This one really should have been the blockbuster that Stan Lee and Martin Goodman feared that Harvey was going to produce with Joe Simon heading up their attempt to jump onto the super hero bandwagon in 1966. Spyman was the brainchild of future Marvel superstar Jim Steranko. But apart from the odd spot illustration (such as the diagram of Spyman’s electro-robot hand on this cover) Simon wouldn’t let him draw the strip, and so it became mired in mundanity and never took off. Given Steranko’s eventual success on the similar Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD strip, it’s easy to see just what Spyman might have become.
The Grand Comics Database credits the writing on this issue to Jim Steranko, but I don’t know how much of it may have been reworked along the way by Joe Simon. The main artist on this story was George Tuska, and the GCD suggests several inkers, including Mike Esposito, Carl Pfeufer and Tuska himself.
One thought on “Brand Echh – Spyman #1”
If Lee and Goodman feared Simon producing a blockbuster for Harvey — real competition like they weren’t getting from National — I wonder if the concern rested on a misunderstanding about how much of a creative force Simon was at Simon+Kirby. I’ll give him Cap and the romance comic genre and… that’s about it. But I think a lot that Kirby did with S+K was presumed to be S when it was K.
Easiest proof: Compare their respective careers after Simon+Kirby broke up.
And speaking of Kirby as a writer, I think I just became really curious about how FF 25 and 26 — mind-blowing AF when it came out — came to be. I think, of late, I’ve maybe been over-estimating Kirby’s contribution. I mean, I’ve been assuming a two part FF/Hulk/Avengers story was all Kirby’s idea but maybe it was Lee’s, and maybe the plot was heavily Kirby?