Scans of original art are from the Kirby Museum's Original Art Digital Archive.
Scans of pencil art photocopies for the Kirby Museum's Pencil Art Photocopy Archive courtesy of the Kirby Family, with thanks to TwoMorrows Publishing.
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seems to me Chic's work on FF isn't as well-liked as his TOS/JIM work...
its hard to see why with a fine example like this. At the same time, his inks on THING don't look quite as sharp...but Sue is HAWT!!!
...of why I never enjoyed Chic Stone inking Kirby, especially the FF. Everything looks flat! There's very little depth or weight to the figures. In fact, it looks like it could have been inked for a coloring book–not a comic book.
Kirby pages from this era often were still in the style of Kirby's 40's and 50's penciling. During all that time Kirby either inked his own pencils, or had final say on how the finished art looked when it was sent to the printer. Since Kirby had that control his pencils during those years almost never indicated blacks. In the early 60's surviving stats of Kirby's pencils show he was starting to indicate blacks in his pencils, but no where near to the degree of finish he developed by 1966.
Stone seems to have basically inked only what Kirby put into the pencils. Kirby's lines were covered by Stone's distinctive very thick to thin ink line, but Stone himself said he had so much respect for Kirby's pencils he tried to be as accurate as possible.
As a result Stone inked pages do have an open for colour like feel to them, but I like seeing the art without any embellishment.
The Kirby/Stone pages are almost perfectly suited for well thought out colour. I don't mean any kind of digital flash, but more along the lines of what Harvey Kurtzman did on the E.C. War books. I usually prefer Kirby's work in B&W, but the Stone inked pages do have more pop in colour, and Stan Goldberg did a great job on them in the original printings using basic simple combinations which accentuated depth, and contrast.
While I do admire Chic Stone's superb thick/thin line technique, I am disappointed that he felt he should literally only ink what Kirby gave him. When I look at these inks versus Joe Sinnott's on FF #5 or even Dick Ayer's on early FF and Rawhide Kid stories, I can't help but see a huge difference. In my mind it is the inker's job to enhance an artist's pencils. Probably the best example of this is the combination of Jack Kirby pencils and Wally Wood inks on the Sky Masters newspaper strips where the net result was something extraordinary that neither artist could have achieved on his own.
I always liked chic Chic's inking on the F.F. This page isn't the greatest, but overall it was a damn sight better than what we got from Colletta or Roussos! And it had a nice, crisp, airy feel to it, which I often preferred to the heavier, less faithful inking we got from Ayers.
You're right, it's just two different points of view. When I enjoy an artists work I look at a few different things, and one of them is the arts surface, it's particular line style. The pencil photo-copies of Kirby's work has always been by far my favorite Kirby look. It follows then, the style of inking I like best comes closest to preserving the look of Kirby's pencils. I enjoy the work of John Severin, Wally Wood, Neal Adams, BWS, and Murphy Anderson, but I'd never want to see any of them ink Jack Davis, or Harvey Kurtzman, or Bernie Krigstein.
Most fans love Wood inking Kirby, or Wood inking anyone for that matter.
I appreciate the look, it's beautiful in it's own way, but to me it's a sum far less than it's parts. It's Wood inking his own pencils I want to see not Wood as an inker, it always seems like a waste to me no matter the result.
An artists personal style is what I like, it doesn't matter who it is. If I thought an artist could be improved by having Wally Wood ink his work, that would have to be an artist I had no interest in at all, and in that case it would be a real shame Wood was stuck inking an inferior penciler.