I got more of a response from my query about whether to continue posting on Kirby’s “ghosting” then I expected. Let me be frank, these are probably the poorest examples of Kirby art that you are likely to find. Because Kirby was imitating another artist he would give up much of what we admire about his artistry. At the same time Jack just was not very successful at adopting the other artist’s style. The shortness of the pieces and their marginal nature does not help much either. Although they are not great works of art, I still find them fascinating. It is interesting to see what Jack would keep, what he would let go, and what he would try to adapt.
Anyway my game plan is to do a couple posts each of Kirby imitating two other artists. Also an example which I believe is Joe Simon doing the ghosting. Then perhaps a more casual examination of some other content pages.
True Bride-To-Be #20 (October 1956) “Homecoming” page 1, pencils and inks by John Prentice
Newlyweds start their life in a small town. Originally the wife as a city girl and she finds life in a small town difficult. She struggles as best she can but the feeling of isolation takes its toll. Just as she decides to return to her family in the city things make a turn for the better. People, including her husband, begin to realize how difficult it has been for her and start to provide support.
A very different splash by John Prentice then the last one I reviewed (First Love #70). But still a real nice design and a great segue into the story. Once again Prentice leaves out a normal panel boarder. But this time he also leaves out some of the background as well, in particular the walls. Not all of it is eliminated, we can still see a view of the outside through the open door. Not much there, just a picket fence, a small house and some trees. (And this time picket fence does not refer to an inking technique). Just this simple view is all what we need to place the story in some small town. The man carrying the woman over the threshold is pretty much completes the visual introduction.
True Bride-To-Be #20 (October 1956) Contents page, pencils by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon
This content pages follows the most common pattern, a splash panel (in this case not much bigger then the rest of the panels) and a short introduction for the feature story.
The splash panel is a close copy of from the third panel of the first page. Well in this case close means without much change in the posture. That hardly means that it is a good enough copy to really look like a Prentice. Still the woman is closer to John’s version then found in the introduction story. The splash does not provide much to go on but it does not look like Kirby’s work. The inking does not look like Jack’s either but it could be by Joe Simon. Because of that and in view of previous examples of contents, I am going to attribute the splash to Joe.
The introduction is once more a prelude to the feature story. Showing how the couple met and fell in love. Yeah it really is superfluous but at least it does not spoil the story much.
Ignore superficial traits such as eyebrows we can see some typical Kirby poses and layouts. Also some typical Kirby rendition of architecture. Jack even uses a similar architectural drawing style for penciling the interiors. I feel confident that this is Kirby “ghosting” for Prentice. But it is another not so good imitation. This time Jack does the best job on the man’s eyes. Eyebrows are not so well copied but at least they are closer to art by Prentice then they are to that by Bill Draut. The woman still has Jack’s preference for a triangular face with widely separated eyes. Not at all the longer, more oval face and closer eyes that Prentice preferred.