Scans of original art are from the Kirby Museum's Original Art Digital Archive.
Scans of pencil art photocopies for the Kirby Museum's Pencil Art Photocopy Archive courtesy of the Kirby Family, with thanks to TwoMorrows Publishing.
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I notice you have Kirby's stuff from 1976 to 1978 listed as "Modern Age". Not sure how you decided on that designation, since it's generally accepted that the Bronze Age of comics extended 'til the end of the seventies, isn't it? As far as I'm aware, the Modern Age began in the eighties, with the ascent of the direct sales market and the (very foolish) decision of the major publishers to ignore the largest segment of their audience -- the newsstand customer.
I noticed that, although they already show up in the recent comments page, the posts left by unverified users don't appear instantly on the display page. I guess you need to moderate unverified posters but shouldn't they show nowhere or everywhere at once?
Hi John, I did set the Modern Age to designate the Marvel period from 1976-1978, before he briefly quit comic for animation. When Jack came back to comics in the early 80's till the early 90's I set that period as Independent since he worked for Pacific and several other publishers, independent of any one publisher.
I agree the naming is off and I'm open to any suggestions you or anyone else may have. Tom
Thanks Krackles, you're comments are invaluable! The comments from non- members must be approved to appear on the site anywhere, well theoretically. They shouldn't appear in the recent comments, it seems to be a bug. Anyway, I think I fixed it but will verify once a non-verified post is posted. Thanks again for your attention to detail.
It's no big deal, really. Just a question of semantics, I guess. My only suggestion would be to list ALL of Kirby's '70s work as Bronze Age and everything from 1980 to 1994 as Modern Age, since that would correspond with the "ages" of comics history in general as opposed to just the ages of Jack Kirby's career. And again, I only say that 'cause I'd be reluctant to classify Kirby's '70s Marvel period as "Modern Age"-- but hey, it's your website, so you're the boss. Whatever you decide, I'll keep reading!
Though it is my website, I want it to be accurate as possible and not misleading. Members and visitors with experience in the comic book field and specifically Jack Kirby should help shape the direction of the site. I look at myself as an enabler, promoting the study and enjoyment of Kirby.
I feel that Jack's writing and art was different between 1975 and 1976, when he made the move back to Marvel, so it should be considered a different "Kirby" period. Would it make sense to chance the name from "Modern" to "Late Bronze" and "Independent" to "Modern?"
Anyone else have an opinion? Thanks, Tom
I'd question the use of a convention that's already debatable and do not apply to Kirby himself.
Why not simply use decades (40, 50, 60, 70 and 80)?
If anything, Kirby was at the peak of his creative power (its own "golden age") during the mid sixties to early seventies.
Yeah, changing the name from "Modern" to "Late Bronze" is a good idea. I think that's a more effective designation than the current one. I also think Krackles has a good idea, to use decades. But if, for example, you feel that Jack's later '70s stuff is markedly different than his earlier '70s work, then maybe your designations would be more accurate in labelling Kirby's stylistic periods than by just using decades.
By the way, Krackles, you're definitely gonna get an argument from me over when Jack was at the peak of his creative powers (lol)! Every Kirbyhead has his own favorite era of The King's illustrious career and for my money it was seventies Marvel all the way, brother! I know the '60s stuff sold better, but really, nothing beats the sheer, unrestrained, unmuffled power of Kirby and Royer on books like ETERNALS, 2001, BLACK PANTHER, etc.
Not so much room for argument there, I love Kirby's output for Marvel in the seventies, maybe even more than his DC stuff.
I always felt, despite his strong and distinctive style that Kirby's work had a feel that suited the compagny he worked for (but he will always be "Marvel" for me so, I guess, I must be a Marvel Zombie).
Concerning Kirby most creative era… No matter what your favorite one is, it's hard to compete with the rebirth of Marvel in the hands of Kirby and Lee!
My own favorite period happens to match what I consider his most creative era but I don't think they should necessarily be connected.
If yours is the late Marvel, so be it, there sure are enough great Kirby periods to suit everybody.
As for labelling Kirby's stylistic periods, I started to write this in my previous post but decided to delete it…
In order to avoid too many arguments!
Still, it would be possible to use both decades and style periods.
I just stumbled on this discussion for the ages, by way of looking for pages with attached pencil scans. My thought is you should simply ignore the "age" designations and break things down by year. This would invite more categories. It would also eliminate things like "Golden Age" encompassing things from the '50s which some fans call "The ATOM Age."
If you think about it there is more difference between early '40s, late '40s, early '50s, and late '50s Kirby artwork than there is between Kirby in 1973 and 1979.
I think to the Silver Age is almost like what people call "The '60s." If you put the calender numbers aside you could argue from a cultural POV the '60s didn't really begin until 1962-63, and didn't end until the early '70s. For example Underground Comix are associated with '60s culture, but many of the best of them were published in the early '70s.
I'd propose something like 193?-1939 (we don't know that early Kirby artwork won't show up. We know some exists.)
1940-44, 1945-1950, 1951-1955, 1956-1960, 1961-1963, 1964-1968, 1969-1970, 1971-1973, 1974-1979, 1980-1982,and 1983-on. I see significant identifiers, which I could bore you to death talking about, attached to the yearly breakdowns I just listed. For example 1961-1963 sees Kirby doing an incredible number of pages every month. His pencils are some times rushed, and he's beginning to spot blacks in the pencils, but not consistently. the years1964-1968 show Kirby getting paid a bit better, the pencils become much tighter, the level of detail is consistently very high, all the black areas are fully rendered, and the pencils have a degree of precision not often seen. 1969-1971 shows Kirby holding back at Marvel. Great work, but not as tight. After the first few issues at DC Kirby seems to catch fire and his pencils return to and surpass anything he'd done at Marvel. This period dims when he realizes Kamandi and the Demon are not two issue assignments to be passed along to another artist. The Fourth World is not coming back, and the work again looks a bit discouraged (though never less than great) somewhat like what is seen his last couple of years at Marvel.
A good way to classify Kirby for scholars and people who know the subtle differences in the art. The general public or people who don't know Kirby as well would gravitate on periods associated with the publishers. This isn't to say that there couldn't be 2 classifications and sorting abilities. A future consideration as Rand and I build the new Kirby archive site.
At a minimum the term "Golden Age" is far to broad. The almost Lou Fine level of feathering and rendering on the late '40s Stuntman (>) spreads (<) are a lot further stylistically from work Kirby was doing only a couple of years later than 1974 is from 1978.
I do think anything which guides the average person away from focusing on publishers is short and long term beneficial.
And there are three if not four quite distinct periods at Silver Age Marvel. A case could be made the pre-hero material is less rushed looking than the 1961-64 work where Kirby had those crazy workloads.