Preview | 'The Simon & Kirby Library: Science Fiction'

Arriving in bookstores today is The Simon & Kirby Library: Science Fiction, a 320-page collection from Titan Books that spans more than 20 years, beginning with the very first collaboration between Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

Before they created Captain America, the legendary duo worked together on Simon's Blue Bolt, a character whose origin, in the words of Don Markstein, "is even more excruciating than that of most superheroes": College football star Fred Parrish is struck by lightning during practice, and then stumbles to an airplane to fly for help -- only to be struck again by lightning. The plane crashes, depositing Parrish underground, conveniently where a scientist named Bertoff has established a laboratory. The danger-prone athlete is revived and treated with radium, which grants him with lightning powers. Oh, and he also gets a lightning gun. Hey, it was the 1940s.

Kirby came aboard Blue Bolt with the second issue; their 10-issue run is collected here (subsequent issues featured the work of familiar names like Dan Barry, Tom Gill and Mickey Spillane).

Other stories collected include Race for the Moon (inked by Reed Crandall, Angelo Torres and Al Williamson), Solar Patrol (Simon), Solar Legion (Kirby), The Cadmus Seed, The Face on Mars, The Last Enemy and Bast-Off, as well as stories illustrated by Crandall, Torres, Williamson and Wally Wood, without Kirby. Plus, there's an introduction by Dave Gibbons.

Titan has provided ROBOT 6 with Simon and Kirby's very first Blue Bolt story (and thus their first work together), which you can see below. (All content is © 2013 the Estate of Joe Simon and the Estate of Jack Kirby.)

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