Monday, April 8, 2019

Favorite Comic Artist Countdown #7 - Gil Kane!

I don't know exactly precisely when I fell in love with the drawing of one Gil Kane, but it might have been when I saw the page above for the first time.  Captain Marvel was my favorite  hero at the time and had stumbled along with artists such as Gene Colan, Don Heck, Dick Ayers, Tom Sutton and others, but it wasn't until Gil Kane stepped aboard that we finally got a Mar-Vell who would find a way forward for good. Now of course even then the book was cancelled a few times, but then Jim Starlin followed in Kane's shoes and that turned out well for everyone. I had found Kane before on Green Lantern and some few issues of The Atom, but nothing seemed as potent as his work on Captain Marvel. Kane became a go-to artist for writer Roy Thomas who tapped him briefly to take on Conan even. Kane for his part was one of those talents who wanted to find new markets and make more money for his work than the traditional comic book model offered. He tried publishing with a fill-fledged magazine The Man Called Savage and paperbacks with Blackmark. But these didn't find a big enough audience and to comics he returned. He found a comfortable berth at Marvel and drew almost all of their covers for a few years -- some of them really dynamic. Kane had a memorable stint on Spider-Man and in partnership with Roy Thomas created Iron Fist and Warlock. Later in his career he even became a stalwart Superman artist. There was a power blended with elegance in the pages produced by Kane. His stuff looked like no one else's unless they were copying him, which many tried.

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  1. To me, it always depended on who was inking him as to whether I liked his work or not in any particular issue. And it was as if he had rubber stamps with certain positions on them, which he'd use again and again. Also, too many 'up the nose' shots, his pages sometimes looked like a triumph of style over content, but given the right inker and his stuff really exploded off the page.

    1. It's his up-the-nose shots which first fascinated me about his artwork, that and his hands. I suspect most artists draw their own hands often in their work and that sure seems to be the case with Kane. When I'm in a boring meeting, I sometimes will secretly steal a glance at my hand in an Gil Kane pose and sketch it. It beats paying attention.

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