With this month my blog has reached its sixth anniversary. That the previous year was eventful for me would be an gross understatement. The release of Joe Simon’s autobiography and the Captain America movie were key events. But on a more personal note was the publication of Titan’s “Simon and Kirby Library: Crime”. Joe and Jack’s work in that genre are among my favorites. While I have hopes that a second volume of Simon and Kirby crime might eventually see print it appears that my dream of working on my other favorite Simon and Kirby genre will not be fulfilled. Of course the most significant event of the past year was the passing of my friend, Joe Simon. Joe played a large roll in my life of the past decade or so and I miss him greatly. I realize that events arising from Joe’s passing has had a negative impact on my posting on this blog but I hope that has begun to change. There is so much more that I want to write about Simon and Kirby.
Who cares about Simon and Kirby? Well judging by the first two years of this blog’s existence only a small number of fans. But it was not just the low number of visits to my blog that suggested that Simon and Kirby were pretty much forgotten by the larger public. 2006 and 2007 also did not really have much in the way of books with significant Simon and Kirby content on the market. But all that has changed. In the last two years the number of visits to the Simon and Kirby Blog has increased by a factor of ten and it keeps on rising. The last year saw the publication of Titan’s “Best of Simon and Kirby” and DC’s “Simon and Kirby Sandman”. This year should see DC release books on the Newsboy Legion and the Boy Commandos. Even more important Titan will be publishing the “Simon and Kirby Superheroes” (okay I’m biased). I still believe what I wrote in my last anniversary post, that the key event to this change in interest was due to the publication of Mark Evanier’s “Kirby: King of Comics”.
I did not envision any of this when I wrote my first post on March 17, 2006. I just wanted to spend some time writing about my favorite comic book collaborators and the artists who worked for them. I had been studying Simon and Kirby for quite some time before starting this blog but something changed once I did. I found that writing helped clarified my thoughts. That and the studies that accompanied my posts greatly increased my knowledge. I have learned much more about Simon and Kirby in the last four years then I have all the time before that.
I admit that keeping the blog going during the last year has been quite difficult. My restoration work for “Simon and Kirby Superheroes” has taken up much of my time (I will be posting about that in the not too distant future). But I love writing this blog and do not want to give it up even for a short while. And there is so much more to write about. My serial post Art of Romance has gone 28 chapters so far but is only up to the end of 1954 while I intend to take it up to 1960. Another serial post, Little Shop of Horrors, has gone 9 chapters but alas will end with the next one. And yes I know there are other serial posts that have long been idle (It’s a Crime and Wide Angle Scream) however I fully intend to write more on them at some point. In the past I posted about two titles (Foxhole and In Love) from Simon and Kirby’s short attempt at being publishers but I have yet to give Bullseye and Police Trap a similar treatment. DC is reprinting their Simon and Kirby material and that provides an added incentive to writing about Sandman, the Newsboy Legion and the Boy Commandos. With so much to discuss about Simon and Kirby I am sure this blog will have many more anniversaries to come!
It is true; my first post was on March 17, 2006. I have a tool that counts the number of visits and hits (I am not sure what the difference is between the two) and provides information about incoming links. Frankly the statistics are just of mild interest to me since my goals for blogging concern my fascination with Simon and Kirby and not a desire to write a popular blog. Had popularity been my desire I would hardly have selected such a narrow focus for my blogging. I have never paid much mind to the very low number of visits my tool indicated I was getting. Occasionally I would be surprised by some post resulting in a jump in readership. For instance in 2006 I wrote about a cover drawn by John Byrne and inked by Joe Simon. For me it was just a mildly interesting case of an unexpected collaboration, but a Byrne web site linked to it and suddenly my readership sky-rocketed. (I always found it amusing that there is so much interested in a modern artist and so little in earlier masters; John Byrne is a talented artist but honestly he is no Jack Kirby.) After a few days following one of these unexpectedly popular posts, the number of hits would drop down and return to the normally low numbers.
That is what my first two years were like, but then something strange happened. This year after a readership jump the number of visits would not quite return to the previous value. In fact I began to notice increases even without any incoming links to popular posts. Currently my number of visits is almost an order of magnitude greater then last year. Now I know that I have not suddenly become a great writer. Further my posts continue to have the same narrow, historical focus. So if it is not me then I can only conclude that what has changed is a greater public interest in Simon and Kirby. I do not have to look hard to figure out what has caused this shift in public perception, it was Mark Evanier’s book “Kirby, King of Comics”. I believe Evanier’s book has had an impact that greatly surpasses any previous publication about Jack Kirby. And an increasing interest in Kirby has meant a greater recognition for Joe Simon as well. I also want to believe that Titan’s “The Best of Simon and Kirby” (see my previous post below) will further elevate public awareness of Simon and Kirby.
When I started this blog I had not even considered how long I would write about the Simon and Kirby studio. As this blog enters its fourth year I have still only scratched the surface. If nothing else there are many chapters to go in my serial post The Art of Romance. My new serial post, The Little Shop of Horrors, has just started. Although I believe that It’s A Crime has now gone past the time when the Prize crime titles were produced by S&K it still deserves some more chapters. And I do not intend that all my future posts will be limited to those particular serial posts. There are many other fertile grounds to cover.