Young Romance #84 (October 1956)
The Jack Kirby Checklist does not include the cover for Young Romance #84 among works by this artist. Unlike my previous post on YR #85 in this case I can understand why. The woman has an angular face which is not typical of Jack’s work. The man’s face is of no help because it is almost completely hidden. But the man’s overly large ear is one clue. In earlier years, particularly while working for DC, Jack always seemed to make large ears for heads viewed from the back. Later Kirby seemed to make a conscious effort to correct this. But he would still slip into his old habit from time to time as in this cover. Another Kirby touch, although by no means unique to him, is the perspective view provided here. Jack was the master of the use of perspective. But for me it is the couple looking up on the left that provides the best evidence that this cover was penciled by Kirby. Despite their small size, or perhaps because of it, they seem to be classic examples of Jack’s distinctive background figures.
YR #84 was one of the comics from the period where Kirby was doing almost the entire comics for all the Prize romances. Previously in “The End of Simon & Kirby” I posted on this period. In that blog post I commented that some of the outline inking in these all Kirby romances seems to have been done by Bill Draut. Although it is difficult to be sure, I suspect Bill may also have done outline inking for the YR #84 cover. The simplicity of the woman’s eyebrows reminds me of Draut. I hasten to add that woman’s face it not due to Bill. Although not typical of Kirby, the woman is even less typical of Draut. In particular Bill preferred much longer eyebrows. The spot inking for this cover was not done in Bill’s own manner either. Most of the spot inking for the all Kirby romances seems to have been done by Jack himself and I think that is true for this cover as well. Inking for the all Kirby romances ranges from the exceptionally beautiful to the rather poor. My suspicion is that with all the work Jack was doing sometimes he was quite rushed and the inking would therefore either suffer or be minimal. The inking for YR #84 is an example of a job done well but with limited amounts of spotting.
The main part of the story depicted on the covers is pretty obvious, the ladder indicates that the man and woman are about to elope. I am less clear about the part played by the couple on the left. With the bags in front of them it is certain that they are not just on lookers. Either this is going to be a double marriage (the bags are theirs) or they are going as witnesses (the bags belong to the foreground couple). In either case the car that will be used to take them all away is parked behind them. Like most Simon and Kirby covers this one is carefully crafted. But it is constructed to best tell the story, not to be the equivalent of a snapshot. The ladder the man is on is way to far to the right of the window. It is hard to believe that the woman could safely transfer to the ladder. But placing the ladder correctly in relationship to the window would mean the man would also be moved more to our left. This would be disastrous to the composition, all the figures would be on one side of the cover while the other would be pretty much bare. Correcting the ladder placement would also mean covering the background couple and hurt the story that the cover is meant to tell.