Following is a list of all of Kirby's Panther covers that I know of – there will be others that were either unsigned or I've never seen a copy of (and many of the ones listed below aren't in my meagre collection, sadly).
I'm sorry Josh feels embarrassed or in some way disinterested in his earlier cover work. I can appreciate that editorial hands were involved in censoring images, but what was left is still beautiful.
During my golden age of reading (roughly 14-18, back when I had no responsibilities and could read 2 or 3 books in a day!) most of the paperbacks being produced had photo covers, except science fiction where we had Chris Foss and other great artists producing covers. New English Library had some great photo covers on their Skinhead and biker books; Sphere seemed to attach a naked woman or two to any title; but for my money, I still preferred the painted covers. One of the reasons I started collecting older paperbacks was simply to have the opportunity to relish the superb artistry of people like Sam Peffer, Edward Mortelmans, and Kirby himself. Panther had some superb artists: Derek Stowe, John Vernon, and the incomparable Cy Webb – who, under the name Heade, was the best "good girl" cover artist of the fifties.
The good thing about Kirby's work in this era was that he was not typecast. There's Westerns (Dan Cushman, Steve Frazee), Crime (Cousins), True War, Non-fiction, Science Fiction and a lot of movie tie-ins (MTI). The latter is the real test. I think: you know you have a good artist when he's asked to do the MTI covers. If we were to poll collectors of paperbacks, I would expect to find that the cover of The Camp on Blood Island is one of the most enduring – so good that Hammer even put it on the movie poster as a tiny vignette.
So, my opinion is that Josh has nothing to be embarrassed about. Obviously we're not carrying the memory of arguing with editors and being asked to alter things – we don't know what vision he originally had for each cover. But we do know the printed end result and, believe me, they're great!
By the way, Cee Tee Man was in a different file, which is why it doesn't show up here. There were also six covers for Authentic SF mag. from 1957 on. I can't see any SF that you don't have.
Yes, I'd love to see a list of Kirby's work. It will probably fill in quite a few gaps. Also, would love to hear if he has any stories from those days. I believe the art editor at Panther was Ed Blandford; I don't know anything about Blandford, only that he ended up in the 1970s drawing 8-page back-up comic strips for things like War Picture Library and they weren't very good (very stiff figurework and unimaginative angles).
- 507 Leeming, John F. ALWAYS TOMORROW (Oct) 1955, 190pp, 2/-, [anon] reissued 1956; reissued 1957, 185pp, 2/- [Kirby]
- 600 Middleton, E.E. THE CRUISE OF THE KATE With an introduction by Arthur Ransome (Sep) 1956, 192pp 2/6, [Kirby] Nautical Series #7
- 609 Lewin, Robert (Novelised by Gordon Landsborough) THE BOLD AND THE BRAVE (Jul 1956), 157pp, 2/-, [Kirby] PBO
- 637 Junge, Werner AFRICAN JUNGLE DOCTOR (Oct) 1956, 192pp, 2/6, [Taylor] Book of the Month #6 reissued c1960 with new cover [Kirby]
- 649 MacKenzie, Col. K.P. OPERATION RANGOON 1957, 159pp, 2/-, [Kirby]
- 692 Hubbard, L. Ron RETURN TO TOMORROW 1957, 2/-, [Kirby] 1st GB
- 694 Cushman, Dan BADLANDS JUSTICE 1957, 2/-, [Kirby]
- 700 Lipsky, Eleazar THE KISS OF DEATH (Jul) 1957, 160pp, 2/-, [Kirby]
- 701 Dale, Estil THE LAST SURVIVOR (Jul) 1957, 160pp, 2/-, [Kirby]
- 718 Green, Alan THEY DIED LAUGHING (Sep) 1957, 192pp, 2/6, [Kirby]
- 720 Frazee, Steve THE GUN THROWERS (Sep 1957), 2/-, [Kirby]
- 722 Croft, Michael SPARE THE ROD (May) 1957, 189pp, [Kirby] reissued 1961, 157pp, MTI cover
- 723 Cleary, Jon JUST LET ME BE 1957, 2/6, [Kirby]
- 724 Cunningham, A.B. STRANGE RETURN (Oct) 1957, 192pp, 2/6, [Kirby]
- 726 Croft-Cooke, Rupert SEVEN THUNDERS 1957, 2/6, [Kirby]
- 727 Cunningham, A.B. SKELETON IN THE CLOSET (Nov) 1957, 2/-, [Kirby]
- 732 Hagen, Louis FOLLOW MY LEADER (Nov 1957), 364pp, 3/6, [Kirby]
- 735 Courtney, Roger AFRICAN ARGOSY (Dec) 1957, 160pp, 2/6, [Kirby]
- 736 Gant, Roland FIVE OF A KIND (Jan) 1958, 2/6, [Kirby]
- 737 FitzGibbon, Constantine THE SHIRT OF NESSUS (Jan) 1958, 2/6, [Kirby]
- 745 Gheerbrant, Alain THE IMPOSSIBLE ADVENTURE Translated by Edward Fitzgerald 1958, 318pp, 3/6, [Kirby]
- 756 Thomas, W.B. THE TOUCH OF PITCH (Feb) 1958, 192pp, 2/6, [Kirby]
- 763 De Rouen, Reed SPLIT IMAGE 1958, 160pp, [Kirby]
- 765 Uris, Leon THE ANGRY HILLS (Mar 1958), 2/6, [Kirby] reissued 1958 with MTI cover [Derek Stowe]
- 767 Walker, David E. LUNCH WITH A STRANGER (Mar) 1958, 160pp, 2/-, [Kirby]
- 774 Maltz, Maxwell DOCTOR PYGMALION (Mar) 1958, 192pp, 2/6, [Kirby]
- 786 Makepeace-Lott, S. ESCAPE TO VENUS 1958, 192pp, 2/6, [Kirby]
- 797 Fair, A.A. BEDROOMS HAVE WINDOWS (Apr) 1958, 2/6, [Kirby]
- 798 Turner, John Frayn PRISONER AT LARGE (May) 1958, 159pp, 2/-, [Kirby]
- 801 Davis, William Hassoldt THE JUNGLE AND THE DAMNED 1958, 191pp, 2/6, [Kirby]
- 805 White, J.M. & Val Guest (Novelised by Arthur Kent & Gordon Thomas) THE CAMP ON BLOOD ISLAND 1958, 2/6, [Kirby] PBO, MTI
- 814 King, Evan CHILDREN OF THE BLACK-HAIRED PEOPLE (Apr) 1958, 320pp, 3/6, [Kirby]
- 818 Bates, H.E. CHARLOTTE'S ROW (May) 1958, 192pp, 2/6, [Kirby]
- 821 Marshall, Edison THE VIKINGS (May) 1958, 224pp, 2/6, [Kirby] MTI
- 824 Asimov, Isaac THE CURRENTS OF SPACE (Jun) 1958, 192pp, [Kirby]
- 835 Asimov, Isaac THE CAVES OF STEEL (Sep) 1958, 189pp, 2/6, [Kirby]
- 839 Sangster, Jimmy* THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN (Aug) 1958, 158pp, 2/6, [Kirby] PBO, MTI *based on a screenplay by Jimmy Sangster with additional dialogue by Hurford Janes*
- 854 Mason, F. Van Wyck THE BARBARIANS (Nov 1958), 2/6, [Kirby]
- 855 Sale, Richard & William Wister Haines TORPEDO RUN (Dec 1958), 2/6, [Kirby] MTI
- 865 Linklater, Eric THE SAILOR'S HOLIDAY Dec 1958, 159pp, 2/6, [Kirby] ?reissued with new cover [Doug]?
- 868 Cousins, E.G. WINE OF WAR (Moab is my Washpot) (May) 1959, 2/6, [Kirby]
- 877 Brancati, Vitaliano ANTONIO THE GREAT LOVER (Il Bell'Antonio) Translated by Vladimir Kean (Jan) 1959, 192pp, 2/6, [Kirby]
- 879 Colin, Sid & Jack Davies I ONLY ARSKED! Nov 1958, 155pp, RI, 2/6, [Kirby] PBO, MTI
- 890 Stead, Philip John VIDOCQ Feb 1959, 224pp, 2/6, [Kirby]
- 936 Hibbert, Christopher THE ROAD TO TYBURN 1959, 2/6, [Kirby]
- 966 Cousins, E.G. UNTIMELY FROST (Oct 1959), 2/6, [Kirby]
- 1009 Brelis, Dean THE MISSION Jan 1960, 140pp, 2/6, [Kirby]
- 1037 Weeks, William Rawle KNOCK AND WAIT AWHILE (Apr) 1960, 222pp, [Kirby]
I've boldfaced the titles Josh Kirby actually admits to. In Cloud Chamber I said there were nine: Steve's list omits Cee-Tee Man by Dan Morgan, as he says, and stops before Josh's further 1960 paintings for The Twenty-Second Century by John Christopher and Ossian's Ride by Fred Hoyle. – Dave Langford