Captain America #3 The Murdering Butterfly   Leave a comment

Now we come to the final story in Captain America #3, entitled “The Queer Case of the Murdering Butterfly and the Ancient Mummies”, a title so provocative that it had to be altered to “The Weird Case of The Plundering Butterflies and the Ancient Mummies”

 

Here is another uneven story with some nice work, as well as some less than sterling rendering. Page one above looks to me like Kirby drawing with some of his inking mostly in the bare torso figure on the left. It also looks like Kirby’s shading behind said figure and on the floor. This is a splash panel that could have been sharper if Kirby had inked it all as he often did with such pages, but he has left much of it to less accomplished hands. The details in the mummy case are particularly weak. Could this possibly be rushed Simon?

 

 

Page two above is weird and even weaker, and as Jim Vadeboncoeur has pointed out looks as if it may have been added after the fact, with page three actually having originally been the second page. There doesn’t seem to be any Kirby here. The drawing is desultory and the inking is no better. Panel one is the strongest drawing here in my opinion and reminds me a bit of George Roussos’ work

Page three is drawn in a way that I would have originally suggested might be the work of Reed Crandall, but having studied his art more carefully, I’m more inclined to believe that it is someone else.

 

 

 

Throughout this story as well as most of the second issue of Captain America, there is a stylist who appears to have worked with Crandall or Lou Fine or picked up some of the peculiarities of Will Eisner’s house style, which manifests particularly in folds of clothing and the highlights on faces. This third page is either drawn and/or inked by such a person, and I see little here that looks like Kirby’s work again. In panel six, there is a setup with a figure overlooking a desk which is reminiscent of a Crandall panel in Cap #2, leading me to believe that it may have been laid out by that artist, but the final drawing is shoddy.

 

Page four above is stronger, with what could actually be some Crandall in it. Jim has pointed out that the faux Crandall/Eisner’s anatomy looks “faked.” On page four, we see something that looks a bit more like real solid anatomy in Lenny’s musculature and clothing folds in panel one, and his carrying of the heavy stone idol in two. Still, it’s not as sharp as it could be, and the face of the idol is pathetic, especially when compared to Crandall’s sculpted signature masks that he is often wont to include in his artwork. Some of the other figures are also weak, such as the prone guard in panel six. There is something Kirby-esque in the Butterfly straddling  that figure, but with the peculiar inking it is difficult to see clearly.  This remains an unsolved mystery. The general design of the page is strong with occasional flashes of brilliance in the details. Perhaps Crandall had an assistant, who is doing most of the work and the master’s hand is only showing through the cracks.

Page five is a vast improvement, showing more solid Kirby layouts as well as drawing and perhaps even a bit of inking. This is a star turn for Bucky, and he and the environment he occupies are done very nicely. I particularly like the Egyptian head in panel three.

 

 

 

To be continued.

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Posted August 10, 2012 by norris burroughs in Uncategorized

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