The Jack Kirby Collector always has something interesting in it but with all the great art included it can hardly fail to excite a Kirby fan. I thought I would write a brief comment about a couple of articles from the latest issue (JKC #52).
The first concerns a short piece by John Morrow about the screen play “Fish in a Barrow”. I had previously posted on this play (A Simon and Kirby Screen Play) based on a copy belonging to Joe Simon. It seems however that Morrow has a somewhat different copy. John notes that his copy was 66 pages in length while the one I reported on was 77. Morrow’s description of the overall plot indicates it is the same play but obviously something has been changed. The JKC article includes an image of the first page of Morrow’s copy that provides a hint about what has happened. Morrow’s version of the story begins with two men exiting an elevator and proceeding down the corridor to an office. In Simon’s copy they are already in an office and instead it centers on the reactions initiated by the publisher’s unlighted cigar. Simon’s version seems more dramatic. Further since Simon’s version takes place in an office while Morrow’s goes from the elevator to an office, Simon’s version would seem better for a performance in the TV live plays that the piece seems intended. All that and the longer length of Simon’s version suggest that Joe’s copy is the more recent rewrite of John’s copy.
The second comment I have to make concerns the article “Casting a Shadow” written by Adrian Day. In it Day suggests that Kirby’s use of shadows in some of his later works was the results of the influence of a science fiction television show “The Outer Limits”. As presented it all seems very plausible and I have no problem with considering Kirby’s art reflecting outside influences. Unfortunately Adrian failed to consider earlier work from Kirby’s extensive career. Simon and Kirby had a long history of the use of abstract shadows to enliven their comic art and it can be found not only in some of Jack’s earlier work but it was even applied to work by other artists working for Simon and Kirby productions. While the strange shadows on the couch in the image used by Day in his article (shown above) seem to be a late addition to Kirby’s repertoire, those on the walls are not. Note the way some are slightly curved; this was a common Simon and Kirby technique. For comparison I provide the line art for the cover for Young Romance #34 (June 1951) below. I should add that this is by no means the earliest example. Can there be any doubt about Kirby’s long use of seemingly inappropriate shadows? I suggest the absence of such shadows during the silver age was more a result of the way the inking of Kirby’s pencils was handled at that time.