Continue With Kirby Imitating Other Artists?

The preview stories from the content pages of some Harvey romances had puzzled me for some time. Not that I gave them a lot of thought but they just looked funny to me. When eventually I did take a good look at First Love #69 and realized that it was Kirby imitating Draut things finally started to make sense. I have already posted on three of them but there are more. I did a quick look at some others and I believe there maybe six more Kirby “ghosting” other artists. It does get a bit complicated because there are some other content previews that look like it is Joe Simon doing the imitations. Also some that from a brief viewing are a little hard to be sure.

But just because I find these interesting does not mean that anyone else does. I fully admit that these are not great works of art. So what I would like to know is whether any of my readers think I should continue with these Kirby “ghosting”… posts?

10 thoughts on “Continue With Kirby Imitating Other Artists?

  1. Ed Nadie

    I find all your posts fascinating and insightful, including, since you asked, the ones on Kirby ghosting. I don’t think a relatively inactive comments section relates to lack of interest or readership; it’s more that your posts are like essays or chapters in a book.

    One thing I’d find helpful would be a special glossary or catalog of inking terms you use, including cropped details of examples. Sometimes when you say ‘modified drop string’ I’m not sure exactly which marks you refer to. I’m not sure if the term refers to a line of drop-like marks resembling a string of beads, or long hatches with a added mark on the bottom that resembles a succession of hanging strings with beads on the ends. Or are those modified picket fences? And doubtless not everyone is clear about hatching vs cross hatching; spotting and spot-hatching, and so on.

  2. Stan Taylor

    Hi Harry,

    First, this is your blog, print what interests you. We will follow. 😉
    Second, I love these intros. I love trying to get into Joe Simon’s constant experimenting with formats, and comic production. It’s the doing what’s needed to get the product out that made Simon and Kirby so fascinating. They would find something that worked, but never to the extent that they wouldn’t try something else. The lack of ego (Jack doing unheralded intro scenes for stories he didn’t draw) show how nothing was more important than the product.


  3. Harry Post author

    Ed and Stan,

    Actually it was not the lack of comments, or my dropping readership, that bothered me about posting on the Kirby “ghostings”. It is just that I know I sometimes get compulsive about my research. As I said these Harvey introduction shorts are hardly great works of Kirby art. It is such a trivial part of Jack’s career that if no one else cared about them I would just continue with them on my own. But as long as it seems I there are at least two readers of the Kirby “ghosting” I will continue to post on them.

    Ed, I am sorry if I have caused any confusion about my inking terminology. In the beginning I tried to include examples of both drop strings and picket fences. But Kirby was not an automiton of an inker, his always varied his brushwork. So when I say modified drop strings I am not providing yet another name for a brush technique. I am saying that there is something kind of like a series of dashes that are not quite like a more typical drop string. Generally there are examples of what I am talking about in whatever image is above. But your suggestion is about a glossery is a good one. Unfortunately it maybe a bit too late for most since I only have two more chapters to go.


  4. nick caputo


    Make it three people!Personally, I love reading this type of minutia, something that I do in my own research of Marvel’s 1960s product. The Simon-Kirby period is an area that you specialize in and I am continuing to learn and absorb as I go along.

    Nick Caputo

  5. Scott Rowland


    It’s at least four people interested! Please keep up the great work, and as Stan said, write about whatever interests you — we’ll keep reading.

  6. Harry Post author

    Nick and Scott,

    Thanks for your kind words. Actually Stan and Ed had already convinced me that I was not complete obsessive (perhaps only just mostly obsessive). I have already begun writing another Kirby imitating Prentice for next weekend.


  7. Christopher Harder

    Make it seven. I really appreciate what you write about, and find that whole stable of S&K shop artists fascinating. And truly your comments are so helpful that they change the way I look at art and enhance what I am able to see. So please keep up the good work!

  8. Ger Apeldoorn

    Count me in! I don’t visit regulary, because I can only read so much every day. I tend to keep this blog for ‘binges’ and read a lot of entries all at once.

  9. Ger Apeldoorn

    And may I add… after reading all the inking posts, that you are doing a great job here of covering this important part of Jack’s career. You really should get more of those DC short stories. I’ll try to get as many as possible to you over the next few weeks. What most people don’t seem to reaalize (myself including) is how many of those he did. It really is an impressive body of work. I hope DC will one day collect them (and have you do the introduction).

    Other stuff from this period I’d love for you to have a look at is his earliest Marvel work after the implosion. Because so many of his stories were inked by others, we can learn little from them. But still… it would be nice to see if a order could be made in whch they were made. What was the first thing he did for Stan? Was it a couple of romance covers (as I believe). Or were there stories. How does the Wallace Wood inked story compare to the other Wood/KIrby stuff. Was that story (the second published) done for Stan or could it have been done for DC?

    I’d also love to have you take a look at the Johnny Reb pages on show here at the museum archive. There is a stylisticoddity to them that has not been mentioned before in Jack’s work: many of the heads are cut off by the borders. This is a trait of Jack’s pencilling that I haven’t followed through, but I do associate it with his style in other work he did in the fifties. He uses it on the tops of heads as well as on the chin. For Johnny Reb it is used to it’s extreme. For three of the pages shown at the museum I have the tabloid version – where the tops of the heads have been added. Although I like that a lot better, I doubt it was Jack’s original intention.

  10. Harry Post author


    Many thanks for your kind words, and for your help in this and some of my other projects.


    No question that the DC horror stories are worth much closer examination, and not just about the inking. But as I said before, my resources in this area are much too limited. But I will return to this subject someday when that difficulty is overcome.

    As for the early Marvel by Kirby that would be a subject well worth investigating. Regretably my resourses are way to limited to take on such a task. I will say that someday I would like to tackle Kirby’s contributions to Battle.

    As for the Johnny Reb syndicate strips again I just do not have the resources. The Kirby Museum exhibit is great but not of sufficient resolution to really study.

    I guess it boils down to the fact that my main interest has been Simon and Kirby. My collection gets real weak when I go outside that subject. Without sufficient resources there really is not much I can do. Still I reserve the right to periodically explore some restricted subjects outside of Simon and Kirby.


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