Wednesday, August 28, 2013

on jack kirby's birthday...

to celebrate jack kirby's birthday, here's a real rarity... a failed newspaper comic strip about a young cartoonist named "inky wells", struggling to get his own strip published. in 1947, kirby and joe simon thought that this story taking place in a newsroom, would be a good fit for the strip; but after a lack of interest, simon and kirby re-cut the frames and constructed them to fit the comic book format, where it was finally published in issue 3 of a romance comic called "in love" (kirby and simon are also generally considered the inventors of the romance comic genre). if you look at the right side of the 5th panel, you can see where kirby needed to add to the image so it would work with the comic page format. also in the 5th panel you can see, right around inky's shoulder, a nice big blotch of whiteout. while it was common for artists' names to be included in comic strip artwork, comic books rarely credited writers/artists within a panel on a page... and having seen images of these panels in their earlier strip form, the simon and kirby signature is indeed beneath the white blob. most people think this story was autobiographical, and in some ways how could it not be. kirby started drawing comics at a relatively young age and in some of the later panels and pages of this story, "inky" goes from being quite naive, to eventually falling prey to some scammers (yes, a dame is involved) who steal his work and ideas (unfortunately, just like stan would do to jack much later in life...). it's pretty exciting to see/read someone's beginnings, particularly when you know that the youngster will grow up to be a genius visual storyteller who would change the entire superhero genre (and then some)...

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