Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thursday... It's El Diablo Day at Elite Comics, and the Magic of Jack Kirby's THOR!

EL DIABLO HITS STORES TODAY!!! That's right... this is the one and only day you can run out and buy this book the very first day it's available. And, if you happen to be within driving distance of Overland Park, KS, you can meet the creators in person! That's right, Jai Nitz, Phil Hester and I will be appearing all afternoon and evening at ELITE COMICS! Buy the book, meet the guys that made it... do it all, baby!

Meanwhile, here's the line art for issue #1's cover:

El Diablo is owned by DC Comics.

Today's art scan is something that's really special for me to talk about. It was a panel from a Jack Kirby issue of Thor that first inspired me to really get into comics, and Kirby's run on Journey Into Mystery and Thor is still one of my very favorite things. I won almost every issue... it's one of the few comics I have sought out like a rabid collector over the years. So, for at least fifteen years, from the time I first started buying original art, I really wanted a Kirby Thor page.

Unfortunately, while there are hundreds of such pages out there, I was somewhat picky. While I accept the the issues inked by the great hack Vincent Colletta are the way they are and there's nothing that can be done about it and I love those books just as they are... I didn't really want that hackery hanging on my wall, staring at me each day. There's quite enough hackery going on in my studio already, thank you very much. Over the years, I saw a lot of Colletta pages from Thor for sale at conventions. I would spy the page from across the room and think, "Wow... that really looks nice. Maybe Vinnie really tried on that one." When I got close to the page, though, it was always the same... blech!

So, I decided to seek out a page by another inker. Several other guys inked issues of Thor here and there, including the great Bill Everett. Only one issue, though, was inked by my favorite Jack Kirby inker, Frank Giacoia.

Giacoia was one of those incredibly talented old-school inkers. Of course, he was a solid artist in his own rights, but his inking is really what made him special. He was always bold, but lively. He strengthened everyone he inked (aside from maybe Neal Adams, on whom Giacoia was a little lost) but, at the same time, he let the penciller shine through. That's what I love about his work over Kirby. The work is more that just pretty tracing (Royer), and he doesn't pretty the stuff up too much, either (Sinnott). Now, don't get me wrong... Royer was great, and Sinnott was perfect for The Fantastic Four. That work isn't as directly Kirby, though, as what Giacoia does. Giacoia is the perfect inker for Kirby (whose work was so strong that it's all but bad inker-proof), in my opinion.

To complicate my art-buying mission, Giacoia only inked one issue of Kirby's Thor. It is actually an issue of Journey Into Mystery... issue #115, to be precise. Still, I was patient, and a page from that issue eventually fell into my hands. Oh, around the same time, about thirteen hundred bucks fell out of my pocket, but that's another story. Not only is this Kirby and Giacoia on Thor, but it also features the first appearance of one of my favorite villains, The Absorbing Man. Nice!

Today I'm posting one of the less exciting panels from the page I own, but I wanted to share this one because it's so rich... so lush. The composition by Kirby is at once complex and clear. The arranging of figures gives the image such depth, and Giacoia is a master at adding to that depth through line weights and textures. Giacoia spots blacks perfectly, but he's also not afraid to hash it up a little, no doubt following the lead of Kirby's pencils.

This is rich, solid work by two of the best ever, and it hangs right behind my chair while I work. It stares down at me, reminding me each and every day how I'm nowhere near as good as... okay, let's not go there. This is a fantastic image. I love that little Thor figure, flying down to lend a hand to these poor little humans.

And... no Matt Fraction, we are not cutting this page up and smoking it. I don't care how many times you ask.

Okay... enough outta me. Enjoy the genius, and come back for more tomorrow!


The comic book version of THOR is owned by Marvel Ent. Group. The god version is owned by history!


dan said...

You obviously have no idea what great art is but that's good for me as I can offer to take any and all Vinnie Colletta inked pages off your hands and you'll be dumb enough to sell them. You can contact me through my blog.
Thanks and enjoy your basement,

Fat Boy said...

Vince Colletta inked THOR better than anyone else. It's interesting that you stated the closer you got to the O/A the less you liked it because close-up you can really see what set Colletta apart-the fine lines that artists use to denote depth, shadows, movement, etc. He probably should have been a painter instead of a comic book artist.

Georgie Roussell said...

I am going to make it three for three-Vince Colletta made Thor what it was which was-different! I could never understand anyone not liking his Thors and Tales of Asgard.


Hey now, don't be writing that my main man Vince The Prince Colletta was a hack when talking about THOR. The Kirby and Colletta THOR comics were the best things Marvel ever did.