Monday, June 5, 2017

100 Days Of The King - Day 16


DC was famously unhappy with Jack "King" Kirby's rendition of the Man of Steel. You'd think that giving a proven talent like Jack Kirby a title like Jimmy Olsen would pretty much indicate carte blanche with the approach, but it was not to be. DC conspicuously kept its editorial hand in and infamously used artists Al Plastino and Murphy Anderson to alter the Kirby Superman heads to make them conform to DC's then standard house look. Those alterations were jarring at the time and still stand out in modern reprints of those stories. I'm generally speaking a fan of blending artistic styles, and frankly would not have had any big issue having Anderson ink Kirby's work, but just altering the heads really made them stand out in a weird way.


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4 comments:

  1. Have to say, Rip, that the Anderson heads never bothered me, though it would probably have been better if he'd inked the full pages. Never really liked the above Superman drawing on account of the hands, and the left leg could do with a bit of work. Still a dynamic page, but it wasn't the best one in the mag. In Kirby's heyday, that would've been far from the case.

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    1. I concur with that. The images in that comic were really spellbinding at the time. My personal fave is the Steranko two-page spread though I have to admit that recent years the weirdly off-model Ditko one has a real appeal since it evokes his specific philosophy. The Kirby of this era was slipping for sure and hands which had always been rather abstract became less convincing. Best hands in the business for my eye are Gil Kane's -- loved the way he rendered them.

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  2. I doesn't bother me. It bothers me more if the character doesn't look right, like how jarring Kirby's Hulk head was the other day.

    But I completely understand why an artist would be pissed to have his work retouched. Especially since Kirby changed companies and expected/hoped he'd have better treatment and more independence at DC.

    And I'd argue that he got that independence but it was a double edged sword because they also treated his work like it was something separate from the rest of the DC universe and only embraced it when he had already left.

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