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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The pencils reveal a "Krackling" sky that provides atmosphere that I miss in the inked drawing.
Man, does Kirby look great in black and white. Who needs colors when you've got this force of contrast and tension.
Needless to say, Royer kills on this one.
No matter how great Mike was, he still couldn't come close to the pencils. Kirby's pencils hit me like a train. THe first time I ever saw them was the Captain America page in STERANKO's HISTORY OF THE COMICS book.
This is a fine example of why I've never like Royer inks. It's just "hack'n'slash" - faces are inked with the same line weights and severeness as machinery and armor. It's all very mechanical. Even the parallel hatch lines used for shading on the cheeks look like they were inked with a straightedge. The teeth aren't shapes, they're just negative space. There's nothing graceful, nothing juicy, nothing organic. He might have been great for machines and backgrounds, but someone else should have inked the living things Kirby drew. I would've loved to see Murphy Anderson straight-out ink (rather than re-draw) all the people. And of course, Wally Wood could have made the Fourth World series beautiful. (still mostly unreadable, but beautiful)
Correct me if I misunderstood you but it sounds like you never like Jack's work as much as when it's not looking the way Kirby drew it.
Murphy Anderson was a fine artist, no question, but I'd rather see him kept as far away as possible from Jack Kirby's pencils.
I had already enough dealing with his overpowering work over Gil Kane's pencils, another artist whose drawing style didn't fit well with his inking.
Regarding, Mike Royer's inks on this page or in general, I can't help but see the exact opposite to your comment.
I would never be grateful enough to Mike's for all the incredible pages he did ink for the King.
As much as I love Frank Giacoia's inking, nobody's ever inked Kirby so close to how I would have dreamed every inkers to ink Jack's great pencils.
Murphy Anderson should never have been stuck inking anyone. He was a fine penciler and he never looked better than when he was inking his own work. I was enjoying Anderson might along side Kirby in the early '70s when Anderson was working on the John Carter and Korak stories for DC. He was totally over powering as an inker.
I enjoy the individual style of artists, I don't like seeing one artist's style submerged by another inking.
This is not to say Kirby inked by Anderson would look bad, I have no doubt if Anderson had inked Thor for a number of years in the '60s legions of fans would say, "Anderson was right for Thor." And he could have been, if he were penciling it as well.