Sunday, January 8, 2012

Embellishing The King - The Jack Kirby Poll?


Who was the best inker for the awesome pencils of the late great Jack "King" Kirby?

This question is asked every hour by Kirby fans and I'm asking it this week in an "official" poll. The results will utterly transform our understanding of the basic nature of the natural world, or perhaps supply slight diversion during our busy and hectic week. One of the two for sure!

I've offered up fifteen choices, but I'm sure I've forgotten someone. Add any worthy names you feel like in the comments thread on this post.

I hope you take time to check the poll out, and give your answer to this burning question.

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12 comments:

  1. I had to go with Mike Royer for all his solid stuff during Jack's run in the 70's. But it's hard to pick one. Bruce Berry's work on Omac is steady and fluid with Jack's line work. Sinnott and Chic Stone would be easy picks too. Kirby's pencils were so good that it would take a complete and total novice inker to screw them up. That said, my personal opinion on Colleta's inks is not favorable. The way he inked a character's eyes always bugged me. Otherwise, they're all decent in some fashion due to Kirby's excellent line work.

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  2. The absolute best, in my opinion, was Wally Wood. Kirby's later art suffered by being inked to look like his pencils because then his idiosyncracies were all too apparent. His art needed someone who enhanced his strengths and diluted his weaknesses. Wood did that superbly, even more so than the great Joe Sinnott.

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  3. CORRECTION: Sadly I just noticed that I misspelled the name George Roussos on the poll. I apologize, but I cannot correct my error at this point. Sigh.

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  4. Joe Sinnott.
    FF #5, 48-102 (with a couple of fill-in inks by Frank Giacoia), 108, Annuals 4,6.

    Mike Royer did a magnificent job of inking Kirby, but, between the reduction in original art size and Kirby's pencils progressively loosening up, both Kirby and Sinnott did their peak work in the mid-to-late 1960s.

    And, Kirby in the 70s was still better than 99% of anyone else in the business at the time!

    Runners-up:
    Wally Wood, Al Williamson

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  5. Sigh! I would have liked to vote for Steve Ditko as my favorite Kirby inker, who, I believe, inked more pages and covers than Don Heck, who inked one Thor story (#97), 2 or 3 Tales of Asgards, and 3 or 4 Iron Man stories. Heck's inking on the Iron Man story in Tales of Suspense 41 is paricularly superb. Heck also inked several 4th world era presentation pieces. But Ditko not only inked Hulk 2, Fantastic Four 13, Tales to Astonish 50, half of Spider-man 8, several pre-hero monster stories such as Zzutakk! from Strange Tales 88, and over a dozen covers including Fantastic Four 14 and Amazing Fantasy 15 and Tales of Suspense 10. - thestikman

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    1. Hey, StiKman:

      Great list, but didn't you leave out the lead story (Human Torch) of Strange Tales Annual #2: "On the Trail of the Amazing Spider-Man"?

      It's interesting to note how many high-quality artists who were primarily pencilers who inked themselves inked Kirby: Ditko, Wood, Heck, Williamson among them.

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    2. Right, Britt. and there are a few more. I wasn't attempting to be complete, but while I'm here, I'll share a few more from the top of the ol' Stikman noggin: There' s an early Thor cover (journey into mystery 85?) and an FF annual 1 back-up (with Spidey). Also a correction: the Don Heck inking job I admire is TOS 40. Do I ward myself a "no-prize" for correcting myself? - thestikman

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  6. its joe sinnott of course
    with a special thanks to Mike Royer and a one off prize to one of the top ten renditions by Barry Smith on the captain America treasury edition.

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  7. Leaving Ditko off was an oversight. Sorry.

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  8. If this poll were still running, I can't find the form or the list of suggestions, but my votes would go first for Joe Sinnott (natch!), Second to Vinnie Colleta (don't stone me!) and third to Chic Stone (who defined cartooning for me). Also mentioned would be Wood, Ayers and Heck, in no particular order, but the last person on the list would be George Bell... though I love his FF #25-26, he is the worst!

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