Captain America # 105 Collisions – Adkins

Kirby’s late-1960s Captain America books had a wide variety of inkers. Over the last few days I showed you some of the work by Syd Shores and Dan Adkins. Here are some more examples from Captain America # 105 (Sep 1968) that feature a preponderance of what I guess you could call spectacular Kirby “kollisions” — but I’ve never been a big proponent of adding a “K” to everything Kirby-related, so I’ll just call these classic “Kirby collisions” or “Kirby impacts” — inked by Dan Adkins. Pages 11, 12, and 18.

Notice the effect of the triangular bursts emanating from the ground in the final panel of page 12. A great way to visually hint at the ground rocking. I’ve seen Jack use this effect in his depictions of WW II warfare at times. Guess we can call these “Kirby ground impact triangles” (or something along those lines) and add this triangle impact visual effect to his arsenal of distinctive drawing techniques next to the famous Kirby squiggles and crackle.

As you can see from these examples, Jack is using a tremendous amount of speed-lines — parallel lines radiating outwards — to symbolize an impact. In some ways you could argue Jack is over-using the effect. Batroc the Leaper, after all, has to be one of Jack’s dumbest characters — a goofy French guy with a cheesy mustache who’s main power is to jump around like a frog — yet Jack has Captain America deliver some of his most crushing visual blows of all time in these books based on the explosive Kirby collisions created by the use of multiple speed-lines.

In the panel above, Jack uses another distinctive technique where it appears shrapnel or shards are flying off the face of the character taking a punch. In this case I’d call the technique “broken speed lines.” You can see 3 under Batroc’s fist. Sometimes Jack also makes this type of flying impact debris look like little pieces of rock flying after a collision. I guess we could call that effect “Kirby chunks.”

Captain America battling such B-list super villains with such visual cosmic splendor seems a little over the top, but to me these stories feature some of Jack’s most memorable hand-to-hand combat action scenes.

Because these distinctive Kirby impacts are so prominent in Jack’s books around this period, I suspect Jack is mainly experimenting here with that effect, and Adkins does a nice job faithfully delineating Jack’s vision. I think with these books we’re witnessing Jack once again trying to take his action storytelling to another level.