Red Skull 2   2 comments

And so we return to Kirby layouts inked by Simon and Liederman. A comparatively unremarkable shot of Cap bursting through the door to face the Red Skull and his minions in panel three is followed by a wonderful early classic Kirby pose in a tiny panel that should have been writ large and given more care. Just look at this camera angle, looking down at the diagonal shape of Cap’s head and shoulders as he delivers a right cross to the thug, while his left shield arm is drawn back, his right leg hyper-extended to the rear and his front leg forward. This is potentially the most exciting drawing on the page and could easily have been the  focal point. Instead, it is a throwaway, with the forward leg barely drawn.
Next we see that funny corona around the Skull, as he exits in panel six, which I will now agree with Jim, is pretty lame and probably not part of Kirby’s inking lexicon.
As I mentioned some time earlier, Kirby revisited this story when it came time to give Captain America and the Red Skull some back-story, just after the hero’s reintroduction in 1964. Kirby lovingly re-imaged several pages of this story and we have the luxury of a comparison. Here in the updated version of Cap bursting in on the Skull, Kirby’s figures are obviously bulkier, but one can clearly see that the artist has carried the art of hyperextension to the nth degree in the splayed figure of Cap in the final panel.
Skipping a page for the prior stated reasons and moving on to page number eight, we see what looks more or less like Kirby’s drawing. The first panel is extraordinarily weak and probably drawn at breakneck speed, but afterward we see fairly simple figure work and minimal compositions with what appears to be Al Liederman working more competently.
Sadly, this is one of the pages suffering from poor reproduction, while others are really clear and sharp.  This gross inconsistency is one of the main issues I have with the Masterworks volumes.
What is interesting here is that regardless of the poor reproduction and relatively crude drawings, we still can see Kirby’s methods in the structure of the page. In panel two, we observe Steve Rogers looking slightly down and to the left, which directs our eye to panel three, wherein the officer is looking rightward. In the following panel, Steve’s head is also inclined slightly downward as he again looks left. Kirby is using those continuity techniques that he would gradually make into  a science.
Moving on to page nine above, we find some more competent Kirby drawings probably inked by Liederman, with perhaps an assist from Simon and possibly (Klein). Kirby’s continuity technique is working well again here, despite the weird panel shapes. The general’s elbow in panel four brings us to panel five and the leaping Skull therein brings us to panel six. The Skull’s slightly diagonal stranging pose shape takes us to panel seven.
To be continued.

Posted February 1, 2012 by norris burroughs in Uncategorized

2 responses to “Red Skull 2

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  1. I realize I’m falling behind here, Norris. Sorry.

    I sense that we’re on totally different wave lengths here. I see no Kirby pencils or layouts on these pages. To my eyes, this is Joe Simon and Al Liederman (or whomever). At best, IMHO, there’s Kirby inks on a couple of faces. If you care to bring a fourth (or fifth) person into the mix, I won’t argue, but I won’t reinforce that theory either. I think we’ve been given the cast of contributors to issue one by both Simon and Kirby and I’m not ready to argue with it.


  2. I agree with Jim on these pages. The artwork looks like Simon pencils. Page eight is particularly bad. Kirby wasn’t ever a realist, but his perspectives are generally balanced and pleasing to the eye. Simon’s work is often marked by interior shots which look like something out of the Cabinet of Doctor Calligari, only I think in Simon’s case he was struggling to stay above water, not playing with perspective.
    Also panels five and six from page six are jarringly awful.

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