The Simon & Kirby Library: Horror HC
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Price: $49.95
Creators: Joe Simon, Jack Kirby
Format: 320 pgs., Full-Color, Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-8485-6959-1
ICv2 Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Although best known for their legendary work with superheroes, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby excelled at every kind of comics, as demonstrated in The Simon & Kirby Library series.  Like in the previous volumes, Crime and Science Fiction, Horror collects stories they created and produced in that genre which appeared in Black Magic and Strange World of Your Dreams.
To be honest I'm not the biggest fan of horror comics, especially ones from the 1950's.  I've always been able to appreciate the talent of some of their creators, but as a genre the horror short story has always left me cold.  Probably due to their overuse of predictable plot "twists" most readers could see coming a mile off, and their over-reliance on the theme of gruesome revenge.  I wasn't expecting Simon and Kirby's approach to the material to be all that different; but I couldn't have been more wrong.
Along with being drawn in a style that's genuinely unsettling, the best of these stories do a remarkable job of creating a palpable mood of dread by mixing the everyday with the outre.  They also feature ideas that are decades ahead of their time.  Like in "The Greatest Horror of Them All" about a secluded sanctuary for "freaks" or "The Head of the Family" that features a proto-Addams Family  type weird family, both of which have endings I couldn't see coming.  You needn't be a fan of horror comics or Simon and Kirby to truly enjoy these unsettling stories.
--Steve Bennett: Writer and retail services consultant