Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Kirby: King of page layouts

In preparation for another month-long look at Jack Kirby's awesomeness (I just started reading the second volume of the Fourth World Omnibus, so watch for more about that tonight), here's a quick thing I noticed while reading Charles Hatfield's entry about Fantastic Four: The Lost Adventure on the Thought Balloonists. He offered a sample page from the comic (Kirby's version of FF #102) in comparison to a page of Brian Hitch art from FF #554:



Just looking at that page, I noticed the simple techniques Kirby uses to guide the eye across the page as it's being read. Here's a diagram I threw together to demonstrate (I apologize for my rough mouse-based artistic skills):



I love how perfectly natural it becomes to follow these elements across the page, and using these subtle indicators to point out the important parts of the artwork, like Janus's expression in panel four or the gun in the the final panel. And this was Kirby working at his most "tepid [and] unadventurous", as Hatfield describes it. That sort of artistic skill was instinctual to him; he was a true master.
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Okay, that's a quick bit for now. Hopefully, I'll get to more Kirby stuff tonight. In the meantime, feel free to check out my contribution to Comics Bulletin's "slugfest" of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.'s Kick-Ass #1, which comes out today. Also, I did a review of the Fablewood anthology from Ape Entertainment. Later!