Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Kirby Kovers #11

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This week's Kirby Kovers starts with a look at Justice, Inc. #3! This book, for those of you unfamiliar with it, was an adaptation of the pulp character "The Avenger." Despite the blurb at the top, however, that character was not the creation of "Kenneth Robeson," as there was no real person by that name, it was merely a house name used by the writers of Doc Savage (Lester Dent most often), and I'm not even sure any of the Doc Savage writers had a hand in the original Avenger pulps! But I digress... This is a cover I kind of wish I'd used in last week's post, between the Thor and Eternals covers, as a demonstration of how Kirby's artwork continued to evolve, never really staying completely fixed in style. This cover, for example, shows Kirby's work with wrinkles on clothing. Sure, there were some wrinkles in the FF's uniforms while Kirby was drawing them, but nothing like the wrinkles on The Avenger here! Also note the various drawing techniques used on the monsters attacking the car -- each has distinct elements in how they're drawn to mimic scales, fur, or other textures. As noted last time around, the only real issue with this cover is that the car is not to scale with the figures! Richard Benson's driver (I forget the character name) looks like his elbow is way over on Benson's half of the vehicle in his attempt to steer! But as also noted, it's something that you don't tend to immediately notice, because the overall image "reads" so well! The figures and the car kind of form a capital "T" where the top of the "T" is curved... almost looks like an arrowhead with a blunt point!

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Kirby really was at his best with his action covers, and they tended to lead the eye right where he wanted your eye led to! Here, you tend to spot the Chief right away (the red building kind of points you to him, as does the red column on the left), and from there you follow him to Officer Wallace (as the order of balloons indicates the conversation is going), and from there, you see the criminal they're pursuing at the top of the building, his gun at the ready! Given the positioning of the officers (and the fainted lady being held by one of them), you can see the design is based on a "V" that's tipped on its right side. This is not only visually striking, it also leaves room for the text!

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Here's the cover to 2001: A Space Odyssey #8, with the first appearance of Machine Man (if I'm not mistaken, and I could be). Obviously, these buildings are not to scale with X-51 or the people persuing him, and it's obviously not meant to! If anything, you're supposed to be reminded of King Kong on the Empire State Building, but even that's possibly misleading. This is one cover where a lighter hand on the inking of the background would've been welcome, because the lines all read as heavy no matter where you look! Again, Jack seems to have used the arrow point layout here, with the gunfire providing the top of the arrow... but that helicopter kind of throws it off a little bit... I also have to wonder if something was originally drawn for where the "An Origin To Top All Others" blurb is, because it almost looks like it's covering up something!

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A pyramid shape is the main design on the cover of Mister Miracle #3, and it's pretty darn effective, too! There's no stock expressions on any of the people here, they're all maniacal, but all different! I don't recall, was there a reason that Scott Free's costume is entirely white on this cover, aside from really drawing attention to him? The coloring on this is really great, too... especially compared to the 2001 cover above!

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