- click images for full size splendor -


Sunday, March 7, 2010

POST # 33 - "IN THE DAYS OF THE MOB" by Jack Kirby and Vinnie Colletta

Sometimes it pays to have friends!

Regular readers of my blogs know I am not the most regular or punctual of bloggers...I never seem to find enough time to keep all seventeen of my blogs organized and on schedule. Yet.

That is why I am grateful to my fellow comic blogger LYSDEXICUSS, creator and author of TEN CENT DREAMS as well as his new personal art showcase HUNGRY COMIX.

Today's post comes courtesy of Lysdexicuss, and it is a stunning example of black and white stories by none other than the king himself, Jack Kirby, aided ably by inker Vince Colletta.

I have little need to explain who either artist is to you, my knowledgable readers. I don't need to share that Kirby was born on August 28th, 1917, that his real name is Jacob Kurtzberg, and that he grew up on Suffolk Street in Manhattan's Lower East Side. That he grew up reading classic adventure stories by H.G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs, as well as pulp magazines, is probably common knowledge. Kirby had no formal art education in his youth, but he almost did. After enrolling in Pratt Institute and attending one day of class, young Jack came home to find his father had lost his job. No more Pratt Institute for him. The next day he was out selling newspapers to help support his family.

It was in this depression era that young Jack became part of a local boy's club, the Boy's Brotherhood Republic, or BBR for short (this may explain his fondness for drawing comics like the Boy Commandos, Boys Ranch, and the Boy Explorers later in his career). It was there that he began what is one of the most amazing careers any comic artist has ever experienced, as  from 1933 to 1935 he drew his first feature, Kurtzberg's Konceptions, printed as a mimeographed newsletter that sold for a penny apiece. In 1935 he started working for Max Fleischer Studios, doing work as an 'in-betweener' for animators (filling in poses in between the other artist's poses). In 1937 he drew his first daily comic strip, The Lone Rider, and soon after began working for the Eisner-Iger studios. 

In the early 1940's, Jack met future partner Joe Simon, whose collaboration would produce, among other things, their most famous creation, Captain America. Later, it was his collaboration with Stan Lee at Marvel Comics that would earn Kirby the nickname of  "The King", as his powerful and dynamic style set the tone for just about every comic book to come after that point, ushering in the revolution known as the Marvel Age Of Comics in the 60's.

Vince Colletta's name has become a polarizing force in recent days, and I don't desire to add any more fuel to that controversy, other than to say that I feel some of his best work, aside from the romance comics that he is heavily identified with, is when he was inking Kirby. Many fine artists worked as inkers for Kirby in the 60's, and in my mind Colletta was one of them, his work on The Mighty Thor remains a much beloved example to many fans. The story posted here is another wonderful example of his skills as an inker.
(for more of my thoughts on V.C., you can check out my comments on Jacque Nodell's SEQUENTIAL CRUSH, here.)

Aside from a short story intermission (written by Mark Evanier and Steve Sherman), all of these stories were written and edited by Kirby, and published in 1971 under DC Comics Hampshire Distribution banner (the only comic published that way). I now present to you, courtesy of Lysdexicuss, a beautiful example of Kirby's art in a rare black and white format. I hope you will enjoy...



An extra bonus, here are two pages of gangster cartoons that also appeared in this issue, as drawn by the incomparable
Sergio Aragones.



  1. I read that Vince Colletta also did the half tones in these stories. What great scans, it's amazing to see the unbelievable range.....I mean, Kirby-Colletta Thors compared to Kirby-Colletta Days of the Mob.....same artists, completely different style of art. I challenge anyone without prior knowledge to surmise the two books were drawn by the same art team.

    Simply brilliant. Any knocks on this stuff could only come from hard-core haters.

  2. YO!How'll youse doin',this is da Brooklyn Cyclone tawkin' to ya.I gotta tell yas dat dese mobstas comix iz da bomb,baby.Hey why not keep dese gangsta stories goin,know what I'm sayin'?Like ya make a blog dedicated ta all my la familia and my buddies in the hood.Dat's a genre all in itself dat could be enjoyed by tuff guys like yours truly.Hard nose detective,cop and other crime related comics.But don't give up the B&W either or me and my boys might come after ya!Just kiddin',I luv whatcha doin' here.Keep it comin'Ciao

  3. Thanks to all involved for posting this issue. I've wanted to read it for many years and it was well worth the wait.

    Since I don't actually own a copy, I will console myself by pulling some issues of Kirby's Black Panther series and rereading those today.

  4. I remember seeing this magazine advertised in other publications, but it didn't show-up in the racks in the area of Lincoln Park, NJ.

  5. IN NY,
    I have to agree with you. I feel that this is some beautiful Kirby AND Colletta art!

    Brooklyn Cyclone,
    'ay, badabing! Now youse is talking! A crime-type blog thing would be the bomb! (No, Lefty, not a real bomb...put that thing away!)If I didn't already have my hands full here already, I'd say, "Hey! Dat Brooklyn Cyclone has got a brainstorm over here!" So do me a favor, eh? Tell your boys to stop coming to my door with a baseball bat, askin' me to pick a knee-cap! Hey! I need both of 'em!
    Thanks fer droppin' in!

    I'll make sure Lysdexicuss gets the word!

    I have experienced that before! The only thing that didn't make it into the post was a couple of pages with some random photos of the 'gangster era', and general gangster articles.

    Thanks, everyone!

  6. You challenge us to notice what's brutally apparent, that Jack and Vinny did the artwork?!? I mean, geez, its obvious. Now, if it somehow looked like Infantino inked by Rudy Nebres and you have to convince us its Jack & Vinny, alright then... But it's not that "off" of Jack's DC nor later Marvel work. And Vinnie's a constant.

  7. Anonymous,

    I appreciate you taking time to leave a comment, though I am not quite sure where you picked up the notion that I 'challenged' anyone to do anything. As you said, the artists were clearly obvious, and I thought that my introduction to the story made that apparent. The artists names and story credits were never in doubt, and I don't recall attempting to try to convince anyone of anything.

    I found the art to be some of Kirby and Colletta's best, and said so. I have re-read my intro to the post over again to try to understand where your comment is coming from, but I still don't see any challenge or attempts to convince anyone of anything. The artist credits were clearly displayed on the original story, and in GCD's online directory, and all I did was mention my admiration for the art and for both artists.

    I appreciate you taking time to leave a comment, and I hope you enjoy the stories I post here. Thanks.

  8. WOW. Thanks so much for posting these. I've been looking around online today for all I can find about this magazine, and most of the story pages were posted at the "Crime & Punishment" blog-- but, you've got ALL of them, and, BIGGER scans! Plus, so far you've got the biggest scan I've been able to find anywhere of the cover, which will come in handy for my own blog, "Professor H's Wayback Machine" (once I clean it up a bit).

    I look forward to reading these, and seeing if I can write some kind of sensible review of my own. Thanks again!

    1. Henry,
      Thank you for your comments and for your appreciation! Sorry it took so long to reply....I was away for a long time!