Hey, everybody! It’s another comic cover recreation/reinterpretation. This time, it’s the cover of issue #1 of Archie Comics’ Darling Romance. You can see the original cover here.
I’ve personally never been all that big a collector of romance comics, though the best of them have had some really great artists. An interesting bit of history: the guys who pioneered the genre? None other than Joe Simon and Jack Kirby! Those who are only familiar with the more two-fisted, action-packed side of their work might be surprised to hear this, but it’s true. They launched the first romance comic, Young Romance, in 1947. And in the wake of its sales success, many other publishers followed suit with their own romance titles.
Simon and Kirby’s work in this genre is unsurprisingly energetic and lively. Many of the stories go places one wouldn’t typically expect a romance comic story to go. If you get the chance to see some of these stories for yourself, it’s worth the time. I’m told it can be hard to track down the original comics, but thankfully, there are reprints available in books like Young Romance: the Best of Simon & Kirby’s Romance Comics, and it looks as though there might be other sources on the way too.
Maybe I should talk a little bit about this Darling Romance cover. I know nothing at all about this comic, but the cover image spoke to me. I thought it would be fun to take the original photo cover and do a drawing instead, push the model’s looks even more in the direction of Bettie Page. Also, I felt like giving the whole thing a pulpier, harder-edged look. Just for fun. 🙂
It’s come to my attention that today marks 20 years since the passing of Jack Kirby. That brings a lot of things to mind.
I know where I was when I got the word. I’d started a new career, working in animation, and was not quite into my first full year at it. I was working at Graz Entertainment on X‑Men, for my first boss in the business (who I also consider a mentor and friend), Larry Houston. In those pre-internet days, Larry was the one who first got word, and passed it to us. Obviously, for those of us on the crew who knew and loved Kirby’s work, our minds and our conversation were occupied the rest of the day.
When I got home, I had a sudden compulsion to go to the longboxes, and pull out every comic I had that Jack Kirby had worked on. Then I surveyed what was left. There were a lot of big holes! I could have gone even further and pulled out all the titles that he’d had a hand in creating, and that would’ve left an even bigger hole. There would probably be fewer comics in the boxes than out of them.
Jack has most definitely left his mark on comics, whether people want to see it or not. And he’s left behind a great legacy of work in all kinds of genres that we can still enjoy today. I can say he certainly enriched my life with his work.
RIP, Mr. Kirby. Your work lives on.
A suggestion was made to me recently that it would be good if I were to do some kind of a post here that displayed a number of different styles together, all at once. So this is what I came up with: a series of head shots, of different types of characters in different styles.
It’s a pretty good exercise for an artist, I found. It makes you stretch a little bit, and it can be fun to see what you come up with. I think I may try this again at some point. Or maybe even a variation on the theme: one character, different styles. There’s a whole lot you can do with this idea.