Posts Tagged ‘Jack Kirby’

Ogden Whitney Goes Kirby!


Saturday, March 5, 2011

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A very Whitney top panel - but look at the figure on the right at he top. That's a total Kirby pose.

Two-Gun Kid #117 reprints an Ogden Whitney story from the same series years before. “Three Rode Together” (originally appeared in Two-Gun Kid #89) is a very Jack Kirby looking Ogden Whitney effort. There’s no listing for an inker on the indicia – so I’m left to assume Whitney inked himself on this one. It’s really heavy-handed Marvel style inking compared to Whitney’s ACG work. You can imagine editor Stan Lee telling Whitney to make this western look like the other issues of Two-Gun Kid – meaning make it look like Kirby.

It was fun for me to discover this comic in the quarter bin. I’d never seen it. Dan was like, “Oh, yeah, I have some of those. I think that’s some of Whitney’s last professional work.” I was startled at how “3-D” looking the pages are in comparison to Whitney’s “flat” space in most of his ACG work. Whitney is famous for his flat, stage-like compositions in Herbie and in his romance comics work. So, it’s really odd and somehow thrilling to see Whitney’s compositions go “in” to the panel. He seems to be imitating Kirby’s layered approach. Y’know what I mean – when Kirby has a strong foreground, middle ground and background all in one panel. (more…)

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2 x 2


Friday, February 25, 2011

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1. You’ve doubtless seen mention of this already, but on the off chance you’ve ignored the links, you should definitely make some time this week to check out’s Kirb Your Enthusiasm, a series of posts by various writers deconstructing single panels from all stages of Jack Kirby’s career. I haven’t read a bad one yet, but special notice so far should go to Dan, Gary Panter, and Annie Nocenti.

2. The Onion’s A.V. Club has revamped its regular “Comics Panel” feature.

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Ranking the Masters


Friday, February 18, 2011

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Gary Groth twitted: “The greatest artists who worked n commercial comics? My vote (in order); Carl Barks, Jack Kirby & Harvey Kurtzman (tie), John Stanley.” The list seems on target but the ranking can be argued with. These are all superb cartoonists and as such, their writing/art needs to be seen as an integrated whole. Still, some of them are stronger on the writing front, others as visual artists. And of course Stanley, Kirby and Kurtzman all did a lot of collaborative work, including some of their best work.

So if I were ranking them as visual artists I’d say Kirby, Kurtzman, Barks, Stanley. If I were ranking them as writers I’d say Stanley, Kurtzman, Barks, Kirby. But what if writing and art can’t be separated? What if I had to rank them simply as cartoonists? A really tough choice. Purely a personal matters but I’d say Stanley, Kirby, Kurtzman, Barks. But that’s a ranking that could easily change at the drop of a hat. Fun factoid: three of these cartoonists (Stanley, Barks, Kurtzman) were doing their best work at the exact same time, circa 1950-1955. That was the real Golden Age of commercial comics.

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Tastes Change


Saturday, December 4, 2010

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Evan Dorkin made an interesting comment about how when the Love and Rockets Sketchbook came out in the late ‘80s it was a minor bombshell. And it was. He also goes on to talk about major releases by some big name cartoonists which were basically noticed in passing by folks within comics. He said that he feels as if Wilson and The Book of Genesis garnered more mainstream press than discussion within comics circles. Let’s go to the videotape! (more…)

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Down in the Valley


Monday, November 22, 2010

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Dan contributes an epic, must-read essay on Jack Kirby to Vice. You can read it by clicking “here.”

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Supermen! Revisited


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

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Jack Coles' The Claw

When I first read Greg Sadowski’s Supermen!: The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941, I was a bit disappointed. My preference is for anthologies that have a strong editorial vision like Art Out of Time or The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics. Supermen! seemed like it was governed less by an editorial imperative than a chronological one. Some of the comics in the book are very strong (especially the stories by Jack Cole, Fletcher Hanks, and Basil Wolverton) but many of them also seemed primitive in a bad way (crude, simple-minded) rather than a good way (Hanks’ vitalism).


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Class with Frank part 2


Saturday, October 16, 2010

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Yummy Fur #19

Howzitgoin’ CC faithful!? Good? Good. This week we are studying the evolution of Chester Brown’s grid layouts in Yummy Fur issues 19, 20, and 21. Seriously. What? You don’t have these comic books in your collection? What? How old are you? It’s okay. I know it’s hard to collect comics. But you gotta try. For me. You can have a better sense of the maker’s intent if you dig up the original issues. Track these comics down. They are essential reading. Yummy Fur #19 contains “Helder” and issue #20 contains “Showing Helder” both of which are collected in The Little Man from Drawn and Quarterly. We will also be looking at Yummy Fur #21 which contains the first chapter of The Playboy (originally called Disgust). FYI comparing Chet’s original comics with the eventual collection is a sport in and of itself. Things change and rearrange. (more…)

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Who Thinks This?


Saturday, September 25, 2010

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Kirby’s Fourth World = Star Wars? I know all the arguments, but I’ve only heard them from die-hards. Here in Pittsburgh I’ve learned  that the theory is alive and well. So, really, who thinks this? Does this mean something to you people out there? Frank says: “Darkseid? The Dark Side? The Source? The Force? Just sayin…” Tom Scioli and Bill Boichel agree. Thoughts?


Confused in Pittsburgh

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Some Weekend Viewing


Thursday, September 2, 2010

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You should stay inside this weekend and enjoy some nice, fun comics!

1) Brian Chippendale’s new weekly web comic, Puke Force, has launched over at PictureBox. Check it out, and remember, “read it like a snake”. Brian’s 800-page If ‘n Oof will hit stores and subscribers in early October!

2) Tom Kraft has just unleashed the new version of his web site, What if Kirby. It’s a massive collection of original Jack Kirby art, beautifully scanned and silhouetted, and viewable at various magnifications. Forthcoming features includes notes from scholars and inkers, as well as some text from yours truly. Congrats to Tom — a super generous dude and good company when we were at Fumetto. There are other sites with hi-res art (like Heritage), but this is the first dedicated to a single artist, complete with annotations, etc. To me, this is the beginning of an invaluable resource. A particular favorite of mine is this collage from 2001.

3) I’m pleased to pass along some Johnny Dynamite news: Movie interest in Johnny Dynamite has been stirred by a Max Allan Collins screenplay based on his and Terry Beatty’s graphic novel. Collins and Beatty are the kind copyright holders of the Johnny Dynamite characters and stories, including those featured in Art in Time. My thanks for their support.

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Class and Comics: Labour Day Notes


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

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Reid Fleming: Working Class Hero

Labour Day is coming up, so let’s talk about social class:

1. In the R. Crumb Handbook, the creator of Mr. Natural writes: “Some of the other comics that Charles and I liked, Heckle and Jeckle, Super Duck, things of that ilk, featured very primitive stories on the crudest proletarian level….The super-hero comics of the 1940s also had this rough, working class quality. A cartoonist like Jack Kirby is a perfect example. His characters – Captain America, for instance – were an extension of himself. Kirby was a tough little guy from the streets of New York’s lower east side, and he and he saw the world in terms of harsh, elemental, forces. How do you deal with these forces? You fight back! This was the message of all the comic strips created during the Great Depression of the 1930s, from Popeye to Dick Tracy to Superman.” Crumb as usual is right: I’d add that the anti-comics movement of the 1940s and 1950s had a class dimension as well. Genteel, middle-class Americans were shocked by the plebian violence, crude sexuality and general spirit of irreverence of the early comic books.


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