Thanks to John S. for the comments on the Defenders # 42 cover.
As with many, many other 1970s Marvel covers, that DEFENDERS piece shows evidence of lots of retouching by John Romita, particularly on the Hulk’s head, which looks like it was almost completely redrawn by him.
And check out those blue-pencil editorial instructions in the right margin: “JR — CHANGE VALKYRIE BACK TO OLD OUTFIT”. Luke Cage’s face has also very clearly been reworked.
In fact, between Romita’s modifications and Janson’s inks, when I first glanced at this cover I thought it may have been drawn by Rich Buckler, doing a Kirby pastiche, instead of by the King himself. Still a nice job, however, and I always love to see original cover art from the ’70s–my favorite era of comics.
Awesome observations, John. I hadn’t taken a really close look at that art, but you’re right, there is a tremendous amount of white-out on it, especially on the faces of Hulk and Luke Cage. Hulk does look like it was redrawn by Romita; Luke Cage looks a little like Sal Buscema to me — maybe Sal was in the office and he did some Romita-esque changes to the artwork. Great example of way too much micro-management going on in my opinion. I can understand wanting consistency on costumes for continuity and marketing, but to me the decisions to “Romita-ize” much of Jack’s 70s art — with the Romita faces plastered on a Kirby-body — seems like editorial meddling by younger editors who weren’t fans of Jack’s style. I love the Kirby 70s covers. I’ll be posting many more in the future. Here’s one of my favorites. Kirby/Giacoia.
This one below is also a favorite even though the perspective of the people inside the arch is way off — they must be on their knees. Very HQ image so click on the art and you can zoom in to see the details. The Mr. Fantastic face doesn’t really look like Kirby to me — almost looks like Gil Kane’s style to me, or maybe Romita funneled through Sinnott. This is a stat of the original art with more white-out changes made on top. I wonder if the actual original art for this has ever surfaced. Maybe Rand and the Kirby Museum have the pencil xerox for this page? Rand, you out there? Do you have Jack’s pencils for this page? It would be fun to compare them to the published image. It does look like some of the faces inside the arch were changed on this stat. One of the last Kirby/Sinnott covers.
Thanks for all of your great comments over the last several months, John, and happy holidays to all of you out there who have been checking out the Kirby Dynamics weblog.