Krackles's picture
Posted by: Krackles | December 24, 2011

Who's who

Who's the inker for the original drawing centerpiece?

John S.'s picture
Posted by: John S. | December 24, 2011

As Tom points out in the sidebar...

...the inker was Kirby himself. When this issue was published, there was an "Item!" in the Bullpen Bulletins page proclaiming it as such.'s picture
Posted by: | December 24, 2011


It's Jack, isn't it? I believe they said so at the time.

Frank Fosco's picture
Posted by: Frank Fosco | December 24, 2011

Masterpiece of Fantasy.

Man--you can almost see that Simon and Kirby studio style in Jack's inks of the main figures here. Sweet!

Krackles's picture
Posted by: Krackles | December 24, 2011

The King is a Fearless one!

At first sight I was leaning on Frank Giacoia as the inker but upon further study one can notice some subtil stylistic differences.
There is a lot in common in both The King and Fearless Giacoia approach to inking.

If ever I needed a proof to show Giacoia was the best suited inker to finish Kirby's pencils!

patrick ford's picture
Posted by: patrick ford | December 24, 2011

A Skill

Inking has a craft component not so much different from playing scales in music. Lay off for a while and it takes some honing to get the edge back. Yet on those rare occasions when Kirby picked up a brush in the 60's he seemed to have every bit of the touch which impressed Jack Katz at the Simon and Kirby studio.
Jack Katz:

"Jack would work at his own desk there and Joe would come in during the morning and subtly stare at us. Jack would go for lunch, and when he came back Joe would leave for the day.
You know how I learned to ink? Jack sat me down one day, He said, "This is what you do." He took one of my drawings, and he inked it with a brush. I'd never seen inking that good in my life. I said, "Jack if you could ink so good, why do you let---?" He said, "I don't have the time."

John S.'s picture
Posted by: John S. | December 24, 2011

I guess...

...we could consider this Tom's Christmas present to all of us here in Kirbyland. Hope all of you guys have a very Merry Christmas and that Santa fills your stockings with lots of Kirby comics!!!

truthAndSoulBaby's picture
Posted by: truthAndSoulBaby | December 25, 2011

tom's x-mas present?

if the present is envy...count me in!

patrick ford's picture
Posted by: patrick ford | December 25, 2011

What do you guys think?

While this is 99% Kirby I think there are a few stray lines added by Lee or someone at the office (Brodsky?).
The motion lines in the general area between Captain America's shield and his boot all look crude. They have a bit of wobble and begin with a fishhook. A little fishhook at the start of a stroke is usually the mark of an untrained hand. Then you see the same fishhook lines on the blade of Ivan's sword. There are also what looks like a bit of fiddling by the same hand on Captain America's forward (left) boot, up by the toe, and on the cuff.
The cuff is a good place to see the lines side by side. You have four little feathered groups of shading on the cuff. Two show the assured brush line, and two groups (closer to the sword) show the slightly wavering fishhook pen line.

John S.'s picture
Posted by: John S. | December 26, 2011

It's hard to say...

...but to me it looks like it was all done by the same hand, using a combination of brush and pen. The only things I would be inclined to question are the speed lines at the right of the Cap figure, which were put in with white paint. When you look closely at the drawing using the zoom feature, you notice a lot of flaws which aren't apparent when looking at the art in the smaller size. Considering how rough Jack's inking is in a number of spots (like on Cap's shield, for example), it seems unlikely that he put those white motion lines in, since there's no other white-out immediately evident anywhere else on the drawing -- not even on the shield, which really needs to be smoothed out. Maybe Jack didn't initially put in that black background. If someone in the office did it, it makes sense that they would also paint in the speed lines.

Frank Fosco's picture
Posted by: Frank Fosco | December 26, 2011

Stating the obvious

The only actual art on the board is Cap and Ivan. Everything else is cut and paste (obviously)--even the black background. Which was done in production and most likely not by Jack.

patrick ford's picture
Posted by: patrick ford | December 26, 2011

Worth It?

Covers command a premium price because of their "importance," but as artwork they are often the worst possible choice for the reasons Frank mentions. Early Marvel Silver Age covers are among the most heavily "produced" covers I've seen. It's a given that a cover is going to have the Logo pasted on, but the Marvel covers are often littered with various paste ups.

John S.'s picture
Posted by: John S. | December 26, 2011


...but covers do have one other attraction: their poster-like quality. And since they commonly have just two or three large figues on them, they usually also have a bit more impact than panel pages. So if they're nicely restored, they can sometimes look pretty impressive.

patrick ford's picture
Posted by: patrick ford | December 26, 2011

Speed Lines

It is hard to say. The shield has some problems, but I do see that as Kirby's work, and he's using a brush.
The concentric carefully spaced rings of the shield pose a problem for an inker. It's difficult to change direction like that with a brush, and maintain even pressure. Particularly in tight oval shapes which need to be concentric.
Joe Sinnott a real master of technique mentioned in an interview the diffuculty in inking those kinds of shapes:
SINNOTT: "I never liked Iron Man for that reason. I didn't like drawing those disks on his shoulders and his chest."
It looks like Kirby just quickly freehanded the shapes with the brush, most people would use a pen for the shield rings. The only pen I see on the piece are what look like very minor additions. I just can't see Kirby adding a few pen strokes here and there after inking the rest with a brush.

John S.'s picture
Posted by: John S. | December 26, 2011


You may be right about that, Patrick. Looking at it more thoroughly with the zoom feature, there appears to be a lot less pen work than I initially thought. When I look really closely, I can see that a lot of the lines I thought were pen lines were actually done with the brush. It shows how beneficial it is to do the originals at a large size!

nick caputo's picture
Posted by: nick caputo | December 28, 2011

There may be some addditions

There may be some addditions (speed lines, perhaps some of the lines on Cap's torso) by either Marie Severin or Sol Brodsky, but the majority of the art appears to be all Kirby.

nick caputo's picture
Posted by: nick caputo | December 28, 2011

BTW, I recently added another

BTW, I recently added another cover I believe Kirby inked to my Kirby inking Kirby blog post:
Strange Tales Annual # 1

patrick ford's picture
Posted by: patrick ford | December 28, 2011

The Blade

The one thing which most obviously sticks out to me as being another hand are the reflection lines on the sword blade.
First off they are done with a pen, and I just can't see Kirby inking the whole thing with a brush, and then adding a few scratches with a pen.
Check Kirby's feathered brush strokes on CA glove. They are thin to thick to thin strokes with a brush. That's a reall skill, not as easy to master as thin to thick or thick to thin.
Look at those pen strokes on the blade. Fishhook-wobble-fishhook. Further the lines are not at all evenly spaced, and are of random length, some shorter, some longer.

Tom Scioli's picture
Posted by: Tom Scioli | December 31, 2011

Pure Kirby

Such a deft inking hand. It's spot on and not the least bit stiff. The only weak point is Cap's shield. That thing is a bear to ink. I just give it my best and clean it up on the computer. If anybody has any tips on how to ink Cap's shield, I'd love to hear it.

patrick ford's picture
Posted by: patrick ford | December 31, 2011

Concentric Ovals

Tom, Maybe a technical pen and a French curve.

Krackles's picture
Posted by: Krackles | January 1, 2012

Learning curve

Didn't Sinnott say once, during an interview, that he was inking curves strictly with a brush?

patrick ford's picture
Posted by: patrick ford | January 1, 2012


TJKC: I've always wanted to know - when you ink an explosion, do you use a ruler for those straight, tapered explosion lines?

JOE: Oh, sure. I always used a ruler for those. Originally I used a 659 pen and a #3 Windsor Newton brush. They were the only tools I used other than a compass and a ruler. I never used a french curve; everything I did was freehand.
I had a certain technique for doing those lines; I would really press hard. I was able to get these really thick and thin lines, and I always went from the border-in, and flick it, so to speak. I would do it quite rapidly; I was quite fast with the ruler. And I'd use the Speedball pen for those little black dots you saw in galaxies and fireballs, and things like that. I had a couple of different size Speedballs.

BTW contrast Sinnott to Colletta.

TJKC: Did you ever use assistants on any of the Kirby stuff?

JOE: Never. Not one line.

TJKC: How much "fixing" of Jack's work did you do when you inked?

JOE: Well, Stan told me anytime I wanted to take any liberties with Jack's work, to do it. Originally, I thought I was "fixing" his ears, or making his women a little prettier, or a little leaner in the hips. But I realized later, that was Jack's style, I shouldn't be doing it. Even when Jack's eyes weren't on the same plane, this was Kirby. So I reverted back, but probably not soon enough. Instead of drawing my Alex Raymond ears, I'd draw Kirby ears.

Ferran Delgado's picture
Posted by: Ferran Delgado | January 2, 2012

Letterer is...

...Sam Rosen.

Tom Kraft's picture
Posted by: Tom Kraft | January 2, 2012

Re: Letterer is...

Updated the credit, thank you for your input Ferran.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.