Apr 8, 2014

Book Review: The Simon and Kirby Superheroes


BOOK REVIEW: The Simon and Kirby Superheroes

As an often obsessive lover of collecting, I have always hated the notion of "too much of a good thing". Such an idea is ridiculous and especially when applied to classic comics. It wasn't until I received a review copy of  The Simon and Kirby Superheroes, I at last truly understood this statement.

As far a collections go, this book is a hefty sized tome that is brimming with classic stories and heroes from the forties and fifties. Unique tales with characters that you may not be familiar with, but instantly recognize how they influenced subsequent decades worth of comic book writers and artists.

The stories have a certain charm to them, that is indicative of that era. Hollywood starlets and secret identities as mild manner gumshoes. These types of stories have been recycled and mimicked in so many tongue and cheek parodies, that it was difficult at times to stay in the moment and remain cognizant that these were stories from the 50's. This becomes quite a test as many of the stories have very overt levels of sexism and racism, which make for many cringe worthy bits of dialogue and character interactions.

These heroes are very different then the ones we know today. Almost none of them have any "Super Powers" to speak of an just in fact, grown men with a reasonable level of fitness and a pension for wearing spandex outfits and a domino mask. These seems to work out fine however, as most of the story's bad guys are easily dispatched with a well placed right cross to the jaw. The simplicity of the characters is just one of many aspects that would remind modern readers that these comics were squarely marketed to young boys and the not the man-child comics community that we inhabit today.

My draw to this was in fact the classic art and heavy nostalgia and in away that was also my chief criticism of the book. I found that I really had my fill of these stories after two or three. The juvenile level and formulaic nature of them really doesn't hold up across a coffee table sized anthology. 

Simon and Kirby were truly pioneers and birthed an industry that has now invaded every bit of pop culture. With that being said, I would definitely recommenced this collection to avid collectors more for the characters and nostalgia attached and much less so, for the enjoyment that you will get out of reading the stories.