Jul 14, 2010

Colletta Stars Part II

Thanks to Kirby Museum director Rand Hoppe for sending me a scan of the uninked pencils from Thor # 152, pg. 8. Above is a scan of the entire page. You can see Colletta does a fairly solid job on panels 1 - 3. Aside from the changes to Thor's face in panel 1 (which could have been based on editor Stan Lee's direction) and the Policeman in the background which Vinnie has portrayed in silhouette -- Vinnie has captured the basic compositional elements of Jack's original pencils. Here are close-ups of panel 4.

The outer space scene is also much closer to the original pencils than I suspected it would be, but we can see that Vinnie does seem to have a tendency to eliminate white circles (which take time to ink using a circle template; then it takes more time to carefully trace around the white circles in black using a pen) and Vince did obscure a significant amount of Jack's famous "crackle" and cosmic bursts with all black.

Also notice how perfect the contrast is in Jack's original pencils, similar to the Chinese yin-yang symbol; while in Vinnie's version there is a much greater preponderance of black.
Here is a side-by-side comparison.
It could be argued that Colletta felt Jack's cosmic space scenes were too bright so he made a conscious decision to darken them, but I still suspect Vinnie's technique of laying in black then adding fast splotches of white-out was not meant to improve Jack's composition, but to save time.

I don't think Colletta's decision to simplify Jack's image of Thor flying across the galaxy hurts the story, or radically alters the image, but as someone who likes to study Kirby artwork, all I can do is show you what I found, and as you can see, this is another example of Colletta making seemingly arbitrary changes to Jack's original artwork.

Thanks again to Rand Hoppe for sending in this scan so we could see what Jack's original pencils looked like. You can check out more great Kirby artwork at kirbymuseum.org.