That’s All Folks…

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Hey everybody! Alright, here’s the deal: I got an email from Rand Hoppe from the Kirby Museum last night where I think it’s pretty clear that he wants to move in a new direction.

The Kirby Museum did give me permission to post Kirby artwork in the future, but I had to “promise” to add “no more commentary” — and you all know I can’t do that. That would be like asking Jack Kirby to draw a comic book without writing it.

So here’s what I’m going to do: here are my posts that were queued up for the next two weeks (I would have broken some of them up), I posted them today before this one. Instead of deleting them, I figure I should post these since I took the time to write them.

And to the Museum: please don’t delete my archives, I worked hard to get my postings on Google so that we could promote Jack’s work. If you are going to delete my archives, can you please discuss it with me first and give me at least a month’s notice so I can try and copy all my old postings — I don’t have them on a hard drive. It will take me awhile to cut-and-paste 1400 posts. Mainly I’d hate for all the people who have linked to my weblog to have a bunch of broken links. Thanks.

Thus endeth Kirby Dynamics. Not with a bang but with a whimper; not with an explosion of cosmic crackle, but with a few squiggles ~ ~ ~ Man, and I have 1000s of great images to share, and so much more to say — a bunch of Kirby fans and historians sent me a pile of great images over the last few months, I got some great photos I’ve never seen on the web, I got a huge pile of new scans, and lots of links and lots of breaking news and so much more.

My apologies to all of you who sent in art and links I didn’t have time to post. Maybe the Museum will set up an upload link and you can send your stuff there. But this is 21st century America: consider Kirby Dynamics the Detroit of comic book weblogs. Shut down. Fortunately there are lots of other people who will take over the jobs.

Thanks to the thousands! and I mean thousands! of great people who helped me research Jack over the last several years. Here’s just one example of some of the great scans you’ll find in the Kirby Dynamics archives: four photos of Jack I got directly from the photographer, from one of my first posts in 2010.

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What an honor and a privilege it has been to write about Jack every day. Maybe I’ll write a book on Jack at some point, until them please read my archives starting with my first post. Consider Kirby Dynamics my unfinished Kirby e-book.

My best wishes to you all.

Long live the King!

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Kirby – 1976

Thanks to all the readers who sent in scans of the image of Jack from the 2001: A Space Odyssey Treasury. Here’s a close-up.

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As I mentioned before, my guess is Jack’s wife probably took the photo, and Jack probably inked that spaceship so the image would register in the photograph. I wonder if Jack’s family has a copy of this photo. If they sent a print to Marvel in the 70s and still have their negatives this image might be somewhere in their files. If any art collector out there has the artwork from that book with that photo please send it in so we can archive a nice HQ copy of it; it’s a great photo of Jack at the peak of his powers — he looks like a captain sitting at the control panel of an intergalactic space vehicle, which is after all what the Earth actually is. Jack in that image is a modern version of this famous image:

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I think Jack did ink that spaceship and that is one of the reasons why this splash is so dynamic and memorable: the contrast between Jack’s  mercurial inks and Verpoorten’s grainy style gives the piece wonderful contrast. The spaceship looks like something from one of those old pop-up books — it seems to leap off the page, or more specifically it seems to jump out of the entire book because it is a bit different stylistically than the rest of the art in the entire book.

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Jack’s inking on the machinery flows and seems more natural. Verpoorten’s inks on Jack’s tech are workman like but a bit bland as you can see from this example from Eternals # 1.

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Here’s a close-up of both pages from Eternals # 2. If I’m correct and that’s Kirby inks, this is one of the very few images inked by Jack in the 1970s.

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TJKC # 61

2013-07-30_051741I just flipped through the new issue of TJKC, and it looks terrific. John Morrow has done an amazing job promoting Jack for I guess almost 2 decades now? Amazing run. Lots of great art in this issue. I encourage you all to support John and the folks at TwoMorrows.

I love the cover. Out of all the issues of TJKC, this is probably my favorite. That thing is suitable for framing; I’d hang that on the wall in a second. I like that they left in the blue lines of the original art. I hope future issues of TJKC maybe focus a bit more on photographs of Kirby original art where we can see those types of details.

And to the folks making billions of dollars working for Marvel, or more specifically to the dude directing the next 200 million dollar Marvel movie: can’t you have an actor or actress in a crowd scene reading TJKC # 61? Seriously, in the Avengers 2 movie, or the X-Men 8 movie, why not have a college kid reading an issue of TJKC # 61 with that iconic Kirby image on the cover? Would it really kill you all to just give a tiny tip of the hat, or an eensie-weensie nod to Jack Kirby? Does anyone involved with those movies have even the tiniest semblance of some cajones to simply show an actor in a street scene reading a Kirby comic as a tiny way of acknowledging the man who created all those characters you all are cashing in on?

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Crouching Kirby, Hidden Magneto – Part 2

Here’s another post from Mike Gartland:

From X-Men #1 we have the well-known page with the panel that was not only swiped by Roy Lichtenstein, but the other panel where Lee becomes so verbose it almost obliterates the central character speaking. well when I had possession of the art to X-Men 1. I made a darkened copy of that panel and you can see Jack’s Magneto that had to be erased to fit the word balloon. Letterer Sam Rosen actually wrote an apology in the border beside the panel, because of that I believe it wasn’t Lee’s intention for the panel to be defaced the way it was; Rosen simply couldn’t fit it all in. My opinion of course was that he should’ve repositioned the balloon; oh well anyway…

Regards,
Mike

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Crouching Kirby, Hidden Magneto

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Thanks to Mike Gartland for sending this in. And apologies for my dumb title of this post, it was hard for me to resist. :-)

Hi Rob,
Found this in my files & thought you’d like to show it to your fans…. Attached is a scan from the original Photostat to the cover of X-Men 11. What’s not generally known or seen is that Jack originally had Magneto on the cover, but it was covered up for the final cover run. Why? Who the hell knows…
Anyways enjoy!
Regards,
Mike

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I agree with Mike, who knows what is going on there. Maybe Stan thought the True believers might strain their eyes looking at the tiny Magneto and sue? Great example of a change to Jack’s art that I think makes absolutely zero difference to the impact of the final image.

The only reason I can think for eliminating that Magneto image is maybe Lee thought it was too close to the left-margin so if the comic wasn’t cut perfectly, the image of Magneto might get folded along the spine. Or maybe Lee felt it was important to make the background one color so the villain pops off the page. Definitely a shame that wonderful Kirby architecture is all grey, that could have had a lot of life to it with some different colors. And the crowd are all colored strangely as well, almost like zombies from the Walking Dead TV show.

I encourage you all to check out Mike’s great series on Jack called A Failure to Communicate. Terrific groundbreaking comics’ detective-work by Mike. Thanks again to Mike for sharing that X-Men art with all of us. I think even comics fans forget how important Jack’s X-Men books were in terms of establishing the X-Men mythos. Most people on the planet could spend a lifetime just living off the fame for creating X-Men alone, and as we all know, those characters were just a small part of the pantheon of successful intellectual properties that originated on Jack’s humble drawing board.

The End of the Beginning…

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Time for some Kirby Dynamics Breaking News!

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Ever since I started looking at Jack’s work and discussing him online back in 2002, I’ve been like a black sheep in the comic book collecting community. Criticizing Stan Lee is virtually verboten in the hobby if you want to get a job working for Marvel comics, and trust me… everybody involved in comics fantasizes about working for Marvel comics.

Black sheep of the flock.

If you even dare to criticize Lee or Marvel you are looked upon as a nutcase, a “fanatic” who refuses to follow the rest of the herd.

And people genuinely love Stan Lee — I’ve gotten emails from Lee fans who told me terrible stories about their childhoods, they suffered through horrible mental and physical abuse, and Stan Lee got them through it. Stan’s comics saved their lives and when I goof on Lee — like the posts on Stan Lee Signature Cow Patties — they get very, very angry at me. They hate me — I’ve gotten tons of hate mail from extremely upset Lee fans over the last decade. And trust me, I have a heart, I feel terrible for those people who had abusive childhoods. I sincerely told them my prayers are with them.

Then I politely asked them to consider not reading my weblog any longer if it causes them stress or pain. I mean that. I’m not trying to hurt people.

I still contend if Lee tells the truth he can be a hero to ALL MANKIND! Not just fans of his from the 60s. That is my goal. I’m trying to save your hero!

I guess If I had just pretended Lee created a few of the characters by himself and if I had not made fun of him, maybe comics fandom would have embraced me?

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Awww. Nothing like a group hug. C’mon everybody, let’s hug. Forgive me.

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Please?

No?

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Sadly, for me and the majority of comics fans, a group hug was not to be. I will be forever shunned by the main herd.

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There they are! They’re all headed to the new Avengers movie. Look at ‘em go.

When I entered the online Kirby conversation in 2002 I thought a shake-up was needed. I thought the dialogue on the Kirby/Lee authorship debate had stagnated: the collectors who were in their 50s, 60s, and 70s were bored by the subject and making lazy assumptions about Kirby/Lee that I thought were wrong. For example they would make arbitrary Kirby = 70% and Lee = 30% of the credit distinctions that I thought were lame and overly-simplistic — so I decided to take an extreme position for the purposes of debate. I said maybe it was possible Jack pitched the characters. Maybe at least one? And since Lee defines that act as “creation” maybe Jack created a character? Maybe Jack deserves 100% of the credit for creating at least a few of the characters?

That did not go over well…

Many comics experts are arrogant, they think they are infallible (and you see this in all academic disciplines, scholars develop pet theories they will defend until death); most comics historians are very intellectually conservative so afraid to rock the boat; many say they are waiting for Lee to pass away before they go on record with bombshell info (if they ever release it since they want to write  forwards in Marvel books); there was a huge generation gap so my sense of humor was considered blasphemous; many comic book fans worship Marvel like religious extremists so historians decide not to risk offending the people who might buy their books; and I can think of 50 other reasons I was not exactly welcomed to the debate. But I wanted to add my voice to the Kirby dialogue. A change was needed. Jack deserved better than a bunch of old men who were bored by comic books giving up on looking at the history thereby shutting the book on Kirby.

Mainly I was disgusted that virtually everybody in the hobby let Lee and Marvel get away with it. Everybody in the hobby from the guy who makes Lee’s toupee, to the guy directing the new Iron Man movie, to the guy who sells the toys in Best Buy, to the guy working at the comic shop were all making tons of…

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But no one was willing to stand up for Jack and challenge the Lee/Marvel narrative?

Of course several people have done that over the years: you all know who you are (and I’m sure you all have reams of hate mail from Lee’s fans to prove it just like I do). I respected those few Kirby historians who were willing to challenge the established groupthink and I decided to add my voice to theirs… with some black comedy added to it. I’m not a professional journalist, I’m a goofy blogger, so you’ll have to forgive the lack of profundity at Kirby Dynamics. Consider me the Dr. Strangelove of comics blogs.

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As you can see, I am deranged. I’m crazy. hahahahahaha! Thinking Jack even created a single 60s Marvel character is insane! Lee created everything. That’s a fact! Repeat after me:

Lee created everything.

Lee created everything.

Lee created everything.

Lee created everything.

Ahh, doesn’t everybody feel better now? It’s so much easier to just adhere to the popular point of view, right? Submit like everybody else to the popular philosophy.

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Yes… that is so much more relaxing. Joining the main herd. Who wants to be the black sheep in that room, eh?

Along with respectable historians who reasearched the topic way before I ever did, I suggested the unthinkable: that Jack created the 1960s Marvel characters he worked on with Stan Lee, and Jack wrote his 60s stories with visuals (Lee did some editing and added text to Jack’s stories). I’m even willing to admit Lee took part in the process! Maybe Lee did come up with a name or two! All I ever did was say Kirby may ALSO have created a few characters (and I think it’s an accepted fact Jack wrote virtually all his stories uncredited and uncompensated). Is questioning history with a few jokes thrown in that evil? Am I satan?

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I was ridiculed and brutally castigated by the old guard of comics collectors/self-proclaimed comics historians for not marching in lock-step with them. How dare I, a guy who can barely type and who has no comic books, question the “giants of comic book scholarship” as one guy called himself and his brethren. I still am ridiculed by that group of guys. It’s a literal good ol’ boys network, and when you add in the new generation of fans who have an orgasm whenever they see a commercial for a new X-Men video game, you are definitely in the minority if you don’t bow down before Stan Lee and Marvel Comics. And that’s fine. I enjoy criticism. I mean that. I like a good dust-up. I’ll wear the black hat. Yee haw.

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Howdy pat-nahs.

Comics collectors need a villian? I didn’t mind raising some hell. I didn’t mind being the junkyard dog.

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Bow wow wow, yippie yo yippie yay.

So for the last 10 years (and for  4 of them here), I played the role of the bad guy. The evil bastard who dared to question Stan Lee’s fake version of the history in his Origins book and his interviews.

Gee, what I did was soooooooooooooooooooo terrible. I stand beside Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin in the pantheon of all-time human evil.

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Well, good news to alla’ yaz hate-az out there… for the most part it’s over. The black sheep is dead, the junkyard dog is buried, the Hitler of comics’ blogs is meeting the fate he deserves.

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Off with my head!

Here’s the Breaking News!

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Actually the news is not that important, because let’s face it nothing on 99.9999999999% of the internet is important.

And sorry Stan Lee fans, I’m not going to be drawn and quartered for my Lee satire…

The Breaking News is just that I’m going to be talking less and posting more of Jack’s art here, and I’m probably going to stop doing the blog in April 2014 when I hit the 4-year mark. Maybe after that I might do a weekly or monthly “Jack Kirby Sunday” column, but for the most part my daily weblog where I did some unconventional stuff is nearing it’s end. It was fun but I’m too busy doing other things nowadays to talk about comics and Kirby. So in the next few days, I’ll kinda wrap up the meta-thread that has been going on here for about 3 years; I’ll post a few more wacky things; I’m not gonna publish the pencil scans I had queued up because the Museum says they have their own special plans for the material; I still have some reader stuff to post, I promise I’ll get to that; then I’ll transition into Kirby Dynamics phase two.

That’s the news… for the most part the evil dragon has been slayed.

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Or more specifically the evil dragon is going to focus on other things, so all you Lee fans will be spared any more Lee satire from this site. Now you all can quit complaining. Maybe you can complain about world hunger or something? Nah, Stan is more important.

And with me out of the way… let the deification of Saint Stan Lee begin.

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When you all build your giant solid gold statue of Stan Lee and place in in the center of New York where he created all those great characters you love so much, be sure to put a big fat gold crown on his head, because without voices like mine out there attacking the status quo and challenging the fake Lee/Marvel corporate history so many of you worship, the day will come where future historians will completely erase Jack Kirby from the history and Stan Lee will be known as The King of The Comics.

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Or maybe a new generation of comics scholars unafraid to question Lee and Marvel will emerge, maybe the tables will turn, and all the hateful Stan Lee apologists will be the ones who are ridiculed?

I personally hope no one is ridiculed. Can’t we all just get along?

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I’d like to see a fair and balanced history on the Kirby/Lee subject. I presented my opinions on the subject, and I found the process very rewarding, so as long as the archives for this weblog exist: I encourage future comics historians and historians of popular culture to study the subject of Kirby vs. Lee and weigh in on it.

One last joke: here’s my suggestion for the Stan Lee: King of the Comics statue. Just put a dollar sign on the crown. That actually does look like Lee from the 70s doesn’t it?

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The Twins

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Thanks to a reader for sending in this great scan. He writes:

One of the few times we can see the comparison between Jack’s penciling and Vince Colletta’s ink side by side.

This is a nice page. I’ve suggested in the past Vinnie brought his A-game to Jack’s tabloid material, I think he realized it needed an extra-something for it to reproduce well in those DC B/W books. One has to wonder, was the book this art was planned for cancelled right as Colletta was working on it? Maybe the pages were drying when Vinnie got the phone call. Vinnie probably inked the figures first then went in later to do the backgrounds after the figures had dried.

“Stan Lee Voodoo Dolls?”

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I notice none of my new weblog postings have been showing up on the Kirby Museum’s Facebook page. If anyone involved with the Museum reads this, can you maybe fix that since that’s where I recommend my readers leave comments?

Since my readers are very intelligent, somebody did figure out a way to post a comment on my weblog at the Museum Facebook page in the “Recent Posts by Others.” This from Facebook:

Simon Williams: I’m sorry, but your blog seems to be nothing but slagging of Stan Lee, and not what it should be doing, and that’s celebrating the wonderful works and person of Jack Kirby.

I love people who say they are “sorry” right before they slam you. Classic passive-agressive behavior. I also love how people ignore the 1300 + posts where I celebrate Jack, then fixate on the handful of posts where I goof on Stan Lee. This is a major problem with American culture: an inability to see the forest for the trees.

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You can say 99 things people agree with, but if you say 1 thing they don’t like — they flip out and compose angry Facebook comments. They zero in on that one thing that bugs them, obsess over it, and forget the other 99 positive things.

Hey Sherlock, read my archives and count the number of times I “celebrate” Jack and then count the number of times I “slag” Lee. I guarantee the former far outnumbers the latter, and to suggest otherwise is a reflection of either supreme laziness (too lazy to read my archives) or a glaring lack of reading comprehension.

Oh no, now I guess I will be accused of “slagging” my readers for calling one of them Sherlock and suggesting they actually read my archives before yelling at me on Facebook.

You can’t win if you goof on Stan Lee, folks. Lee has totally brainwashed millions of people. Joking that he might make a few more millions selling Cow Patties is a crime against humanity to his insipid “Brigadiers.”

You seem to have taken a personal dislike to Stan.

Do you read my weblog? Why do I have to keep repeating myself? I addressed this several times already: I loved Stan Lee when I was 10-years-old, so I’d like to help him save his legacy by encouraging him to start telling the truth about his working relationship with Jack Kirby. That’s why I pick on him. You ever joke around with someone you love? Or do you live in an empty, PC, humorless world — a soulless vacuum where everyone must walk on egg shells for fear of offending someone. If I didn’t like Stan I’d never discuss him. I don’t waste my time talking about things I “dislike.” That’s why I never talk about people like George W. Bush here. My hope was that my satire would embarrass Stan into telling the truth. I’m still hopeful. I am a genuine optimist.

And to repeat two other themes from this recent thread: (1) Why don’t Stan Lee fans go through the 1400 + posts in my archives and show me where I am wrong about Stan Lee instead of ad hominem attacks directed at me. It is amazing that virtually none of Stan’s fans will actually present us with historical research suggesting my criticisms of Stan Lee are incorrect. (2) This obsession with “Stan as God” — meaning Lee is totally above criticism — is creepy. He is a multi-millionaire public figure. Consider me the Jay Leno of comics weblogs. If I can’t goof on “The Patron Saint of Comics” who the hell CAN I goof on? The writer of a daily Jack Kirby weblog NOT being allowed to pick on Saint Stan would be like a political blogger NOT being able to pick on President Obama. It’s insane logic, or I guess I should say a total lack thereof.

Whatever did or didn’t happen, get over it… and focus on the positive, because from the way you’re advertising this museum, I can imagine it’s just full of anti-Stan propaganda and Stan Lee voodoo dolls.

These are Lee’s typical fans, they are delusional: they imagine somebody like me having “Stan Lee voodoo dolls.”

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It’s laughable. For the record: I don’t own any dolls at all. I was watching video of that goofy 2013 comic con and people were paying $200 or $300 sometimes for superhero dolls. I don’t have the money for that, and I’m not really  into action figures. I do like Mexican Tonala folk art pottery. Here are some examples from the net that are similar to some of the figures I own. I find this art simple, sublime, soulful, archetypal, inspiring and fun. Sweetly transcendent. All things I see in Kirby’s art.

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Does this art look evil to you? These are the closest things to “Stan Lee Voodoo Dolls” in my house.

Or is this reader making a joke? If so, why are you allowed to compose satire about me, but I can’t compose satire about Stan “The Man” Lee a multi-millionaire who hasn’t done anything since 1970, other than pretend he created all of Kirby and Ditko’s characters.

It could have been a wonderful resource for Jack information and artwork, and while it is important that the story of Jack’s creative rights are told, it seems to be the primary focus of your blog to personally attack Stan.

Right now for some reason unknown to me there is virtually no Kirby art whatsoever at the Kirby Museum site. But, according to a recent email I received from the Museum, The Kirby Museum is going to be (as the reader called it) “a wonderful resource for Jack information and artwork” at some point. They are working on that. They are planning to post a ton of great art at some point. That’s one of the reasons I’m not allowed to use the Museum pencil scans, the Museum has plans for them. Until that time I have thousands of scans of Kirby art here at Kirby Dynamics and 100s of people check out my archives every day.

To wrap this thread up (unless Facebookers keep whining about the thread), after 10 years of goofing on Lee, I’m pretty much done. Over the last decade here and on the defunct Kirby-l Yahoo forum, I composed what I think was very, very tame rated-G Stan Lee satire because Stan was alive to address my criticisms. I still haven’t given up hope on him because I’m an optimist. But trust me, I don’t see discussing the subject that much more in the future. Not because his fans complain about it, I enjoy reading the complaints; they prove everything I’ve said here over the last few years is correct. I’m not going to be writing about Lee as much in the future because as I said, I’m genuinely bored by the subject, and I am starting to see him as a tragic figure. I don’t want to kick a man while he is down.

As I’ve been hinting, I will be making changes here at Kirby Dynamics soon, so I suggest people stop complaining about my weblog until I tell you what the changes are. It’s like slamming the sequel to a movie before the movie comes out. Be patient, more Kirby art is coming. Er, if I can find any I’m allowed to use here…

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Check Out Kirbyholic!

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Here’s a recent scan from a great Jack Kirby weblog called Kirbyholic. I’ve promoted the site here before and I encourage you all to check it out every week. They are doing a great job showing a wide variety of Jack’s art.

If the “art restorer” who demanded I remove the Captain America # 1 (1941) cover from my July 5th post ran this Jack Kirby artwork through his scanner, I’m sure I’ll have to delete it tomorrow — but thus far, it looks like Kirbyholic is allowed to show Simon/Kirby art, so I encourage you all to check that site out if you are a Simon/Kirby fan.

If the “art restorer” did not photoshop this image and I am allowed to post it here, this is wonderful work by Jack (and Joe if he inked it, it’s hard for me to know 100% who inked all the Simon/Kirby stuff). I love the touch of the cat in the bottom of the page. Kirby’s work is always full of little things you might not notice on a first viewing, but if you look closely at the art you will always see there is a wealth of detail. Notice the cat helps direct the viewer’s eye around the page and gives the overall composition balance. The shadow on the ground and the stairwell also add to the circular flow.

The cop is at the center, the other characters circle him. I centered the white circle on his gun:

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All the characters form a complete circle. The goal: encouraging the reader to check out the characters one-by-one in whatever order they choose, then figure out the relationships between the characters which tells you a miniature story. The hallmark of a simple and effective comic book cover.