Day 17: Alpha-Bomb!

The Hairies use “sensitive indicators” to locate a hidden explosive — an Alpha-Bomb, set to decimate the “new, mobile scientific society,” mayhap an Apokolipian-built weapon of mass destruction? — hidden in the Whiz Wagon. And we begin to sense GBS Morgan “Smiling Cobra” Edge has sent Jimmy and the Newsboy Legion to the Wild Area on a suicide mission as unwitting delivery men of said killer device.

(Looking at these panels, despite Jimmy and Supes’ faces altered by the DC home office (longtime Man of Steel artist Al Plastino did the thankless art chore), Kirby dynamism abounds in Superman’s figure, reminding us that Jack’s version of the publishing house’s flagship character was glorious indeed… unfortunately, too often, as seen notoriously in Forever People #1, the super-hero’s head and body were completely redrawn, Plastino’s finishing erasing all evidence of the King’s verve and energy, no doubt evident in the original pencils, now lost to the sands of time.)

3 thoughts on “Day 17: Alpha-Bomb!

  1. patrick ford


    You are so right about the Superman figures in Forever People #1. See page 12, panel four for a particularly egregious example. Fortunately, by Jimmy Olsen #136, DC was letting Colletta (still far from perfect, but a huge step up in fidelity to the pencils) ink the bodies, while Murphy Anderson inked the heads. Comparing Anderson’s heads to Kirby’s pencils, I’d say he really isn’t changing the heads anymore than Joe Sinnott was in the Fantastic Four. Both men had a slick style but, neither were particularly faithful to the pencils in the way they inked Kirby’s faces.


  2. John S.

    A couple of thoughts here, Jon:

    1. I notice you’ve been using the word “Apokolipian” in your columns to describe anything which originated on Apokolips. I always preferred “Apokoliptian” with a “t”, since it rolls off the tongue better. What do you think?

    2. As far as the long-discussed subject of inking on Kirby’s Jimmy Olsen is concerned, I think Murphy Anderson was correct when he said it would have worked well and would have satisfied all parties if he had just inked THE WHOLE BOOK, without any involvement from Colletta at all. As proof of this, check out the cover of issue #145, which was a straight Kirby/Anderson job. It’s PERFECT.

  3. JonBCooke Post author

    Yeah, you’re right, John, the “t” addition does sound better. Only the one without writes better. I hadn’t spoken the word out loud until now. I’m adopting your suggestion. Thanks! (If I get the energy, I’ll revise the old posts…)

    It’s likely I wouldn’t have been introduced to Kirby’s Jimmy Olsen — and Kirby’s work itself, never mind the Fourth World! — if it hadn’t been my instant love for the Murph’s inks when I finally noticed the work, only a few months before JO #133, in Action Comics and Superman. (I was immediately prompted to start cartooning myself because I loved M.A.’s work that much!) Swan’s pencils were great, but Anderson’s inks were exquisite, and I have only grown to love his work more and more over the years. His embellishment on Infantino in “Adam Strange” adds a romantic and lush veneer that beautifully complements the story romance between Adam and Alanna. His pencils are a little stiff — thinking of “The Atomic Knights” here — but I just don’t care; I love Murphy’s work… period.

    Look, I also love the guy, too, and he’s been good to me: his autobio story in “Streetwise” is great. And I love Joe Sinnott as a friend, too, and he is an excellent Kirby inker… but both these fellahs don’t have the right fidelity to Jack’s pencils that I prefer, anyway. I’m the biggest of Royer fans, and Chic Stone, Frank Giacoia, and (yikes, who else is there?)… well, you get my drift.

    That said, I would love to have seen one issue by the pair. That cover is awesome…

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