So, I was reading my copy of the charming The Jack Kirby Reader, 160 pages of old Jack Kirby stuff from his pre-Marvel days (including very early Socko the Seadog comic strips, in which one can see very little, if anything of what Kirby later become known for). Most of the post-Socko material is apparently written by the other half of the old dynamic duo, Joe Simon, but it’s hardly his finest work — what we get is adventure, crime and romance comics, and honestly, most of it is fairly inane; I’m sure it put bread on the table for the pair, but it’s all very run of the mill… and yet the stories are well-told and fascinating snapshots of the 1940s’ mindset: crime doesn’t pay because criminals are inherently morally inferior; the tales of illicit activities are told by penitent women who’re thankful for their jail sentences; it’s accepted without question that it’s wholly improper for unmarried women to spend any time in bachelors’ apartments; the happiest possible ending for any woman equals receiving a proposal from the clean-cut Mr. Right…
By now, the art is recognizably Kirby and predictably good, but that incredible Kirby dynamic has yet to truly manifest itself — in fact, compared to the early Captain America stuff Kirby did, it almost seems like a step backward; his art has improved a great deal, but the panels tend to be pretty small and the compositions are fairly straightforward… almost boring by his standards. Almost.
Just the same, it’s interesting stuff.
Anyway, moving on to the actual point: here’s a moment of unintentional hilarity, brought to you by messrs. Simon and Kirby in November, 1949, in Young Romance #15:
“I was a normal, respectable girl who thought of love as a beautiful, tender experience… but then I met HIM! To be in his arms, I found myself lying, cheating, loitering in shadows, descending step by step into the degrading depths of dishonor! It was all he could offer! And I shamefully accepted his BACK DOOR LOVE!”
One up the bum, no harm done.
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