Friday, July 10, 2015

Frankly Speaking!

One of the seemingly lost arts in comics these days is inking. With artists now empowered with technology the "penciller" can now bypass the once necessary step of rendering the pencils in lush dark ink. It's to the detriment of the work based on what I see in comics today, often washed out pages with little drama or heft.

Frank Giacoia at work.
One of the great inkers was Frank Giacoia. He worked almost exclusively for Marvel and started his career drawing Jack Frost, a nigh-forgotten Timely hero, who regained some measure of recognition when he was included in the Liberty Legion. But Giacoia's fame (at least for me) lies with the enormous number of pages and covers he inked over many different artists during Marvel's prime heyday when "King" Kirby still stalked the Bullpen before trekking to California and eventually to the Fourth World.

At the top  is one of Giacoia's most successful inking jobs over Kirby, done originally for Captain America #106, this image was transformed into a powerful poster from the disreputable Marvelmania International fan club. Many decry properly that Kirby was never remunerated sufficiently for his work at Marvel, especially these kinds of re-applications of his work. But often overlooked is the fact that Giacoia was also denied addtional payment.

Apparently Giacoia was famously lazy (by Bullpen standards) and preferred inking which I suppose he viewed as less strenuous. Here are more of the iconic covers he inked over such talents as Kirby again on Thor, Marie Severin on the Hulk, John Buscema on The Avengers, Gil Kane on Daredevil and Rich Buckler on Black Panther.

The Black Panther is a character with which Giacoia is often associated, at least in my mind. One of the rare times he actually pencilled a story was in The Avengers #87, in a story which expanded on the origin of T'Challa. Ironically this tale was underneath a memorable Buscema cover with John Verpoorten inks.

Here are a few sample pages of Giacoia's work.

To take a look a more of these pages check out this groovy link.

Frank Giacoia is to my mind the Jack Kirby inker who is most often overlooked, based on the sheer number of pages and the raw power of that work. He seemed especially sympatico with the work Kirby was doing, though he did bring a somewhat less seemingly refined and smooth feel which Sinnott was famous for. Giacoia inked most of the Captain America work Kirby did when he returned to Marvel, and it should be noted. 

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