truthAndSoulBaby's picture
Posted by: truthAndSoulBaby | December 10, 2011

great lookin' inkin'! love

great lookin' inkin'!

love the 9-panel page. one of kirby's best layouts.

John S.'s picture
Posted by: John S. | December 10, 2011


This is more proof that what constitutes good inking is fairly subjective and a matter of personal taste...because personally, I can't stand this stuff. The lettering is appalling and the inking is atrocious, in my opinion. I think Thibodeaux was probably the worst Kirby inker ever -- so bad he made Vince Colletta look like Rembrandt.

truthAndSoulBaby's picture
Posted by: truthAndSoulBaby | December 10, 2011

very interesting, john S....i

very interesting, john S....i thought you guys would be all over thib!
he has a good heavy hand.
this page reminds me of BWS inking on kirby's bicenntenial battles pages.

but, i agree, the lettering on this particular series was bad.

John S.'s picture
Posted by: John S. | December 10, 2011

Re: very interesting...

Well, BWS knows when and where to go heavy, and when and where to go light. Thibodeaux obviously doesn't. His line weights seem almost completely random. BWS knows how to translate grayish graphite lines to solid black ink lines for optimum effect. Thibodeaux seems to have little or no conception of that. He was far too much of a novice at this time to be inking Kirby's work. Sorry, but that's just how I feel about it.

patrick ford's picture
Posted by: patrick ford | December 11, 2011

Split decision

I agree with John that Thibodeaux just didn't have the chops. Novice is a perfect description. On the other hand I still prefer him to plenty of people with a lot more skill, because he was trying to be faithful to the pencils.
I liked BWS inking Kirby about as much as I liked Chic Stone inking BWS on Conan.

Krackles's picture
Posted by: Krackles | December 11, 2011

Splitting hair

Sorry to differ guys but, although I always thought Theakston and Thibodeaux produced mediocre inking, I wouldn't rank them below Colletta.

At this stage of Jack's decline, they didn't get an easy job compared to the wonder years of Kirby at his peak power.
I don't even want to imagine what Vinnie would have done with Kirby's pencils in his twilight days.

Smith's inking has its charm but I'm happy it has only been a short-lived experiment.
By the way, I'm certainly a great fan of his early days when he was still signing Barry Smith with Kirby's influence beneath the surface of his "Art nouveau" style.
Not as much a fan of what he has done after under the BWS signature.

patrick ford's picture
Posted by: patrick ford | December 11, 2011

I'd have to rank Theakston

I'd have to rank Theakston below Colletta. What he did to The Hunger Dogs was criminal.
The Kirby Museum has plenty of Jack's pencils from Captain Victory posted in the gallery section:
Personally I think Kirby's pencils in the early to mid 80's are sensational, and very tight, as tight as anything he ever produced.

Krackles's picture
Posted by: Krackles | December 11, 2011

Growing up with a King

Patrick, my guess is, growing up with Kirby's comics from late seventies to early eighties, you are somewhat fetichist towards it.

Out of nostalgia our viewpoints are skewed towards the material we read a a kid.
Nonetheless, there's no denying that Kirby's art, starting from late seventies, suffered from a sharp decline in quality.

It's sad but quite understandable that, after decades of hard laboring, Jack's body was collapsing.
Also, taking account of the shameful treatment he had and still was going through from Marvel, one can only admire the man could manage to muster enough energy to last until the mid eighties.

Yes, even during his twilight days, there has always been something of value in what the King produced.
But, given how much highs he already achieved during his long career, it's not showing disrespect - quite the contrary - to place things at their rightful place.

Artistically, Jack Kirby's 80's output is nowhere near "sensational".

Except to your eyes and heart, Patrick, which is something I won't deny you.

patrick ford's picture
Posted by: patrick ford | December 11, 2011

Yeah, I completely disagree.

Yeah, I completely disagree. You have to consider that I like artwork which might be viewed a cartoony looking by many people. Stuff like Neal Adams might impress me on one level, but it just isn't my thing.
I'm much more inclined to Wolverton, Jack Cole, Robert Crumb, or Don Martin, than I am Alex Raymond.
The fact that Kirby's art became increasingly "cartoony" is something I find very appealing.
Personally I think people absolutely "fetisize" the whole Marvel Marvel era, not just Kirby, but everything about it.
I'm 54 so it's not like I grew up on the late 70's and 80's stuff. I just like it better. There is a decline which is seen in the Super Powers stuff, that was because Jack had suffered a stroke which caused a tremor in his drawing hand.

John S.'s picture
Posted by: John S. | December 11, 2011


I agree that people fetishize the 1960s "Marvel Age" comics just as much as anything else. One more way in which I think Jack's work was prescient was that, by the late seventies/early eighties, he was looking beyond Marvel to creator-owned venues like Eclipse and Pacific, realizing that the big corporate publishers had nearly had the biscuit in terms of producing creatively vital material. As I've said before, if Jack was still around and active today, there's no doubt that he'd be doing creator-owned stuff (on-goings, mini-series, one-shots, graphic novels, whatever) for companies like Image and Dark Horse, not grinding out unoriginal work-for-hire crap for publishers like Marvel and DC.

Krackles's picture
Posted by: Krackles | December 11, 2011

Dis agreement

That's OK, you were a bit on the late side, I guess.
I, too, like the cartoony quality in Jack's art.

Granted, a majority of the comics Marvel published in the sixties (or since) has been mediocre, still, some of them were different and, of course, Kirby or Ditko produced some incredible stuff.

I grew up in a place where the market wasn't dominated by one genre so I learned to enjoy a wide range of comics from underground to mainstream with everything in between.
Also, due to a several years gap in french publishing, I've been reading Jack's first and second tenure at marvel more or less at the same time.

In light of this, I can tell you that Kirby's work from mid to late sixties really stand out as his masterpieces.

John S.'s picture
Posted by: John S. | December 11, 2011

A Definite Disagreement

If Patrick was "a bit on the late side", I guess I was a whole lot on the late side. The first F.F.s I read were the John Romita issues and the first THORs I read were the John Buscema issues. During the first half of the seventies I read a lot of reprints of Jack's sixties stuff, and in all honesty, I didn't see much of a difference between a Lee / Kirby comic and a Roy Thomas / John Buscema comic. I didn't become a Kirby fan until Jack returned to Marvel in '75 and started doing his solo runs on Cap, Eternals, 2001, Black Panther, etc. I found all of those books to be a lot more energetic, honest and interesting than the sanitized and corrupted (by Stan Lee) sixties material. I then started buying back issues of Jack's seventies DC material and was very impressed by that, also. So, even though I read the sixties stuff first (via reprints), I can tell you that Kirby's work from the seventies really stands out as his masterpieces.

patrick ford's picture
Posted by: patrick ford | December 11, 2011

The 60's work was superb

No doubt the work around 1966-1968 showed a degree of refinement which was absent from the early 60's work as well as the slightly less enthused work Kirby produced the last couple of years at Marvel. You can see Jack became very excited again shortly after joining DC, and again the work is in a zone up until Jack was told DC was pulling the plug on the Fourth World. That happened after Jack had dropped Olsen, and produced the first two issues of The Demon, and Kamandi. After that Jack's work is still great, but looked again more like his last two years at Marvel. The second (third actually) go round at Marvel in the mid-late 70's shows Kirby again in high gear at the start, but his style has become more abstracted. This is common with many artists, and while age can play a role, I think also that a mature artist increasingly feels free to bend the rules.
In my view the work did on Captain Victory is superb. I'd urge anyone to study the penciled pages, since Thibodeaux cheapened the qualities in the pencils. Also The Road to Armagetto as penciled by Kirby, and inked by Royer is very strong work. The additions, and Even Gods Must Die are a little spotty, but they were a rush job because of DC editorial decisions. I still see great work in them buried under the inks. This page for example.
Or this one:
Kirby's progession towards increasing abstraction is a move away from the refined style closest to what fans and DC editors of the 50's wanted, and what Kirby came closest to when inked by Sinnott 1966-68, but I see the move as a natural progression, having something to do with age, but again many people think Monet produced his best work late in life, when his work had become far more abstract.
Or consider Picasso:

truthAndSoulBaby's picture
Posted by: truthAndSoulBaby | December 14, 2011

MY soap box

'ppreciate everyone's comments.
its good to see that I clearly do NOT over-analyze Kirby's art (as much as some of you other folk!) ;)

I read him quite a bit later, and took some time to warm up. First for me was a back-issue of 2001 and I thought it was a joke. But now, 2001 is one of my favorite titles...


i try to look at every piece here, and elsewhere, UNTO its own.
I think he did some stellar work in 40s-80s and I'd be hard-pressed to call any decade (or year) his prime.
I think every decade he re-invented himself, and brought something new to the table.

Now, I'd always prefer to look at the Kirby pencils, but otherwise, enjoy each era's work as embellished by his stable of period inkers.

johngentil's picture
Posted by: johngentil | December 14, 2011


The lettering here is horrible. Better than mine, but I'm not a professional letterer.

I think the art looks good.

truthAndSoulBaby's picture
Posted by: truthAndSoulBaby | December 14, 2011

right, the lettering on cap'n

right, the lettering on cap'n victory was wretched, but prolly better than mine ;)

Chris Knowles's picture
Posted by: Chris Knowles (not verified) | December 15, 2011

We need to remember that Jack

We need to remember that Jack was working almost full time in animation when he was doing this stuff. His eyes were giving him problems, so he worked very large on his Ruby-Spears stuff, a lot of which is as beautiful as anything he ever did.

Thibodeaux was a very close friend of the Kirby family and Jack wanted to help his career. And there was a stretch in the middle of the series when he found his own groove. Joe Sinnott wasn't losing any sleep but it had its own charms. It's kind of like how Berry gave Kamandi and Omac a weird, otherworldly kind of vibe. I loved all this 80s stuff in high school since it went well with my, um, recreational activities.

I'd love to see this series rebuilt from the pencils up, though that will never happen.

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