Monthly Archives: April 2010

Kirby Pencil Art

Two pencil illustrations it looks like Jack gave to Don Heck as a gift.

Here are close-ups of the top and bottom half of the image.

You can see Jack signs it: “To Don and the Mrs.; Good Friends — Jack Kirby 1966.”

Kirby/Heck

It’s a shame Don Heck didn’t ink Kirby’s pencils more often. Here are four more examples of Kirby/Heck presentation pieces that are fantastic. I bought a set of these from the Kirby Estate a couple years ago. I suppose these are a few of Jack’s characters created in the late 1960s not owned by Marvel or DC. These also look like they were painted using watercolors by Kirby.

Simon & Kirby American Heroes

I don’t have too many examples of Simon/Kirby artwork in my files because when I was collecting scans from about 2003 – 2005 my main focus was on Jack’s 1960s material. Plus at that time there weren’t a lot of Simon/Kirby interior scans available and the original books themselves were very expensive.

I want to make this website a kind of kaleidoscope where I flash all over Jack’s career, so I’ll do a quick eBay search and see if I can find some gems.

Looking at the brilliant Simon/Kirby covers as I scroll through all the hundreds of comic books for sale reminds me of summer afternoons in the 1970s where I’d wander down the block and check out a neighbors flea market. Finding a box full of old comics that were a nickle apiece was like finding buried treasure.

Here are a couple Simon/Kirby scans I thought were great. First of all, look at this mess.

Beautiful Kirby/Simon art from 1954, but this is why I love looking at comics online. I shudder to think about what those brown stains on the cover of that book might be. I remember when I was about 9-years-old in the late 1970s going to a friend’s house to buy some comics, because he had a mint condition copy of Star Wars #1 for me. Only one problem, unfortunately his cat went to the bathroom on it. Not saying that’s what happened to this book, but I don’t expect to see it in a CGC slab anytime soon.

I’ve also met a lot of collectors who say they love the smell of newsprint, but I’m not a member of that club. I love looking at comics on the computer, which is one of the reasons I decided to start showing some Kirby art on this website. In my opinion, looking at art on the computer makes the process more active, I can cut and paste images and try and put together my version of the ultimate PowerPoint presentation on the diversity and dynamics of Kirby’s art and storytelling.

I hadn’t seen this cover before and it actually made me laugh. Fighting American #1, Kirby/Simon art (1954).

Not your typical “super-villain.” Looks like a human version of George Lucas’s Jabba the Hut.

Here’s the last Simon-Kirby Captain America cover before Jack and Joe headed off to war. Attributed to Kirby/Crandall (1942).

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Kirby Inks

Jack rarely inked his own work, especially after 1960 where he was predominantly a penciler, but here is a rare example most Kirby scholars agree was inked by Kirby himself. The cover to Fantasy Masterpieces #4 (1966).

The smaller images at the left and on the bottom appear to be stats taped to the artboard, but this image is original art.

I wonder why out of almost 10,000 pages of artwork for Marvel during the 1960s, this is one of the only images Jack inked. Maybe there was some strange deadline problem, and Jack was in the Marvel offices and quickly added ink to this page?

Storyboard

A strange piece called simply “Storyboard.” Maybe Kirby was experimenting with cinematic storytelling. Looks like Jack inked this image and colored it himself. The art is dated 1982. Looks like some kind of water damage on the top and bottom.

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Ruby-Spears Art

Some spectacular examples of the recently-revealed Kirby Ruby-Spears artwork, Jack produced during the 1980s. I’m guessing the filmmakers who develop these properties will get Tom Selleck to play the first character in the third image.

Comicsville

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Great Kirby/Royer cover from 2001: A Space Odyssey #5 (1977). The first part of Jack’s 2-part epic “Norton of New York.”

On April 12, the New York Times reported Joe Ruby & Ken Spears, and Sid & Marty Krofft are forming a partnership. They have 600 production boards of Kirby art produced for Ruby-Spears in the 1980s that had been boxed up and unseen for decades, and are planning to revive these unseen Kirby characters “in as many forms as possible.”

Jack’s Marvel and DC work is also filled with great unexplored characters like Norton of New York, one of my favorite Kirby stories from the 1970s.

Zooming in to the crowd of aliens, here are at least 12 more potential new Kirby characters.

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Plus if you count this fellow off to the left, that’s 13.

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Disney-Marvel could call them “Jack Kirby’s Threatening Thirteen,” or something along those lines.

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Norton running away from that angry Comicsville mob reminds me of the first time I mentioned Kirby was involved in the creation of Spider-Man on a comic book internet forum.

Ardina

Beautiful scan of Ardina from the Silver Surfer graphic novel. This image is a xerox taken from the original art.

A close-up of her face. Very nice Joe Sinnott inks here.

Also notice if we zoom in rally close, the impeccable craftsmanship of little details like the stars and buildings.

Here is another scan of Ardina and the Surfer, from a scan of the original art.

Vera Screams

2001: A Space Odyssey, #2, pg., panel

2001: A Space Odyssey, #2, pg., panel

One of my favorite Kirby/Royer illustrations. A mind-blowing image from the story “Vira the She-Demon.”In the story Vira with an “i” is an ancient version of a feminist/magician who convinces the befuddled cavemen she is a goddess; Vera with an “e,” who is featured in this image, is an outer space explorer who undergoes a startling transformation.”

I love Mike Royer’s deliniation of the cosmic energy on this piece.
Great examples of Kirby “crackle,” black dots and flashes of light perfected by Joe Sinnott in the 1960s, and executed wonderfully by Royer in the 1970s.
Here is Vera at the beginning of her consciousness-expanding journey. “Wha-!?”