Tag Archives: gil kane

Replacing Simon and Kirby, Chapter 4, Sandman

Sometime ago I posted about the artists that replaced Joe Simon and Jack Kirby during the period that both were performing military service. (Replacing Simon and Kirby, Chapter 1, Chapter 2 and Chapter 3). My previous postings concerned the Newsboy Legion but here I am going to discuss Sandman. Unfortunately the reader will be at a greater disadvantage compared to previous chapters. While DC’s Newsboy Legion archives included work done by other artists, the Simon and Kirby Sandman Archive was limited to just Joe and Jack (at least that was DC’s intention).

To refresh the reader’s memory, while working for DC Joe and Jack realized that they would soon have to leave to perform their military duty. So they worked hard at creating an inventory that could be used while they were gone. Simon and Kirby were able to provide quite a bit of inventory but eventually it ran out.

Adventure #91 (April 1944) “Courage a la Carte”, pencils by Jack Kirby

The Sandman covers and adventures that appeared before issue #91 were done by Simon and Kirby. While the splash for “Courage a la Carte” was not Joe and Jack’s finest job, I am confident that Kirby did the pencils. The most obvious give-a-way is the thug at on the right of the splash. I have no idea who the inker was but obviously it was neither Joe nor Jack. Like I said this was not their finest effort but their inventoried work often was not quite as nice as their less rushed efforts.

Adventure #91 (April 1944) “Courage a la Carte” page 3, pencils by Gil Kane?

But what followed the splash to “Courage a la Carte” looks pretty crude, much cruder than would be expected even for the inventory work. For good reason because it was not penciled by either Jack or Joe. Kane would have been very young at the time and even he admitted that his efforts at the time were rather poor. The attribution of this art to Gil Kane is not based on the art itself, instead I base this attribution on a statement that Gil made

I got a “Newsboy Legion” job to do by myself (like I had done the rest of them except they didn’t fix it up or do the splash),

So far “Courage a la Carte” and “The Lady of Linden Lane” (Star Spangled #30, March 1944) are the only stories for DC that I have seen with a Kirby splash for a story otherwise done by another artist (although I have not studied the Boy Commandos stories yet). Since the circumstances matches Gil’s remarks, I have tentatively credit him for these pieces. The two Kane stories were published at about the same time (while I use March as the cover date for Adventure #91, that title was actually a bimonthly) but were likely to have been done earlier and inventoried like the rest of Simon and Kirby’s work.

Unlike most of the Sandman art that I cover in this chapter, “Courage a la Carte” was one of the stories included in DC’s Simon and Kirby Sandman Archives. It is also listed in the Jack Kirby Checklist. But as I said above, Kirby only drew the splash.

Adventure #92 (June 1944) “Tough Guy” page 3, pencils by unidentified artist

After Kane, work on Sandman was done by another artist, the same one who followed Gil on the Newsboy Legion. Earlier I had misidentified this artist as Kane but the timeline simply will not support that. Kane entered military service in April or May 1944 but work by this artist appeared until October 1945. Joe Simon suggested that this might be the Cazeneuve brothers, but I have seen enough of their work to discount them. Other suggestions have been made but I have not found them convincing either.

The work by this artist is nothing like that for Simon and Kirby but it would be a mistake to discount him. I find his art to be interesting and original. The quality varies from story to story but I have now come to believe that much of that was due to the various inkers used on his pencils.

Adventure #94 (October 1944) “Reincarnation of a Rogue”, pencils by unidentified artist

The same replacement artists discussed above worked on a number of Sandman stories. The stories were still credited to Simon and Kirby but were any of their fans really fooled? I really enjoy much of his story art but find most of his splashes not all that interesting. I include above one of the better examples of his splashes.

Adventure #95 (December 1944) “The Riddle of the Rembrandt”, pencils by unidentified artist

The main replacement for Simon and Kirby had an uninterrupted run for the Newsboy Legion (Star Spangled #31 to #49, April 1944 to October 1945). But he only did three issues of the bimonthly Sandman (Adventure #92 to #94, June to October 1944) before another artist was used. Like most of the replacement artists, I really have no idea who did “The Riddle of the Rembrandt” but his talent is pretty obvious.

Adventure #97 (April 1945) “No Curtains for Cupid”, pencils by unidentified artist

The main replacement Simon and Kirby replacement returned after a single issue absence. “No Curtains for Cupid” looks rather different from the other examples I provided above. I still feel they were done by the same penciler but in my opinion much of the apparent differences can be assigned to the wide range of inkers used. Regardless of the inker, the art retains a unique style.

Adventure #98 (June 1945), pencils by unidentified artist

The cover to Adventure #98 was previously discussed on this blog (Not Kirby, Adventure #98). In that post I recounted a number of reasons why I felt the cover was not done by Jack Kirby but the most important of them was the manner that the caveman’s right forearm was drawn. Kirby’s anatomy was not accurate but he always made kept a solid underlying form. The form of the caveman’s forearm is broken in a manner that Jack never did. To all the reasons I previously presented I can now add another. a mirror image of the caveman figure (in more modern clothing) is also found twice on the cover of Star Spangled #45 (June 1945, Replacing Simon and Kirby, Chapter 2). This is much too much use of the same image to credit to Jack. Swiping is a much more obvious explanation.

The main replacement artist would also provide the work for Adventure #99. This means with the exception of a single issue (Adventure #95) the main replacement artist would draw Adventure #92 to #99; June 1944 to August 1945. This matches pretty well with his uninterrupted run for the Newsboy Legion.

Adventure #100 (October 1945) “Sweets For Swag” page 9, pencils by unidentified artist

Jack Kirby returns to Adventure Comics with issue #100. However Kirby only provided the cover while the interior Sandman story was done by a rather inferior penciler. The primitive art for “Sweets for Swag” remind me of the work that I am now attributing to Gil Kane. In fact the main replacement artist run for the Newsboy Legion was also followed by what looks like the same artist in Star Spangled #52 (January 1946, Chapter 2). In Chapter 2 I had questionably credited it to Gil Kane but I am having second thoughts. Gil would have been entering the armed forces at the time this art was created so it seem unlikely he would have drawn it. This story is another one that was mistakenly attributed to Kirby in the DC Simon and Kirby Sandman Archives and the Jack Kirby Checklist.

Adventure #101 (December 1945) “No Nap for No-Nerves”, pencils by unidentified artist

Once again Kirby provides a cover for Adventure #101 (December 1945) but did not draw the interior story. The artist who did do “No Nap for No-Nerves” did a good job although I got to say that in his splash Sandy and the Sandman appear to be blowing the thugs away and not scaring them out of their shoes.

Adventure #102 (February 1946) “The Dream Of Peter Green”, pencils by Jack Kirby

With Adventure #102 Kirby is finally back to drawing both the cover and the story art. Sandman was back in safe hands and all was once again good with the world. Or that would have been the case if this was not the last Adventure issue to include the Sandman and Sandy. Yes the Sandman was replaced with Superboy and Kirby would not appear in the title again until 1958 when, without Simon, he drew Green Arrow. A convenient explanation for the sudden demise of Sandman so shortly after Kirby’s return would by that it was a reprisal to Simon and Kirby going to a competitor, Harvey Comics, to publish their Stuntman and Boy Explorers. While that would make an interesting story the timing just does not work. While Adventure #103 and Stuntman #1 would both come out in April, DC would have to have made the decision to change directions with Adventure before they were likely to have found out about Simon and Kirby’s defection.

While Simon and Kirby were away, the two titles followed a similar timeline.

  • March/April 1944 – Kirby drawn splash, rest of story by Gil Kane?
  • April/June 1944 – First story by the main replacement artist
  • June 1945 – First cover by the main replacement artist
  • August 1945 – Last story by the main replacement artist
  • September/October 1945 – First cover by the returned Kirby
  • February 1946 – First story by the returned Kirby

There remains one other feature to be considered, the Boy Commandos.

Replacing Simon and Kirby, Chapter 1, The Newsboy Legion

While Simon and Kirby were working for DC they knew that at some time they both would be entering military service. To prepare for this the two went into hyper drive and started generating an inventory for DC to use while they were gone. This was very successful and Simon and Kirby covers and stories appeared long after Joe and Jack were working for Uncle Sam. But the inventory was not large enough to last until Simon and Kirby were back from helping to protect our country. By early 1944 (cover dates) there were no more Simon and Kirby story art left.

The question of Simon and Kirby’s replacement came back to my attention recently while reading DC’s Simon and Kirby Sandman archive. There were two stories in it that were listed as being done by Joe and Jack but to me looked like they were actually by some other artist (“Courage a la Carte”, Adventure #91, April 1944 and “Sweets for Swag”, Adventure #100, October 1945). The issue came up again when I recently obtained a copy of DC’s Simon and Kirby Newsboy Legion archive. For the Newsboy Legion volume, DC decided to include material that clearly was not drawn by Simon and Kirby. The replacement artist for most of the Newsboy Legion was credited in the DC volume as Gil Kane. It is an attribution that I have used previously as well. However when I talked with Joe Simon about this he insisted that Gil Kane was not the artist and suggested that it was the brothers Arturo and Luis Cazeneuve.

Simon and Kirby’s replacements was a subject that I have always meant to investigate a little further. This will be the start of another serial post. It will be a bit more erratic than most of my serial posts because I am not going to do this in a strictly chronological order. Instead I will begin with several chapters examining the Newsboy Legion, then look at Sandman and finally cover the Boy Commandos.

Star Spangled #29
Star Spangled #29 (February 1944) “Cabbages and Comics”, pencils by Jack Kirby

I will start with the Newsboy Legion because the work covered in this chapter can all be found in DC’s recent archive volume. Thus the reader will be able to view more examples than I can provide in this blog. The first story I will remark on is what I believe to be the last published complete Newsboy Legion story by Simon and Kirby before they went off into military service. Because of the push to create inventory and the use of other hands in the inking, the art by this time was not quite as good as early in the Newsboy Legion run. But even poorer quality Simon and Kirby art is still much better than what most other artists were doing. And while many artists might try to imitate Kirby’s dynamic art they were unable to keep it up page after page. In short I have no doubt that this story is in fact a Simon and Kirby production.

The Jack Kirby Collector (issue #21) published an interview with Gil Kane. Two of Kane’s answers are particularly pertinent to this discussion:

TJKC: What were your job duties with S&K?

Gil: Mine was penciling. I would try to turn out a job every week or so. [They were] 12-page stories. I was copying-tracing-Jack’s work.

TJKC: What happened when Simon & Kirby went into the service? What happened to you?

Gil: I got a “Newsboy Legion” job to do by myself (like I had done the rest of them except they didn’t fix it up or do the splash), but when I walked through the door with the finished job, they said, “You’re fired.” They didn’t even look at the work. I really was lousy and I was out! At that point, I was about seventeen and I worked for Continental Comics for a guy named Temmerson. (I penciled and Carmine Infantino inked.) But that only lasted until I went into the Army.

There are a couple of really significant points in Gil’s short answers. Kane describes having previously done work that Simon and Kirby fixed up or provided the splash. Now it is possible that Gil Kane had something to do with earlier stories such as “Cabbages and Comics” but if so it was only in a minor capacity. Kane may have done things like help with the inking but I am sure that Kirby was the penciler.

Star Spangled #30
Star Spangled #30 (March 1944) “The Lady of Linden Lane”, pencils by Jack Kirby

There is no sign of Gil Kane, or any other artist other than Simon and Kirby, in the splash for “The Lady of Linden Lane” (Star Spangled #30, March 1944). It is a great splash with plenty of action and a little bit of humor with the normally fearless Guardian trying to duck from the blows of an elderly lady. The hoods in the background are a typical Simon and Kirby feature. This was inventoried material and so perhaps was executed in a hurry, but it still is great comic book art. Joe entered the Coast Guards before Jack went into military service so some of the inventory art may have been done by Kirby without Simon. However there is no reason to believe that DC published the inventoried art in the same order that Joe and Jack produced it. Nor are there any signs that I can find that distinguish this story from others there were done by both Simon and Kirby.

Star Spangled #30
Star Spangled #30 (March 1944) “The Lady of Linden Lane” page 9, art by Gil Kane?

While the splash for “The Lady of Linden Lane” is work that can be attributed convincingly to Simon and Kirby, the rest of the story is not. The art is crude and stilted. There are parts that really do look like Kirby’s pencils but they appear to be swipes. For instance the cigar smoker in panel 5 of page 9 (shown above) is shown in the type of perspective that Kirby favored however it appears to be based on Guardian from the cover of Star Spangled #26 (November 1943).

Star Spangled #8 and #30
left Star Spangled #8 (May 1942) “Last Mile Alley” page 13 panel 2, pencils by Jack Kirby
right Star Spangled #30 (March 1944) “The Lady of Linden Lane” page 7 panel 5, art by Gil Kane?

An even more obvious swipe can be found in the figures of Snapper and Gabby shown above. Unlike my previous example this is a close swipe showing only minor alterations. Kirby did swipe on occasion but one thing I have never seen him do was swipe from himself. Jack did have some favorite poses that he often repeated but they are always done with such variation that it seems clear that he is not copying any previous drawing. Simon did swipe from Kirby, in fact rather often. But Joe was a good artist in his own right and his art is much better than this crudely drawn story. Further I can detect none of Simon’s drawing style in “The Lady of Linden Lane”. While I am not familiar enough with the work of Arturo or Luis Cazeneuve to confidently spot their work, what I have seen is much better than these crude drawings. The combination of a Kirby drawn splash with story done by another artist fits very well the interview reply that Kane gave. Add to that the use of swipes and Kane’s admitted poor artistry (he was 16 at the time). So assuming that there is at least some truth to his statements I am questionably attributing the story art for “The Lady of Linden Lane” to Gil Kane. The one problem with this attribution is that there is only one Newsboy Legion story that fits this description while Kane statement suggests he did multiple works in this fashion.

Star Spangled #31
Star Spangled #31 (April 1944) “Questions, Please” page 6, art by unidentified artist

The next issue of Star Spangled Comics had a very different Newsboy Legion story. No clear sign of Simon and Kirby here, neither in the splash or the story art. Nor is this the same artist that produced the story art from “The Lady of Linden Lane” I must admit that I have slighted this artist in the past. His more “cartoony” approach gives the impression that he could be considered an “anti-Simon & Kirby”. But it would be a mistake to dismiss this artist. Put aside any comparisons to Joe and Jack and I am sure the reader will see this is a rather interesting and talented artist. Sure his faces and figures are exaggerated but they are full of life. He makes good use of varying the point of view. He seems to purposely distort background scenery giving it an almost cubist look. This artist may be rather bizarre but he is definitely not boring. I will cover this artist in more detail in the next chapter of this serial post.

But who is this artist? In the past I, and at least some others, have thought this was Gil Kane. Now I attributing “The Lady of Linden Lane” to Gil Kane but is there any other reason to reject Kane as the replacement artist for “Questions, Please” and other Newsboy Legion stories? Actually there is. Gil Kane went into the army shortly after his 18th birthday and he spent 19 months in service. Since he was born on April 6, 1926 that would mean he was in the army sometime about April or May 1944. However, as we will see in the next chapter, this replacement artist would provide work up to Star Spangled #49 (October 1945). This is well into the time that Kane was doing military service. Unlike Simon and Kirby, I doubt that DC would consider the replacement artist important enough to provide an inventory of works to use while he was gone. So it can be said with good confidence that Gil Kane was not the primary Simon and Kirby replacement artist.

But what about Joe Simon’s suggestion of the Cazeneuve brothers? I prefer to put off trying to answer that question until the next chapter where I will review more of the primary replacement artist’s Newsboy Legion work.