Friday, March 4, 2011

The Jack-Mike Connection!

When Jack Kirby moved to DC and rocked the comics world at the beginning of the Bronze Age, he was at first inked by Vinnie Colletta. Colletta though disliked by the King and those around him, was a clever choice by Carmine Infantino since it was Colletta who had inked Kirby's Thor work with such great success at Marvel. Also, Colletta was an inker who could keep up with Kirby's penciling pace.

But eventually Colletta gave way to Kirby's own choice for inker, Mike Royer. Royer had worked at Gold Key mostly on animated projects there, and wasn't a name I knew when he first took over the job. But there was no denying his potent effect on Kirby's pencils.

I'm not a hater of Colletta's work on Kirby, he gave the King's stuff an unusual elegance. But Royer was not a bad choice, as he cleaved closer to Kirby's original lines. His work reminded me of the effect Bill Everett had produced over Kirby's pencils for a brief time at Marvel.

But the Fourth World was not the first Kirby-Royer collaboration. The one-shot comic America's Best TV Comics showcased some ABC cartoons, among them the famous adaptation of the Fantastic Four. Marvel produced the one-shot and they got Kirby of course to produce an image of Mister Fantastic for the cover.

There are more Kirby figures of the Fab 4 lifted from Fantastic Four#49.

But those images apparently were fitted against among other cartoon images drawn by Mike Royer. That makes this probably the very first Kirby-Royer joint art venture.

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