We spoke to Titan Books editor Steve Saffel at New York Comic Con about the next volume of the Simon & Kirby Library (see "Titan’s Simon & Kirby Collections to Continue").
Tell us about the art for this volume.
Joe [Simon] retained more than 80 pages of original artwork, in particular for Race for the Moon, and some of the other late 50s, early 60s science fiction, so we have a huge number of these pages. They were penciled by Kirby; they were inked by [Al] Williamson (although Joe recalled Angelo Torres and Reed Crandall working on them, and when I asked Angelo about them the other day, he honestly didn’t remember, he thought it was entirely possible because the three of them were working very closely together at that point).
Because we have so many pages from that era, we’re going to go ahead and break our pattern on this book and include some beautiful Torres, Williamson and Crandall original pages—stories done for Joe through the studio. Joe didn’t necessarily write them. Joe was at this point doing all of this work for Harvey, and through Harvey he was commissioning new work by some amazing people.
We could’ve included [Bob] Powell, we could’ve included Doug Wildey, but we didn’t really want to go that far afield so we included the people who actually collaborated with Kirby under Simon’s direction.
Now, the one place that we got a little weird was a strip called "Clawfang the Barbarian" that Wally Wood wrote--weirdly enough this is a post-apocalyptic barbarian story written by Wally Wood. Al Williamson illustrated that and because of that there was also a science fiction story by Wood that we decided to throw in, so you’re going to get 'Earth Man' by Wally Wood.
So this book is going to break pattern a bit and have other artists other than Joe and Jack for the first time. It is going to include all of the Simon and Kirby run on Blue Bolt from 1940. That’s going to include the never reprinted first origin story of Blue Bolt, just by Joe Simon. Then as of Book 2 Joe had brought Jack in, pretty much simultaneously with the Captain America work, you had Blue Bolt.
The thing about this that’s really cool is that Dave Gibbons had been pleading with us to do a science fiction edition for years, and he just straight out begged to do the forward. And we were sort of like, "Well I don’t know, I suppose we’ll let Dave Gibbons do something for the book." He did a wonderful piece because it was really Race for the Moon that launched him into comics.