A New Creation: Forever People, Issue 6 Cover Completed

December 31, 2010
The Forever People Cover

Just 3 weeks ago, a full size copy of Jack Kirby's pencil photocopy of The Forever People, Issue 6 cover was sent to Mike Royer and the results are in. In my opinion, Mike did a great job at recreating the pencils and boldly inking the final art – an excellent addition to the site's collection of created art and a great opportunity to see what the cover to issue 6 may have looked like had Mike inked it back in late 1971 when it was originally published.

In the "Creations" section of this site you can view and zoom into this art and many others. Creations provides a quick and easy way to compare Kirby's original pencils with the recreated pencils with the reinked "creation" version and finally with the originally published version. Future plan for this piece is to add the cover elements such as the top tagline, the insignia and other elements originally on the published artwork. See it now »

...and please, see it and share your thoughts.


Forever People Cover Comparison

Comparison: Jack Kirby's Pencils to Mike Royer's final creation version.

Forever People Cover Comparison 2

Comparison: Vinnie Colletta's inked published art to Mike Royer's final creation version.


Frank Fosco's picture
Posted by: Frank Fosco | June 30, 2011

The Way--Jack's Way

I liked Kirby/Giacoia a lot too--especially mid 1960s.

Krackles, I'm not trying to convince you to like Colletta, and I agree that Colletta took a few too many liberties with making himself, self imposed art editor--but it's still all Kirby that shines through in Thor. To be honest with you Jack could of used some of that art editing in a splash from Thor 138 page 15. There's at least one troll that could of come out of there. And if you check it out, you'll probably see the one it is.

You're okay with "Tales of Asgard". "The Hercules Saga" is great stuff, the "Black Galaxy", "High Evolutionary", fun stories. The "Troll Wars'' with the intro of "Ulik", sweet. And I'm not just talking about the stories, the art was great.

It was around Thor 157 Colletta tried doing the heavier line weights, doing that thick and thin stroke, that wasn't working. He went back to the thin line which was more suited for his style. But Kirby dynamics always came through.

Move forward to the 1970s at DC. The Kirby camp and Jack got frustrated with Colletta taking liberties with the pencils. They tested Mike Royer and he was the man who took over inking Jack. Why?--because he gave us pure Kirby...and if that means tracing to get pure Kirby, he traced with style and slickness which made him one of the best Kirby inkers. If tracing is a word that causes problems, then I like to think of Mike as more of a finisher. I love Mike Royer's inks on Jack. Where Colletta was dry and done--Mike brought a new freshness to Jack. There was energy in that finished page. It was a good time to be a Kirby fan.

Krackles's picture
Posted by: Krackles | June 29, 2011

True way

I agree with your description of an art team and under this definition mine is Kirby/Giacoia (yes, before Kirby/Sinnott).

And, when I want to drool before the purest Kirby (except for pencils), Mike Royer is my man.

He is indeed the truest of Kirby's inkers while contributing his own style albeit with great respect of every pencil lines, far from the tracing machine that some criticized him to be.

Colletta was a total mismatch at best and he played routinely with ERASERS ruining many panel compositions.
Even Erik "I already own half of Kirby's outstanding output and I'm coming after yours" couldn't possibly justify this?

Thor is the only Kirby's work I have great difficulty to read because of him, except for the "Tales of Asgard" backup.
Everything else he did on Thor is just torture for I can't help trying to figure out what could have been and how much has been lost.

Frank Fosco's picture
Posted by: Frank Fosco | June 29, 2011


This is what I was saying about Mike being truest to Kirby. Mike would match at most times Jack's pencil stroke for ink stroke. The pencil strokes Jack drew in Big Bear's leg is matched with the inking. A lot of people view Colletta as this bad inker--he wasn't a bad inker--it was his style you don't care for. Rounding off the square fingers, prettying up the faces. This is what these group of inkers did--they contributed to the final look--it was more of an art team. When Royer came around we got to see the purest Kirby ever. I like to see some stuff recreated from Sinnott's work--another inker who contributed to the final look.

Krackles's picture
Posted by: Krackles | June 29, 2011

No way Erik!

I agree with you when you say that Mike is not putting enough solid blacks but I prefer his inking, no question about it!
Please Mike, bring back the fat blacks!
Your brushwork already packs so much juice that, really, you don't need to spice up your work with extra sketchy lines!

Erik Larsen's picture
Posted by: Erik Larsen | June 29, 2011

Mark me down as a guy that preferred Vinnie's version

--That's certainly not often the case but I prefer Vinnie's solid blacks and choices here. Mike's looks a bit too sketchy for my taste.

I love Mike's inks in general. I think he's terrific but I think in this case that the original was just fine.

John S.'s picture
Posted by: John S. (not verified) | February 21, 2011

Are You Serious?

Vinnie was better on the Fourth World??! Surely you jest! Vinnie was pretty good on THOR, but Mike was WAY better on the Fourth World! Someone (probably me) once said that Colletta would spend a good two hours inking every page he got. The first hour was spent erasing everything he didn't feel like inking and the second was spent inking whatever was left. Honestly, take another look at books like NEW GODS #3 and 4, for example. Atrocious! You really don't think Mike would have done a better job?

And by the way, what do you mean, "those unexplainable squiggles and blobs"? How old are you? Do you know anything about art? No offence, but I wondered about those things myself -- when I was about twelve years old. It didn't take me very long, however, to understand the more impressionistic qualities of Jack's work. If you don't like that stuff, why are you even looking at a Kirby website?

Luigi's picture
Posted by: Luigi (not verified) | January 27, 2011

Best inkers

I too believe that Colletta has been an excellent inker on specific series, like Thor for example. Royer was precise and clever, yet I think Joe Sinnott is the definitive inker for mighty Jack. And shame on last inkers, in Pacific years.

Tom Kraft's picture
Posted by: Tom Kraft | January 26, 2011

Re: Why compare?

The intension of showing side by side comparisons is to view how different inkers approached Kirby's pencils. It isn't to suggest that one inker is better than the other or diminish the contributions of either inker. In fact many people think Colletta published inks are better than these recreated Royer inks. This being extremely subjective, all opinions are valid in my opinion. If Colletta was still alive today I'd have him do a creation.

I felt this cover was originally very well inked by Colletta. Wasn't my first choice for spending my money on a creation but the pencil photocopy was available and I became curious to see what Mike would do.

Les Toil's picture
Posted by: Les Toil (not verified) | January 26, 2011

Vinnie was far superior on The Fourth World.

Of course Colletta sucked for the first decade or so inking Kirby's super-heroes, but I wish people would acknowledge his tremendous improvements which became really evident in Kirby's Fourth World stuff. I know I'm the minority here when I say I think Colletta's Fourth World inking was WAY superior over slap-happy Mike Royer's inking. The above art is a perfect example.

Everyone says Royer was the most true to Kirby's pencil, but I think Kirby's work benefited from a bit of enhancement due to his break-neck schedule of churning out pages--hence my love of Sinnott. Royer was as rapid fire as Kirby was. When Kirby drew a crooked pair of eyes or a mutated earlobe, Royer inked just that. In Kirby's final years, the man shined EVERYthing. From faces to rocks to FABRIC--and Royer was right there to apply those unexplainable squiggles and blobs. Colletta's Fourth World stuff was gorgeous with strong bold line weight and dramatic black spotting.

LanceK's picture
Posted by: LanceK (not verified) | January 26, 2011

Why compare?

I have to say this whole thing comparing Colletta's to Royer's seems uncommonlyrude and insulting towards the craftsmanship of fellow artists. I like the idea of Royer (or ANYone) re-inking Kirby's work for their own personal enjoyment, but putting them side-by-side seems a bit unethical.

Krackles's picture
Posted by: Krackles | January 8, 2011

As great as usual!

And this not surprising when you choose Mr Royer to ink some prime Kirby's pencils.

Just a very small complain about hatchings in dark areas.
At times, I'd prefer a bit more solid blacks.

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