Red Skull Part Three by Norris Burroughs   1 comment

Well then, there now, I must again thank Jim Vadeboncoeuer, without whom I would have no one else to communicate with over this here stuff. Jim has posted several times sharing his various opinions on the artists and inkers herein, and his input has been invaluable. One of the things I’d like to clarify is my opinions on the inker that I’ve been referring to as “Illustrator” because of his somewhat etchy-scratchy illustrative style of rendering faces. I’ve posted below a comparison of Kirby’s Hurricane art from Captain America #1, which appears on the left, and what I believe to be his drawing and inking on the actual Captain America stories in the upper right portion of the montage. Examples of this would be the contiguous Red Skull panels, the figure of Cap next to Sando’s globe and Steve Rogers yanking the saboteur out of the glass enclosure.

The last three panels on the right, beginning with Steve Rogers smoking a pipe from page three of the Sando story, the panel of Steve and Bucky in the theater audience, and the final panel of the thug catching debris are done by the person that I refer to as illustator. I firmly do not believe this to be Kirby’s inking. For one thing, I have seldom seen Kirby ever draw upper lips on his character’s mouths.

Moving on to page ten of the Skull story, we have another page that looks like Kirby quick draw, inked largely by Simon with perhaps Kirby flourishes. I believe that the drawing of the Red Skull in panel seven was inked by Kirby as well as possibly the first panel drawing of the Skull.

We continue then on to page eleven below with one of my favorite Kirby poses in panel one, again relegated to minor status by size and position. Just look at this pose, an extraordinarily dynamic back shot, with the bunched muscles of Cap’s upper body foreshortened, and his swinging right arm hidden by the torso with only the fist indicating the motion.  This touch would become a Kirby staple. Observe also the rear extended right leg, crossed in front by the left leg. This also looks to me to be Kirby inked. It clearly should have been the money shot of the page.

The Kirby drawn supine figure of Cap in panel five with the Skull hovering is also a beauty, but the total page layout is utter nonsense.

The following page, number twelve is mostly rubbish, a potentially nice Kirby  layout and rough drawn figure work trivialized by Liederman inks. What is up with Cap’s right leg in panel four? There’s little quality control here.  Panel five, wherein Cap is smashing the Red Skull’s mask with an uppercut is a unique pose, and a standout on an otherwise weak effort by the team. It’s another unusual early Kirby pose, where the artist is exploring his fantastic approach to dynamic anatomy and the optimal depiction of three dimensional mayhem. The contrapuntal motion of the Skull thrown backwards while his body is also jacknifed is clearly a sign of the developmental stages of a master of animation.

Page thirteen is partially redeemed by a bit more Simon inking and maybe even some Kirby inking in the large Cap figure that is violating the borders in the second panel. That figure’s boot protruding into panel five is a nice touch. Also showing strong potential is the figure of Maxon/Skull rolling over onto the hypodermic needle to meet his death.  There’s more of that classic Kirby contrapuntal torque in his posture as his body very nearly forms the shape of as Swastika.

Omitting the final page which is even less remarkable, we come to the end of the first issue and a veritable milestone for me. I for one am very relieved to move on to issue two, which although also a hodge-podge, has some really outstanding drawing and inking. We begin to see what these guys are capable of accomplishing when they have a bit more time to lavish on their baby.

Here’s hoping that Jim and I can get some more opinions further on up the road, because in issue two there are even more potentially baffling styles to contend with .




Posted February 2, 2012 by norris burroughs in Uncategorized

One response to “Red Skull Part Three by Norris Burroughs

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  1. Four pages shown are what I consider Kirby layouts and pencils, Norris.

    There are better, more finely inked panels in the Hurricane story that reflect the Kirby inks I’ve been referencing. Again, bringing more players into the puzzle is a possibility. Greg T. has stated that this issue WAS produced AT Timely, not in the S&K studio, so I can’t swear it ain’t so. But that does limit your pitch-hitters to a VERY small cadre. Who were the first people Simon hired on staff? Not Shores. Not Avison. Not Gabriele. It’s still a month or two too early for them. Plus their styles are fairly recognizable.

    Klein is a possibility, but personally I think this would be his first known work in comics and I doubt that he would be all that recognizable, either. Who else is known to have been there? Perhaps Michael can name some magazine people who could have “crossed over” and pitched in. As I said earlier, I’m inclined (no pun intended) to stick with the traditional line-up until I can see someone I can recognize.


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