First up this time around on Kirby Kovers is Boy Explorers Comics #1! As you can see, there's not really a shape around which this cover is designed (at least, none that I can immediately spot). It is an effective cover, though, if you ask me, because it serves to present the lead characters all very clearly, and tells you what it's about... there's a treasure map in the hands of one of them, and below, a treasure with a skull wearing a pirate's hat! Can't get much clearer than that, eh?
I know, it's probably a bit jarring to go from Boy Explorers to Kirby's 70s run on Captain America, eh? You may not quite see this yourself, but when this cover popped up next for me to use here, I immediately saw a capital "N" in the layout, mostly formed by the gun blasts, with the Falcon providing the final strike. It's definitely not a clean cover, very stylized, and how long did you look at it before you realized that Cap wasn't even in costume on the cover? In fact, you needed a blurb to point out where he is! What can I say, I like it!
From a similar period, here's Black Panther #3, and if anything, it's even more stylized than the Captain America cover! There's great Kirbytech there, an impressive use of the shadow on the left-hand side... but man, that Black Panther figure is pretty much nothing but stylization! If someone can figure out a way to photograph someone in a Black Panther costume (or a Black Panther figure, say) in that pose with lighting that even halfway resembles where Kirby put his blacks, they should be rewarded... but then, as I've noted before, it reads well, even if it's not realistic (realism in comics is overrated anyway... I think most artists these days who strive to make their artwork look realistic are missing the point of superhero comics).
Interestingly enough, the cover for Justice Traps the Guilty #21 seems to use an inverted pyramid as the focus of the cover layout... with the point being the corner of the table closest to the reader. I have no idea if Kirby really thought these out, or if it came naturally, to be honest. That is some wacky perspective going on with that table, though (it doesn't seem to line up with anything else on the cover, not the chair, the picture on the wall behind it, or the walls outside that room), so I have to think that it was somewhat of a conscious decision!
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