Moving on to page seven above, I see what could conceivably be a tighter Kirby layout, although many times it is difficult to tell. However, the placement of figures is fairly strong, particularly the circular arrangement of the group with Cap and Bucky in the last panel. The final drawing and inking appear to be by Avison.
Allow me to digress here and display an example of what a Kirby layout might be. The page below is a rough pencil layout that the King did for a 1966 Daredevil story to be drawn by Johnny Romita.
These are very loose sketches, establishing the plot and pacing of the story and the basic positioning of figures in the panels. A competent artist could use such guides to great advantage and still impose his own style upon the story.
This again begs the question, who is plotting these Captain America stories? My feeling has been that Kirby has predominantly initiated them with rough layouts like these above, later to be tightened by him or another artist, but some have suggested that Simon also did many of the layouts.
Now here below is something else to consider. It is a 1941 page from Pocket Comics #1 by Al Avison, in a story that would have appeared about the same time as Captain America #5.
Looking at the quality of this art, it is my opinion that Al Avison did not do much if any of the layouts for S&K’s Captain America, nor do I think that he provided much in the way of basic structural figure work for the book. I imagine that he was mostly used to tighten up Kirby, Simon or even another artist’s drawings and ink them. This apprentice learning process is how he became the much more accomplished artist that we would see after Simon and Kirby left the series.
Page eight (not shown) seems to possess little or no Kirby beyond panel one featuring Captain America. Nine shown above has a slightly better layout and more dynamic figures but some of them are ridiculously awkward, like the pitcher and batter in the last panel. Still, it does have some dynamism and could be the result of rough Kirby art. Page ten below has an even stronger flavor of Kirby kinetics displayed, with its array of leaping panel breaking figures.
Many thanks to John Morrow and Randolph Hoppe for the original Daredevil artwork.