Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fly Papers!



When Joe Simon reunited with is long time partner Jack Kirby to bring out some new "superheroes" for Archie Comics, the duo reached into the classic well of vintage origins to cobble together The Fly.


The story of The Fly begins in the Westwood Orphanage, one apparently from the heady days of Dickensian moral values where a gaggle of put-upon lads find strength in the indomitable spirit of Tommy Troy. The long story short, Tommy finds a cask which opens to reveal a mysterious trans-dimensional alien/sorceror who imbues the boy with the ability to transform into a full-grown man, one with magnificent powers, powers akin to those of a fly.


The Fly then wastes no time in foiling the schemes of Westwood's immoral caretaker and gangsters.


Tommy though finds himself farmed out so to speak to Ezra and Abigail March, a wretched old couple who use the boy as effective slave labor. It is within these comforts that the story of The Fly unfolds, the twin concerns of a young boy and a mighty hero seeking justice.


Far and away the tour de force of the issue is the double-page spread which introduces the costumed villain Spider Spry.


Spry supplies an adequate enemy for The Fly, but is in himself relatively unimpressive, only interesting in counterpoint. Enough of a villain, but little else.




The Fly (under that title) lasts a few more issues, but Simon and Kirby have less and less to do with its production. A sure product of the 60's The Fly seems a throwaway, but there's something in all that blend of superhero tropes that adds up to more than the sum of the parts. The Fly sticks.

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2 comments:

  1. Kirby actually had very little to do with the Fly, most of the art and story being by Simon in that first issue. Simon hangs on 'til issue 4, abetted by everyone from Jack Davis to a very young Neal Adams--whose single panel cut from a submission was used without permission according to Neal! John Rosenberger and John Giunta were the main artists as the series continued on to issue 31--with guest spts in LAUGH and PEP--before becoming the more Marvel-like Fly Man under Paul Reinman and (mainly) Jerry Siegel.

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