Saturday, July 31, 2010

Kirby Fantastic Four Covers

I was obsessed with these comics when I was a kid.

I didn't start buying them until 1966. Before that I thought the drawings were too bizarre.
Once I got hooked I wanted to buy all the back issues.Luckily, in those days there was always a garage sale every weekend where some kid would be selling all his comics for a penny each so I went and bought all the issues dating back to the beginning.
It was fun watching the Thing evolve from a melted blob of orange lava into a highly constructed pile of rocks.
I love the colors on these covers too. I think they are by Marie Severin. They are much more muted and moody than the DC superhero comics were.

The thing about Kirby characters is, once he stopped drawing them no one else was ever able to capture the magic. For me, they all died when he left Marvel around 1970.

23 comments:

TedM said...

Your right. Kirby's the greatest and Marvel want down hill after Kirby left. Did you like The New Gods or any of his other comics at DC?

TedM said...

Your right. Kirby's the greatest and Marvel want down hill after Kirby left. Did you like The New Gods or any of his other comics at DC?

Eric Knisley said...

I practiced drawing by copying Kirby, and I used to draw the same panels from FF or the Hulk over and over again, dozens or scores of times, until I got it "right". For some reason, it never occurred to me to trace--I just kept hammering away with my ball-point pens on cheap typing paper. What fun!

Roberto Severino said...

Interesting. I'm not really into superhero comics, but Jack Kirby makes them look like actual fun based on those beautiful covers.

Mark Mayerson said...

It's really interesting how some artists have a visceral impact on the viewer while others, who are often superior artists from a conventional point of view, don't. At Marvel, Kirby and Ditko touched readers in ways that nobody else did. Certainly it wasn't because their art was pretty. John Buscema had a much greater sense of appeal in his art and was arguably the better draftsman from an academic standpoint, yet Kirby and Ditko still have passionate devotees of their forty year old work.

I just read a quote from jazz and film critic Gary Giddins. He was writing, in the book Warning Shadows, about animation and he said, "emotional commitment will always trump technique." For me, that's the best explanation for guys like Kirby and Ditko. They were totally committed emotionally to the stories they told where other comics guys were not to the same extent.

Bob said...

My friend just gave me "this man this monster," after I did some work for him. It's a great comic would you like some scans from it?

RooniMan said...

Kirby is king.

Kingfish said...

Kirby was king. I could never pinpoint exactly what it was about his work that was so appealing but you just can't take your eyes off it. Superhero comics in the early-mid 60s are the peak of the form. Before they started taking themselves seriously, when there wasn't a hint of irony- all that "Inside this book is the most sensational story you will marvel at this year!" - such sincere hucksterism!

One thing I always loved with Kirby is how his superheroes were often a little pudgy and their clothes were a bit ill-fitting- sort of like loose pajamas. By the 80s and 90s they all looked like Arnold Schwartzenegger and their clothes looked painted on- at the time I thought that's what superheroes looked like, but in retrospect it was probably a little gay. (The females looked great in those days, though. I remember showing my mom and grandma an X-Men comic in about 1991 - and my mom just said "Just so you know, nice girls don't dress like this")

Neil-W said...

A friend has a lot of these classic Kirbys .
Once in a while i borrow them to drool over. reprints aren't quite the same.
From time to time when i'm in a comic shop that has those classic covers high up on a wall my neck cranes up in awe i look back down and there's a myriad of new titles with covers that stirs nothing in me.
Like Eric i still draw today because of Kirby, No doubt about it he was the man.

Chris G. said...

I understand what you mean, Kingfish. In current comics the hero always seems to be a bodybuilder that's in a constant state of flex, showing every single ab through his superhero costume,... which apparently is made of cellophane.

I liked the way Kirby made heros look like they were actually wearing a costume. I think of all the comic artists I've seen recently, only Alex Ross makes his characters look "clothed."

Jorge said...

"The thing about Kirby characters is, once he stopped drawing them no one else was ever able to capture the magic. For me, they all died when he left Marvel around 1970. "

What about John Byrne?

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_7xhau3IqWZs/Sw3_u-1H4cI/AAAAAAAAAbY/NoaDjWujqvQ/s1600/scan0011.jpg

http://ffplaza.blogspot.com/2009/11/fantastic-four-236.html

http://ffplaza.blogspot.com/search/label/Byrne

HemlockMan said...

Kirby was the king, for damned sure. Nobody could draw his characters the way he could because he created them. Not the nephew of the company that was publishing them. Just Jack Kirby. He was unique among comics creators. There's never been anyone like him working in comics.

I think that Marie Severin was likely the colorist on just about all of that stuff. You didn't put up the cover for FF #25 which is a favorite of mine, as is #28.

Erik said...

kirby's docter doom look awesome!
i think the marvel style at that time looks better indeed, around the 80's some marvel comics still looked okay looked okay.
better then that 90's stuff like this: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/images/uploads/Spider-Man004.jpg

it's so crammed with stuff that it is way to messy. i don't enjoy reading a comic if its to crammed with details, it's not very easy on the eyes.

i kind of collect the old spiderman comics if i see them at flee markets and garage sales.

Ollie said...

Did you ever meet Jack? or how about Stan Lee?

Robert Schaad said...

Absolutely agree John. I was OBSESSED by the Kirby FF's. The only other Marvel artists to approach him at that time were: Steranko (I liked the op-art psychedelic stuff he was doing), George Tuska and the early Barry Smith stuff.

Dan szilagyi said...

I agree to an extent John, while Kirby was amazing i don't think he was the end all for them.

Certainly you have to say something for John Bryne's work on X-Men along with Paul Smith and John Romita jr. back in the 80's....if you haven't seen them i'd suggest picking up some of the thicker tradepaper backs in black and white, the line work is amazing along with expressions and posing.
Though i'll say sometimes it did get a bit confusing in terms of what was happening in each panel but overall i think solid work.

Bob Lilly said...

If I ran the world Fantastic Four, Thor, The Hulk, Iron Man, and X-Men would have ended when Kirby left. Spider-Man and Dr. Strange would have ended when Ditko left them. The very idea that some company can "own" sharacters without making explicit arrangements with the creators is immoral. Kirby was amazing.

thiago said...

Kirby was incredible, but John Buscema's Conan was marvel at its best in the 70's. Barry Smith, John Severin and John Byrne were great, too.

JohnK said...

Superhero comics got too serious and too busy in the 70s for me.

Marvel changed its whole attitude, They stopped doing continued stories and aded all kinds of new writers that didn't have the Stan Lee magic and lightheartedness.

Marvel to me was Ditko's Spiderman, Kirby's FF, and Gene Colan' Submariner. The rest of the 60s stuff was good filler. The 70s became something much different.

I did like Barry Smith's more ornamental Conans though.

TedM said...

John K, I agree with you Marvel sucks after Stan, Steve and Jack left. But I really like the John Romita Spider-Man books.

Jeffrey said...

John, I thought you might get a kick out of this. It's an article about how Jack Kirby and Frank Zappa were friends:

http://royalflushmagazine.com/2009/10/13/zappa_meets_kirby/

EalaDubh said...

For the sake of all your collective sanity though, please stop before you get to Captain Victory & The Galactic Rangers.

Jeff Overturf said...

They did die. Like with all great art, after the creator has told his story, the fan boys who follow can't even touch the characters.