Friday, March 04, 2016
Kirby Kovers Week, Day 5!
We're wrapping up the week-long Kirby Kovers posts today! Next week, there'll be a new week-long post theme, which I haven't decided on yet.
Fantastic Four #52 is a great example of Kirby Tech. Who knows what all this stuff is supposed to do? I don't know, but it looks cool as hell! I love how the FF is clearly on the lookout for something, but they aren't sure what... in the meantime, the Black Panther is about to strike! There are a few things that kind of mar this for me, however... Note the Torch's fire trail. It seems to emanate from within or behind some of the Tech, but that doesn't make any sense. Also, the Panther's figure is clearly larger than the Thing, which would seem to indicate that he's about to land in front of the FF, but with his back turned to them! I can understand why Kirby did it that way, though -- it does add emphasis to the Panther's presence on the cover (as does having him over the FF's logo).
I always wonder when I find these later Kirby Kovers if I should include them or not, especially since I'm pretty sure this one was published after Kirby passed away. My best guess about the origin of this cover is that it was originally done as a sketch for something else, and then Mike T. light boxed it and made the characters costumes match his Phantom Force characters.
Next, we've got Captain America #8, and like a lot of World War II Timely covers, it's jam-packed with details. Cap's taking on five villains here -- two Nazi officers and three troll-like guys who wear bandages for pants (that can't be convenient when one needs to use the bathroom). This cover has a lot of perspective problems happening here... The axe-throwing troll is clearly on the other side of the tomb door from Cap, yet his throw happens in front of it!
Kirby does a modern-day take on Jack and the Beanstalk on the cover of Journey into Mystery #55, with a great giant clutching hand! I know that Dial B for Blog did a post series on giant hands, I wonder if he remembered this one?
Next, it's Young Romance #34, and it's kind of a rarity in that there are no sisters present here, unlike others posted this week! I can only imagine that the girl throws over the guy in the brown jacket for the guy in the blue one, but comes to regret her decision by the end of the story.
Boy Commandos #32 not only has Dale Evans guest-starring in the book, but it also hearkens to the then-future Boys Ranch comic! As with his later Marvel western books, Kirby went to great lengths to make sure that nobody wore the exact same clothes, even down to variations on the cowboy hats!
Sometimes I think Simon & Kirby's Star Spangled Comics covers, like the one for #30 here, are my favorites of their Golden Age work at DC, although their covers with the Sandman and Sandy run awfully close! The Guardian's legs do look off to me, however.
Another classic Kirby western cover here, courtesy of Two-Gun Kid #74! This one is ind of unusual, as the bandage and sling the Kid is wearing conceals his most distinctive clothing feature, namely his vest!
Kirby's covers for Captain America during this time period, including #103 here, are among his best, in my opinion. What I find great about them is that while all his Silver Age Marvel work was great, he still gave each book a distinctive look to it. You wouldn't mistake a Cap cover for an FF or Thor cover!
You can't quite say the same thing for Kirby's 1970s work at Marvel, as much as I love it. The cover of Captain America #202 wouldn't really require all that many changes if it were, for example, an issue of The Eternals, if Cap and the Falcon were swapped out for Sersi and Ikaris, to name a few. Kirby was definitely into full sci-fi mode by this time, obviously!
While at DC in the early 1970s, Kirby was pretty innovative with a lot of his covers, such as the one for New Gods #9... The biggest stars of the book, Lightray and Orion, get pushed aside for the debut of The Bug, so much so that their poses even appear as if they're being crowded aside!
As much as I love Kirby's Fourth World stuff, I still think that Kamandi is probably my favorite of Kirby's books from this era at DC. The cover of #8 shows how wild his imagination went here! I've long thought that this was a book that really deserved an animated series... heck, with today's technology for SFX, he could even be done live-action if they wanted to! Maybe we could get him an appearance in an episode of Legends of Tomorrow as a back-door pilot?
We'll wrap up Kirby Kovers Week here with Tales of Suspense #52, which features the first appearance of the Black Widow, who's pretty much unrecognizable from how we know her today! Is it just me, or does the Iron Man pose here remind anyone else of the pose that Marx Toys used for their plastic Iron Man statue?