crime titles no longer seemed to have the impact that they did with the earlier issues. Part of this due to all of the splashes now being half pages splashes, but part was the result of the art itself. This may not have just been a declining interest on Kirby’s part; it is possible that he was toning down the violence because of the criticism that crime comics were receiving at this time. Whatever the reason, if you want to see great Kirby splashes from this period you have to look at the romance titles where Jack was turning out some of his best splashes.

Headline #37
Headline #37 (September 1949) That is Jack Kirby in the cover photograph. An uncropped version of the photograph shows that the policeman was actually Joe Simon.

Jack also supplied 4 of the 8 covers, and the covers that Kirby did were all excellent. Starting with Justice Traps the Guilty #11 (August) and Headline #37 (September) the crime titles began to use photographs for their covers. A similar change over occurred for the romance titles; Young Romance with issue #13 (September); Young Love seemed to start it all with issue #2 (April). The western romance titles (Western Love and Real West Romance) were both introduced with photographic covers. Simon and Kirby’s involvement in the crime photographic covers is shown by the presence of Jack himself in one of them.

Headline #37 (September 1949) “The Accusing Match””, art by Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby’s declining contributions to the crime titles is even greater then the numbers indicate. That is because this chapter covers a transition in these titles. While Jack contributed to Headline #35 to #37 and JTTG #9 to #11, he would provide no work for Headline #38 or JTTG #12. “The Accusing Match” would be the last Kirby crime story released until Simon and Kirby published Police Trap. A drop in Bill Draut’s contribution to the crime genre comics was noted in previous chapters. Bill’s last crime story, and the only for this chapter’s time period, would be “Willie the Actor” from JTTG #9 (April). Draut’s drop in from the crime genre was not a reflection about his art in general because he still played a leading roll in the standard romance titles as well showing up often in the western romance comics all of which were produced by Simon and Kirby. Other artists who worked for the Simon and Kirby studio also stopped appearing about this time in Headline and Justice Traps the Guilty. I will touch on this subject as I review some of these artists and at the end of this post draw my conclusions.

Headline #37 (September 1949) “Death of a Menace”, art by Vic Donahue

Vic Donahue’s provided 4 stories and 30 pages which is a surprisingly high number relative to Jack Kirby. He is one of the Simon and Kirby studio artists that would disappear from the crime titles. The last work that I know of appeared in JTTG #12 (October). Donahue appears in Simon and Kirby production often enough during this period that I consider him among the second tier of studio artists (along with John Severin, Leonard Starr, Bruno Premiani?, Jo Albistur and Ann Brewster).

Donahue art during this period is consistent with what I have presented before. Traces of the Studio style inking are found sporadically in Vic’s art. Note the abstract shadow arc in the splash panel, the drop string on the back of the car seat in story panel 1 and the picket fence crosshatching in the second panel (see the Inking Glossary for explanations of the term I use to describe inking techniques). I am increasingly becoming convinced that in Vic Donahue’s case, the presence of Studio style is due to Joe or Jack coming in afterwards as an art editor and strengthening Donahue’s work.

Headline #37 (September 1949) “The Artistic Swindler”, art by Bruno Premiani?

Bruno Premiani first appeared in a Simon and Kirby production in August (“Two-Timer”, Young Love #4). The story “The Artistic Swindler” that appeared in the following month was Premiani’s only crime genre art for Simon and Kirby. Bruno only worked for Joe and Jack until December 1950 but during that time he was an important contributor. Although he would not appear in another crime genre, he would be used for all other Simon and Kirby productions.

Perhaps I should explain (for those readers who have not read my previous explanation) why I provide Bruno Premiani attributions with a question mark. The Simon and Kirby stories whose art I attribute to Premiani are all quite similar and easily recognized. The problem is none of them were signed. Crediting of this work to Premiani is based on the credits found in the trade back “Real Love”. Unfortunately that publication does not explain the reason for the attribution. Bruno Premiani is also credited with work at DC but that work looks very different then the art for Simon and Kirby. While none of this means the S&K studio artists could not have been Bruno Premiani, neither is there good evidence to support that attribution. Until I find some way out of this conundrum, I will continue to indicate by uncertainty by adding a question mark to the Premiani attribution.

Headline #37 (September 1949) “One-Man Posse”, art by John Severin and John Belfi

Another prominent artist during this period was John Severin who contributed 5 stories with 32 pages of art. He would, however, appear in all four Headline comics covered by this chapter as well as JTTG #11 (August). He would also show up in JTTG #14 (February 1950). Severin’s appearance in the Simon and Kirby comics seems somewhat sporadic, but unlike some of the other S&K studio artists, his contributions to the Prize crime comics seems to continue after this period. I am unclear exactly when it started, but Severin was an important artist for Prize Comics Western. As far as I can tell, outside of producing a couple of covers, Simon and Kirby had little to do with that title.

Justice Traps the Guilty #10 (June 1949) “Counterfeit”, art by John Belfi

Many of John Severin’s art at this time were signed. The signature often included the inker and that was almost always John Belfi. I gather Belfi was primarily an inker and “Counterfeit” from JTTG #10 is the sole example of pencils by John Belfi for a Simon and Kirby production. Because his pencil work is not very often seen I thought I would include an image. Frankly John Belfi is not one of the better artists that worked for Simon and Kirby.

Headline #36 (July 1949) “Shoe-Box Annie”, art by Warren Broderick

Warren Broderick was one of the lesser artists of the Simon and Kirby studio. Yet he did a surprising 4 stories and 31 pages for the crime comics covered in this chapter. His last crime story seems to be “Hijackers” in JTTG #11 (August). However he normally does not sign his work and I have only fairly recently identified him. I have made an examination of some of the following Prize crime comics and so far failed to detect him. However he seems to have only rarely was used for the Simon and Kirby romance comics. So he is not a good example of the transition that seems to be occurring in the crime titles.

Justice Traps the Guilty #10 (June 1949) “Death Played Second Fiddle”, art by Manny Stallman

Manny Stallman work for the Simon and Kirby studio has an interesting aspect. I have previously presented examples by Stallman (It’s A Crime, Chapter 6 and Chapter 8 and remarked at the time that they seemed to be done in two different styles neither one of which was a good match for what Stallman did at Atlas a few years later. Yet a third style is evident with “Death Played Second Fiddle”. This style seems particularly crude compared to the art that I previously shown.

Headline #35 (May 1949) “The Golf Links Murder”, art by Manny Stallman

If the presence of three styles by Manny Stallman was not bad enough, “The Golf Links Murder” is done in yet another style. This one is done in a manner that does look similar to Stallman’s Atlas work. Note in particular the almond shaped eyes. Similar eyes can be found in older work as well (The Captain Aero Connections) I believe the existence of four distinct styles over such a very short period of time is good evidence that Manny Stallman was providing work to Simon and Kirby most of which was actually drawn by ghost artists.

Justice Traps the Guilty #11 (August 1949) “Amateur Hypnotist”, art by Dick Briefer

Dick Briefer makes a surprise appearance in this chapter. Well it was a surprise to me. Briefer is mostly known for his work on Frankenstein but we previously saw him supply work for some Charlie Chan issues. Now to the work that he did for Simon and Kirby can be added “Dutch Joe Cretzer’s Other Business” (Headline #36, July), “Amateur Hypnotist” (JTTG #11, August) and “The Nightmare Murder Mystery” (JTTG #12, October). All of the work that he did for Simon and Kirby was unsigned and these three examples are more realistic then what he did in Charlie Chan. But enough of his stylistic tendencies are present to leave little doubt that he was the artist. In the example page shown above note the triangular head give to the man in the splash, the shallow depth to the face of the man on the left of the first story panel, and the small head of the man with the blue suit in the same panel. Dick Briefer’s appearance in these Prize crime comics and work done at the same time for other publishers was undoubtedly due to the cancellation of Frankenstein after issue #17 in February 1949. Frankenstein Comics would resume, with Dick Briefer, in March 1952.

Justice Traps the Guilty #10 (June 1949) “Confidence Man”, art by Bernie Krigstein

The story “Confidence Man” was signed B. B. Krig in the splash. I must admit that I did not realize who it really was until I went searching to the Internet for Krig. I quickly found that B. B. Krig was actually Bernie Krigstein. In fact I had missed an earlier unsigned work by Krigstein (“First Great Detective”, JTTG #8, January 1949). These are the only two works by Bernie for Simon and Kirby. I do not know if part of the reason for that was the transition in the Prize crime comics that happened at this time. Krigstein had a great style for crime stories, but I doubt that it would have been very effective for the romance genre. Whatever the reasons for his short stay at the Simon and Kirby studio, it was certainly a shame he was not around longer as he went on to do some great art for some other publishers and especially for EC.

When the Simon and Kirby’s Young Romance first came out it primarily used Jack Kirby and Bill Draut as artists. After that initial period, the artists used for the romance comics would largely be the same ones used for the Prize crime genre as well. The core artists for Simon and Kirby around the time covered by this chapter were Jack Kirby, Bill Draut, Vic Donahue, Leonard Starr and John Severin. I would include Manny Stallman, but as I mentioned above he appears to be using ghost artists and thus sorting out the unsigned work is problematical. Bruno Premiani? was an important S&K studio artist who started working for Joe and Jack just at this time. Mort Meskin was an even more important studio artist who started just after the period covered by this chapter (December). Kirby’s last crime story was for September, Draut’s was April, and Donahue last was October. Starr never did much crime and his only work in that genre appeared in February. Severin does not follow the same history; he would do a crime story in November 1949 and again in February 1950. Severin would later become an important contributor to Prize Comics Western. Bruno Premiani started working for Simon and Kirby during this time period; he would only do a single crime story (September) but would provide a lot of work for the romance titles for the following year. Mort Meskin would arrive shortly after the period covered in this chapter. While initially Mort would only work on the romance titles before long he would provide occasional stories for Headline and JTTG and would do so for the rest of stay with Simon and Kirby. So to summarize there were 4 artists (Kirby, Draut, Donahue and Premiani) who stopped providing crime stories during this period and 2 (Severin and Meskin) who continued to work on the crime titles.

However it was not just a question of the important S&K studio artists there were also a number of minor, mostly unidentified, artists as well. These minor artists were used in the romance titles but only in limited amounts. In the crime they became more commonly used especially after the S&K studio artists were no longer providing art. They are particularly abundant in the crime titles during the period covered by this chapter where the artist for 13 out of the 46 stories have not been identified. Two other stories have signatures (Dick Rockwell on one and Nicholson and Belfi on the other) but otherwise similar to the unidentified artists as being lesser talents. If Nicholson and Rockwell are included, these artists account for 103 pages of art out of 325 total.

In the first story of Real West Romances #3 (August 1949) there is a label with the declaration: “Produced by Simon and Kirby”. This label would then appear on the first story of nearly every Young Romance, Young Love, Young Brides, Black Magic and Strange World of Your Dreams until near the end of 1954. Some have mistaken it for a claim that Joe and Jack drew that story, but it really meant that Simon and Kirby put together the entire comic. The “Produced by Simon and Kirby” label never appeared in any issue of Headline of Justice Traps the Guilty.

The interpretation that I draw from all of this is that at about this time the Prize comics would begin being made “on the cheap”. That is that the pay rate given to artists working for these titles was lowered. The new pay rate could no longer attract the better artists. Artists like Bill Draut, Bruno Premiani, Vic Donahue and Jack Kirby had work they could do for the Prize romance comics where the pay rate had not changed and Jack had a share of the profits. As for Mort Meskin, he was so prolific that to pick up extra money beyond what he could get from the S&K studio he would accept the lower page rate for the crime titles. Perhaps the same was true for John Severin. Lowering the costs of producing a title was a strategy that Prize would repeat in the future.

But if the Prize crime comics were now being cheaply made, were Simon and Kirby still producing them? That is a question that is harder to provide a satisfactory answer. The lack of the “Produced by Simon and Kirby” label might suggest they were not producing the crime comics. But when the use of photographic covers was dropped for the crime titles, Jack Kirby provided cover art for 7 issues over the period from September 1950 to February 1951. My tentative conclusion is that in 1949 Prize directed Simon and Kirby to produce a cheaper version of the crime titles. By October or so they had achieved that end but continued to be involved in the production of the titles. Because Headline and JTTG were now inferior comics, Joe and Jack purposely left out the “Produced by Simon and Kirby” label. This was the state of affairs until early 1951 after which Simon and Kirby’s involvement in the Prize crime comics completely ended.

Chapter 1, Promoting Crime
Chapter 2, A Revitalized Title
Chapter 3, Competing Against Themselves
Chapter 4, Crime Gets Real
Chapter 5, Making a Commitment
Chapter 6, Forgotten Artists
Chapter 7, A Studio With Many Artists
Chapter 8, The Chinese Detective

Chapter 10, The Master and His Protege
Chapter 11, The New Team

It’s A Crime, Chapter 7, A Studio With Many Artists

(Justice Traps the Guilty #6 – #8, Headline #33 – #34)

This chapter will cover the Prize crime comics from the period September 1948 until February 1949. Young Romance was also published throughout this period and the first Young Love issue would be cover dated February 1949. Charlie Chan, which featured covers by Jack Kirby and most stories by Carmine Infantino, was also published during this time interval. An important shift seems to have occurred between the material covered here and that from last chapter. Chapter 5 discussed 6 artists with attributions for all the stories. In this chapter there are 10 artists identified but 8 stories remain unattributed so the number of artists was actually higher. The change did not affect Jack Kirby very much, if at all. Jack remains the principal artist; providing all the covers and 6 stories for a total of 77 pages. Kirby supplied all the lead stories and even the illustrations for three text pieces. On the other hand, Bill Draut plays a much more minor roll rendering only 3 stories with 22 pages total. Warren Broderick would do more (4 stories with 30 pages, assuming my attributions are correct). Manny Stallman would tie Draut (3 stories with 22 pages).

There also seems to be a difference between the crime titles and Young Romance during this period. At the same time that Draut’s presence declined in the crime titles he and Kirby were still the main artists for Young Romance. Young Romance #7 (September 1948) to #9 (January 1949) would be drawn by Kirby and Draut alone. Young Romance #10 (March 1949) would also include just one story by artists other then Kirby or Draut (the team of Al Eadeh and John Belfi). This is very different from the multiple artists present in the crime titles. Eventually Simon and Kirby would stop producing crime comics; one of the reasons that I am doing this serial post is to try to determine more precisely when that happened. Simon and Kirby were certainly producing Headline and JTTG during the period covered in this chapter, but the drop of crime stories by Bill Draut may be symptomatic of a change to come.

Because of the number of artists, I am going to bypass some. One to be skipped will be Bill Draut. Draut’s work during this period is pretty much the same as seen previously. Another artist that will be neglected here will be A. C. Hollingsworth. “The Amazing 3 Sinister Salesmen” (JTTG #6, September 1948) will be the last signed work that Hollingsworth would do for Simon and Kirby. So far I have not seen an unsigned work by Alvin so I suspect that Hollingsworth total output for Simon and Kirby was an unremarkable four stories. A surprisingly low number for an artist that Joe Simon still remembers. Finally there are 8 stories that I have not determined an attribution. I presently believe that 4 or 5 different artists are present but I will discuss only one of them.

Justice Traps the Guilty #7 (November 1948) “Phony Check Racketeers”, art by Jack Kirby

Most of the lead stories continued to use the motif of a character introducing the story with the speech balloon forming the title. For “Phony Check Racketeers” Simon and Kirby deviated by giving the lead story a splash design they had not previously used for crime comics. The splash actually consists of five vignettes acting as the comic book equivalent of a movie trailer. Four panels ask questions that suggest some of the content of the story while the fifth indicates that the T-Men will find the answers and once again prove that crime does not pay. I do not recall any previous splash that consisted of little more then a series of preview panels but there is some similarity to this splash to one Captain America #9. In any case it is a layout that would rarely be used by Simon and Kirby for their splashes.

Justice Traps the Guilty #6 (September 1948) “The Capture of One-Eye”, splash panel by Jack Kirby, story panels by unidentified artist

I will repeat an observation that I made in my last chapter, Jack Kirby’s crime splashes just no longer have the impact that his early ones had. I find those that Jack was doing at this same time for romance comics much more interesting. However there are occasional exceptions. Kirby certainly provided an interesting splash for “The Capture of One-Eye”. The eye is also by Jack while the story panels, as well as the rest of the story, are by an artist I have not been able to identify. The layout, with its vertical splash and story panel arrangement, is one unusual for Jack. I see no sign of Kirby layouts in this story, so it is possible that the panel layout of the first page was selected by the story artist. But the vertical panel works so well with Jack’s composition that I rather inclined to believe that it was Kirby’s selection despite its otherwise rarity.

Justice Traps the Guilty #8 (January 1949) “Underworld Snob”, art by Jack Kirby and Warren Broderick

One Kirby crime story stands out from the rest of those of this period. The inker was so heavy handed that it is rather easy to overlook this as one of Kirby pencils. It is very similar to “Mother Said No” (Young Romance #7, September 1948 ). Originally I attributed that inking of that piece questionably to Carmine Infantino. In Chapter 5 I changed my mind and now credit Warren Broderick as the inker. I am now attributing the inking of “Underworld Snob” it Broderick as well. However Joe Simon has described inking of Kirby’s work in the Simon and Kirby studio as being like a production line with different artists helping out. I bring this up because I am not convinced that all the inking was all by Warren. The spotting was done in the typical Studio style inking. More typical then Broderick used when inking “A Gangster Dies” (Headline #31, August 1948) a piece where Warren did a good job of mimicking Kirby’s style.

Justice Traps the Guilty #7 (November 1948) “The Man Who Died Twice”, art by Warren Broderick

There are four stories that I here credit to Warren Broderick, this is more then any other artist other then Kirby. But the catch is that I am not complete sure of the identification. The art is simpler then the examples of Broderick from last chapter. Further there is no danger in mistaking any of it for work by Jack Kirby. But the wild eyebrows that Broderick used occur here as well (although not on the example page shown above) and certain facial expressions are found in both groups. Perhaps Broderick is working with another artist; an arrangement that Warren once had with Harry Harrison.

Headline #33 (December 1948) “The Man Who Stole an Ocean Liner”, art by Vic Donahue

“The Mystery of Room 712” (Headline #32, October 1948) was the first work by Vic Donahue for a Simon and Kirby production. Vic also did “The Man Who Stole an Ocean Liner” which I show above. Donahue uses a style that leans toward realism with some panels looking like they were based on photographs. Inking was done with a combination of brush and a pen. We will encounter Donahue in future chapters as well and Vic has already been discussed in the Art of Romance both for work in the western love comics and the more standard romance. As time went on Vic’s work showed less of the careful drawing and fine inking found in his earlier crime stories.

Justice Traps the Guilty #8 (January 1949) “End of a Blackmailer”, art by Manny Stallman

The biggest treat for me in this chapter is Manny Stallman. Stallman is a good graphic story teller with a style that tended toward caricature (or at least for his Simon and Kirby art). Realism is not necessarily a characteristic I look for in comic book art and I find Stallman’s style very appealing. Atlas Tales has a number of examples of his work, but all from a later period (1952 to 1957) and all unsigned. The style is different then Manny used for Simon and Kirby. So different that based on the Atlas material I doubt that I would have recognized Manny’s S&K work had it all been unsigned. But I gather Manny would often change his style. Mark Evanier has a marvelous obituary on Manny Stallman which includes comments by Gil Kane. Kane describes Manny’s inking as “very crude but it worked”. I am very impressed by Stallman’s inking. Not for any show of dexterity, but for the impact the inking provided. Particularly well done are his panels dominated by black such as the last one in the image above.

Headline #33 (December 1948) “Underworld Parasite” page 6, art by Manny Stallman

Although he did not seem to use predominately black panels in every story, there are a number of examples I could have selected. Perhaps page 6 “Underworld Parasite” is the best one. The drawing itself is not that exceptional, but the use of blacks makes this nighttime rendezvous very memorable.

Headline #34 (February 1949) “Twenty Second Story Man” page 6, art by John Guinta and Manny Stallman

In my last installment of The Art of Romance I said I only knew of one work by the team of John Guinta and Manny Stallman for the S&K studio (“The Life of the Party”, Young Love #6, December 1949). I must not have checked my database because there was one other, “Twenty Second Story Man” shown above. (This time I double checked, these two are the only work by Guinta and Stallman in my database). I know little about John Guinta and a Google search did not provide much information. John Guinta’s pencils are distinctive; especially the eyebrows of woman, and it should not be hard to recognize unsigned work, if there is any, in the Simon and Kirby productions. It is interesting to compare Stallman’s inking of Guinta with that on his own pencils. Manny’s use of panels dominated by blacks shows up in “Twenty Second Story Man” as well.

Justice Traps the Guilty #7 (November 1948) “Burke and Hare”, art by H. Colben?

I have included “Burke and Hare” because the artist’s signature is found in the last panel of the story. Unfortunately it is hard to make out the name but my best guess is H. Colben. That, however, does not help much because I have been able to find anything about an artist with that name so perhaps I have misread the signature. Colben is not the greatest of artists but he does have some distinctive features to his style and should be easy to determine whether he produced anything else for Simon and Kirby.

Headline #32 (October 1948) “The Clue of The Horoscope”, art by an unidentified artist

As I mentioned earlier, there are a number of stories that I have not been able to provide attributions. But there are a couple of stories, “Joe Slade, Wild West Jekyll And Hyde Desperado” (JTTG #8, January 1949) and “The Clue of the Horoscope”, by an artist I particularly wish I could identify. This artist uses what I would describe as a severe, sometimes even primitive, caricature style. As is seen often in Simon and Kirby productions, the splash panel shows aspects of the Studio style inking while the rest of the story is not. But there are other traits in the splash inking that deviates from the Studio style and agrees with the story inking. Most importantly the way some of the cloth folds are feathered is normally not an attribute of the Studio style. The picket fence crosshatching (see the Inking Glossary for an explanation of my inking terminology) has a hardness in its application that agrees with the inking found throughout the story. The best explanation for all this seems to be that the artist purposely adopted aspects of the Studio style so as to match better with other stories in the comic. It does seem that splash panels often are done in the Studio style.

Headline #34 (February 1949) “The Medium Done Murder Case”, art by Leonard Starr

“The Medium Done Murder Case” is the earliest example of work by Leonard Starr for Simon and Kirby productions. It is unsigned but the style closely matches signed work by Starr. The women generally have an elfin look that is characteristic of Starr’s work for Simon and Kirby. Leonard would later produce a good amount of work for the western love titles (covered previously in The Art of Romance, Chapter 7) and some standard romance as well (The Art of Romance, Chapter 5). Starr signed much of his western love work but nothing in Simon and Kirby’s crime titles bears his signature. It will be interesting to see if further unsigned work can be found.

Chapter 1, Promoting Crime
Chapter 2, A Revitalized Title
Chapter 3, Competing Against Themselves
Chapter 4, Crime Gets Real
Chapter 5, Making a Commitment
Chapter 6, Forgotten Artists

Chapter 8, The Chinese Detective
Chapter 9, Not The Same
Chapter 10, The Master and His Protege
Chapter 11, The New Team

It’s A Crime, Chapter 6, Forgotten Artists

(Justice Traps the Guilty #3 – #5, Headline #29 – #31)

Jack Kirby remains the principal artist for the six crime issues discussed in this chapter. All 6 covers were drawn by Jack as well all the lead stories. Kirby’s did 10 stories with a total of 117 pages (including the covers). However Bill Draut now assumes a more important roll becoming the second principal artist. Bill supplied 11 stories, one more then Jack, but fewer pages (81 pages). The other three artists contributed much less then either Jack or Bill. The next most prolific (A. C. Hollingsworth) drew just 3 stories with 25 total pages.

Justice Traps the Guilty #4 (May 1948) “Queen of the Speed-Ball Mob”, art by Jack Kirby

The first story consistently uses the motif of a character introducing the story with the word balloon forming the title caption. I have noticed that when a story is being narrated, it is often by a woman. Almost certainly this was because male criminals generally have fatal endings (and therefore would not be able to tell their story) while females normally survive.

Justice Traps the Guilty #3 (March 1948) “Ask Eddie Green, Consultant to Crime”, art by Jack Kirby

A motif that would occur often in Kirby’s splashes at this time was having a cast of characters make a series of statements to introduce the story. Actually it was a return to an old technique as we have seen it as far back as in Captain America. When used in a splash covering two thirds of the page, this type of design did not leave much room but in “Ask Eddie Green” Jack makes effective use of what is available by supplying a small shoot out scene. The depth of field is so narrow that the results look like a frieze. Despite the small size everything is clear and the scene is filled with interest.

Headline #30 (June 1948) “Bullet-Proof Bad Man”, art by Jack Kirby

Perhaps it is just my tastes, but I feel that Kirby’s splashes are not as exciting as before. This may have been a result of Kirby’s declining use of full page splashes. Only 3 splashes out of his 10 stories received the full page treatment. “Bullet-Proof Bad Man” provides a typical Kirby dramatic shoot out. Well not so much as gun fight as one man has only drawn his knife although it turns out this is not as unwise as it seems. It is clear that the bullet has found its mark but note how Jack seems to downplay the actual hit. The story is about a gunfighter that uses a special vest to protect himself from bullets. However I have notice that Jack seems averse to showing the actually striking of a bullet even though that is a moment he often depicts. Generally Kirby hides the action in a cloud of gun smoke. When, because of layout, that is not possible, such as above, Kirby will simply not include any impact lines.

Justice Traps the Guilty #5 (July 1948) “A Fortune in Slugs” page 6, art by Bill Draut

Bill Draut did so much romance work for Simon and Kirby that it is nice to see his efforts for the crime genre. These comics gave Bill a chance to provide more action then he would normally use in romance comics. Draut was better at adding excitement then would be expected based on his work towards the end of his career. Here on one page we find a man running, being tackled and in the final panel bludgeoned with a blackjack. All of which Bill handled quite nicely. I particularly like his use of perspective in the second panel. Draut shows the tackler flying into the page whereas Kirby would have had the action coming out toward the reader, but otherwise it was well handled.

Headline #30 (June 1948) “Menace in the Making”, art by Bill Draut

Draut’s effective use of perspective is seen again in the splash for “Menace in the Making”. The low viewing angle allows the running figure to tower over all others without seeming to be unnatural. Action was not, however, the only outlet that Bill found in the crime genre. Crime stories allowed Draut to work, to extent that romance did not, in a more cartoony style. Note the caricature that Bill has provided the irate grocery man. Such interesting but fundamentally unrealistic depictions are found often in Bill Draut’s work in Headline and Justice Traps the Guilty but rarely in Young Romance or Young Love.

Justice Traps the Guilty #3 (March 1948) “My Strangest Crime Case”, art by Bill Draut

One story drawn by Bill Draut may not be exception as far as the art is concerned, but it is unusual in that the protagonist was a female private investigator. The story reads more like something from the hero genre then a true crime story. This is not the first time that Draut drew a story about a lady detective. In 1946 Draut worked on a feature called Calamity Jane originally for Boy Explorers Comics but when that title quickly failed (due to the comic glut after the war) subsequently published in Green Hornet Comics. It is likely that “My Strangest Crime Case” was left over material from that earlier effort that, with minor revisions such as to the detective’s name, was now put to use. The art style does seem to be a better match to Draut’s earlier work then to what he was doing at this time.

Headline #29 (April 1948) “The Night of the Freak Murder”, art by Jerry Robinson and Mort Meskin

The team of Jerry Robinson and Mort Meskin continue to appear in the crime issues covered by this chapter. The work is unsigned but the similarities to the signed works by Robinson and Meskin are numerous. “The Night of the Freak Murder” is unusual for Jerry and Mort in that it has a full page splash. Generally R&M’s splashes for Simon and Kirby productions are vertical with two story panels also arranged vertically. The composition is interesting in the way it plays off the grieving women with an almost mirror image of two detectives discussing the crime. The staircase might seem odd but it was introduced as part of a pattern that confines the eye in a circular composition. None of the other splashes that Robinson and Meskin supplied to Simon and Kirby were so well composed but as I said they did not normally use a full page splash.

Headline #29 (April 1948) “The Night of the Freak Murder” page 7, art by Jerry Robinson and Mort Meskin

As I mentioned in the previous chapter, I am not sure what Jerry Robinson’s contribution was because both the pencils and the art look very much like Meskin’s work. Mort was one of the best graphic story tellers and pages like the one above suggest why he had such an impact on artists like Steve Ditko. Here on this page the same diagonal is present in every panel. The page starts with close-up then switches to a distant show and then progressively comes closer. An increasing tension is formed by the combination of increased nearness, the diagonal design and off course the fear Meskin imparts to the criminal. Nothing really happens but the page is explosive nonetheless.

Justice Traps the Guilty #4 (May 1948) “Guilty Boys”, art by Jerry Robinson and Mort Meskin

Not all of Robinson and Meskin’s splashes were vertically oriented; here is another case where they deviated from that pattern. This is a standard two thirds splash page with two story panels arrayed on the bottom. Nothing unusual in the design itself but it does allow Jerry and Mort to provide a memorable splash. Although the image seems cluttered, everything serves a purpose. Debris and damaged items abound and a row of buildings in the background all combine to show that this is a location in some slum. But the shabbily dressed musical boys are not the Newsboy Legion and this is not Suicide Slums. Here Robinson and Meskin convert the boy gang genre into crime. They are not saints and in the end are more in need of rescue then providing it.

Headline #31 (August 1948) “Perfect for Murder”, art by Charles Nicholas

Only initials were used to sign “Perfect for Murder” (Headline #31, August 1948) but I am pretty certain it was Charles Nicholas. Originally Charles Nicholas was a house name used by Fox Comics for Blue Beetle stories. Over the years the work of many different artists appeared under that name, including Jack Kirby. However there were two individuals who continued to use the name outside of Fox and who claimed to be the creator of the Blue Beetle; Charles Wotjkowski and Chuck Cuidera. There is nothing I can add to that particular question here but it was the Wotjkowski version of Charles Nicholas who worked for Simon and Kirby at this time.

Headline #31 (August 1948) “Perfect for Murder” page 3, art by Charles Nicholas

While interesting, the splash page does not present a very good idea of Nicholas’ art so I have included an image of a story page as well. Nicholas does a good job drawing this story but he never achieved great success in his career as a comic book artist. Nicholas inked the art in a very individualistic style, as particularly seen in the form lines used in panels 6 and 7 and the swirling crosshatching in panel 7. (See my Inking Glossary for an explanation of my terms.) What is not found are any traits of the Studio style inking. While Nicholas is certainly a candidate for being one of Jack Kirby’s inkers, it is hard to understand how his name has become associated to the inking of particular pieces such as “Summer Song” (Young Romance #1, September 1947). “Perfect for Murder” was the only worked for Simon and Kirby signed or initialed by Charles Nicholas but other unsigned art by him surely remains to be identified.

Headline #30 (June 1948) “Pistol-Packin’ Playgirl”, art by Alvin C. Hollingsworth

Another artist that shows up working for Simon and Kirby during this period is Alvin Carl Hollingsworth. A search of the Internet indicates that Hollingsworth was an African-American artist from New York who was born in 1928 and died in 2000. Previously he worked for Holyoke Publishing Company working on Catman. Hollingsworth was also a talented fine arts painter. Joe Simon remembers Alvin and has a high opinion of him. Joe remarked that he thought he was the only African-American working in comics at that time. This is not truly accurate since there was also Matt Baker who played an important part in the early history of comics. But Matt Baker never worked for Simon and Kirby and so Joe was not aware of him, or at least of his background.

Justice Traps the Guilty #5 (July 1948) “Held For Ransom” page 5, art by Alvin C. Hollingsworth

Hollingsworth is another of those artists whose current reputation is much lower then warranted by his talent. This is largely because he left the comic book field in the late ’50s first for syndications strips and then the fine arts. It is a recurring pattern that I have noticed that comic book artists who did not take part in the superhero revival of the 60’s and later generally do not get much attention today. I have included a story page because it provides a better example of Alvin’s strengths. Note the use of varied and unusual viewing angles.

Headline #31 (August 1948) “A Gangster Dies”, art by Warren Broderick

The Jack Kirby Checklist includes “A Gangster Dies” among the art works by Kirby. This is a bit surprising because close to the center of the splash page is Warren Broderick’s signature. Before I sound too self righteous I should add that when working on this chapter I found I had listed this story in my database twice; once as done by Broderick and the second crediting it to Kirby. I have no idea how I made the mistake in my database, but it is easy to understand why anyone who failed to notice the signature might attribute this work to Jack. Warren has obviously made a careful study of Jack’s work and has adopted, at least for his work for the S&K studio, much of Kirby’s style. Warren was not, of course, as successfully as Jack himself and there are more then enough clues to properly attribute his work even without a signature. Note for instance how in the splash Broderick uses picket fence crosshatching where the rails are cloth folds. Besides simple lines, Kirby would use drop strings and wide lines for the rails but I do not recall him ever using cloth folds. Kirby would often make expressive eyebrows but Broderick’s versions were even more exaggerated.

This is the only signed work by Warren Broderick that I have found among Simon and Kirby productions. Frankly I have forgotten about it until I reviewed for this chapter. It turns out that we have seen some of Warren’s unsigned work previously. In just the last chapter I attributed “The Killer Thought He Was Satan” (Justice Traps the Guilty #2, January 1948) as Kirby layouts finished by an unidentified artist. A comparison between it and “A Gangster Dies” leaves little doubt that it also was by Broderick. In fact I no longer believe Kirby laid it out. Yes there are parts in both stories that look very much like Kirby but there are also parts that do not. Previously I failed to follow my own advice and only noted the similarities and neglected the differences. For instance there is a panel I provided from “The Killer Thought He Was Satan” that showed a boy being shot by the villain. While the scene and the boy in particular look very much like it was done by Jack, the artist shows the bullet actually striking the boy. That is something I have yet to find Kirby doing.

Another example of Broderick’s work was “Mother Said No” (Young Romance #7, September 1948) seen in Chapter 3 of the Art of Romance. There I attributed the pencils to Jack Kirby (correctly) and the inks questionably to Carmine Infantino. The primary reason for my earlier caution was that I was bothered by Carmine’s statement in an interview that he had never inked Kirby’s pencils. While in the work for Charlie Chan, Infantino was also providing expressive eyebrows some of the other brushwork found in “Mother Said No” is more like that in Broderick’s work. Although Broderick was very good at mimicking Kirby, I find the layouts in “Mother Said No” are much too consistently like Jack’s that I still believe that Kirby did the pencils.

Headline #31 (August 1948) “A Gangster Dies” page 3, art by Warren Broderick

Broderick could mimic Kirby quite well but occasionally, such as in the first panel shown above, the similarity to Kirby’s style is very striking. This was either due to Kirby stepping in his roll as art editor and fixing up the finished art or it was the result of a careful swipe by Broderick from some Kirby art. Without the original art it is hard to be sure but I suspect the latter explanation to be the case. Once again Broderick has drawn a scene where a man is clearly hit by a bullet, something that Kirby would hide in a cloud of gun smoke.

Justice Traps the Guilty #3 (March 1948) “The Capture of Night-Club Nick”, art by Warren Broderick

Broderick did not always so carefully mimic Jack Kirby’s style. In “The Capture of Night-Club Nick” Warren has abandoned the Studio style inking. Still the influence of Kirby is clearly discernable.

I have found little in my search for more information about Warren Broderick. I queried Joe Simon about him but he did not remember Warren at all. Joe does not remember all the artists who had worked for him over the many years, but in Broderick’s case this is surprising because the one thing I had found out was that he also was African-America. Joe was clear in his memory of A. C. Hollingsworth and that Hollingsworth was the only African-American to work for Simon and Kirby. How could Joe have failed to remember, even if not by name, one other African-American comic book artist? The answer maybe found in an interview given by comic artist, Harry Harrison:

After Wally and I broke up I was working mostly for Fawcett, and I had a friend by the name of Warren Broderick, who was also in school with me, doing my penciling. He was a black guy who didn’t want to get in there and push, didn’t want to face whitey in the office. We developed a nice clear style, no great shakes, but it worked.

This suggests that Broderick may have been reluctant to deal with Simon and Kirby directly and used someone, either an agent or another artist, as a go between. Joe may never have known about Warren’s ethnicity. The irony is that, considering their dealings with Hollingsworth, Joe and Jack probably would not have cared about Warren’s background, all that was important was that he could do the work.

The GCD only has three entries for pencils attributed to Broderick and three more for inking work. Atlas Tales has about a dozen works attributed to Warren. To that I can now add three further pencils and another inking job. Now that I have a small body of work to go by, I am sure I will find more work by Broderick as I continue to review Simon and Kirby productions. Warren Broderick is truly one of the forgotten comic book artists and it is rewarding to shed a little light on his career.

Chapter 1, Promoting Crime
Chapter 2, A Revitalized Title
Chapter 3, Competing Against Themselves
Chapter 4, Crime Gets Real
Chapter 5, Making a Commitment

Chapter 7, A Studio With Many Artists
Chapter 8, The Chinese Detective
Chapter 9, Not The Same
Chapter 10, The Master and His Protege
Chapter 11, The New Team