The Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio

BOOK REVIEW

Publisher: Abrams Comicarts

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1160-2

Type: Hardcover

Pages: 382

Date: 2014

Price: $60.00 US / $69.00 CAN

I have followed the work of Jack Kirby for years and thought of him only in terms of his career with Marvel Comics, and somewhat with his brief work for DC Comics. But I never realized that those times weren’t the beginning of his story. Enter Joe Simon and the Simon and Kirby Studio.

I’ll leave the details of how these two creative geniuses met for when you read the book, but safe to say it is one of those ‘meant-to-be’ stories! They started out in the 1930’s and definitely left their mark.

The Simon and Kirby Studio was prolific, employing many artists as needed, and covering such material as:

Space Epics

Love Stories

Crime Stories

Westerns

Superheroes (The Fly, pictured above)

I learned that Simon would go out and get jobs for the studio by promising any kind of story that was needed to fill publications at the time. They were primarily a studio-for-hire at this point. Then Kirby would burn the midnight oil to churn out the images. Although Simon was more of a writer and business man, he also did artwork and other duties. In fact, everyone at the studio was expected to do whatever it took to meet a deadline!

The Sandman

Superheroes are probably what most readers buying this book will know Jack Kirby for. Perhaps thinking of Captain America or the later characters co-created by Stan Lee, like The Mighty Thor, among others. But in the early days it was The Sandman, Fighting American, and The Fly.

This book is mostly a reprinting of classic Simon and Kirby stories, in part or in their entirety. The book starts with a brief introduction by Mark Evanier and concludes with an even briefer afterward by Jim Simon.

COOL FACTOR: 3.5/5

I was expecting more of an in-depth look at the men and the studio they created, but instead got over 300 pages of comic strip panels. The artwork was amazing (if you appreciate the drawing style of Jack Kirby, as I do) but most of the stories were very dated. I didn’t know most of the characters, as they came from the 30’s and 40’s, so this too was a bit disappointing.

The Cool Factor will be much higher for diehard Kirby fans, and completests, but for the average comic book fan, it may not be what is expected.

For more on Jack Kirby, check out this blog entitled the Jack Kirby Museum. The curator has stopped posting new material, but it is still filled with many posts that delve into Kirby’s life and art.

How runDisney isn’t as bad as you think…

Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail. Enjoy the ride as we share our experiences, tips, and info to help you runDisney.

Image ©Disney

Image ©Disney

The Princess 5K.  My daughter and I are going to be running in the Princess 5K on February 20, 2015.  We did much of our training for the race during the summer/early fall, and now need to do a quick recap of the training in the month before our big event.  As we contemplated doing this, one thing that we both started thinking about was how crazy it seems to be going to Disney to do a race. What were we thinking?!

After a brief moment of panic — and I mean very brief — we both stopped and regrouped to get our bearings.  The first thing that I reminded Sophie about was that we weren’t doing a marathon or a half marathon — we were simply doing the Princess 5K.  The 5K is just 3.1 miles.  No sweat.  I’ve run 5Ks before, and when we visit the parks, we easily walk upwards of 10 miles in a day, so there isn’t any reason why we couldn’t do the runDisney Princess 5K.

In addition, I told myself that doing this event isn’t just about doing the run.  This is a moment when my daughter and I can connect on something that just she and I are doing.  Sophie is a typical 13 year old teenager — so if you are a parent of one that age, you know that the days when your baby wants to hang out with you and do things that you like to do together are starting to be few and far between.  This race has been a great way for the two of us to spend more time together, to do the things together and to extend that bond longer.

Also, the race is Frozen themed — and we all loved seeing Frozen so much that we saw it more times in the theater than I think we ever saw any other movie.

Lastly, when you do the race, you’ll receive one of these special medals — depending on which race you are doing:

Image ©Disney

Image ©Disney

So, in the end, the takeaway I have with the runDisney experience will be this (I hope):

runDisney: It isn’t as bad as you think!

What do you think?  Have you ever done a runDisney 5K or some other runDisney race?  What did you think of it?  Let me know in the comments, please, and thanks for stopping by!

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Home is Where the Mouse is.