Captain America #5-Ringmaster part-1 by Norris Burroughs   Leave a comment

Welcome to the first post where I am able to use actual scans. I must say that it’s a joy to see the pages as they appeared back in the day, as they say. So here we go, it’s a brand new day.

In Captain America #5, we first encounter The Ringmaster of Death, a character that would appear in one form or another throughout various Kirby driven comics for the next several decades. Nearly all of Kirby’s splash panels are magnificent, and this one is unique in its property of evoking a carnival of nightmare and lunacy. This page is almost certainly inked by Kirby, with the exception of the small inset panel that actually begins the story in earnest. This comic continues the practice started in the previous issue of employing Al Avison as Kirby’s primary finisher.

Page two above starts off with some very Avison-like panels, particularly the faces in panels one, and those of the Ringmaster as well. On first examination, it would appear that most of the artwork here is initiated by Kirby roughs or partial pencil-work followed by tighter Avison pencils and or inking, and primary inking by Syd Shores and possibly Al Gabrielle. Most of Kirby’s tighter pencils seem to be in the figures of Captain America, Bucky, and Steve Rogers and Bucky out of costume. We also see more of Kirby’s embellishment on close-ups of villain’s faces and and in the structure elaborate technical equipment. As Avison and Shores later both worked extensively as Captain America’s pencilers, I am much more familiar with their work than that of Al Gabrielle or George Klein.

Notice if you will the bit of symbolism that Kirby employs in panel five, showing the Ringmaster and his whip juxtaposed with a blue ball bearing a star, an object that very much resembles Captain America. the tip of the whip hovering over the ball gives the illusion of the hero already defeated.

The running figures in the first panel of page three above don’t have much Kirby in them, beyond a loose structural breakdown, but the figures of Captain America in panels three and four are strong, particularly Cap’s back shot in four. The anatomy of the back, especially of the rear leg muscles is something that Kirby excels at. Notice also panel seven, where Kirby uses the shape of the cages to give Bucky and the midget some motion by the use of perspective.

The drawing on this page appears to be done predominantly by Avison and inked by Shores.

On page four above, we see much of the same thing again, as Kirby gives us several dynamic elongated poses of Cap in action, such as the right hook that fells the two thugs in panel two, and also the roundhouse  shield blow that the hero delivers in panel three. I’m also appreciating Kirby’s use of circular panels in the page’s layout.

to be continued.

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Posted September 23, 2012 by norris burroughs in Uncategorized

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