Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Phantom Harveys!


The 1950's were tough times for comics. For the famous team of Simon and Kirby, a relatively tough period followed the failure of their attempt at their own comics brand. The team, which had persisted since the early days of the Golden Age finally broke up and Jack Kirby was working for both DC and Atlas/Marvel on his own. Joe Simon was casting about working as an editor and whatnot. The run of Phantom stories in the early Harvey comic Harvey Hits, seems to be a series in which the art is open to considerable dispute. Joe Simon is credited with the artwork to the cover of the debut issue.


Here's the original artwork for that action-filled cover. Frankly I see more than a whisper of Jack Kirby in the horse figure, but no one seems to credit him with this work.



Here is the signed hectic splash page by Joe Simon for that very first issue.


The next Phantom adventure in the series features this cover and some want to attribute it to Jack Kirby. Frankly I see less Kirby in this one than I do the first issue, though the framing of the cover does suggest him. The figure work seems less Kirbyesque and more Simonized to me.


Here's the original artwork for that cover. It is dramatic.


While the Grand Comic Book Database credits the cover of  Harvey Hits #12 to Al Avison, other sources suggest this is also a Joe Simon effort. The small attacking figure sure looks like Simon to me. Some say Kirby had a hand in this one, but I don't see much to suggest it.

Al Avison is credited with most of the remaining Harvey Hits Phantom covers which appeared regularly thoughout the remainder of the run. Here's a cover gallery.


The perspective in this one is all over the place, but it still commands attention.


Once again the perspective is more than a bit wonky.


Nice image, though Devil looks rather like a kitten facing off against the lion.


Dramatic, and focused, a more successful image for sure.


This one is a champ,  a dandy and nigh iconic image of the Ghost Who Walks. I won't quibble aobut the arms. Outstanding!

And while it's arguable whether "King" Kirby had anything to do with the covers above, there's no denying his hand in this action-filled image developed for a never-to-be Phantom cartoon series. I wish I could find a better scan of this, but so be it.


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7 comments:

  1. How come these issues aren't being collected too?

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    1. Search me. The Hermes guys seemed to have skipped over them.

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  2. I was wondering the same thing. Hermes Press is supposedly reprinting the "complete" comic books (with a total of eight volumes), in chronological order, yet they somehow skipped these books and started with the Gold Key issues.
    Given that they are running all 77 issues, plus separate volumes for the newspaper strips, it makes me wonder of a separate volume will be made for the differing numbering sequences for the Harvey issues.

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    1. These are not part of the numbering begun under Gold Key, continued under King, and finished under Charlton. Maybe later.

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  3. I didn't know there was a harvey series!

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  4. There's no Kirby in any of those covers although I can see where some folks might think so. The problem is that Simon and Kirby shared inking and pencilling duties so much over 15 years or so that many presume what is Simon's natural style to be Kirby's. Add to that the fact that Simon, especially at Harvey, often purposely drew in the style of other artists (Say, Chester Gould on DICK TRACY) and that Al Avison had started out imitating Simon and Kirby at Timely on features like CAPTAIN AMERICA. Remember, no one ever figured any of this was going to be remembered beyond a month or so after it came out.

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