Monthly Archives: September 2012

FF # 14, pg. 12, Part 2

A couple people asked if I had a better scan of that FF # 14 page I posted earlier. I don’t have a better scan of the original art, but here is a scan of the page from one of the Marvel reprint books. Click on it to zoom in.

To me, the first two panels are a great example of Jack’s visual and storytelling sense of humor — it’s kinda’ wacky, but I enjoy it; Jack’s visual comedy is unpredictable and unique. For example, on this page clearly the Thing could just squeeze past the two cars, or move one car, then vertically take off in his little airship, but that’s boring from a storytelling perspective; instead he piles up all the cars to get them out of the way. His actions don’t make much sense — obviously he’d do tremendous damage to the cars, and I doubt it would be physically possible for even a perfect machine to lift a whole car off the ground, climb up a stack of cars, and put another car on top of a pile of cars without the whole stack collapsing — but the scene works because this is just silly, fun comics-making.

Who cares if it’s physically possible or if it’s against the law. Jack uses this sequence to show the Thing using his strength to thumb his nose at authority (something we’d all probably like to do when someone charges you a ton of money to park your car), and the main result is that great visual of the Thing stacking up the cars. In reality, this action would really result in an arrest and 10,000s of dollars in damages, but that sequence serves a purpose — it reveals some aspects of the Thing’s character (anger issues, his problems with the status quo, and the ability to use his strength to reject authority) but I think the main purpose of this sequence was mainly to give Jack an excuse to come up with the great slapstick image of the Thing making a stack of cars.

I suspect Jack brought 100% of these comedy story elements to the table in the illustration phase. I can’t imagine Lee would micromanage Jack like that in the plot phase, if Lee even gave Jack a plot for this story. Stan may have even found himself scratching his head at times in the dialoguing phase when he saw stuff like this in Jack’s story — in panel 3, you can see Lee clearly goes out of his way to explain to the reader that the Thing unstacked the cars after he had taught the parking attendant a lesson. And in a comic book world, I assume, obviously there wasn’t a single scratch on one of them.

I doubt Jack gave much thought to sequences like this. He probably figured it would be visually funny for the Thing to stack up a pile of cars, so he drew it — and those types of comedic interludes that serve as transitions from one scene to another and tie a whole story together are what made all of Jack’s freewheeling FF stories so memorable and packed with lighthearted fun and personality.

Fantastic Four # 14, Page 12

This is from Fantastic Four # 14 (May 1963), page 12. Kirby/Ayers. Great example of Jack’s visual sense of humor in panel 2. I’ve heard a lot of fans say Stan Lee brought the humor to the FF book, but I say Jack was responsible for most of it because he injected a large deal of that pathos and self-effacing comedy into the stories during the illustration phase.

Creator Rights by: Russell Payne

Here’s an email from the mailbag:

Hey Rob

I’m still reading (and enjoying) Kirby Dynamics, I check it most days and it’s frankly amazing that you find something new to put up most days.

Thought you might like an article I wrote for Modern Creative Mag this month, it’s about Creator Rights and mentions Jack as an example –

Creator Rights by: Russell Payne

Keep up the good work 😉


Russell Payne

Russell will be a guest on a Jack Kirby panel at the Northants Comic Expo in a few weeks – here are more details on the event:

(22nd/23rd September)

Fantastic Four # 3, page 22

For the next week or so I’m going to post some of the Fantastic Four original art scans I have in my files so you can see a little slide-show of how Jack’s style evolved from 1961 – 1970, and how the various inkers contrasted with one another over Jack’s 10-year run on that series.

Fantastic Four # 3 (Mar 1962), page 22. Inks are attributed to Sol Brodsky in the TwoMorrows Kirby Checklist.

Captain America # 213 Cover

Captain America # 213 Cover (Sep 1977) Kirby/Giacoia. Jack would only do one more Captain America book for Marvel after this issue.

Thanks to Frank Fosco for pointing out the inks may be by John Verpoorten.

Our Fighting Forces # 154 Chapter Splash

Our Fighting Forces # 154 (Apr 1975), page 5. Kirby/Berry. Berry had a very unique lettering style which you can see in the chapter title. I thought Berry’s inking was effective on splash pages like this, but sometimes on the interiors his linework seemed a little thin and mechanical.

Thor # 144, Page 14

Thor# 144 (Sep 1967), Page 14. Kirby/Colletta. Looks like someone put some kind of watermark in panel one of this scan. Jack’s directions in the margins to Stan Lee were cut off the top and sides of the page. Let’s see if we can read the ones at the bottom.

Under panel 5, Jack’s directions to Lee say, “Block of street begins to descend (I can’t read the next few words, the scan isn’t very good and the words are obscured — I think the end of the text says…) in smoke begins to return.”

Under panel 6, Jack’s directions for Stan Lee say, “Thor says your powers are leaving you — Brona says — then yours must be too — Forsung and Odin must be duelling.