Again, Colletta's inking is infinity more refined and dramatic than Royer's inking. His brush and nib line is sensitive but strong. Royer's is almost like that of a clunky felt pen. If the objective is to make the final inked version look as close to Kirby's original, Royer wins hands down. But if the objective is to enhance and refine what Kirby is handing over to the inker, Colletta takes it. If I was a penciler trying to meet as many deadlines as possible, I'm hoping my inker sees what my intentions and tosses it the spit-shine I didn't have time for--as opposed to trying to convey my hasty execution.
I totally disagree, all the Colletta inking I've seen just shows how he muddied and dulled down Kirbys pencils. Royer is the best inker Kirby ever had, bringing that sharp refined line to his work that it truly needed!
Well, Mr. "Les Toil", are you referring to Colletta's inking in general, or the inking on THIS COVER, in particular? 'Cause if it's the latter, I feel constrained to point out that the original inks on this one were done by Neal Adams, not Vince Colletta. If it's the former, I'd say your pen name sums it up as far as Vinnie's efforts were concerned: LESS TOIL (which usually resulted in LESS QUALITY, too)!
Royer's inks are terrific but I think the Adams inks win out on this one due to the rendering of the Superman figure. Look at Superman's eyes in Royers version, it looks like an image of a person taken with a zoom lens, the central figure is self absorbed, looking at nothing in particular. Compare with the Adams inks and Superman is looking directly at the reader and thus involving them directly in the event.
Because I want to see Kirby's work inked not modified.
The 'original pencils' are actually a bleached-out photostat with no light & mid tones, whereas the recreated pencils clearly show Superman's eyes, this detail was ignored in Royer's rendering. Inkers' ignoring of original pencilled detail has been a hot topic in Kirby discussion circles for some time now.
You make some very good points here, "Loser" (although you need to get a new pen name!), and so does Krackles. So which version is better, the Adams version or the Royer version? Personally, I'd call it a draw (no pun intended), since both versions are good, but neither is perfect.
I'm a Royer enthusiast. But I have to give this one to Neal. Mike's lines here are too much the same weight as each other and it flattens the image out. Neal's has a lot of thick and thin. He uses a thin line on details and a thicker line on outlines and it really helps make things pop and work as a drawing.
Also--I do love the Kirby/Adams combination. It's not Kirby, to be sure, but it's not Adams either and it becomes an entity in and of itself. A third super artist with the energy and power of Kirby with the refined realism of Adams.
Personally, I find the sum of them inferior to their own respective style.
I just downloaded both covers and merged them using Neal Adam's Superman head on Mike Royer's body, keeping all the Royer figure work except for Jimmy Olsen, and used the Adam's rendering of the monster and water. Works great!