Thursday, August 24, 2006

Welcome to the Jack Kirby Singularity.

I am your host, Kris Brownlow. In the coming months I will be guiding you through the many amazing worlds of Jack Kirby.

This month we will be examining Kirby's work on Superman.

When Jack Kirby left Marvel and began working at DC, the "powers that were" decided that the way Kirby drew Superman's face was not satisfactory, so they employed the talents of, first, Al Plastino, and later Murphy Anderson to re-work the faces to make them more "on-model". Initially, paste-ups were used, later Murphy Anderson re-inked the faces right on the page. Below is a montage of some "before & after" shots.

Re-working Superman heads was not unique to Kirby during this period. Even long-time JLA artist Mike Sekowsky was having his Superman faces re-worked. Note the Wayne Boring head in the Mike Sekowsky cover to JLA #59.

Below is a Jack Kirby drawing of Superman recently inked by Neal Adams for Twomorrows' fantastic magazine "The Jack Kirby Collector", go to for more information and to subscribe.

Here's a rarity, Kirby's Superman inked by Jack's wife, Roz Kirby.

Next we have a fine sketch that Kirby did for a comic convention booklet. Note Kirby's wonderful near-abstract "S" symbol.

One of the most interesting art combinations during Jack's stay at DC was this Jimmy Olsen cover inked entirely by Murphy Anderson. While the combination produces a very pleasing result, Mr. Anderson makes quite a few alterations to the original art, so a steady diet of this might not have gone over well with Kirby purists.

Superman is TM and © DC Comics Inc. Artwork © Jack Kirby Estate