Saturday, January 23, 2021

Would Wolverine be as popular if he looked like THIS?

I know, I know, you think he looks like this (or some variation of it).

My version is ridiculous you say? Take a quick look at some of Marvel's other "animal" characters that existed the 70's-- The Rhino, the Grizzly, the Gibbon, the Man-Ape. There are others too, and they all wear a costume.

Given their track record, Wolverine could have followed in the same footsteps (prints?). But instead, he looks cool. It no doubt made a difference in his popularity.

Why did I think of this? Because this week I saw a picture of the superhero Razorback. I grew up in Arkansas (which has a college football team named the Razorbacks). When Razorback first appeared in the 70's, I thought. "Yay! Arkansas is being represented! And Razorback is a great name for a superhero!" Then I immediately thought, "Egad! What a stupid costume!" He was never popular and I've been bitter all these years.

So, today, I take it out on Wolverine.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Little Seen 60's Superhero art by Jack Kirby and Marie Severin


I recently created a post collecting all the Spider-Man art by Jack Kirby I could find. (It can be seen here.) Then, thanks to Stéphane Beaumort and Franz Hens, I discovered more! The new-to-me art can be found in the September 1966 issue of Esquire.

I found a beat up (cheap) copy of the magazine, with good pages on the inside, then scanned (and retouched) away! The superhero themed articles start with the double page spread seen below. Click on any image in to enlarge. Note: you need to "right click" on the image to open it actual size in a tab or window. It's much more readable.

There is a large Jack Kirby signature right below Spider-Man. But, I don't think Kirby drew him! This is all speculation on my part, but it's not exactly Kirby's style, and the layout of the characters would be very strong without Spidey in it. Did Kirby leave him out and someone else from Marvel crammed him in?

The most telling thing is that there is a thin "white" gap in the black line art between Spidey and the rest of the characters. This is what you would see if Spider-Man had been drawn separately, cut out, and pasted on the art. Here's a close up--

Edit: Artist Terry Beatty has informed me that he has seen the original Kirby art for this spread. It did not have Spider-Man in it. So, Spidey was added later, probably through the use of stats. Thanks, Terry!

On the following two pages, is the Spider-Man art that Kirby did most likely draw. As you can see from the first image, Kirby often added or omitted details from Spider-Man's costume. In this version, Spidey has no spider emblem on his back, but he does have webs running down the side of his legs. Both elements are "off model." Oddly enough enough, he appears correct on the next page.

I haven't yet commented on the article itself. It's an interesting read that talks about how America's university students have embraced Marvel Comics. It was great publicity in 1966, but some of the students say rather dumb things. Here's the first student quote (he misspelled three, easy words), "Marvel Comics have a wholesome, clean cut molecular arrangement. I have come accross [sic] many conformations and spatial arrangements in my day but Marvel is one of the most stablist [sic] compounds known. Show me a comic book that delivers some taste and I will show you a Marvel Comic. The minds of the Marvel writers and artist must be truely [sic] recessed. Marvel has soul. We're with you Spidey." Hmm, I just noticed he says, "writers and artist." Just one artist?

This issue also contained a few articles illustrated by the-not-talked-about-enough Marie Severin. The below pages highlight students and teachers from different universities. 

This looks like Joe Biden to me. Perhaps he could use it on his letterhead.

And finally, unrelated to superheroes, here's an handy chart to show you how to be rejected during a military draft.

As though I needed a reason to wear silk underwear.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Mr. Fantastic and His Private Viewscreen

I recently ran across an interesting panel from an old Fantastic Four comic. I tried to STOP MYSELF from turning it into an animated GIF. But, I couldn't.

If you're curious (and you are), here's the original panel.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

A Gallery of Jack Kirby’s Spider-Man Art

The way Jack Kirby drew Spider-Man has long fascinated me. I love Kirby's inventive and powerful work, but his Spidey usually seemed a bit “off model.” The webbing on his mask was usually different from the standard renditions and he was often missing a spider icon on his uniform. For the last year or so, I’ve saved Kirby’s Spider-Man art as I stumbled across it online.

I decided to share what I've collected. I suspect others are equally fascinated. Since I initially did this for my own amusement, I didn't keep track of sources. After researching, I think a lot of the material comes from the Jack Kirby Art Museum or Two Morrows publications. I did not remove any watermarks.


Kirby's Spider-Man Sketches and Pencils  

To be fair, you can't expect characters to always be 100% correct when drawn on the fly. Click on any to enlarge.

This isn't a mere "sketch," but I can't find any information about it.

Alternative art for Toys For Tots poster seen in Inked Work below.

Kirby’s Inked, Miscellaneous Work

Marvel Comics poster from 1975

Art for Toys For Tots poster.

The finished Toys For Tots poster had a spider added to Spidey's chest.

From the Marvelmania Comic Art Portfolio, 1970

Created for a 1978 Spider-Man calendar, inker unknown.

Kirby’s Art Reworked for Final Product
Each piece was reworked/inked by John Romita, Sr.

Marvel 1977 Calendar

Spidey Super Stories #20

1970's Poster

Kirby’s Comic Covers
It's possible his Spidey was sometimes altered by the inker.

Amazing Fantasy #15, inked by Steve Ditko.

Strange Tales Annual #2, inked by ?
(I used this Spider-Man for the first image of my post.)

Fantastic Four Annual #1, inked by Dick Ayers.

Amazing Spider-Man #10. Cover by Steve Ditko, but Spidey was redrawn by Kirby.

Daredevil #1, inked by Bill Everett.

Tales to Astonish #57, inked by Sol Brodsky.
At first, I thought Spidey's eyepiece extended up his head.
It's actually just shading.

Avengers #11, inked by Chic Stone.
Was Spidey altered by Ditko? It looks like it, but I suspect the background webbing is all Kirby.

Fantastic Four #73, inked by Joe Sinnot.
Spidey was probably altered from the pencils.

I left out a fun one! 

Fantastic Four Annual #3, inked by Mike Esposito.

Here's a close up of Spidey. The spider must have been left off of his costume, because it looks like it was added to his stomach, not his chest!

There was only one panel with Spider-Man in the story drawn by Kirby.

It looks like a pose based on Ditko's Amazing Spider-Man #19 cover. I wonder how the original Kirby's pencils looked.

Update #2!
Here are a couple of Kirby pieces from a 1966 Esquire. (To see more of this interesting issue, click here.)

And Finally--
I couldn't resist taking a couple of his pencil sketches and adding my own inks and colors. Just for fun! 😊