STUDYGROUP blog

Old Comics Wednesday: INVADERS potpourri

Still crushed on deadlines, but I wanted to tell the world: A lot of Jack Kirby’s Invaders covers are terrible.

I don’t know if it was always there and it just took the wrong inkers to bring it out — the two Kirby covers in this post were both inked by Joe Sinnott, which makes this even more baffling — but The King’s figures developed a certain teddy-bear proportion that gave even Hitler a cuddliness that I hope wasn’t intended.

The most extreme example of this has to be the cover of The Art of Jack Kirby, inked by Kevin Eastman:

I couldn’t find a scan of the back cover, which features the most hugable Red Skull, Dr. Doom, Darkseid and Galactus you will ever see.

[11PM Edit: By My Victuals, BETRAYED! -- Jeremy "Eagle Eyes" Pinkham just pointed out that in the above Invaders cover, "Thor looks like he's struggling with a painful bowel movement, and lo and behold between his legs we can clearly see he's literally shitting bricks."]

One of the more baffling aspects to Kirby’s post-1970 career is how often editors had his faces re-inked to make them slicker, more delicate; his Superman heads at DC redrawn mostly by Murphy Anderson, but then John Romita and/or the Marvel bullpen touch-up artists would do the same to Jack when he returned to the company a few years later. Here, in the focus of what’s an otherwise pretty straight-forward late-1969-looking Kirby/Sinnott image is a rather dainty Romita face for Captain America, a character Kirby never learned to draw correctly, and what looks more like a JRSR face for Master Man as well.

[Hello, humorless nerds who have stopped reading this to jump straight down to the comments box to chew me out about CLEARLY NOT KNOWING THAT JACK CO-CREATED CAP IN 1941 LOL.]

What’s especial odd about the above cover, considering the alterations, is the Human Torch’s face; that’s a Johnny Storm face and hair [and maybe his uniform, too; the WWII Torch had yellow cuffs], not a Jim Hammond. I really like the open-lined faces and oddly Fosteresque solutions for drawing eyes that the K/S team developed toward the end of Kirby’s Fantastic Four run; it’s nice to see that again, even though that style got the wrong Torch onto the cover.

In comparison, Gil Kane turned in some snazzy, dynamic covers:

They’re nothing to give Alex Schomburg a sleepless night, much less Paul Bacon, but this pair of Kanes are nice to look at. I always liked when his figures looked chiseled out of instead of rendered in.

By the way, the above are covers from issues I have nothing to say about, except maybe “Wow, this comic was cheap, stupid and lazy, in the bad way.”

Because I can’t post much of anything without dragging poor Frank Robbins into it, here’s a page from issue #3: I would be very surprised to learn that it wasn’t dragged out and used as a cudgel as least a few times during the last few years of shitty/inconsistent characterizations of Captain America.

Even when faced with a true, not merely existential, global threat to the freedom and safety of America, Cap won’t let a teammate even pimp-slap a Nazi officer.

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