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John Byrne
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Grumpy Old Guy

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Posted: 10 February 2023 at 1:34pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

One of the pieces hanging on my Studio walls is a Kirby/Sinnott BLACK PANTHER page. On reduced stock (10x15 inches) it is in marked contrast to most of the art in my “Kirby Korner”, which are predominantly 12x18” size.

These covers, seen in this thread, would have been done in the smaller format.

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Dave Kopperman
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Posted: 10 February 2023 at 2:05pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

 JB wrote:
What do we suppose it was like for Kirby, working from sketches provided by other artists?

That's the question that's been lurking for me behind this entire thread. He was visual architect of the Marvel style, and the sketches he was given were being done by people doing their level best to ape that. Based on his general mood in the decade following, I'd say it was yet another insult that he stewed on.
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John Wickett
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Posted: 10 February 2023 at 3:35pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

"Klaus Janson inked the cover of Defenders #42, which was posted earlier in this thread."

I love Kirby and Janson, but that was a bad combination in my opinion; the only one of those Defenders covers I don't like.  There is no clear focal point, and the character posing is very odd.  What is Valkyrie doing?

In this case I think the problem is Janson.  They have completely different styles, and his attempt to mimic Kirby's style in the cover sketch doesn't work.  The Milgrom covers look a lot more like something Kirby would draw.
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 10 February 2023 at 4:12pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

What do we suppose it was like for Kirby, working from sketches provided by other artists? Basically, reduced to “art robot” at the company he helped create.
_______________________

As mentioned upthread (Jason on page 4), apparently Kirby WANTED to be "art robot" when he was talking to Roy Thomas about returning to FANTASTIC FOUR.  Maybe he didn't want to think about the work too much or maybe he was all plotted out on FF.  Maybe he just didn't want to think about these covers either.

As I've said, I loved his writer/artist stint on CAPTAIN AMERICA--I think it's his best solo work!  I recently read his complete ETERNALS for the first time, and that seemed more than just a job to him.  I don't know how invested he was on BLACK PANTHER, DEVIL DINOSAUR, 2001, or MACHINE MAN, but he seemed to be doing exactly what he wanted to be doing on CAP and ETERNALS at least.

Maybe he was saving his creativity for those two and enjoyed being just "art robot" on (not thinking about) the random covers.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 10 February 2023 at 4:39pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

When he returned to Marvel after his ego-crushing stint at DC, it seemed very much that Kirby had the wind taken out of his sails. It didn’t help that a growing portion of fans seemed to take such delight in dismissing his work (“Jack the Hack”), and that some of those people were working at Marvel. And running comic shops.

It became high sport to mock his sometimes odd use of bold words and his “PS-101” approach the grammar. A particularly contemptuous example is to be found in the WHAT IF..? that featured the original Marvel bullpen becoming the Fantastic Four. The editor “cleaned up” all the copy except Kirby’s, basically emphasizing his quirks.

As I’ve often said, one of the few good things the proto-Image boys did was adopting Kirby as essentially their “mascot”, compelling their fans to accept and rehabilitate him.

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Jose Zulueta
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Posted: 10 February 2023 at 5:17pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply


It's too bad Kirby never got to do at least one cover of the All-New, All-Different X-Men. Wonder what a Kirby take would've been like for this one? 


But Kirby did get to draw Magneto for Captain America Annual 4, and even referenced the X-Men in one panel. 



So would we, Cap ... so would we!!


Edited by Jose Zulueta on 10 February 2023 at 5:23pm
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 10 February 2023 at 7:12pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I suppose I just love to see the Kirby style applied to characters like Iron Man, The Black Panther Nova and Tigra even if the layout is somebody else's. I get the same buzz from when Barry Smith and sometimes Keith Giffen were in Kirby mode... but I didn't ever find Rich Buckler much a Kirby clone as some seemed to say... Chic Stone on his own was almost Kirby style gone squirrely. '80s Kirby on Captain Victory and Silver Star was a bit like that too, maybe a bit too 'potent'?

I thought Kirby on Superman was 'interesting', kind of like when Joe Kubert drew Superman the odd time, but not a character I'd want to see him on regularly, so the DC period seems mismatched in part... I'd have loved to see him on Green Lantern (plus he had done Green Arrow before) but perhaps after Neal Adams there'd have been those complainers? Kamandi seemed quite popular in sales, while The New Gods and Mister Miracle etc. seemed to stop and start and might've been harder to follow? Omac was really bizarre SF too and maybe just not enough older readers at the time? The two artists whose work I had the most trouble reading when I was little were Kirby and Adams, but when I got older I really appreciated them.
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Jason Czeskleba
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Posted: 10 February 2023 at 8:37pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

 Eric Jansen wrote:
As mentioned upthread (Jason on page 4), apparently Kirby WANTED to be "art robot" when he was talking to Roy Thomas about returning to FANTASTIC FOUR.  Maybe he didn't want to think about the work too much or maybe he was all plotted out on FF.  Maybe he just didn't want to think about these covers either.
Kirby did not feel "plotted out" on FF.  According to Roy Thomas, the reason Kirby was only willing to be art robot in a prospective collaborative venture is that he was concerned that otherwise he would be asked to do too much of the work for too little of the credit/pay.  Roy attempted to address this with discussion of paying him for plotting (something he had not received in the 60s) as well as the idea of giving him top billing.  But Kirby's prior experiences with the Marvel Method in the 60s had left him pretty much unwilling to ever work that way again.  It's notable that every single post-1970 instance in which Kirby worked with another writer (with one exception) were done full script.  He really hated the Marvel Method.  The one exception of course was the Silver Surfer graphic novel with Stan.  Stan had not written a full script in decades, and wasn't going to start then.  


Edited by Jason Czeskleba on 10 February 2023 at 8:40pm
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Jason Czeskleba
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Posted: 10 February 2023 at 8:41pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

 Dave Kopperman wrote:
Was Kirby ever inked by any of the really notable heavy handed inkers of the era {snip} Alfredo Alcala
Alcala inked Kirby on the Destroyer Duck series.
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Brennan Voboril
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Posted: 11 February 2023 at 12:35am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I've often wondered what the effect of having his Fourth World titles pulled out from under him did to Kirby.  
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 11 February 2023 at 2:22am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

In recent months, I have read for the first time the new tpb reprints of Kirby's DC work--NEW GODS, MR. MIRACLE, FOREVER PEOPLE, and the first twenty issues of KAMANDI.  And I'd previously read OMAC and JIMMY OLSEN.  I enjoyed it all, but KAMANDI was the easiest read and the most enjoyable, and the longest lasting to boot.  Very much looking forward to the second volume--if DC ever gets around to it!
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Rodrigo castellanos
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Posted: 11 February 2023 at 6:12am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

 But Kirby's prior experiences with the Marvel Method in the 60s had left him pretty much unwilling to ever work that way again.  It's notable that every single post-1970 instance in which Kirby worked with another writer (with one exception) were done full script. 

I think it's pretty understandable that at that point, with little mind-reading, he just wanted to work but not give them any more than that for free. (And he couldn't have imagined at the time what happened in these past 10-15 years, when the real money came along).


As I’ve often said, one of the few good things the proto-Image boys did was adopting Kirby as essentially their “mascot”, compelling their fans to accept and rehabilitate him.

The one and only good thing they did, in my books.



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