Tuesday, April 16, 2019

JACK KIRBY's "Lightnin' and the Lone Rider" (1939)


I'm no Jack Kirby expert. I first met him in Fantastic Four #19, because that was the first Marvel comic I bought. But near as I can discover, he began his professional career in 1936, drawing humor and "real fact" strips for Lincoln Features Syndicate.

According to historian Allan Holtz on the blog Strippers Guide (HERE), "Lightnin' and the Lone Rider" first appeared in the New Jersey newpaper New Brunswick Home News on January 9, 1939 (whether it also appeared in other papers is as yet unknown). Why did the horse get top billing? Beats me. As "Lance Kirby," Jack drew the strip for six weeks, after which he was replaced by Frank Robbins. The writing was credited to Bob W. Farrell.

Most of this work was reprinted, for the first time in color, in Famous Funnies 62-66 between September 1939 and January 1940, and is presented here as found on comicbookplus (made possible through the efforts of freddyfly and KaineZ). Each row on the pages below represents one day of the newspaper strip. On the eighth and final page, Kirby did the first two strips, while Robbins drew the last two. 

A few months later, Kirby did more work on the strip, apparently for a Sunday version, which I'll feature in a future post. Here we go: