Sunday, April 27, 2014

Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott!

When Jack Kirby was working on THE FANTASTIC FOUR he was teamed with a number of embellishers (also known as inkers). Just about all of these men were very talented and dedicated, but sometimes the inking styles contrasted with Kirby's pencils and layouts and the results were not what they should have been. In the case of some of the guys who worked with him on other titles, they cut corners to produce more work in less time and the results of those efforts were almost criminal.

But, by and large, Kirby had a lot of great collaborators when he did FANTASTIC FOUR. I always very much enjoyed seeing Steve Ditko ink Kirby's art, but this was a rare teaming. Dick Ayers generally was quite good, but worked with Kirby less and less as the years passed. Everyone has their favorite inker over Kirby's pencils, and I am no exception.

My favorite inker for Kirby was Joe Sinnott. His inks were very crisp and exacting and he tended to make the reader more aware than most of the other collaborators on just how skilled Jack Kirby really was. And nobody...NOBODY...understood the character of Ben Grimm (aka "the Thing") better than Joe Sinnott. He brought the brutish hero into perfect clarity like no other inker who had preceded him. In fact, even after Kirby abandoned his creations at Marvel, Sinnott continued to carry that understanding of how to ink those characters over the pencils of artist/writers who followed in Kirby's massive wake.

So here's to my favorite Kirby inker, Joe Sinnott!

This image is, to me, one of the best illustrations I ever saw of Ben Grimm.
A great battle issue by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott.
An early appearance of The Inhumans, another Kirby creation!
I've always felt that Ben Grimm was Kirby's romanticized version of himself. That's why Grimm seemed to dominate the title, and why the character was so rich and fully realized that he was the book's fan favorite.
Jack and Joe!!


dogboy443 said...

Was Mike Royer exclusively a DC inker?

James Robert Smith said...

I'm not sure! I like Royer's inks on Kirby...but I think you may be right in that he mainly worked with Kirby at DC.

Lawrence Roy Aiken said...

Of all the inkers, I think Sinnott was the one who "got" Kirby and what he was trying to do. I loved the thick squiggles Sinnott would do down the sides of shiny objects like rocket ships. In the case of the Thing, you can tell he actually THOUGHT about what the character was supposed to look like, and worked accordingly.

Kirk G said...

Definitely a post-Marvel/post-FF inker during the 4th World period at DC. Nothing prior to that at Marvel.

James Robert Smith said...

He also firmed up the "Kirby Krackle", which had been used before he arrived on the scene, but which most of the other inkers also didn't quite get. He understood what Kirby was illustrating and exposed it rather than covered it up.