Sando and Omar   2 comments

We now move on to the second story of Captain America #1, which although it has no title, we will call Sando and Omar for obvious reasons. I’ve been stating that Kirby is inking his own pencils on the splash pages and I believe this to be true here as well. Jim Vadeboncoeur very kindly just commented on my initial entry, saying that he believes Kirby did little inkng in this issue. That may be the case, but I clearly see that there are a minimum of three and perhaps even more hands inking this issue. As I study the pages, Simon’s and Liederman’s styles become recognizable to me and neither of them are particularly facile in comparison to the third more accomplished hand.

In my opinion,  what I see as Kirby’s hand is the most masterful. His lines are the truest to the apparent intent of the drawing, with beauty and economy in the detail work in faces, muscles and clothing.

Page two is an entirely different story as far as technical skill is concerned. Except for the first panel which is a beautifully arranged miniature deep space composition, the page is drawn very quickly and inked more or less indifferently. My assumption is that this is the low end of Al Liederman’s abilities. A good example of what I am talking about is the inking in the crowd’s faces in panel five and Omar’s head in panel six. The shading around his yellow dome-like skull serves no constructive artistic function, as opposed to the sort of shading that Kirby uses so effectively.

Page three changes style radically,  into what appears to be an example of Joe Simon’s inking over much of his own drawing. The drawing of Sando and Omar walkng up the aisle in panel one is so poorly composed in terms of the relative size and spatial relationship of the figures that I hesitate even to attribute it to Simon. Much of the rest of the page is better drawn. In panel two, we see a peculiar jowl shape to Bucky’s face that recalls Simon’s later drawings of boys like Gabby and Brooklyn in Boy Commandos.

This page is the first of a series that have an unusual and distinctive shading technique that stands out because it is so incongruous.  The inker, Simon presumably, is also shading faces a la J.C. Leyendecker, a popular illustrator of the period, but the work is ineffective and misses the mark, while drawing attention to itself unnecessarily. Look at the shading in Steve Rogers’ face in panels three and six to see what I am on about.

Generally, I see less Kirby in full pencils or inking in this story than any other in the first issue. However, as I mentioned earlier, he did seem to have a fondness for these stories when Captain America returned in 1964. Kirby chose to re-work three stories from Cap#1 in 1965. He adapted Cap’s origin, this story and the Red Skull episode to his dynamic sixties style in several successive issues of Tales of Suspense. The final art sample in this post is his re-take of the Sando splash, so that we may enjoy the comparison of time periods while also mapping Kirby’s artistic development.

We can see how effectively Kirby has reconfigured the circular composition, so that the figures of Cap and Sando are considerably more dynamic. Kirby has even taken the smaller figure of Bucky from the original panel below and inserted him into the melee. We’ll complete this particular story in the next post.



Posted January 17, 2012 by norris burroughs in Uncategorized

2 responses to “Sando and Omar

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  1. Do you have a copy of Greg Theakston’s “The Complete Jack Kirby Vol. One 1917-1940”, Norris? It’s incredibly helpful in understanding Kirby’s inking as it reproduces several PURE Kirby strips done BEFORE he met Joe Simon. It also reproduces some Simon BEFORE he met Jack Kirby. What I take away from these is that the style we eventually attribute to Simon (slashing bold black strokes) was learned from Kirby’s homages to Caniff. Simon’s ink style, judging from his Fox covers, was the thin, fine-line inks we’re seeing here. So:

    Page 1. I believe it’s primarily Kirby on the left of the splash and layouts pretty much on the rest. Note the saboteur again detonating the munitions factory as on the TV on the cover and the bad guys in the origin tale. Another strike for it being Simon. Add the two audience members and… Bucky could be penciled by either, but I think these are primarily Simon’s inks. Note also, no coronas. And for the English aficionados out there, Bucky should be saying “It’s the CAPTAIN and ME against…”

    Page 2. Much as I hate to say it, this appears to be rough Kirby layouts. There’s substance beneath the mayhem of the inks. The eyes in panel four just HAVE to be Jack. And his audience has nearly a dozen people in basically the same space in which Joe managed two. Liederman is probably more likely the culprit than Simon, I agree.

    Page 3. Kirby very rough layouts, Simon pencils (though what he’s doing in panel one is a mystery to me, too) and Simon and Liederman inks.

    I am in total agreement with your assessment of very little Kirby here. He’s broken down the story and then turned it over to, perhaps, Liederman to pencil. There’s nothing in Simon’s telling of the CA1 tale that prohibits Liederman from doing more than inks. There are aspects of this story for which Simon does not deserve the blame.

    I hope I’ve added some food for thought. This is a fascinating topic that has never, to my knowledge, been dealt with at this depth. I sincerely hope that more knowledgeable people will join the discussion. I will again stress that all the above is what I see, not necessarily the reality of what happened 70 years ago.

    Peace, Jim (|:{>

  2. Thanks again Jim. The inking on that page(5) looks different, particularly the sculpting lines on Reinstein’s face.
    As my “I” key is malfuntioning, I’ll probably have to take a break from posting and absorb all of this.

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