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Joe Simon & Jack Kirby 's Romance Comic In Love, Up for Auction

In 1954, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby returned to the romance comic genre they had created, with their own publication, In Love.

Article Summary

  • Joe Simon & Jack Kirby launched In Love, innovating romance comics with longer stories.
  • Mainline Publications' titles, including In Love, were scrutinized in Senate hearings.
  • The public backlash and distribution issues caused Mainline Publications to fold.
  • In Love #1 is on auction; a Simon & Kirby piece with baseball romance and action drama.

Joe Simon and Jack Kirby were a Golden Age comic book force, not only creating Captain America in 1939, but also the romance comic in the forties, which spurred a successful genre in and of itself. They had moved from creating comics to producing comics with other talent, including themselves, for comic book publishers, but in 1954, they started publishing comic books themselves with Mainline Publications 1954, distributed by Leader News.

And so they jumped onto their own bandwagon with their own title, In Love. Trying to stand out in the market, however, the promised one story that would run through the whole issue rather than the usual anthology set-up. It wasn't entirely true; the book did have a couple of two-page short stories, but it was still a longer story than the standard romance comic set up on the stands at the time.

Mainline Publications published four titles: western Bullseye: Western Scout, the war comic Foxhole, In Love and the crime comic Police Trap. Exhibited by Dr Frederick Wertham in the Senate hearings against comics, some of their content was targeted for content concerns. The bad publicity overall saw the comics market, which supported 650 titles, drop to 250 almost overnight. Leader News dropped smaller publishers and Mainline couldn't find distribution, so the company folded. Its remaining content was picked up and republished by Charlton including subsequent issues of In Love. The collapse also ended the working relationship between Simon and Kirby.

A copy of In Love #1 is currently up for auction from Heritage Auctions, with current bids totalling $60. And while it may be a romance comic, it is also a sports action comic,  as rookie baseball player Warren romances and marries Patty, the daughter of the team's owner, a situation he learns to resent!

When Joe Simon & Jack Kirby Published Their Own Romance Comics

In Love #1 Condition: VG-. Joe Simon and Jack Kirby art. Has a 1.75: spine split at the bottom, and some spine fray. Overstreet 2023 VG 4.0 value = $136.

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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