Monday, January 2, 2017

Jack Kirby Pencils And Inks!

What a great way to kick off the "Year of the King". I don't think I even knew this new volume from IDW Publishing was coming out, but when I stumbled across this beautiful tome a week ago I knew I had to have it. And the fact my local store was running a holiday half-price sale on hardbacks made it a must buy right that very minute. So I got this fifty dollar item for a sweet price indeed and it's exceedingly well worth it.

Jack Kirby Pencils and Inks - Artisan Edition pulls three number one issues from the catalogue of Kirby number ones and gives them a real royal treatment. The original artwork for these three issues is largely still extant thanks to Kirby having installed an early copy machine and making duplicates of his original art before inks by the great Mike Royer.

The set-up of the book is that we have the debut issues of The Demon, Kamandi Last Boy on Earth and OMAC and we get the pencil art (when available) reproduced directly next to the inked version.  It's a novel way to read the King's work, a way into his techniques like no other. There's an introduction by inker Mike Royer, who inked all three of these books as well as Kirby's own classic introductions to the each series from the respective debut issues.

Most of the material is here, save sadly for the inked cover of OMAC and the pencil versions of some amazing two-page spreads. The editors have even included some other material from New Gods and elsewhere to expand the volume just a mite. Beautiful volume and easy to read, not something one can say about the larger Artist's Editions which have been coming onto the market in recent years.

Highly recommended.

Rip Off


  1. What a great review, Rip. If I didn't already have the book, I'd run out and buy one. As I said in my own blog 'though, I'd have liked to see a Vince Colletta inked issue (Mister Miracle #1 for example), as the contrast between pencils and inks would've been more interesting. As great an inker (and a good artist in his own right) as Royer is, he inked Kirby to look (more or less) exactly like Kirby, whereas other inkers (like Colletta, Sinnott & Wood) gave the pencils an extra dimension.

  2. This is what kept me subscribing to the Jack Kirby Collector, long after I lost interest in the editorial content. And I still have my copy somewhere of Jack Kirby's Heroes and Villains, a facsimile of the sketchbook of penciled character portraits he produced for Roz. His pencils were so complete and so beautiful; it's amazing when you think about what his workload was.

  3. Hi Rip, I've been enjoying this blog for many months now! When do you have time to (re)read all these comics? This post reminds me of an issue of Amazing Heroes that was solely devoted to Jack. Published c. 1990. There are a couple of pieces in there that break down how Kirby's layouts worked, and how his best inkers truly embellished his pencils. I have often shared it with budding cartoonists. Keep up the great work!


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