Kirby - pencils versus layouts
0

7 posts in this topic

195 posts

As a somewhat n00b - I am wondering about how the auction houses (HA, CL) credit Kirby, or really any artist, when he does "layouts only" versus pencils.

For instance, Silver Star #5 Page 16 in the upcoming CL auction... 

Primary Artist Name: JACK KIRBY 

Secondary Artist Name: D. BRUCE BERRY 

Does this mean Kirby did the pencils, and Berry is the inker? Or Kirby did the layouts, and Berry did the pencils? Or, is it unknown who did exactly what?

As a contrast, Captain America #214 Page 7, references the secondary artist as Mike Royer, but states that Royer did the inks. (So, should one assume that Kirby did the pencils?)

I mainly ask, because at another auction house, a recent Kirby page stated that Kirby did the layouts, and another artist did the pencils; but then on a different listing for a subsequent page in the same issue, Kirby was credited as the artist, but nowhere in the description was it stated that Kirby did the layouts, rather than the pencils. If I didn't know better, I would assume that the secondary artist was the inker.

Or perhaps my analysis is totally misguided. The learning curve in this hobby sure seems steep!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15,687 posts

In the '60s (and beyond) Kirby’s style was Marvel style. Although he worked very hard, cranking out hundreds upon hundreds of pages a year, he couldn’t do everything. In some instances, say after his brief run on the Hulk in Tales to Astonish, he did layouts rather than full pencils for a few issues so a title would maintain the Marvel “house style.” He basically plotted and drew everything, though not with his usual level of detail. Mike Esposito in the case of TTA would then finish the pencils and ink them.

In the case of Kamandi and with the majority of his art, he did full pencils and the D. Bruce Berry (previously Mike Royer) inked them. That’s the way comics were made until the digital age, although some artists inked their own work.

Clink’s standard notation of “primary” and “secondary” generally denotes the penciller and the inker.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
675 posts

How much graphite Jack put on the page is a source of consistent evaluation.  It's pretty hard to tell sometimes in the Simon & Kirby days how much was him and how much someone like Mort Meskin, who was pretty good at doing his style.  But if you're thinking about Marvel and beyond, he only did layouts for a brief time, more or less '64 to '66, on specific books (never covers, according to Mark Evanier).  Sometimes he apparently did stick figures and shapes and sometimes he did work closer to full pencils. 

Sellers sometimes know their stuff and sometimes post in the spirit of wish fulfillment, so I wouldn't necessarily lean on what they're saying unless it's thorough. 

If you want to get some good documentation, you should download this:  http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=123_139_145&products_id=640

Or pony up for the revised edition: http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=95_97&products_id=1361

Either of those will explain whether a given book was jack's pencils or layouts or what.  There are still some question marks - a lot of X-Men pages look really good, but is that because he contributed more or because the pencilers and inkers were particularly good at doing Kirby flourishes? 

And btw, the second piece of Kirby art I ever bought, I had this same dilemma (and no internet to solve it).  The seller had said it was full Kirby pencils, but when I looked at the credits box it said that Joe Sinnott had "embellished" rather than "inked."  So I told the seller that, and he said, "Sinnott inked this one? Holy cow!" and he raised the price.  :golfclap:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,794 posts
2 minutes ago, glendgold said:

 

Sellers sometimes know their stuff and sometimes post in the spirit of wish fulfillment, so I wouldn't necessarily lean on what they're saying unless it's thorough.

i was going to say something similar......$

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41,358 posts
4 hours ago, glendgold said:

 

And btw, the second piece of Kirby art I ever bought, I had this same dilemma (and no internet to solve it).  The seller had said it was full Kirby pencils, but when I looked at the credits box it said that Joe Sinnott had "embellished" rather than "inked."  So I told the seller that, and he said, "Sinnott inked this one? Holy cow!" and he raised the price.  :golfclap:

 

Learn it. Know it. Live it. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,000 posts

Jack did layouts for Alex Toth, Jay Gavin (aka Werner Roth) for X-Men issues 12-17.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10,410 posts
Posted (edited)
On 5/22/2018 at 8:30 PM, Brian Peck said:

Jack did layouts for Alex Toth, Jay Gavin (aka Werner Roth) for X-Men issues 12-17.

And darn fine layouts they were.  12-17 were some of my favorite early X-Men ( no doubt influenced by the fact that I started reading/collecting X-Men with #12).  The dramatic introduction of the Juggernaut in #'s 12-13, the fantastic first Sentinels storyline in #'s 14-16, and the mind-bending reveal of Magneto's return in issue # 17.  Just wonderful story-telling by Jack; as a nine-year-old boy these stories (and the other stuff Jack was doing in the FF, JIM, ToS, TtA, and Strange Tales) was mind-boggling.  With no prior knowledge of comic history, I had no idea that I was reading some of the best comics ever produced up until that time.

It still amazes me when I hear others say the silver-age X-Men was a weak series.  Those first 17 issues are great examples of Kirby's genius (actually the first 19 issues, as issues 18 & 19 were pretty darn good as well, even though they were sans Kirby).  The number of innovative and lasting characters introduced in those issues rivals anything else produced by Marvel, or any other company, at the time.

Edited by Unca Ben

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
0