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This page looks a little odd to me. I don't think Jack penciled it. It does look like he was involved with the inking.
This looks more like Meskin being Kirby-ish.
Is it safe to say Kirby inked this? I changed the credits to Mort penciling and Kirby inking.
Mostly Meskin inking, as well, I think.
Cause if that is the case I kick this page off the site!
It's hard to say. Looks like it might have Kirby inking. If not, whoever inked it did a good job maintaining the S&K house style in the inks. Overall, it's a fairly decent page: reasonably well drawn, with nice straightforward storytelling that really makes you want to see what happens next. I agree that it's Meskin's pencilling, but for inker confirmation it would be a good idea, if possible, to get someone like Harry Mendryk, who's a real expert on this stuff, to weigh in.
Looking at this I thought the same thing--that it wasn't drawn by Jack. I don't know if it's Meskin either, the faces don't seem right. The awkwardness of the figures, especially panel 2 the guy far right look like Joe Simon's work.
But, this was the crux of what I've been trying to get at for the past year or so--what a lot of people think is Jack's inks may actually be Meskin. Then all the comments were leaning towards it was Jack's inking and I let it go because I started to agree. But this S&K house style took on more of a lush look when Mort was part of the studio. And when Mort left that lushness of style seemed to go with him.
Those are good points, Frank. Now that you mention it, some of it does look like Simon's work, doesn't it? For example, the old lady in panel five. And if it's not Jack's inking, it could very well be Meskin. Doggone it, I'd say we all got us a mystery here, pardners!
One of the questions that really needs to be resolved--is what we think is Jack's inks really Meskin...or is it for sure Jack? Never been 100% sure one way or the other and I don't think there's been a definitive answer. I'm not sure if the historians know for certain.
Up until a few years ago, I was under the impression that the S&K studio's so-called "picket fence" inking was done by Joe Simon, since Joe always talked about "making hay" with his inks. But somewhere along the way I learned that this wasn't the case, as I saw more and more pages which were inked in that style being attributed to Kirby and also saw more of Simon's solo work, which was generally NOT inked that way.
However, if the inking was Jack's, it's a bit of a departure from the style he was using in his pre-war work. One clue may be the Stuntman and Boy Explorers stuff from Harvey, since that was done right after the war and exhibits early examples of this particular technique. Therefore, I'd say it's reasonable to assume that Kirby's post-war inking style was evolving strongly in that direction. Plus, I don't think Meskin was working for them at the Harvey stage, so the evidence would seem to point to Jack.
It's definitely a subject that could use further clarification though. Personally, I'm not familiar enough with Meskin's non-Simon & Kirby work to know what his inking was really like. So who knows? At the time this Boys Ranch page was done, it's possible that Kirby and Meskin were both using the same basic inking style to keep the house look consistent.
There is a lot of confusion surrounding the Simon and Kirby partnership. For a long time the assumption was Simon was Kirby's inker. This does not reflect Simon's role. Simon and Kirby both wrote, penciled, and inked. At Timely and DC before the war Simon didn't ink Kirby hardly at all. In fact Simon was probably doing more penciling than inking during those years at Timely and DC. Kirby was inking during those years. Kirby wrote, penciled, and inked several of THE VISION stories at Timely, and inked many of the splash pages in the Captain America stories. It was during this period that Kirby was using a lot of "hay." That would be Lou Fine influenced feathering and crosshatching. Kirby shows a fluid and free control of the brush, his inking is brilliant and impressed Gil Kane and Jack Katz.
Jim Amash: Did Jack talk about line weight?
Jack Katz: Yes, he did. He showed me how to apply all of that to figures and objects. He said, “You have to make it three-dimensional. What you do is, make sure you have black areas behind a line, always a dark behind a line. It could be feathered.
If you bring the light in on the right hand side, you have to make sure the opposite side is carefully outlined. If you want to show real drama, you have a light source from the top, so the eyes and mouth are in shadow, If you want to make a real ghoul”
Katz: “and he turned the page over, and drew a face, he showed me how the light from underneath highlights the bone structure. He showed me how to vary textures, he’d say “curtains should look delicate.” He showed me how to do that with a brush.
Gil Kane: "Simon only inked a fraction of what they did. Jack was his own best inker, he was superb. He did most of the Captain America splashes."
At DC Kirby continued to frequently ink splash pages and on occasion would ink a whole story. One good example of Kirby inking his own pencils during the pre-war period at DC is the NEWSBOY LEGION story THE HOUSE WHERE TIME STOOD STILL. The vast majority of the inking during the early Timely and DC years was by artists other than Kirby or Simon. After the war Kirby returned to DC and briefly inked a lot of his own work. When Simon returned he again teamed with Kirby and they left DC to work for other publishers. Simon did ink Kirby quite a bit in the late '40s. You can see Simon inks all through many of the STUNTMAN stories, and Simon would pencil as well on occasion. The magnificent double splash pages in the STUNTMAN stories are all inked by Kirby (the magnificent ones).
Harvey Kurtzman commented.
.“The work wasn’t always consistent because they worked with an array of assistants who weren’t always up to the job (at least I deduced that was the reason). Very often you could sense there was a wonderful Jack Kirby drawing under the hacked out inking. In any case part of the Simon, and Kirby drawings were good, and part of the drawings were bad. I would look for the good parts, when I found it I would think, “Ah! Here it is!” It was love, clean and pure.
Kirby was motivated not so much by the desire to draw comics, as the rats under his bed. He told me, “I could not afford art school, so I stole what I could from the best.”
Kirby was perfect for the medium. He stripped everything down to essentials. His understanding of both mass, and movement was uncanny. There was such energy in his work it couldn’t be contained. Kirby was absolute force.”
I don't think it could have been penciled by Meskin or Kirby. There are too many awkward looking areas. My feeling is the page was penciled by Joe Simon (panel three screams Simon to me), and mostly inked by Simon, but in a way which is trying to look like Kirby. It's likely Kirby did some touch-up inking on the page. I can't really make out the penciled lettering in the balloons. Pages penciled by Kirby were almost always written by Kirby as can be seen by his penciled lettering in the balloons and captions. In fact KIrby did so much of the writing for S&K packages that there is a complete Mort Meskin penciled story where Kirby has clearly written all the balloons and captions. I've only seen one page of the story, but mentioned it to Steven Brower (the Meskin authority), and Steve told me he had the whole story and it's all written by Kirby.
I can say with certainly that there is no Meskin on this page, and I don't think any Kirby either. My guess it is Joe Simon imitating both. I believe either Jack or Mort would have made needed corrections had they been involved.
As to the S&K inking becoming more robust when he arrived (in 1949) and left (in 1955) I believe the heavier inks were a result of the lesser printing at both Prize and Mainline, compared to Harvey and certainly DC. Both Kirby and Meskin employed a finer line at DC before and after, as I think they knew the superior printing would hold it better. But I think much of the Kirby inking is his Jack inking himself, not Mort.
In my previous comment (when it shows up) I meant the lighter inking of Stuntman and Boy Explorers, of course Boy's Ranch is Harvey.
Anyhow here's a list of Meskin's work on Boy's Ranch. Nothing in #6. ? represents a questionable attribution.
1 Oct 1950 2p “Introducing the Kid Cowboys”
?1 Oct 1950 1p “Western Lore”
2 Dec 1950 1p “The Original Cowboys”
3 Feb 1951 1p “The Texas Rangers”
3 Feb 1951 6p “I'll Fight You For Lucy”
4 April 1951 12p “The Bugle Blows At Bloody Knife” 12pg - (Meskin/-Kirby splash)
4 April 1951 6p “Fight To The Finish” (Meskin/-Kirby splash)
?5 June 1951 1p “How To Ride A Horse, Lesson 5, Using the Aids”
5 June 1951 7p “Bandits, Bullets And Wild Wild Women” (Meskin/-Kirby splash)
5 June 1951 12p ”Last Mail To Red Fork” (Meskin/-Kirby splash)
Shoot, since I wasn't signed in my first comment didn't come first, so here it is again.
There's no Meskin on this page and I doubt any Kirby. My guess it is all Simon. If either Kirby or Meskin inked they would have made corrections.
I don't believe the more lush inking is because of Mort. I think both he and Jack inked lighter at DC, both before and after S&K, because they knew the superior printing would hold the more delicate line. But I do believe it's mostly Jack inking Jack, not Mort.
Thanks, Steven and Patrick. Those are some good arguments! You've convinced me. Simon pencils and inks. Whadda ya think, Frank and Stikman? Makes sense, don't it? Only problem is, if it's a Joe Simon solo page, Tom will have to take it down and remove all these great comments! Any chance you could reconsider that annex idea, Tom?
Kirby can't be ruled out as a possible second inker on the page. Some of those earlier Simon pages Tom removed were things where I saw no trace of Kirby in the inks. I think there is a good chance Kirby did some touch-ups on this page.
Credits were changed to Simon and Simon. I left Kirby as 2nd inker since, as you sat, I can't rule Kirby ink touch ups.
You could spend an hour looking at the facial expression on The Angel's face and it just keeps getting better and better. Move over Mona you have a boyfriend.
I do tend to think that's Jack's penciled printing in the balloons and captions which would indicate a Kirby script.
Lettering is very faint so it's hard to be 100% sure.