Saturday, April 15, 2017

Recently Read: Jack Kirby: Pencils and Inks

Nearly all of the great Jack Kirby's Kamandi No. 1, Omac No. 1 and The Demon No. 1 are reproduced in a coffee table-sized hardbound book, with Kirby's pencils on the left-hand page and Mike Royer's crisp and faithful inks on the right. This gift of a book will create or renew your respect and astonishment at the artistry of both these cartoonists.

This collection makes especially clear how adeptly Royer created Kirby's suggested sound effects, as they careen and splash across the dense b&w art. This is work for the ages and will be studied long into the future, if for no other reason that Kirby created so much of the comic book characters thrilling five-year-olds now every day.

There's one image I can't stop looking at: a micro close-up, blown up huge for the end-papers, of the torn original cover pencil drawing for The Demon #1. Though drawn when Kirby was 55 years old, it has the rough-hewn, carved and explosive look of drawings Kirby made on cheap paper sitting in his kitchen in Lower East Side of Manhattan in the '20s.
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