Kirby Kolors, Revisited

My post “Kirby Kolor, A Kirby Myth” from a few weeks ago recently triggered a far too acrimonious debate on the Kirby-list. The only thing I got out of it was that Greg Theakston, the main proponent of Kirby Kolors, has added a number of claims. So far there are three claims that Theakston has made that I find particularly remarkable:

  1. Kirby colored every cover that he inked.
  2. Kirby was the colorist for some of his Atlas work in Black Rider and the Yellow Claw.
  3. Kirby was the colorist for some of the Bulls-Eye reprints published by Super Comics in the 60’s.

I believe Jack inked a lot of his covers and judging by some of the volumes of “The Complete Jack Kirby” Theakston believes that as well. I therefore find it hard to reconcile the first claim with Joe Simon’s comment in the recent interview with Jim Amash that “We didn’t do any coloring. Once in a while we’d make a color guide for cover art”. As for the second claim, this was from the period when Jack had started freelancing. Color guides were done on silverprints made from the original art. This was before Xerox and the other photocopiers provided cheap and quick copies. The logistics of Kirby bringing his art into the office, returning days later to pick up the silverprints, and then returning once again with the completed color guides, well it all seems too much effort for the lower rates offered to colorists as compared to pencils. The third claim is very puzzling. The Super Comics reprints of Bulls-eye were not colored the same as the originals. It seems absurd that Kirby would accept the very low rates Waldman had to offer to provide color guides at the time when Jack along with Stan Lee were creating the Marvel universe and he was getting much better page rates. That Theakston insists on these claims indicates that his methodology for determining Kirby Kolors is seriously flawed to say the least. How could it be possible to judge his other Kirby Kolor attributions where such independent evidence is not available?

As I remarked in my previous post I feel there is a case to be made that four of the Foxhole covers may have been Kirby Kolors. Unfortunately those cover are so different from any other comics that I do not see a way to use them to help recognize any other coloring that Kirby may have done. Simon’s interview statement suggests that like many myths there may be a core of truth to Kirby Kolors. However I do not believe there is enough evidence from the Simon and Kirby period to provide guidance to that effort to find that truth. Evidence that my previous post’s theme of the canals of Mars indicates is required. Perhaps someday an intrepid scholar will be able to found a way around this conundrum but at this time it escapes me.

One thought on “Kirby Kolors, Revisited

  1. nick caputo


    I believe it’s important to back up your theories with some form of proof. We know that Kirby colored some of his later art/collages and that would be the first place to compare colors. I don’t currently have my Yellow Claws (I loaned them out to a good friend) but will take a look at them to see if there is any possibility of Kirby coloring the book. Offhand I don’t recall anything odd about the coloring and never thought Kirby was involved.

    Nick Caputo

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