New Kirby Artwork

By | Saturday, August 12, 2006 Leave a Comment
Interestingly -- and unintentionally -- I read Godland #12 last night just before I went to bed and Jack Kirby's Galactic Bounty Hunters #1 first thing this morning. It's almost impossible to NOT compare the two as they both are very directly building off the foundations of Jack Kirby's career.

In Godland, artist Tom Scioli draws in a classically Kirby-esque style. Squared-off fingers, weird squiggles, extreme foreshortening... To an untrained eye, it could probably be mistaken for Kirby himself. And I don't doubt that some criticisms that have been thrown at Scioli include his aping of Kirby's style. Where Scioli redeems himself is that his page and panel layouts have much of the same power that Kirby's did. Indeed, I was struck in #12 with the power of Scioli's two-page splash where Adam Archer smashes into that floating pyramid. It was a dramatic moment in the story, and Scioli did an excellent job of capturing that.

Jack Kirby's Galactic Bounty Hunters is a concept that Kirby himself began to develop before he died. It's being fleshed out now by his daughter Lisa and some of Jack's good friends. Most of the book's pencil artwork is from Mike Thibodeaux, although some Jack Kirby sketches were apparently lightboxed into some pages. There's certainly some interesting concepts there and -- while it's impossible for me to tell exactly where Jack Kirby's influence falls to the wayside -- I'm intrigued by the story's structure so far.

What I find distracting, though, is artwork like the piece shown here. The individual illustrations work well enough, but the overall page layout is somewhat clunky. Oh, I like how Tyr bursts out of the top panel, and how his falling carries you down the page, but look at that awkward space between the two panels. That seems to go against Jack's visual senses. In fact, it looks to me as if an old sketch of Jack's was dropped into place and it didn't quite fit the page layout they were trying to work around. There are only a handful of panels like that and, given that Thibodeaux had to train himself to draw with his left hand after suffering nerve damage to his right, I can't say it's worth dismissing the book. I suppose it's largely just frustrating because the rest of the book is clean, polished, and generally well done.

The question is: which is the better legacy of Jack Kirby?
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