Friday, March 07, 2014

Bruce Canyon, Flying Ace

Friday Comic Book Day.

Here is my new favorite Jack Kirby strip. Link The Flying Fool was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby when they came to Hillman after their first postwar series at Harvey failed. The first one appeared in May 1947. As some people have pointed uot, this series looks as if it was inspired by Milton Caniff's Steve Canyon, which did not appear in newspapers until january 1947. Caniff had worked on the strip in secret for a year. If you take into account the fact that comic were predated by a couple of months and that the whole thing had to be written, drawn and printed, that gives Simo and Kirby a very short time to have produced it. On the other hand, former Caniff assistant Ray Bailey had been doing a strip of his own that was very similar to the later Canyon, called Bruce Gentry. Although I don't think that it is likely that The Flying Fool was based on Gentry, I do think that the so-called secrecy around Canyon may have been overstated. Or maybe Simon and Kirby were capable of producing such a pretty strip in a manner of weeks.

Because pretty it is. It lacks the visual choas of many of their previous work and it is still all Simon and Kirby (where so much of their studio work later became a mishmash of styles). I think you see more traces of the later Jack Kirby here than in many places. Of course, some art spotters have seen other hands in these stories as well, but there are many visuals and concepts here that we would see later.

Th last story is not by Simon and Kirby, who left Hillman pretty soon after arriving there, because they got a better deal at Prize Comics and ere able to do their own books there. Their first effort, a new romance comic, became an industry changer on it's own. The story here may be by Carmine Infantino and Bernard Sachs. Infantino followed Simon and Kirby to Prize soon after and began working in a style that was very similar to Kirby's for a while.


Unknown said...

you're right, Ger.
these are lovely.
are they reprinted in any of these Simon and Kirby Library books from Titan, by any chance?


Thanks for posting these. Love your blog!

Ger Apeldoorn said...

I don't think they were reprinted in the Titan book, but someone please correct me if I am wrong. I had seen some in Greg Theakston's books, but never all together.

Unknown said...

GCD credits pencils for the last story (missing final page?) to Arthur Peddy. Figurework and panel design do look more like Peddy than Infantino.