Oversized Kirby

Adventure #73
Adventure #73 (April 1942) by Jack Kirby

In my recent serial post, The Art of Joe Simon, I discussed and gave a number of examples of Joe Simon’s use of oversized figures on covers. As a rule Jack Kirby did not seem to have any interest in this sort of compositional device. But there are exceptions (and no I do not believe they prove the rule). When Simon and Kirby began to work for DC Jack did do two covers that used an oversized Manhunter (Adventure #73 and #79). Had Jack seen Joe’s use of this device and wanted to try his own hand at it? Or is is possible that Joe did the layout for these covers? In “The Jack FAQ” page 3 Mark Evanier states

During the Simon-Kirby days, Joe Simon did the bulk of the cover designs. (Jack regarded Joe as the best designer of covers the industry has ever seen, though that was by no means the only talent Joe had.)

It is not clear what Mark’s source is for the statement about Joe doing most of the cover layouts. I will decline to provide my own opinion on this issue of layouts. Beliefs are great but they should be backed up with evidence. I feel evidence that can be used to determine who did what layouts is largely lacking. We do have Simon covers from before the S&K team-up, but unfortunately we do not have Kirby covers from the same period. During the time of their collaboration we do not have credits like those that appeared during the Silver Age of comics. I do not believe that it is convincing to use covers done after the breakup as evidence for what was done prior. So as I said we seem to have a lack of evidence.

Despite the many years of Simon and Kirby collaboration to come, these two covers seem to be the only examples of Kirby drawing oversized figures on a cover. But as we saw in previous posts, Simon did return in later years to this compositional technique.

Adventure #79
Adventure #79 (October 1942) by Jack Kirby