Tuesday, January 03, 2012


The more I look at these pre-hero Marvel comics, the more I'm impressed with the way the basic pieces of what was to come had been put into place. You can see the master of the Silver Age comic book industry honing his craft to a degree no one has ever been able to match; Jack Kirby was truly THE KING as he came to be known. Most of the cover art was his during this time, and probably half of the comic pages being produced for Stan Lee was being created by Kirby. If he wasn't actually penciling much of it, he was laying out what he couldn't get around to penciling, and so guys like Don Heck, Steve Ditko, and Paul Reinman, and the rest just had to fill in the blanks.

These days this is considered a forerunner of Ant Man. But actually that's one hell of a stretch. In this story it's not the man who is shrunken to the size of a bug, but rather a man who finds himself in a world populated by enormous insect people. But the collector's market will make all kinds of claims when it comes to pricing a book. I'm just glad I have a decent copy of the issue now.

Don Heck doesn't get nearly the credit that he deserves. He excelled at delineating stories with atmosphere. I'm not being glib here just because this is one of his common uses of fog effect, but because he really did a good job of creating a sense of wonder, of mystery, of impending doom, or of fantasy: whatever the story required. I think it's because he was working alongside artists like Kirby and Ditko and Sinnott and (later) John Buscema and Colan that his efforts fell in the shadows of those vast popular figures.

Once again I have to be impressed with the power of Ditko's talent. He often opened up the telling of a yarn with an image that wrapped up the tenor of an entire story within a single panel.


Kirk G said...

Seems to me that final splash from Ditko could double as a great tribute to Jack!

HemlockMan said...

That would be a great tribute, indeed.