Saturday, October 2, 2010

How to ruin a Jack Kirby drawing.

How do you ruin a Kirby drawing? Simple, have Alex Toth ink it.

Below we have a fairly nice Kirby pencil drawing of the Boy's Ranch gang.

Next we have the same drawing as inked by Alex Toth:
Ya know, it's fairly easy for a competent artist to ink Kirby.  As Jack himself said, "it's all there" in the drawing, but somehow Mr. Toth has managed to wreck this thing.  It's like Toth has no idea how to vary line weight.  How flat it all looks.  Are those supposed to be clothing folds?  Really?  Another term for inker is "embellisher", obviously, Alex has not "embellished" here.  Can you hear this drawing crying out?  It's saying, "Get me Joe Sinnott, Vince Colletta, or Mike Royer...Help!"

Speaking of "embellishers" , there are purists who say inkers should never alter a line, but I tend to disagree, especially if the original line is not a strong one.  Take a look at the Captain Victory example below:

The original pencils on the left were drawn when Jack was up in years, and frankly, it's rather ugly, it doesn't look so much like Captain Victory as it does Quasimodo.  The inker, Jerry Ordway, has taken quite a few liberties, but, in my opinion, has improved on it.  Ordway has embellished the original drawing.  Contrast this with the Boy's Ranch drawing where Toth has detracted from the original.


  1. Wow. Kinda does look like Toth phoned that one in.

    I do agree that in Jack's later years the inker's were really there to clean up that awkward angle he had developed due to his eyesight problem.

  2. Vince Colletta was unquestionable best at "fixing" Kirby. Especially females.