Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Joe Sinnott!

Jack Kirby was one of the busiest comic creators of all time. He was arguably the hardest-working man in comics. From what I've read, he didn't like to ink his pencils. They say that once he'd finished writing and penciling the story he was anxious to move on to the next project. Therefore, he generally gave his penciled work over to another artist to ink, thus leaving him free to create new stories.

Because he was such a prolific artist, many people inked his work. His pages were, I would assume, easy to ink because they were so dynamic and so logical in construction. But some guys were just uniquely suited to ink Jack Kirby's pencils.

To me, the best of the lot on Kirby's work was Joe Sinnott. Sinnott had a very smooth, fluid way of inking any pencil artist he was given to delineate. Sinnott's inks were always solid and seemed to bring out the best in the artist over whom he was working. In fact, my favorite work by John Byrne, George Perez, and other 1980s and 1990s-era pencil artists were inked by Sinnott. He improved their art and made it all friendlier to the printed page and to the viewer.

Other folk could do a creditable job of inking Jack Kirby, but the best of the best was Joe Sinnott!

Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott! What a team!


dogboy443 said...

I like Sinnott, but I also like Mike Royer's inks on Kirby.

HemlockMan said...

Royer was one of the best Kirby inkers. Right at the top, for sure!

dogboy443 said...

He also lettered the pages to so it kept the number of hands off the book. I wonder if he inked the other DC books that Jack worked on?

HemlockMan said...

Wasn't Royer the inker picked by Kirby to do that work for quite a while? Seems I read this, but I'm not sure.

I did not know that he also lettered. This would seem to have been a move by Kirby to recreate something like he and Simon had going in the 50s: a tightly knit production company.

Henry R. Kujawa said...

Having plowed thru most of the early-70's DC Kirby work again in the last year+, I've been able to really study & appreciate what went into all that stuff much more than I ever did when I bought most of it 30 years earlier.

At first, DC shoved "Vince Colletta" on Jack because they "had commitments" or something (that was what Jack Schiff told Kirby to explain why he couldn't pay Kirby to write in the late 50's). Note quotation marks. Mark Evanier pointed out Colletta used assistants, and some of them were doing better work than Vince. However, I've determined that the early issues of MISTER MIRACLE, Vince did not touch one page. It was all assistants-- and prety sloppy stuff. Most of it appears to be the work of Dick Giordano, OR, Frank McLaughlin (especially when you see THICK outlines), though a number of pages look like early work from Klaus Janson (who started out as one of Giordano's assistants). UGLY!

Mike Royer took about a month or two to get into the swing of it. At first, some butt-ugly pages. IM NOT KIDDING. But then... BAM. Crisp, clean, sharp, STUNNING! Almost like Sinnott, except, without the "gloss". I never noticed how beautiful this stuff was before.

On the other hand, I've also come to realize Jack's pencils could be very "expressive". I mean, when he's drawing a REALLY NASTY scene, the art may suddenly turn UGLY. And Mike Royer will ink EXACTLY what Jack's pencilling. Sometimes from one page or even panel to another, average, HORRIFIC, gorgeous, and back again.

"THE LOSERS" art tends to be VERY rough, ugly, BRUTAL. I guess war was hell, at least, on those pages.

Royer always lettered when he inked. One trait of his, which did not crop up much UNTIL he turned up at Marvel, was using the same "rough boulders" font for story titles. Monotonous and BORING. I wanted to beat him with a baseball bat for that. But virtually none of this at DC. I wonder what that was about?

D. Bruce Berry (who I used to think was one of the "new kids") also took a month or so to get into the groove. Some of his stuff is VERY nice. Some... ehh. Sadly, he's probably most remembered for his later stuff, when some midguided editor told him to "use more intricate feathering", and he over-rendered Kirby's stuff to death. His lettering wasn't so thrilling, either.

HemlockMan said...

Kirby was such a prolific artist that he had the opportunity to work with many great inkers. Some of them I feel sure he mentored.

Kirby had a brilliant talent for being able to illustrate horrific scenes. For instance, when Kalibak beats Turpin almost to death--GREAT JOVE that entire sequence is hideous! Kirby could create some of the most disturbing monsters, even later in his career. (I point out the mutated Russian cosmonaut from KAMANDI.)

Kirby could do it all.