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The Art of Romance, Chapter 13, Romance Bottoms Out

(November 1950 – January 1951: Young Romance #27 – #29, Young Love #15 – #17)

Number of Romance Titles 1947 – 1951 (the period covered in this chapter shaded in blue)

Besides the monthly Young Romance and Young Love, Simon and Kirby were now also producing bimonthly titles Black Magic for Prize and Boys’ Ranch for Harvey. Boys’ Ranch was the first work that Joe and Jack had done for Harvey since Stuntman and Boy Explorers were cancelled in 1946 (other Simon and Kirby features that Harvey had published since then were inventoried material left over from the sudden cancellation of those titles). It was too soon to tell whether Black Magic and Boys’ Ranch would be successful (Black Magic would be, Boys’ Ranch would fail) but the romance titles still seemed to be very lucrative. Both romance titles had returned to art covers (YL in August and YR in October) but after just two art covers, Young Romance reverted back to photo covers. As for other publishers, the romance glut had finally reached a relative low point and in future months the number of love titles would begin to increase. While the number of romance titles was much lower then at the height of the glut there were still a respectable 45 romance comics books on the racks.

Young Romance #28 (December 1950) “Hot Rod Crowd”, art by Jack Kirby

Once again Jack Kirby was the primary artist during this period with 4 covers, 13 stories and 69 pages. Jack would provide the lead feature for 5 of the issues. The lead stories Kirby did for Young Romance would still be longer then those by any other artists (10 to 12 pages for Kirby compared to a maximum of 9 pages in a story by Bill Draut and another by Leonard Starr). While I was less then enthusiastic about some of the Kirby splashes in the last chapter some of those that Jack provided in these issues are back to his high standards. Kirby continues to use the confessional format for his lead feature splashes. Actually Kirby’s contribution was somewhat greater then I have outlined because as we will see below he provided some layouts as well.

Young Romance #28 (December 1950) “Will You Help Me?”, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Bill Draut

It should always be kept in mind when I point out that Kirby was the primary artist that Jack had a substantial advantage over the rest of the studio artists. I am not talking about his greater talent (although that is true) but on the availability of inkers. The Simon and Kirby studio operated very different from say the Marvel studio under Stan Lee during the silver age. Artists working for Simon and Kirby were expected to provide finished art while Stan Lee would typically assign pencils to one artist and afterwards pass the work on to another to do the inking. Most S&K studio artists did their own inking but some made their own arrangements with another artist to do the inking (for instance John Severin would often have Bill Elder ink his work). However Jack Kirby’s pencils were most often inked by others. Joe has described it as an assembly line approach with different hands doing different inking chores. Under that arrangement it is not possible to recognize all the inkers who worked on a particular piece. To make matters worse Kirby inkers never signed their work (that is other then Joe Simon and a Simon and Kirby signature does not necessarily mean Joe inked it). Nonetheless comparing brush techniques on work penciled by Kirby with art drawn as well as inked by other artists allows some of Kirby’s inkers to be identified. For instance the simple eyebrows found on the woman and the cloth folds of the man’s jacket in the last panel of the page above indicate that story had been inked by Bill Draut.

Young Romance #29 (January 1950) “Love Also Ran”, art by Bill Draut

The second most used artist was Bill Draut (7 stories with 53 pages). Previously Draut primarily did horizontal half page splashes but recently has been doing some full page splashes as well. I greatly admire Draut’s art and he has done some nice half page splashes but I must admit that I am underwhelmed by most of his full page romance splashes. They are not bad just not very exciting. That is except for the splash for “Love Also Ran”. Unlike some of his other full pages splashes, here Draut has concentrated on the drama and leaves the background to provide visual interest without overwhelming the image. It is not how Simon and Kirby would have laid it out but it still works just fine.

Young Love #17 (January 1951) “I Saw Him First”, art by Mort Meskin

The third most used romance artist was Mort Meskin (7 stories with 52 pages) although with just one less page then Draut. Generally Meskin provided half pages splashes but for “I Saw Him First” he does a full pages one. Mort does his own take of the confessional splash. What first appears to be a story panel in the corner turns out on reading to be the protagonist introducing the story. And unlike in Simon and Kirby’s confessional splashes, her introduction does not provide the story title. In fact the design of the title is quite unusual for a Simon and Kirby production so perhaps Meskin created the logo as well. It all works out quite well and one wonders why Meskin did not do this sort of thing more often.

Young Love #15 (November 1950) “Lover Boy”, pencils by John Severin, inks by Bill Elder

Kirby, Draut and Meskin did most of the work in these six issues of the romance comics. There are few other artists used and what artists there are supplied limited amounts of material. The next most prolific artist was John Severin who did the art for 4 features but because only one story had more then 2 pages this meant John only did 13 pages of art. John provides his usual quality art but just as typically he seems to be a little out of place in the romance genre. There is not a single kiss to be found in this work.

Young Love #15 (November 1950) “Beauty and The Benefactor”, art by Leonard Starr

Leonard Starr provides a single 9 page romance story in this period. While Starr had not been one of the primary artists for Simon and Kirby productions, he had been a steady presence since April 1949. “Beauty and the Benefactor” will not be the last work by Starr to be used by Joe and Jack but the rest will be more infrequent. The splash shown above is unusual for Leonard who normally did half page splashes and favored vertical ones in particular. This is the only splash Starr did for S&K with a row of floating heads. Further the posses are not typical of Starr either. All of these features are however found in some Simon and Kirby splashes and I am sure that here Starr is working from their layout.

Young Love #15 (November 1950) “Beauty and The Benefactor” page 9, art by Leonard Starr

Starr generally had his own way of laying out story panels. Often he would use tall narrow panels constructed by dividing a row into three panels instead of the normal two and either limiting the page to two rows (thereby making a 2 X 3 panel arrangement instead of the typical 3 X 2, as seen in Chapter 7) or by reducing the vertical dimensions of two of the rows (Chapter 10). While tall narrow panels would not occur on every page they would be found on many. Tall narrow panels are not found at all in “Beauty and The Benefactor” nor were they used in “Hired Wife” published in the previous month (and briefly discussed in the last chapter). Their absence calls for an explanation but unfortunately I can only offer a guess. Since Simon and Kirby provided a layout for the “Beauty and The Benefactor” splash (but not the one for “Hired Wife”) one suggestion might be that they laid out the stories as well. However I do not think that is the case. The page layouts are not a perfect grid of three rows and two columns on all pages but they approximate that arrangement more then was typical for Simon and Kirby. Further the way these stories by Starr are graphically told does not appear to match Kirby’s more cinematic approach.

I would instead propose two, not mutually exclusive, explanations for Starr’s change in panel layouts. One was to speed up the work. With Starr’s previous layouts he could not construct the panels until he had decided what he was going to draw on each page. By adhering to a 3 by 2 panel layout he could construct the horizontal rows for an entire story before actually beginning to draw it and then supply the vertical separation between the two panels in a row as he worked. Simon and Kirby had used this technique on their more complicated panel layouts found in Stuntman and Boys Explorer. The other explanation for Starr’s change in panel layouts may have to do with his desire to break into syndication strips. While the tall narrow panels were very effective in a comic book they would not work well in a syndication strip. Perhaps Starr was consciously changing his working methods to gain experience working in a format more appropriate for syndication work. Starr would in a few years succeed in breaking into syndication with his “Mary Perkins on Stage”.

Young Love #17 (January 1951) “She Loves Too Wisely” page 4, art by unidentified artist

While most of the romance issues covered in this chapter were produced using artists that we have seen often before, there are some artists that seem to be new. I am not sure what to say about “She Loves Too Wisely”. Some of the men in it look like they might have been done by John Severin but not all and none of the women look like his work. Perhaps what makes the art for this story so hard to place is that it would appear from the cinematic approach used in this story that it was drawn from a Simon and Kirby layout. It is even inked in a version of the Studio Style. Note the abstract arch in panel 2 and the frequent shoulder blots (Inking Glossary).

Young Love #17 (January 1951) “Go Home and Grow Up”

Another artist did “Go Home and Grow Up”. This is one of those artist that, although they are not bad, are not as talented as most artists employed by Simon and Kirby.

Young Romance #28 (December 1950) “A Shattered Dream” page 2

Here is the same artist in “A Shattered Dream”. Again not bad but not particularly great either.

Young Romance #28 (December 1950) “A Shattered Dream” page 8

Unlike “Go Home and Grow Up”, not all the art in “A Shattered Dream” is forgettable. Some of it looks very much like Jack Kirby drew it. This is particularly true for page 8. Can there be little doubt about Jack’s hand in the woman in the panel 4? These two pages are the extremes with page 2 showing little evidence of Jack while page 8 looks like almost pure Kirby and the rest of the story falling in between. The layouts of most of the pages look like Kirby’s cinematic approach. If all the pages looked consistently the same I would say that this was the result of some artist’s heavy handed approach to inking Kirby’s pencils. But in a case like this were the art varies I conclude Kirby provided layouts that another artist finished and then inked. Apparently Kirby’s layouts typically were tighter in some spots and loose in others.

Young Romance #27 (November 1950) “Heart of Steel”

Each publisher had his own house style. This certainly was true with the comics that Simon and Kirby produced. I doubt that Joe and Jack actually told their artists what style to use. I am sure part of the Simon and Kirby house style came from the artists that they selected to work for them. I also believe that Jack Kirby was so well known and respected that he had a great influence on other studio artists. But there are two stories in a single Young Romance issue (YR #27, November 1950) that do not seem to share in the Simon and Kirby house style. In fact they look very much like the very different house style found in Harvey romance comics. This is particularly true of “Heart of Steel”. One of the things that gave Simon and Kirby productions their own unified look was that a single letterer was used (first Howard Ferguson and later Ben Oda). But look at the lettering in the captions above; the lettering is very small in size and uses lower case letters. This is so very different from the lettering used in Simon and Kirby comics that there can be little doubt that it was done by a different letter. Unfortunately I have not had a chance to compare this with Harvey comics from the same period but I have looked at a couple of Hi-School Romance issues from about a year latter and exactly this same lettering is found in them.

Young Romance #27 (November 1950) “My Tormented Heart”

“My Tormented Heart” does not use the same letterer but then again not all Harvey comics that I have seen do. Both stories use the same splash page layout that is found in almost all Harvey romance comics. The title logo and the small circular caption are not typical for Simon and Kirby but can be found in Harvey romance comics. Even the coloring for these two stories has a lighter quality more typical of Harvey then Simon and Kirby productions.

But why would stories with the Harvey house style appear in Young Romance? I think part of explanation can be found in the aftermath of the love glut. While not as big a contributor to the glut as Timely, Fox, Fawcett and Quality, Harvey still had 7 romance titles at the height of the glut. However between April and June of 1950 6 of these titles would either be suspended or cancelled. Only First Love would be continually published during this period. Simon and Kirby had a long history with Al Harvey and had recently starting producing Boys’ Ranch for Harvey. So it would seem that Joe and Jack were picking up some inventory from Harvey. I believe the art was from Harvey and not his artists because it was completed including the lettering and possibly the coloring as well. The question then becomes not so much why Simon and Kirby obtained art from Harvey but rather why they did not pick up more? While Harvey was, like many other publishers, hurt by the love glut it was still obvious that there was good money to be made in romance comics. Harvey would relaunch Hi-School Romance in December, Love Problems and Advice in January and First Romance in June (Love Lessons, Sweet Love and Love Stories of Mary Worth would never resume).

Unfortunately I have no idea who either of the two artists was. I am sure I have seen the artist for “Heart of Steel” in other Harvey romance comics. He provides his women with eyebrows that are reminiscent of Bob Powell. I have heard that Powell often used assistants but I do not believe that is what happened to “Heart of Steel”. Unfortunately it is hard to be sure about anything when it comes to artists working on Harvey’s romance comics. Only Lee Elias, who had a long association with Harvey, ever signed romance art (some covers) so I suspect there was a policy against signatures in Harvey romances. Joe Simon has told me there was such a policy about signing art for Harvey’s humor comics and Joe felt that was why Warren Kramer did not get the recognition that he deserved.

During this period the romance comics were largely made by just three artists; Jack Kirby, Bill Draut and Mort Meskin. While I greatly admire all of those artists I feel that the absence or near absence of Bruno Premiani? and Leonard Starr left a big hole in Young Romance and Young Love. Even Vic Donahue’s presence would have gone a long way to making these more satisfying comic books.

Chapter 1, A New Genre (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 2, Early Artists (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 3, The Field No Longer Their’s Alone (YR #5 – #8)
Chapter 4, An Explosion of Romance (YR #9 – #12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 5, New Talent (YR #9 – 12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 6, Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 7, More Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 8, Kirby on the Range? (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 9, More Romance (YR #13 – #16, YL #5 – #6)
Chapter 10, The Peak of the Love Glut (YR #17 – #20, YL #7 – #8)
Chapter 11, After the Glut (YR #21 – #23, YL #9 – #10)
Chapter 12, A Smaller Studio (YR #24 – #26, YL #12 – #14)
Chapter 13, Romance Bottoms Out (YR #27 – #29, YL #15 – #17)
Chapter 14, The Third Suspect (YR #30 – #32, YL #18 – #20)
Chapter 15, The Action of Romance (YR #33 – #35, YL #21 – #23)
Chapter 16, Someone Old and Someone New (YR #36 – #38, YL #24 – #26)
Chapter 17, The Assistant (YR #39 – #41, YL #27 – #29)
Chapter 18, Meskin Takes Over (YR #42 – #44, YL #30 – #32)
Chapter 19, More Artists (YR #45 – #47, YL #33 – #35)
Chapter 20, Romance Still Matters (YR #48 – #50, YL #36 – #38, YB #1)
Chapter 21, Roussos Messes Up (YR #51 – #53, YL #39 – #41, YB #2 – 3)
Chapter 22, He’s the Man (YR #54 – #56, YL #42 – #44, YB #4)
Chapter 23, New Ways of Doing Things (YR #57 – #59, YL #45 – #47, YB #5 – #6)
Chapter 24, A New Artist (YR #60 – #62, YL #48 – #50, YB #7 – #8)
Chapter 25, More New Faces (YR #63 – #65, YLe #51 – #53, YB #9 – #11)
Chapter 26, Goodbye Jack (YR #66 – #68, YL #54 – #56, YB #12 – #14)
Chapter 27, The Return of Mort (YR #69 – #71, YL #57 – #59, YB #15 – #17)
Chapter 28, A Glut of Artists (YR #72 – #74, YL #60 – #62, YB #18 & #19, IL #1 & #2)
Chapter 29, Trouble Begins (YR #75 – #77, YL #63 – #65, YB #20 – #22, IL #3 – #5)
Chapter 30, Transition (YR #78 – #80, YL #66 – #68, YBs #23 – #25, IL #6, ILY #7)
Chapter 30, Appendix (YB #23)
Chapter 31, Kirby, Kirby and More Kirby (YR #81 – #82, YL #69 – #70, YB #26 – #27)
Chapter 32, The Kirby Beat Goes On (YR #83 – #84, YL #71 – #72, YB #28 – #29)
Chapter 33, End of an Era (YR #85 – #87, YL #73, YB #30, AFL #1)
Chapter 34, A New Prize Title (YR #88 – #91, AFL #2 – #5, PL #1 – #2)
Chapter 35, Settling In ( YR #92 – #94, AFL #6 – #8, PL #3 – #5)
Appendix, J.O. Is Joe Orlando
Chapter 36, More Kirby (YR #95 – #97, AFL #9 – #11, PL #6 – #8)
Chapter 37, Some Surprises (YR #98 – #100, AFL #12 – #14, PL #9 – #11)
Chapter 38, All Things Must End (YR #101 – #103, AFL #15 – #17, PL #12 – #14)

It’s A Crime, Chapter 11, The New Team

(Justice Traps the Guilty #13 – #23, Headline #39 – #45)

This chapter will continue the coverage of the Prize crime comics from the period December 1949 through February 1951. In the last chapter I discussed the work of Jack Kirby and Marvin Stein; this post will be concerned with some of the other artists.

Justice Traps the Guilty #17 (August 1950) “The Statue Screams”, art by Mort Meskin

While most artists associated with Simon and Kirby productions were no longer found in the Prize crime titles there are a couple of glaring exceptions. Probably the most significant artist to jointly work the crime and S&K titles was Mort Meskin. At this point Meskin had become the second most used artist for Simon and Kirby productions (Jack Kirby retained the first place position although that would not always be true in the future). Even though Kirby’s presence in Headline and Justice Traps the Guilty had greatly diminished, Mort still did not achieve the status of primary artist in those titles; he never provided a cover nor did he ever do any lead story. Still he became a frequent contributor appearing in most crime comics and sometimes showed up twice in a single issue.

The crime titles provided Meskin with more opportunities for the depiction of action then the romance art that dominated his work for Simon and Kirby. Not that the diminished use of violence hindered Mort for those occasions when he was to draw it. However Meskin’s Prize comic work had greater similarities to his romance work then it did to the hero genre stories he had previously done such as the Vigilante.

Justice Traps the Guilty #18 (September 1950) “The Way to Prison”, art by John Severin

John Severin also did art for both the crime and romance titles during this period. John is probably best known for his western and war genre comic book work. He may not have done that much crime stories for Prize, but they are very well done (I wish I could say the same thing about his S&K romance art). Not a criticism against Severin, because the same thing can be found in much of the crime comics from the 50’s, but note how well dressed the stick-up criminals are!

Headline #42 (July 1950) “Jewels of Death”, art by George Gregg

George Gregg is not in the same category as Meskin or Severin. While he previously had provided some work for the Simon and Kirby romance titles during the period covered in this chapter that was no longer the case but he would supply a small number of stories for the crime titles. “Jewels of Death” is not most typical of Gregg’s work but I still think that is the correct attribution. But what a great splash! Gregg’s females generally are rather stiff but not this native beauty. While the Prize crime titles are really pretty tame stuff by this time, they still could be quite suggestive (“we have ways of inspiring speech”).

Headline #40 (March 1950) “Counterfeit Winners”, art by Mart Bailey

I have discussed Mart Bailey previously in Prize Comics Western, a Rough History. For about a year and a half he was the primary artist for that western title. He was originally brought in to draw the movie adaptations that PCW featured when they switched to photographic covers. He remained the principal artist until the photographic covers were dropped at which point John Severin became the principal artist for the title. However Bailey continued to provide backup stories. Mart was not as important an artist in the crime titles but he did draw a number of backup stories but he never provided any art for any Simon and Kirby production. Bailey drew in a realistic style which was probably why he was used for the movie adaptations in PCW. While his art is technically fine it is a bit dry for my tastes.

Headline #45 (January 1951) “Penny Shakedown”, art by unidentified artist

There are a number of artists appearing in Headline and Justice Traps the Guilty during this period that I have not been able to identify. Frankly in most cases it is not a big loss as their art work is really not that great. However there is one story, “Penny Shakedown”, that I wish I could provide an attribution. This story is certainly one of the best from the Prize crime titles during this period. Note how in the splash panel the woman is speaking to the reader, Simon and Kirby often used this type of confessional splash design.

Headline #45 (January 1951) “Penny Shakedown” page 8, art by unidentified artist

This story is so good that I once suspected that Kirby supplied layouts. However the “cinematic” approach is not quite the same as Kirby’s. For instance in one panel the artist uses a very low viewing angle of a crowded sidewalk where the foreground consists of mostly legs and the arrest of a criminal is almost lost in the background. Not the sort of thing Jack would do.

This period, from October 1949 until January 1951, is the one that I am most uncertain about. It is clear that previously Simon and Kirby produced the Prize crime comics; basically the same artists were used in both the crime and romance titles. During this period, however, only a few artists worked both genres. Kirby did some cover art and probably provided a layout for one story. Both Mort Meskin and John Severin drew stories for both crime and romance. On the other hand, Mart Bailey was a significant presence in the crime titles and Prize Comics Western but never did any romance stories for Joe and Jack. At this time the first story of both Young Romance and Young Love always had a “produced by Simon and Kirby” credit but that cartouche never appeared in Headline or Justice Traps the Guilty. This despite Simon and Kirby’s long history of self promotion. While it may never be possible to say with certainty, in my opinion Joe and Jack were no longer producing the Prize crime titles during this period.

Whatever the reason for the changes in Headline and Justice Traps the Guilty, is was not due to poor sales. While I have no figures on the number of copies sold there are clear indications Prize was still making good money on these two titles. Why else would Justice Trap the Guilty go from a bimonthly to a monthly publication schedule with issue #18 (September 1950)? While Headline would never become a monthly, JTTG remained one until September 1955.

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 9, Not The Same
Chapter 10, The Master and His Protege

The Art of Romance, Chapter 11, After the Glut

(May – July 1950: Young Romance #21 – #23, Young Love #9 – #11)

Number of Romance Titles 1947 – 1950 (the period covered in this chapter shaded in blue)

This chapter will cover the period from May to July 1950. This is during the rapid decline of romance titles that followed the love glut. Simon and Kirby were not immune to the effects of the over abundance of romance comics; their most recent titles, Real West Romance and Western Love had been cancelled. There were other western romance comics published during the glut as well but all ended up being terminated. Western love titles would never again be tried by any publisher. Although Joe and Jack failed with their western love titles, their standard romance titles, Young Romance and Young Love, seemed unaffected. Both titles had gone monthly during the glut and would remain so for years afterwards. The name brand recognition that Simon and Kirby’s Young Romance had achieved before the glut had allowed it to find a place on the comic racks while newer titles often never had a chance. Young Love’s similar name and logo let it join it Young Romance on the racks as well. Apparently both titles did very well during the period when other titles were rapidly disappearing.

As I discussed previously in It’s A Crime, it is unclear exactly what Simon and Kirby’s contribution was at this time for the Prize crime comics, Headline and Justice Traps the Guilty. These titles seem now to have been made on the cheap. Either Joe and Jack were doing nothing more then supplying some covers, or they were still producing them but because less money was involved they were not putting much effort into it. So Simon and Kirby’s source of income was largely based on two monthly romance titles.

Young Romance #22 (June 1950) “The Savage in Me”, art by Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby was still the primary artist for the romance titles although still somewhat below his normal output. For the 6 issues discussed here Kirby did 6 stories for a total of 56 pages. Kirby drew no covers as they were done with photographs. Jack did all the lead stories for Young Romance and all were much longer then any of the other stories in the issues (14 or 15 pages for the lead stories as compared to 7 or 8 for the longest of the other stories. Jack’s contributions to Young Love were more limited and all the lead stories of that title were done by other artists.

For two of the lead stories Jack used full page splashes with what I describe as the confessional  splash where someone talks about the story to the reader with the word balloon used to include the title of the story. Kirby’s lead stories are still very different from stories by other studio artists. They generally are more complicated, include more action, and sometimes use exotic locations. While original writers have indicated that Jack contributed to the plotting of their stories, it is clear that Jack had even further impact on the scripting of the stories that he drew. It was just a few months short of the third anniversary of the Young Romance title, but Kirby was still putting much effort to make his stories as interesting as possible, and I may add succeeding. This was particularly true with “The Savage in Me” a tale that combines an exotic location (China), drama (the threat presented by a warlord’s army) and humor. The story was, I may add, discussed at length in an article by Kirby scholar Stan Taylor (“Simply the Best”, The Jack Kirby Quarterly #12, Spring 1999).

Young Love #10 (June 1950) “The Girl I Picked From the Phone Directory” page 2, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Mort Meskin

At a glance one story, “The Girl I Picked from the Phone Directory”, looks like it was done by Mort Meskin. Typical Meskin traits such as the woman’s eyes and for some men Mort’s characteristic grin. However the shifting viewing angles found in the story are more like Kirby’s then those used by Meskin. Further some of the people depicted have typical Kirby mannerisms such as the gesture of the man in the last panel of the above page. I have no doubt that this story was penciled by Kirby but inked by Meskin. As such it is the earliest example of Meskin inking Kirby that I am aware of. Either Mort was untypical heavy handed in his inking or Jack’s pencils were not very tight.

Young Romance #22 (June 1950) “Child Bride”, art by Mort Meskin

While Meskin still had not reached his high productive levels, he had now become the second most prolific artist in studio. Mort did 8 stories for a total of 50 pages. Even when Meskin provided the lead stories for Young Love #9 and #11, he still did not use a full page splash. Mort was also using vertically oriented captions, a device not typical of Kirby. While Meskin had a cinematic approach to story telling it was done differently from Jack’s. Once again I find no evidence to support the idea, promoted by some Kirby scholars, that Jack supplied layouts.

Young Love #10 (June 1950) “My Backwoods Love”, art by Mort Meskin

It maybe just a coincidence, but there seems a more abundant use of “cheesecake” poses in Mort Meskin’s work at this time; not something I normally associate with him. Further he does them quite well.

Young Romance #23 (July 1950) “A Woman’s Honor”, art by Bill Draut

Bill Draut has been displaced from his number two position by Mort Meskin. During this period Bill did 4 stories with 31 pages. Enough to secure the number three spot but still significantly less then Meskin. Bill consistently provided good art and so he continued to be an important contributor to Simon and Kirby productions.

Young Love #10 (June 1950) “Untouched”, art by Bruno Premiani?

We have seen all the other important artists before, there were no changes in personnel at this time. I still have not been able to confirm that artist who did some very distinctive work for Joe and Jack was in fact Bruno Premiani. But I continue to use that attribution (with a question mark) until something convinces me otherwise. Premiani normally used half page splashes, but for the lead story that he did for Young Love #10, “Untouched”, he provided a full page splash.

By the way do not get confused by the “Produced by Simon and Kirby” credit that appears on this splash. It is not a claim by Joe and Jack that they drew this story. Rather it was used to indicate that the entire comic was put together by Simon and Kirby. It appeared on the first story of all the Simon and Kirby titles at this time (and for some time to come) regardless who actually drew the lead story.

Young Love #9 (May 1950) “Carbon Copy” page 6, art by Bruno Premiani?

I guess “cheesecake” must be the theme for this chapter of Art of Romance because I could not resist including the above page from “Carbon Copy”. I do not know what the original teenage girl readers thought about this page but I certainly am not going to complain about a beach full of bikinis. Today such a scene, while enjoyable at least for the men, would not be considered remarkable. But back in 1950 it would be quite unusual at least on American beaches. For instance bikinis were banned in 1951 from use in the Miss World beauty pageant. It would not be until the early ’60s that the two piece swimsuit would become the norm in beach movies such as “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini”. Was Premiani’s page a flight of fantasy or wish fulfillment or was Bruno taking his queue from more liberal European beaches?

Young Love #10 (June 1950) “At Your Own Risk” page 3, art by Leonard Starr

Leonard Starr was another S&K studio regular who continued to appear during the period considered here. During this period he drew 3 stories with 21 pages. Starr is most easily recognized by his women that he draws with widely separated eyes, wide foreheads and narrow chins; a look I like to call elfin. Another easy way to pick him out is his use of tall narrow panels. Not every page in a story would use six narrow panels as in the example above, but other combinations of a row of tall panels with two vertically diminished panel rows are also commonly found. It is an arrangement that is not found in Kirby’s work so again claims of Kirby supplying layouts to not seem to be correct. Starr puts his tall panels to good use and it has the added benefit of allowing the talk balloons to be place out of the way of the image.

Young Romance #23 (July 1950) “Love on A Budget” page 4, art by John Severin

Previously John Severin was more a presence in the western love titles then in the standard romances. With the cancellation of the Western Love and Real West Romance the expectation might be that Severin would appear more often in Young Romance and Young Love. While John still shows up in the romance titles during this period, his participation does not appear to have increased. One explanation might be that Severin did not need the extra work since he had begun doing work for Prize Comics Western. But I do not think that is the likely explanation as PCW seemed to have been done “on the cheap” and probably did not pay as well as work for Simon and Kirby. It is more likely that Simon and Kirby just did not want to give him further work. The fact is Severin just was not that great of a romance artist. It was not that John could not draw well; it is just that he did not seem comfortable with depicting romantic scenes. He rarely, if ever, drew a kiss in his stories. The absence of true romance in Severin’s work may not have been a problem for the western love titles but it certainly was a hindrance for the standard romance. Still he did provide 19 pages of art during the period discussed in this post although none were signed and this includes a few that are questionable attributions.

Young Love #11 (July 1950) “I’ll Never Get Married”, art by John Severin?

Included in the work I credit to John Severin is one that looks distinctively different, “I’ll Never Get Married”. Perhaps my attribution is just incorrect but I suspect what makes this story look so different from others by Severin was the inking. During this period most of John’s art was inked by Will Elder. While I do not claim to be very familiar with Elder’s inking a comparison of this story to works signed by Severin and Elder clearly shows Elder did not ink “I’ll Never Get Married”. Whoever the inker was he was not nearly as talented as Elder.

Young Love #11 (July 1950) “Little White Lies”, art by Vic Donahue

Vic Donahue is another artist that we have seen previously and continues to make an appearance. During this period Vic’s contribution consisted of 5 stories with 21 pages. This includes three “Problem Clinic” stories but they are all questionable attributions and only amount to a total of 6 pages. Donahue also provided to longer stories one of which was signed.

Unlike some earlier chapters, there are only a few stories that I have not been able to credit. Most of the artists used were therefore studio regulars.

Chapter 1, A New Genre (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 2, Early Artists (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 3, The Field No Longer Their’s Alone (YR #5 – #8)
Chapter 4, An Explosion of Romance (YR #9 – #12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 5, New Talent (YR #9 – 12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 6, Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 7, More Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 8, Kirby on the Range? (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 9, More Romance (YR #13 – #16, YL #5 – #6)
Chapter 10, The Peak of the Love Glut (YR #17 – #20, YL #7 – #8)
Chapter 11, After the Glut (YR #21 – #23, YL #9 – #10)
Chapter 12, A Smaller Studio (YR #24 – #26, YL #12 – #14)
Chapter 13, Romance Bottoms Out (YR #27 – #29, YL #15 – #17)
Chapter 14, The Third Suspect (YR #30 – #32, YL #18 – #20)
Chapter 15, The Action of Romance (YR #33 – #35, YL #21 – #23)
Chapter 16, Someone Old and Someone New (YR #36 – #38, YL #24 – #26)
Chapter 17, The Assistant (YR #39 – #41, YL #27 – #29)
Chapter 18, Meskin Takes Over (YR #42 – #44, YL #30 – #32)
Chapter 19, More Artists (YR #45 – #47, YL #33 – #35)
Chapter 20, Romance Still Matters (YR #48 – #50, YL #36 – #38, YB #1)
Chapter 21, Roussos Messes Up (YR #51 – #53, YL #39 – #41, YB #2 – 3)
Chapter 22, He’s the Man (YR #54 – #56, YL #42 – #44, YB #4)
Chapter 23, New Ways of Doing Things (YR #57 – #59, YL #45 – #47, YB #5 – #6)
Chapter 24, A New Artist (YR #60 – #62, YL #48 – #50, YB #7 – #8)
Chapter 25, More New Faces (YR #63 – #65, YLe #51 – #53, YB #9 – #11)
Chapter 26, Goodbye Jack (YR #66 – #68, YL #54 – #56, YB #12 – #14)
Chapter 27, The Return of Mort (YR #69 – #71, YL #57 – #59, YB #15 – #17)
Chapter 28, A Glut of Artists (YR #72 – #74, YL #60 – #62, YB #18 & #19, IL #1 & #2)
Chapter 29, Trouble Begins (YR #75 – #77, YL #63 – #65, YB #20 – #22, IL #3 – #5)
Chapter 30, Transition (YR #78 – #80, YL #66 – #68, YBs #23 – #25, IL #6, ILY #7)
Chapter 30, Appendix (YB #23)
Chapter 31, Kirby, Kirby and More Kirby (YR #81 – #82, YL #69 – #70, YB #26 – #27)
Chapter 32, The Kirby Beat Goes On (YR #83 – #84, YL #71 – #72, YB #28 – #29)
Chapter 33, End of an Era (YR #85 – #87, YL #73, YB #30, AFL #1)
Chapter 34, A New Prize Title (YR #88 – #91, AFL #2 – #5, PL #1 – #2)
Chapter 35, Settling In ( YR #92 – #94, AFL #6 – #8, PL #3 – #5)
Appendix, J.O. Is Joe Orlando
Chapter 36, More Kirby (YR #95 – #97, AFL #9 – #11, PL #6 – #8)
Chapter 37, Some Surprises (YR #98 – #100, AFL #12 – #14, PL #9 – #11)
Chapter 38, All Things Must End (YR #101 – #103, AFL #15 – #17, PL #12 – #14)

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

The Art of Romance, Chapter 10, The Peak of the Love Glut

(January – April 1950: Young Romance #17 – #20, Young Love #7 – #8)

Number of Romance Titles 1947 – 1950 (the period covered in this chapter shaded in blue)

This chapter will cover the period from January to April 1950. This is the height of the love glut and the beginning of the decline in romance titles that followed. For Prize Comics the dropping of titles had not begun since the final issue of Real West Romances would come out in April. Young Romance had been and would remain a monthly. The presumably poor sales experienced by the western romance titles because of the glut was not shared by Prize’s standard love comics as Young Love became a monthly with the April issue. Frankly I am not clear what Simon and Kirby’s status was at this time with the crime titles Headline and Justice Traps the Guilty. At some point Joe and Jack seemed to have passed on the production of those titles to Prize Comics. A better understanding of exactly when that happened will hopefully be achieved as I advance further in my serial post It’s A Crime.

I have no explanation why in the last chapter Jack Kirby’s output dropped so much but now he returned to being the primary artist, at least by page count, with 6 stories and 71 pages (I am excluding illustrations for text features as they are minor works and may include recycled art.) Bill Draut, now again the second most used artist, actually had more stories but fewer pages (8 stories with 53 pages). The discrepancy is caused by the lead stories provided by Kirby have the highest page counts (13 to 15 pages). The two longest stories by artists other then Kirby were 10 and 9 pages while most were 8 pages long. As noted in the previous chapter Kirby would provide the lead story for Young Romance while Bill Draut would have the honor for Young Love. The general rule from now on will be Kirby more or less regularly providing a long lead story to Young Romance and this would be the only real distinction between the contents of Young Romance and Young Love where the lead story was generally done by other artists.

Other artists significantly trailed Kirby and Draut in page counts. The number of artists used in YR and YL drops, and the artists have been seen previously in either the standard or the western romance comics. As was true in the last chapter, Kirby did not supply layouts to any of the artists in this period. This was in contrast to the early issues where some of the less talented artists worked using Kirby layouts.

Young Romance #17 (January 1950) “The Girl Who Tempted Me”, art by Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby persists in providing exceptional splashes for his long lead stories. The use of a character introducing the story with the word balloon forming the title has become a trademark of Simon and Kirby romances. (As this splash layout will be repeatedly seen, I am going to refer to it as the confessional splash.) The very provocative splashes would be more risque then the actual story. These splashes are often very simple in composition but very effective nonetheless.

Young Romance #20 (April 1950) “Hands off Lucy”, art by Jack Kirby

Okay maybe I do not have much more to say about Kirby’s splashes, but they are so great (in my opinion) that I cannot resist including an image of another one.

Young Romance #19 (March 1950) “That Kind of Girl” page 13, art by Jack Kirby

Of course comic books are not all about splashes, those were just the devices to entice a reader to buy the comic and read the story. Jack always considered himself as mainly a graphic story teller. Although today Kirby is primarily for his work on superheroes, he was exceptional in pretty much every genre that he worked on. Because of the unique nature of his romance stories, it is clear that Jack was not just illustrating someone else’s script. He must have been an active participant in the plotting and I am sure that he continued the long S&K tradition of changing the script as he saw fit. At this time Jack liked to give a special quality to his romance stories by adding something beyond just romance. I am not sure how the readers of Young Romance and Young Love at that time (overwhelmingly teenage girls) felt about Jack’s romances but I am convinced that if these stories were given a chance many of today’s more adult readers would find them interesting reading.

For the most part Jack has adopted a very standard page layout of three rows with two panels in each row. Kirby would occasionally depart from that pattern when the story called for it but that would be the exception. Gone were any uses of circular panels. Figures would not extend beyond a panel’s border although captions or speech balloons might. My description of Kirby’s layouts might make his work sound dry and uninspired but that is certainly not the case. Using a standard panel layout seems to allow Jack to concentrate on depicting the story. Further when the story called for an alteration in the panel layout it was then that much more effective. Kirby was a master of use of changing view points, the addition or removal of background, and even the careful accommodation of speech balloons as the above page amply shows. It was not just melodrama, it was great melodrama! (An honest appraiser would admit that was true of Kirby’s superhero work as well.)

Young Love #7 (February 1950) “The Carnival Girl”, art by Bill Draut

Bill Draut’s position as the number two artist at this time was justified. He could fill a splash panel with a cast of characters each with their own distinctive personalities. Bill was no longer used as an artist in Headline or Justice Traps the Guilty, but this was not due to any problem in handling action since in his romance art he had no problems when action needed to be depicted. Perhaps of even greater importance for love comics, his women, while stylized, are attractive. All of these talents and more are shown in the above splash. Some of Draut’s stories start with a confessional splash even though they are not lead stories. Perhaps they were originally intended as lead stories but in the end placed elsewhere in the comic. Although I have seen this happen to Draut, I do not recall a Kirby confessional splash that was not the first story.

Young Love #8 (April 1950) “Every Man I Meet” page 4, art by Bill Draut

Like Kirby, Bill Draut generally kept to a standard six panel page layout. If anything he adhered to this layout even more then Jack. Bill would vary view points to keep the visuals interesting but he was not as cinematic as some other comic book artists. Draut graphically tells his story in a straight forward and understated manner. While the reader may not always be amazed by Draut’s art he will always find an entertaining and clear story.

Young Romance #18 (February 1950) “I Own This Man”, art by Mort Meskin

Mort Meskin first solo work for Simon and Kirby appeared in the month before the time covered in this chapter. During this period Mort played no more important a roll then any of the other studio artists (excluding Kirby and Draut). He supplied 4 stories and 2 short features with a total of 32 pages of art. While his presence was not insignificant it was nothing like the prolific output that Mort would achieve in the future. Interestingly Mort was initially used only for the standard and western romance titles, his first crime work would be in the March issue of Headline. Perhaps Meskin’s artist block was not completely overcome by Joe’s strategy of placing random pencils marks so that Mort would not be faced with a blank page.

Meskin’s preference was for a first page; two thirds of which would be used for a splash panel leaving room for a single row of story panels. Most commonly it would have the layout seen in the image above. (Again, these splash page layouts are seen so often that providing them with a name seems a good idea; I will use square splash for those with the story panels arranged horizontally and vertical splash for when the story panels are arranged vertically.) While working in the Simon and Kirby studio Mort did his own inking. Generally this included spotting formed by long parallel, sometimes overlapping, groups of lines. Occasionally, as in “I Own This Man” Meskin would use picket fence crosshatching similar to that found in the Studio style. (For a more complete discussion of Mort Meskin’s inking technique see my post Kirby Inkers, Mort Meskin, for an explanation of the terms I am using to describe inking techniques see the Inking Glossary). My search of Meskin’s work prior to joining Simon and Kirby have so far failed to uncover any examples of the use of picket fence crosshatching so Mort may have adopted it up from Joe and Jack.

Young Love #8 (April 1950) “Danger, Soft Shoulder” page 8, art by Mort Meskin

Mort Meskin’s art was more subdued compared to his earlier hero genre comic art. Some of the more dramatic compositional devices would largely disappear. Techniques, such as the mass of floating heads used in the third panel of page 8 of “Danger, Soft Shoulder”, would now be the rare exception in Mort’s work. Instead, like Bill Draut, Meskin would concentrate more on graphically telling a story. Few other artists, if any, could do it better. Unfortunately for Mort Meskin’s current reputation, it is all too easy to overlook what he was doing. Also it should be admitted that Meskin’s art was not consistently at the same high level, perhaps a result from his push to achieve a high page production rate (with a corresponding income boost).

Young Romance #19 (March 1950) “The Fisherman’s Daughter” page 2, art by Mort Meskin

But it would be mistake to say that now Mort was only interested in telling a story. Mort was also a master at his use of blacks. The shadows found in the first panel of the page from “The Fisherman’s Daughter” shown above are very effective. Even when blacks are used in more limited amounts that are carefully placed to provide the most impact as can be seen elsewhere on the page and the fifth panel in particular. In a way though, Meskin’s use of whites and blacks was not separate aspect of his work. It was carefully used as one of Mort’s tools for advancing the story.

At this time Mort was also working primarily in the standard six panel page layout. But he would use other design techniques to add interest. Note the use of vertical caption boxes on the page shown above. Mort sets up a pattern of vertical captions for the left edge of the first and third panel rows, and the center of the second row. This while using horizontal captions in the second part of the first and third rows. It all provides a pattern that helps to pull the page together without being obtrusive.

Young Romance #17 (January 1950) “Love’s Little Teacher”, art by Bruno Premiani?

I may not be able to truly show that this artist is Bruno Premiani but he is a great creator nonetheless. The splash here is unusual for him in that he provides a split scene. It is so well integrated that it is easy to overlook two separate views are presented. I have described Premiani’s women as attractive but not striking. But in the end to understand an artist’s style well enough to identify his work requires seeing enough examples. So as I continue with work on this serial post I will include further samples of the more important Simon and Kirby studio artists.

Young Romance #17 (January 1950) “Love’s Little Teacher” page 5, art by Bruno Premiani?

Bruno had an interesting drawing style but he was also, like most of S&K studio artists, adept at graphically telling a story. The page from “Love’s Little Teacher” opens with a couple’s kiss, usually more properly placed as the last panel on a page. But Premiani has other things in mind as he proceeded to show the protagonist following the advice of her cousin. Premiani indicates to the reader that the cousin is secretly scheming by the pose he provides her in the background of the final panel. Evidentially Bruno is not just following some formula but carefully brackets the cousin’s influence between the love scene in the first panel and the misguided rejection of a date in the last. I particularly like the fifth panel with the man shown calling in the caption box and the close-up of the telephone receiving the call in the actual panel. With Premiani’s careful arrangement of the towel on the leading lady, the depiction really is not very revealing but just seems so.

Young Romance #17 (January 1950) “I Want Him Back”, art by Leonard Starr

When I first entered the Simon and Kirby productions into my database I was not that familiar with Leonard Starr’s style and so it was largely stories with a signature that ended up attributed to him. Unfortunately this made Starr seem like a minor contributor since, like most Simon and Kirby studio artists, he did not sign all his art. With my current reviews and armed with a better understanding, I have been adding a number of unsigned stories as works that can be credited to Starr. I have long stressed the importance to the studio of three artists (the usual suspects: Draut, Meskin and Prentice) but there is also a second tier of artists who made an important contribution to Simon and Kirby productions but only for shorter periods of time. I would put Starr in this second tier along with artists like Premiani?, Severin, Donahue, Albistur and Brewster.

Leonard did 4 stories with 33 pages during this period. All were unsigned but with styles that are in complete agreement with contemporary signed work. Starr’s splashes were either the square or vertical layouts with, perhaps, a preference for the vertical format as seen above in “I Want Him Back”. It is the drawings of woman that I find the greatest help in identifying Starr’s work. They have an appearance that is almost frail with generous foreheads, small mouths, and narrow chins giving them a look I often describe as elfin.

Young Romance #18 (February 1950) “Mother Tags Along” page 4, art by Leonard Starr

While I would not call Starr’s splashes spectacular they were well done. But it is his story art were Leonard really shines. Like some of the other studio artists, Starr would carefully vary the view point to keep the pages interesting and the story progressing. What makes Starr unique among the S&K studio artists at this time are his panel layouts. More then any of the other artists, Starr would break from the standard page layout of three rows with two panels per row. Instead Leonard preferred to introduced, when possible, a row of three panels with an extended height. Sometimes this was achieved by switching to a page layout of two rows with three panels per row. More frequently the greater height provided for one row would be compensated by decreasing the vertical dimensions of the remaining two rows. These panel layouts did more then provide interesting pages as Starr would use it to aid the story telling. Note how in the page from “Mother Tags Along” Leonard uses the narrow panels for the meeting of the two lovers physically bringing them close together while the more horizontal panels are used the woman’s discussion with her mother allowing the distance that is possible in these panels to suggest the emotional separation between them. No other studio artist at this time made such effective use of panel shapes although Mort Meskin would soon begin to use narrow panels as well.

Young Love #7 (February 1950) “A Secret Affair” page 7, art by Vic Donahue

Vic Donahue’s contribution to the standard romances diminished in the previous chapter and this state continues here. There is a difference though; in Chapter 9 Vic work was restricted to the Nancy Hale feature which was 2 or 3 pages long. During this period the Nancy Hale feature was drawn by other artists. Instead Donahue would draw 1 story and 2 short features with a total of 10 pages which was well below artists like Meskin, Premiani? or Starr.

I have included the above story page to show that while Donahue was not as talented as some of the other studio artists; he was more varied in his panel layouts. I feel, however, that the handling of the story leaves a bit to be desired. For instance this page ends with one man’s confrontation with a rival. Since the last panel depicts such a critical moment the reader would expect the next page to show the result of this confrontation, perhaps even a fight. There was a fight of sorts, but at the start of the next page it is all over with the original man already defeated and on the ground! We really do not know anything about the scripts given to studio artists or how carefully they were expected to be followed, so I cannot say whether Donahue or the writer is responsible for this rather poor handling of what should have been a dramatic scene.

Young Love #8 (April 1950) “The Man in My Dreams”, art by John Severin and Jack Kirby

While Jack Kirby did not supply layouts for any of the artists during this period, there is at least one example of his assuming the roll of art editor. The man in the splash panel of “The Man in My Dreams” is clearly penciled by Kirby, and I believe inked as well. This is the second case of Kirby adding to or altering a splash by John Severin that I have seen (the other was in Chapter 7). If, as I believe, Kirby inked his part of the splash then most likely Kirby was correcting Severin’s finished art.

During this period Severin played a small roll in the standard romance titles. John only did 1 story and 3 features with a total of 8 pages. This is in sharp contrast to the amount of work Severin had done during this same time for the Prize western love titles.

Chapter 1, A New Genre (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 2, Early Artists (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 3, The Field No Longer Their’s Alone (YR #5 – #8)
Chapter 4, An Explosion of Romance (YR #9 – #12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 5, New Talent (YR #9 – 12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 6, Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 7, More Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 8, Kirby on the Range? (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 9, More Romance (YR #13 – #16, YL #5 – #6)
Chapter 10, The Peak of the Love Glut (YR #17 – #20, YL #7 – #8)
Chapter 11, After the Glut (YR #21 – #23, YL #9 – #10)
Chapter 12, A Smaller Studio (YR #24 – #26, YL #12 – #14)
Chapter 13, Romance Bottoms Out (YR #27 – #29, YL #15 – #17)
Chapter 14, The Third Suspect (YR #30 – #32, YL #18 – #20)
Chapter 15, The Action of Romance (YR #33 – #35, YL #21 – #23)
Chapter 16, Someone Old and Someone New (YR #36 – #38, YL #24 – #26)
Chapter 17, The Assistant (YR #39 – #41, YL #27 – #29)
Chapter 18, Meskin Takes Over (YR #42 – #44, YL #30 – #32)
Chapter 19, More Artists (YR #45 – #47, YL #33 – #35)
Chapter 20, Romance Still Matters (YR #48 – #50, YL #36 – #38, YB #1)
Chapter 21, Roussos Messes Up (YR #51 – #53, YL #39 – #41, YB #2 – 3)
Chapter 22, He’s the Man (YR #54 – #56, YL #42 – #44, YB #4)
Chapter 23, New Ways of Doing Things (YR #57 – #59, YL #45 – #47, YB #5 – #6)
Chapter 24, A New Artist (YR #60 – #62, YL #48 – #50, YB #7 – #8)
Chapter 25, More New Faces (YR #63 – #65, YLe #51 – #53, YB #9 – #11)
Chapter 26, Goodbye Jack (YR #66 – #68, YL #54 – #56, YB #12 – #14)
Chapter 27, The Return of Mort (YR #69 – #71, YL #57 – #59, YB #15 – #17)
Chapter 28, A Glut of Artists (YR #72 – #74, YL #60 – #62, YB #18 & #19, IL #1 & #2)
Chapter 29, Trouble Begins (YR #75 – #77, YL #63 – #65, YB #20 – #22, IL #3 – #5)
Chapter 30, Transition (YR #78 – #80, YL #66 – #68, YBs #23 – #25, IL #6, ILY #7)
Chapter 30, Appendix (YB #23)
Chapter 31, Kirby, Kirby and More Kirby (YR #81 – #82, YL #69 – #70, YB #26 – #27)
Chapter 32, The Kirby Beat Goes On (YR #83 – #84, YL #71 – #72, YB #28 – #29)
Chapter 33, End of an Era (YR #85 – #87, YL #73, YB #30, AFL #1)
Chapter 34, A New Prize Title (YR #88 – #91, AFL #2 – #5, PL #1 – #2)
Chapter 35, Settling In ( YR #92 – #94, AFL #6 – #8, PL #3 – #5)
Appendix, J.O. Is Joe Orlando
Chapter 36, More Kirby (YR #95 – #97, AFL #9 – #11, PL #6 – #8)
Chapter 37, Some Surprises (YR #98 – #100, AFL #12 – #14, PL #9 – #11)
Chapter 38, All Things Must End (YR #101 – #103, AFL #15 – #17, PL #12 – #14)

John Severin Checklist

Last update: 1/19/2009

    s:  = signed
    a:  = signed with alias
    &:  = signed Simon and Kirby
    ?:  = questionable attribution
    r:  = reprint

Alarming Adventures (Harvey)
     1    Oct  1962       [cover]
     3    Feb  1963       [cover]

Alarming Tales (Harvey)
   ? 5    Sept 1958       [cover]
   ? 6    Nov  1958       [cover]

Headline (Prize)
     35   (v.4, n5)  May  1949    7p "The Deadly Gilas"
     36   (v.4, n6)  July 1949    8p "Hip Sing Tong"
   s 37   (v.5, n1)  Sept 1949    8p "One-Man Posse"
     38   (v.5, n2)  Nov  1949    5p "No Escape"
   s 44   (v.6, n2)  Nov  1950    8p "Feathered Serpent"

Justice Traps the Guilty (Prize)
   s 11   (v.2, n5)  Aug  1949    9p "The Tragedy Of Tom Horn"
   s 14   (v.3, n2)  Feb  1950    8p "Seven Keys To Sing Sing"

Prize Comics Western (Prize)
     73   Jan  1949    8p "The Black Bull Saves the Ranch"
     74   Mar  1949    8p "Prairie Schooner Ahoy"
     75   Apr  1949    7p "The Six-Gun Showdown at Rattlesnake Gulch"
     75   Apr  1949    8p "Black Bull Clears a Ranch Woman's Name"
     77   Sept 1949    7p "Wild Hogs on the Border"
     78   Nov  1949    7p "The Ghost of Marales"
   s 79   Jan  1950    7p "The Lost Trail"
     79   Jan  1950    4p "The Stranger in Benton Bowl"
   s 80   Mar  1950    7p "Gunsmoke Justice"
   s 80   Mar  1950    8p "Brand of Death"
   s 80   Mar  1950    7p "Border Menace"
   s 81   May  1950    7p "Border Badmen"
   s 81   May  1950    8p "The Justice Trail"
     82   July 1950    7p "Lucky Lodestone"
   s 82   July 1950    8p "Buzzards' Roost"
     83   Aug  1950    8p "War on the Range"
   s 83   Aug  1950    7p "Younger Brothers"
     85   Jan  1951    8p "American Eagle"
   s 85   Jan  1951    8p "One-Man Posse"
   s 85   Jan  1951    7p "The Trail North"
     89   Sept 1951       [cover]
   s 89   Sept 1951    9p "The Last of the Crazy Dogs"
   ? 89   Sept 1951    7p "Ghost Town Gold"
   ? 89   Sept 1951    1p "The North Plains Indiangs"
     90   Nov  1951       [cover]
   s 90   Nov  1951    7p "Threat of the Iron Horse"
   s 90   Nov  1951    7p "Danger in Mexico"
   s 90   Nov  1951    1p "The Roundup"- (text)
     92   Mar  1952       [cover]
   s 92   Mar  1952    9p "Renegades on the Yellowstone"
   s 92   Mar  1952    7p "The Flight of the Eagle"
   s 92   Mar  1952    6p "Flames of Treachery"
   s 93   May  1952       [cover]
   s 93   May  1952    9p "Sioux War Party"
   s 93   May  1952    7p "Wolf Pack"
   s 93   May  1952    6p "Smoke Signals"
   s 95   Sept 1952       [cover]
   s 95   Sept 1952    9p "Follow the Eagle"
   s 96   Nov  1952       [cover]
   s 96   Nov  1952    9p "Cheyenne on the Warpath"
   s 96   Nov  1952    6p "Rescue of the Eagle"- (text)
   s 97   Jan  1953       [cover]
   s 97   Jan  1953    8p "The Maverick"
     97   Jan  1953    1p "Companions of American Eagle"
   s 97   Jan  1953    7p "Stampede at Dawn"
   s 98   Mar  1953       [cover]
   s 98   Mar  1953    8p "Half-Breed Rebellion"
   s 98   Mar  1953    7p "Deserter"
   s 100  July 1953       [cover]
     100  July 1953    6p "Six Gun Showdown"
   s 101  Sept 1953    6p "Puk Wudgies"
     101  Sept 1953    3p "Double Barrelled Peace Treaty"
     101  Sept 1953    8p "The Invaders"
     102  Nov  1953       [cover]
   s 102  Nov  1953    9p "The Losts Ones"
   s 103  Jan  1954       [cover]
     103  Jan  1954    7p "Avenger"
     103  Jan  1954    3p "The Texas Border and the Six Shooter"
   s 104  Mar  1954       [cover]
   s 104  Mar  1954    8p "Surprise Attack"
   s 104  Mar  1954    2p "Wild Bill"
   s 105  May  1954       [cover]
     105  May  1954    8p "American Eagle"
     105  May  1954    2p "Cochise"
     105  May  1954    1p "Chief Gall"
     105  May  1954    5p "Massacre at Blue Creek"
   s 107  Sept 1954       [cover]
     107  Sept 1954   10p "The Wagon Trail"
     107  Sept 1954    1p "Roundup"- (text)
   s 107  Sept 1954    3p "Clay Allison"
     107  Sept 1954    6p "Spirit on Vengeance"- (text)
   s 108  Nov  1954       [cover]
     108  Nov  1954    8p "The Medicine Stick"
   s 108  Nov  1954    5p "Stampede at Snake River"
   s 108  Nov  1954    4p "Miracombo's Magic"
   s 109  Jan  1955       [cover]
     109  Jan  1955    6p "An Indian Hunch"
   s 109  Jan  1955    5p "Outrageous Redskins"- (text)
     110  Mar  1955       [cover]
   s 110  Mar  1955    8p "Silent Murder"
   s 110  Mar  1955    5p "Red Slayers"
   s 110  Mar  1955    4p "Danger Stretch"
   s 111  May  1955       [cover]
   s 111  May  1955    7p "A Life for a Life"
   s 111  May  1955    6p "The Invisible Weapon"
   s 111  May  1955    4p "The Hostage"
     112  July 1955       [cover]
     112  July 1955    6p "The Renegades"
   s 113  Sept 1955       [cover]
   s 113  Sept 1955    6p "Laughing Dog's Revenge"
   s 113  Sept 1955    1p "Colt's That Won the West"
     113  Sept 1955    6p "The Iron Shirt"

Real West Romances (Prize)
   s 3    Aug  1949    8p "The Cowgirl And The Sheepherder"
     4    Oct  1949    8p "Cupid's Corral"
   s 5    Dec  1949    7p "Gun-Totin' Bride"
   s 6    Feb  1950    7p "Six-Gun Serenade"
   s 7    Apr  1950    8p "The Widder"

Western Love (Prize)
     2    Sept 1949    8p "Kissless Cowboy"
     3    Nov  1949    8p "A Man To Handle Belle"
     4    Jan  1950    1p "How to Corral Your Man"
   s 4    Jan  1950    8p "Six-Gun Serenade"- (Splash part Kirby)
     5    Mar  1950    8p "Survival"
     5    Mar  1950    1p "Let's Give A Barn Dance"

Young Love (Prize)
     8    (v.2, n2)  Apr  1950    1p "There's Romance In The Stars"
     8    (v.2, n2)  Apr  1950    1p "How To Increase Your Dateability"
   s 8    (v.2, n2)  Apr  1950    5p "The Man In My Dreams"- (Kirby does man in splash)
     9    (v.2, n3)  May  1950    1p "There's Romance In The Stars"
   ? 11   (v.2, n5)  July 1950    8p "I'll Never Get Married"
   ? 11   (v.2, n5)  July 1950    1p "Dress Right For Spring"
   s 15   (v.2, n9)  Nov  1950    9p "Lover Boy"

Young Romance (Prize)
     20   (v.3, n8)  Apr  1950    1p "There's Romance In The Stars"
     21   (v.3, n9)  May  1950    1p "There's Romance In The Stars"
   ? 23   (v.3, n11) July 1950    1p "Dress Right For Spring"
     23   (v.3, n11) July 1950    7p "Love On A Budget"
   ? 27   (v.4, n3)  Nov  1950    1p "Stay As Sweet As You Are"