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.
Please do not copy any images or content from this site without permission.
I wished Sinnott had always been as faithful to Kirby's pencils as with this page (instead of continuously redrawing faces for example) because the result is great.
You get Kirby's lines with Sinnott's slickness and it can't be much better than this.
One small complain though. Apparently, Joe Sinnott couldn't help but try to fix something (I'm sure in good faith in this case):
He redrew Ardina's thumb to have the internal side facing us intead of the external side but this was a mistake on his part unless she's able to twist her wrist 180°.
Like that subject title Krackles? Been picking up some pointers from you.
I'm finding Joe's inks overwrought and stiff during this time inking Jack. Don't get me wrong, the inks are skillfully done and nice, but the magic that use to be Jack and Joe isn't quite there anymore. It appears very regimented and deliberate to a fault making the art very stiff. I would have preferred Mike Royer's inks on the Silver Surfer. But this was a reunion of talents from the past and was only fitting. This, and even the covers Jack and Joe did at this time for Marvel became very cartoony looking to me.
Yeah, I like it Frankie.
About Kirby and Sinnott later work, don't be mistaken, I agree that they didn't quite recapture the greatness of the old days.
Both were well past their prime time but I was pointing at how much Sinnott respected the pencils instead of tweaking things here and there. In this context, the result is great.
Joe Sinnott was a great inker but, like most stylish artist, he tended to become more and more formulatic and less and less surprising especially when he was called on to "save" art or firmly apply the house style.
I appreciate he took upon him to follow Kirby's pencils as closely as he could.
Edited to get rid of any mention of the souless corporate that screw Kirby and his legacy.
From now, and only if I can't do otherwise, I'll use: M* instead of the full name.
My preferences goes to Sinnot inking Kirby, with no doubt. And the following image perfectly shows my point, because it compares Kirby art from the same comic inked by both. Ok, Sinnott redrawed, but imho the result is much better, even if it's far from their peakest point...
The problem with this book was that it was inferior in every way to the work that Kirby was doing with Mike Royer at the time. Take a look at the original, unused Kirby/Royer cover art. It's better than the Kirby/Sinnott interior art, in my opinion. Mike was definitely the collaborator of choice for Kirby in the '70s. And Stan's writing reaches new heights of overblown, nauseating pretension in this book. I still remember how disappointed I was when this thing was released, and how obvious it was that Kirby had moved well past Stan Lee and Marvel in his accomplishments by that point, having just produced masterworks like ETERNALS #1 -13, the 2001 Treasury and issues 1-7 of the monthly 2001 comic, his superb run on BLACK PANTHER, etc., etc.
John, you're talking about this rejected cover...
I won't disagree that this book was inferior to other works by Kirby at the time like the ones you mention, but I still prefer the page shown at the top rather than the rejected cover by Kirby/Royer. Ok, nobody beats to Royer to being faithful to Jack's pencils and I admire his work, but Sinnott's mastering of textures and embellishment (among other qualities) gives another dimension to Kirby's work even if it's inferior to what we are used to. Imho...
Edited to include a link to the original art of the rejected cover:
… with inks and on a wall (read until end of post).
John, I more or less agree with you but I have to add that as inferior (for Kirby) as it may be it still raises itself head and shoulder above most of what Marvel produced at that time.
About the Sinnott vs Royer discussion:
First I'll mention that Kirby & Sinnott work on the FF is by far my favorite comics ever.
Having said that, between Sinnott polished slickness and Royer raw slickness I'll choose Royer anytime because that's the closest thing to the King's pencils.
Also, it's not enough to compare inkers job just based on Kirby later work.
We should also be able to compare both inkers during Kirby's arguably peak period (1965 through early 70's) because, you know, Sinnott got some unfair advantage working on these gorgeous FF pages!
The closest Royer got was the 4th world inking jobs but Kirby had already leaped far stylistically and it's not like we'll ever get the chance to see Royer's inking on prime FF pages, won't we?
Or… will we?
Mr Royer is still doing commissions and still kicking asses!
What say, several of us join and raise enough cash to commission the man?
How many of you, Kirby fans, would like to see Mike inking the best of the best?
Tom could provide the recreated pencils and keep the art for Wik while we would get the full size hi-res scan.
Another alternative is:
Six of us could agree on one six panels page.
Tom, would keep the hi-res scan for Wik and we would get one panel each to proudly hang at home.
I know, I don't have the ressource to do it all by myself but this is an opportunity.
So, what do you think guys?
Sometimes I think that there's too much obsession about being faithfuly to Jack's pencils, which I understand after all the mess done by the Colletas & Company, but I think that the GOOD embellishers' work enhaces the original pencils and takes them to a higher level.
A very good sample of this is Sinnott's and Wood's work. I agree that maybe they overpowered the original drawings, but imho the result is much better than the sum of their individual work, taking it to a level of excellence rarely seen.
About your proposal, it'd be a nice opportunity to compare both embellishers with Kirby's best work, like his FF around middle 60s, but i feel that it'd be a waste to hire Royer for this fun project when i think that there's so many comics ruined by Colleta that beg for Royer's work.
Anyway, if you give green light to hire Royer to ink a FF page, you could count on me for a panel (bad timing to leave the hobby!). Allow me to suggest a page from the FF #49 opening scene, although there are plenty of pages in pencil form from that age included in Jack Kirby Collector #33.
But I insist, I think that it'd be more necessary to have Royer to ink a Thor page...
If you're curious about Sinnott's recent work, take a look at this interpretation of the FF#4 cover that he did for me at the end of 2009 with the essential help of Tom Kraft:
For his age, I think that he did an amazing piece.
I think that he's not taking comission nowadays...
...but personally I've always preferred Kirby's '70s solo work to his '60s Marvel work, which -- although it's great technically -- I find a bit too sanitized and bland. The older I get, the more I prefer Jack's slightly off-kilter but sincere dialogue to Stan's phony slickness, and I also prefer Mike's gritty inks even to Joe Sinnott's smooth polish. And frankly (and I know you guys will disagree on this), having read both, I thought Jack's seventies stuff was just more creative and interesting than his sixties work. So I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree.
I don't think Joe is following as close to Jack as you think, Krackles. I see a lot of Sinnott doing his thing here. That forth panel of the Surfer there looks Sinnott altered.
My favorite was the Fantastic Four with Jack and Joe also back in the day. That run with Jack and Joe stands to me as the greatest comics ever made. And to be honest with you all, during that time, I was not liking Colletta and wished that Joe was inking Thor.
Mike Royer was Kirby's guy in the 70s, but Joe Sinnott was irreplaceable in the 60s to 1970. Although looking at this stuff in hindsight, I would like to have seen Royer's inks on the Silver Surfer GN, but, at that time I would have no other but Joe. We were missing that team of Jack and Joe and wanted this to happen, it was meant to, so it did.
I didn't think it was possible, but he totally sucked the Kirby outta that.
Oh, I see. An interpretation. I need to read these comments more carefully.
Makes me like it even less.
I didn't mind Joe's contributions to Jack's art when they were doing the FF. If you look at the penciled version of the splash page of FF 49, Joe helped that page a lot by fixing the faces and staying on model. Back at that time Joe strengthened Jack's work and didn't weaken it. They were good for each other and I think Jack became a better penciler because of Joe--they were feeding off each other and you could see that enthusiasm in the work.
I encouraged him to add his trademark style and embellishment to the original piece, including to update The Thing to his rocky look, so I'm the one to blame if he went too far in his interpretation and he wasn't faithfull to the original cover. Sorry that you didn't like it.
The ideal exercice for me would be to imagine how the cover would look if Joe would embellish it back in the time, in the line of the original spirit of the Whatifkirby site. But since it was not possible since there's no image of the original pencils, and Joe is long time retired, I prefered to give him full freedom and do what he pleased to get fun with it.
Ferran, nobody can fault you for preferring Joe Sinnott embelishment to Mike Royer faithfulness.
It's just a matter of taste and good taste as it is.
Personnally, I felt in love with Kirby pencils and only after discovering them did I fully understand why I was slowly but surely feeling that everything was not as "perfect" with the Kirby & Sinnott as I had believed for so many years.
Again, nothing wrong and I still cherish those wonderful stories.
Still, I just can't help thinking: What if Royer…
Glad that you decided to join the J.A.C.K raising fund (J.A.C.K. for Joint Action Collecting Kirby).
Let's see if we can reach 6 participants before deciding which page should be recreated.
Again, it's a matter of context.
Joe Sinnott being Joe Sinnott, his idiosyncrasy will come through no matter what but, don't you agree he did far less corrections than his 60's work and thus tried to get as close as possible to Kirby's pencils?
I will disagree on one point: nobody is irreplaceable, it's simply much more difficult to step in after the best.
Sinnott is such one and Royer is up to the task.
Don't like it.
More than decent for an old timer but too much average Sinnott, not enough Kirby.
I understand the exercise, Ferran--that's cool. I didn't care for Joe's art on Thor either. I preferred him as an inker on other artist, especially Jack.
To me Joe was irreplaceable on the FF. When Giacoia stepped in to ink a few issues of FF, he did a nice job--but it was nowhere near Joe Sinnott nice. When credit was given to Joe Sinnott for FF annual 5 and it was really Frank Giacoia--MAN!--I so much wanted that credit to be true and Sinnott ink that annual. So, yeah--to me Joe Sinnott was irreplaceable on the FF.
I loved the Kirby & Sinnott team beyond reason too and still love it above everything else but it's when Kirby left that the house collapsed for me.
I just couldn't believe that Marvel let him go.
I wanted him to stay on the FF forever.
Despite, John Buscema jumping in, I hated Marvel and Stan Lee for this.
Indeed, nobody replaced Kirby.
Agreed--I felt exactly as you did, Krackles.
Funny, for all of Stan's bravado on creating the Marvel Universe, he couldn't come up with anything after Jack left.
Nor did he come up with anything before.
That's kinda the point I was making.
Glad you noticed!
Maybe something of interest for John S. and you.
I exchanged viewpoints on the matter with John Byrne:
You made some great points there, Krackles. But you're never going to convince a fanboy like John Byrne of anything that makes any sense. He's a person who's never created anything worthwhile in his entire career, just screwed up a bunch of great books created by others. Then he's had the gall to whine and bitch when someone else changes the same classic concepts that he himself changed! What a hypocrite. And you're right, if Kirby hadn't come back to Marvel to inaugurate the "Marvel Age", neither John Byrne nor any of the people who supported Marvel in their recent legal battle with the Kirby Estate would have had the careers they had in comics. In fact, they wouldn't have had ANY careers in comics after about the mid-sixties. And their way of showing their gratitude? By slagging Jack publicly. Unbelievably pathetic.
It's amazing to me these guys are saying Jack did the same back in the 1940s and 50s with his Simon and Kirby studio employees that Marvel did to him--"work for hire". The only difference here that seems to escape these guys is that Jack was one of the heads of that studio in the thick of things and the "work for hire" were working on creations he created.
Pascal, I'm surprised that you didn't get banned from the forum, because Byrne is not famous for allowing too much disagreement against his comments, since he feels God in his forum. In fact I got banned from it just for that, disagreement (and because I prefer his old work).
I can't stand Byrne's condescension and arrogance. I find it offensive.
And you can tell from Byrne's attitude that he spent too much time isolated in his world with his fanatics. He should spend more time in real world, far from his secure enviroment he has created to feel superior, and where he can listen critics towards his pathetical comissions created in record time to fit his obsession to raise money no matter the shit he produces. A waste of great talent, ruined by his greed.
Aside this pityful character, I wonder what would happen if Kirby got paid so much money like Lee at the end of the 60s. Would Kirby stop producing masterworks like Lee did or he couldn't help to create new worlds with his unlimited creativity?
Maybe he's used to me somehow.
It's not the first time we tackled this issue of how much Marvel screw Kirby.
Do you ask him comissions in a regular basis? He's more patient with his costumers...
Byrne's hipocrisy knows no limits. The last crazy thing i heard about Byrne from an ex-costumer and often visitor of the forum, was that he said the artists should get a percentage of the sale price every time a piece is sold.
If we bear in mind that he's also an art collector and he never paid a dime to the artists when he bought/sold a piece, his credibility is zero to me. The guy is very pissed off because he sold his prime art too soon, and now it's sold for many grands and he gets nothing. I suppose that the fact that Terry Austin kept his art and now it's worth lots of cash doesn't help, either...
Guys can we keep comments on topic of the art on this page? Bryrne has nothing to do with this page. Tom
Excuse me, Tom, you're right, it's not the place for my last comments. I got too much excited about what I read in the forum and I lost the focus.
I can't edit them, could you please remove my comments about Byrne? Thanks!
First thread I'll be opening will expose a worldwide conspiracy to rip off Frank Giacoia from his rightfull glory!
And be sure I will be dropping names!
That's why I said hindsight about Royer. But I'd have it no other way--it had to be Sinnott. Because if it had been Royer the reaction would have been "why didn't Sinnott ink this?" At that time it was a real treat to see Jack and Joe again reunited.
That Surfer book has been reprinted--why wasn't this cover used instead of the mangled mess used on the last reprint?
Because MARVEL published it! Nuff said.
Have to agree with the guys who don't go for Joe's inks here. Despite Sinnott's great skill the appeal of his inks has really faded for me over time. He's a very fine craftsman, and a better penciler than many of the people he ended up embellishing in the 70's, but particularly on the faces of Kirby's characters Sinnott altered the drawing and lost Kirby's expression. Capturing nuanced expression is one of Kirby's greatest strengths as a penciler. How he did it with so few lines can't be explained, but he did it. Most artists can show basic expressions like happiness, anger, or fear, but Kirby was uncanny in capturing something like the concerned tender affection of a parent. You can't appreciate it except in the 50's stuff he inked so much of, or the later pencil copies. Royer came really really close, but even he lost a bit of the magic.
Because it's a bunch of losers with no clues and they are rotting in hell since Kirby left them!
...that's what I meant. You just put it much more eloquently than me (lol)!
I don't see much decline in Sinnott's work here. I recall when the book first came out I was amazed at both Sinnott's inking and Kirby's innovations. Kirby did some fine cinematic work on this story. experimenting with layoutson many pages. Terrific work.
In speaking with Sinnott, he explained that he tried to remain close to Kirby's pencils in his later years, feeling he didn't want to correct anything. He truly loved inking Kirby and was in awe of his abilities. Each inker brings something distinct to the table, but Royer was not always to my liking. He literally traced Kirby's pencils, but in doing so often kept everything "as is".I'm aware that its what Kirby wanted, but I don't think it always served the finished product to best advantadge.
Rather than a decline it's the lack of any surprise.
I used to marvel at Sinnott's inking as he was reaching even greater level of control and polish but he did it at the cost of becoming too formulaic.
The sparks may be gone but there's still a lot of quality there and, to be totally honest, Kirby himself wasn't on his prime anymore.
Concerning what Sinnott said about remaining as close as possible to Kirby's pencils, it's noticeable during the end of their run on FF and later on when Kirby returned to Marvel "I'll own Your Soul and Suck Your Blood" Comics.
About what you say on Mike Royer, I can't disagree more.
What he does with Kirby's pencils isn't mere tracing, he already brings a level of interpretation and adds some polishing while being as faithful as possible.
I sure would love him to ink some FF pages for us to compare.
I hope Project J.A.C.K. will catch on as soon as I have time to bump the thread with some description.