Archive for October 2012

Captain America #5 Dragon of Death part 2   Leave a comment


Page nine above is dynamically one of the strongest in the story, and can easily be identified at its root as a strong Kirby construction. Panel one is a wonderful arrangement of figures and a good early example of the big O, as the various limbs and elements of the bodies bring the eye around and around. Then too, we have the movement in the first panel direct the eye to panel two, three and four which eventually leads the eye to the angled figure on the rack in panel five. Kirby repeats a portion of the angled rack shape in panel six, bringing the eye down to panel seven.

Sadly, Kirby’s drawings were  not tight enough to prevent the inkers, probably Shores and Avison from weakening the final art considerably. This is the major complaint that I have with the first two stories of this issue, and indeed with the art in the ten issue series in general.



Page ten above is also initiated by a Kirby layout, and there is a fairly clear indication that most of the finishing is by Shores, based on certain inking tendencies perceived here, most notably the hay-like shading in panel three. The step-tiered final panel is especially well constructed. Skipping page eleven, we see more or less the same thing on page twelve below, with Shores and perhaps another hand finishing loose Kirby art.



Again, it is somewhat unfortunate that this story did not receive fuller treatment from Kirby’s hand. I include the final page for the sake of closure. As we can see, there is more hay-hatched inking in the final panel.

I’d like to make a point to contrast this story with the one that follows, which was one of the high points in the run of ten issues.




Posted October 29, 2012 by norris burroughs in Uncategorized

Captain America #5 The Dragon of Death part1- by Norris Burroughs   Leave a comment


We now get to the Gruesome Secret of the Dragon of Death, the first Captain America story to deal with The Japanese as an enemy in World War II. There is no shortage of gross racial stereotyping here, but Kirby keeps it tasteful for the most part. We must remember that these caricatures are an product of the period in which the comic was produced, and try to judge the piece for its merits as a story, without condemning it by today’s standards of racial tolerance.

That said, the story has some decent artwork, with very little involvement by Kirby, but also features the first S&K Cap full-page drawing that is not also a splash panel. The actual splash page  above is a beauty, with a fantastic Kirby drawing of a dragon rearing out of the water, and a nice inset drawing of the villain, Captain Okada. This is actually a very restrained portrait of an Asian, showing little of the buck toothed, big eared simian yellow fanged demon often used to represent a Japanese foe. Kirby predominantly inks this page as well as drawing it.



Page two above, with Steve Rogers assigned to Hawaii looks like loose Kirby layouts, possibly finished by Avison and Shores, although another hand may be present. There is minimal attempt to depict any sort of racially authentic Polynesians here with the drawings of islanders, but that is to be expected. The drawings are adequate but not exceptional.



Page three above looks again to be loose Kirby inked by Avison and Shores. Perhaps there is hardly any  Kirby here at all, although he may be doing some rendering on the dragon in panel three.



Skipping page four, we move on to page five above, which looks very much as if Avison is doing a lot of work here, although probably from rough Kirby layouts. I believe that Avison’s hand can be detected most clearly in the faces of Okada and his henchmen, who although described as sinister looking are very far from horrific. The profile of Okada in panel five and a downward shot of the same character in panel six are very crisply drawn and inked.

As mentioned, there is not a lot of primo Kirby in this story, but page eight below is certainly worth the price of the book, with a cross section interior shot of the dragon ship that the King has lavished his attention on. This is Kirby’s baby from head to tail, as he lovingly divides the ship, section by section in masterful architectural detail.


Posted October 23, 2012 by norris burroughs in Uncategorized

Captain America #5 Ringmaster part 3, by Norris Burroughs   Leave a comment


Page ten above has Kirby again exploring various approaches to dynamic anatomy. In panel one, he gives us a nice arrangement of figures, with a solid three-quarter back shot of the strong man as Cap and Bucky approach. In panel two, Cap dispatches the villain,  with the page’s composition displaying another fairly well drawn muscular back. The poses are strong, but one can see that the finishes again by Avison and Shores are not the best drawn. The same can be said for the remainder of the page, with the lines of Cap punch flipping the strongman in panel three compromised by some weak rendering. Does the appearance of crosshatched shadows here mean the presence of Inker George Klein?



Page eleven above is composed strangely, and doesn’t quite come together,  but it reverts to a stronger, surer ink line again, and the anatomy of the poses look more like Kirby. Therefore, I deduce that he may be doing some inking as well as drawing here, or perhaps there is someone else with a sleeker hand. Pay particular attention to the line work in the panels with Cap and Bucky on trapeze. They are tiny masterpieces. The last two panels look the most Kirby-esque to me.



We finish the story with a page that looks like loose Kirby finished by Avison and Shores. There is nothing spectacular here, just some good solid work. Perhaps it’s worth mentioning the panel full of sound effects. It’s a nice touch.


Posted October 12, 2012 by norris burroughs in Uncategorized