|Kirby pencilled Supe's face okay - it was the hair that never looked|
right, and the parting sometimes jumped from one side to the other
Sunday, 13 October 2019
WHEN JACK KIRBY GOT IT WRONG...
JACK KIRBY, for all his strengths as an artist, also had quite a few weaknesses. His covers had impact, but sometimes they weren't that well-drawn and didn't always bear scrutiny. Jack was a lazy artist in some ways - not that he didn't put a lot of 'detail' into his pencils (or a lot of hours in at the drawing board), but he often never took the time to draw things properly. (Leaving out fingernails for example - it was usually the inker who added them.)
Controversial you think? Well, consider the facts. Was it really beyond Jack's skill as an artist to look at how STEVE DITKO drew SPIDER-MAN and reproduce Spidey's webbing in his own drawings? Was he really incapable of looking at how SUPERMAN's hair and 'S' symbol were drawn by CURT SWAN and replicate them in his own strips? I don't think so, he merely couldn't be bothered trying. That's certainly a form of laziness.
But look at all the detail in surviving stats of his pencils, you say. Yeah, but some of it was 'pseudo-detail', intended just to fill space - dashed off with the broad end of a pencil with no finesse. A lot of the time it worked, but, also, a lot of the time it didn't. Generic squiggly lines to denote the gleam of armour or metal, areas of abstract shapes to denote shadows, but bearing no relation to what cast them.
Take a look at the cover of AMAZING FANTASY #15 (above) for example. Spidey's mask looks okay, but that's down to Ditko inking Jack's pencils. However, that left arm and hand are far too long, and the webbing on the sleeve is in the wrong place. Also, his right leg (even allowing for foreshortening) is too thin compared to his left, his boots appear to be of different lengths, and the guy tucked under his arm is a dwarf, whose legs look as if they're growing out the front of his lower abdomen.
So bad is that KARLOFF-faced figure, that I've often wondered whether that was the way Jack drew him; could Steve have redrawn the legs under instruction from Stan? Surely he'd have done a better job? Yeah, the cover has impact, but it's far from being one of Jack's better drawings. What say the rest of you?
Posted by Kid at Sunday, October 13, 2019