Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Inking an unpublished Jack Kirby cover

-click to enlarge-

I just finished an interesting bit of artwork.
Over on Ger Apeldoorn's blog THE FABULOUS FIFTIES he posted a fantastic bit of unpublished Jack Kirby artwork here  for the originally proposed cover for FOXHOLE comics #1 (October 1954).
Ger challenged (invited is a better word) anyone who wanted to ink the pencil artwork, hopefully in Kirby's 50's style. I couldn't work on it at the time, but for the better part of the last two days (yes, two days!) I spent several hours attempting to bring about something near to the proposed achievement.

While I'm not 100% satisfied with my work (I'd like to re-do the water), I did my best to keep all of Kirby's lines and original work intact. I wanted to change many things, like Kirby's double door landing craft (there were such craft in WWII, but most personnel carriers were of the drawbridge variety), but I resisted most desires to change anything by the King of comics. It ended up being more of a daunting challenge than I had first believed, and I have gained a brand new respect for Kirby's art, as well as anyone who ever had the privilege of inking his pencils.

The scene is an amazing action tableau with fantastic depth of field, with figures up close and extending back into the horizon, giving it a wonderful 3D effect. I found one of the biggest challenges was trying to determine what Kirby's thoughts and ideas were for areas of the penciled art that was left fairly loose and vague. Without knowing exactly what his exact concept for these rough and loose areas, I had to do my best to interpret what I could.

I have completed it to a degree where I can rest, and call it done, although I have yet to add the details to the figures (Kirby's trademark "hay", or feathered hatching). I will revisit it after a day or so of resting my eyes and my brain, and see if adding the finishing touches brings out more of Kirby's incredible scene.

Oh, yes, and I will also add color.


Here is the original pencil art.

Here is the cover Kirby decided to use for this issue.