The Human Torch and the Thing get close to the end of their run in STRANGE TALES. Not one of the more exciting covers of the era, but interesting that less than three years after the Torch was given the solo spin-off from the Fantastic Four, here he was not only sharing his feature (and in this cover definitely playing second fiddle) to the Thing, it’s also the Thing who gets to be spokesman for the MMMS fan club. Wonder if they considered doing a Thing solo feature instead of Nick Fury for the book? Might have been interesting, if Kirby was doing full pencils for a good while at the beginning.
Mike Esposito, who was briefly doing some work for Marvel as Mickey Demeo, inks the cover.
Kirby wasn’t used much on Marvel’s romance books for his first few years back there in the pre-superhero days, with only a handful of stories and covers in three years. Interestingly, his work in those books actually increased around the time FANTASTIC FOUR launched, and he was a regular on the covers and interiors until the last book was canceled in 1963.
Anyway, this is one of those earlier covers, a pretty attractive little job inked by Vince Colletta. The various outstretched hands in the mighty Kirby manner are pretty nice.
Kirby’s contributions to the interiors in the Marvel westerns dropped off in early 1963, after all the super-hero books were launched, with just a few short bits after that. He stayed as the artist as most of the covers until mid-1965, though. This is the last issue of KID COLT OUTLAW to have a new Kirby cover, and he went out with a bang, pitting KC against over a dozen fully rendered bad guys.
No agreement on the inker of this one. Dick Ayers is sometimes credited, but that doesn’t seem to fit. The GCD entry has apparently had Ayers, Jim Mooney and Carl Hubbell at various times. Don’t think I know of any credited examples of the latter two inking Kirby to compare, and 1965 seems a bit early for Mooney to be inking at Marvel, since he was artist on Supergirl for a while.
Here’s one of the covers being reprinted in one of Marvel’s new books this week. During this period, there would usually be three or four Marvel comics with just Kirby covers every month, in addition to the three new comics he drew. And a few Kirby reprints on top of that.
This one is inked by Al Milgrom, who does a really good job on the covers he inked in this period, sort of half-way between Royer and Sinnott, two of my favourite Kirby inkers. Would have been interesting to see him do a full story.
As I get back into the regular posting here, I’ll just re-introduce this particular feature that I started a while back. During his long career, Jack Kirby did the covers to well over 400 comics for which he didn’t do any interiors. And that’s not even counting reprints, which add over another 50 to the list. Hard to blame publishers for that, I’m sure Kirby covers sold. Anyway, I’ll eventually try to get all of those Kirby covers up on this weblog.
In the 1960s, Kirby would keep doing the covers to many of the features he created long after handing off the interiors to others. That was definitely the case with Giant-Man and the Wasp in TALES TO ASTONISH, which he had last drawn inside the book in #51. Marvel’s cross-over machine was in full swing by this point, with this month also including the Hulk appearing in SPIDER-MAN, the X-Men appearing in FANTASTIC FOUR, the Sub-Mariner in X-MEN and a villain named Zemo fighting both SGT. FURY and THE AVENGERS twenty years apart.
Really nice Chic Stone inks on this cover, which has a pretty decent rendition of Spider-Man, although the swinging dynamic and the webbing are quite a departure from Ditko’s style. And boy, the Wasp really gets lost on these covers, which already have to be proportioned to emphasize Giant-Man’s size.
Some nice skeleton action on this cover, very moody. I’m not sure what’s going on with the villain, though, with some sort of bird motif on the mask, lionish hands (from the comments, he apparently looks different inside, with more bird-themed hands). Dan Adkins provides the inking on this one.