Side-by-side comparisons I:
As you can see in the red circle the male onlooker behind Loki has been eliminated from the composition. Also notice instead of drawing lines on the suit of the pedestrian on the left, Colletta made the suit all black, plus Vince simplified the brickwork behind him. In many respects, these alterations could be considered minor, but they do change the dynamics of the image — it no longer looks like Loki in the middle of a crowd, now he appears to be emerging from a dark alley.
Side-by-side comparisons II:
Colletta has eliminated a figure who fell on the ground (red circle). Also note how he has simplified the skyline (green circle). Notice the speed lines under Loki’s arms are gone, and details such as the long squiggle on the left arm and the end of the pony tail have been eliminated. Again, this takes away from Jack’s original composition which was designed to give you the sense that you are in a bustling, electric, crowded NYC boulevard where people and buildings are all packed on top of one another, and the crowd has to climb ontop of one another to flee. Colletta’s interpretation creates a huge blank space in front of Loki and above the crowd.
It could be argued that these changes were based on a conscious decision by Vince Colletta to improve Jack’s artwork. Vince may have felt that a smaller crowd and simplified buildings would be a much better way to depict Kirby’s NYC. But I don’t think this is the case — I think these omissions were based on Colletta rushing to complete this assignment as fast as possible, and simplifying details and erasing figures helped to save tremendous time.
Hopefully the new Colletta book will give us some historical background and we will learn why Vince made these kinds of changes to Jack Kirby’s artwork. I’ll discuss one more example from the upcoming book tomorrow.