The BOYS’ RANCH collection represents the one and only time I ever worked with the legendary Jack Kirby–and, even then, I never so much as spoke to him on the phone, communicating instead through his steadfast wife Roz.
BOYS’ RANCH is considered by many to be the pinnacle of the many achievements of the legendary Simon & Kirby team, no small feat when one takes into consideration that this same team brought the world Captain America, the Boy Commandos, and the romance comic.
This was the second of two hardcover Marvel Masterworks-style volumes collecting the work of the S & K Studio, and it was sitting in a drawer half-finished when I first became aware of it (largely because the first volume, dedicated to FIGHTING AMERICAN, hadn’t posted terrific sales). I actively campaigned to be allowed to finish it, and was granted my desire.
The book was designed by Joe Kaufman, who labored over it far more than many others would have. Originally, the book was to have been re-colored by Richard Howell–Richard had gone so far as to have finished several pages by the time I became involved. But ultimately it was decided to re-separate the book from the original comics, in order to cut down on costs. I didn’t help with the costs much myself, spending three times the usual budget for such things in commissioning introductions both from Jack Kirby and Joe’s son, Jim Simon.