Let’s Not Force the Issue!

Wel­come to the lucky 13th Day of this mon­th’s Jack Kir­by Art Trib­ute, sug­gest­ed by Howard Simp­son! It’s open to all cre­atives, and you should be able to find peo­ple’s work on your favorite social media plat­forms by the hash­tag #Kir­b­yArt­Trib­ut­es.

Today’s prompt is Sky Mas­ters of the Space Force. Most of the prompts are com­ic book cre­ations, but this one is from a news­pa­per strip, done in the late ’50s, the­o­riz­ing what things might be like in the near future of the dawn­ing Space Age. It’s not a secret that most com­ic book artists back then had aspi­ra­tions of work­ing on a news­pa­per strip. News­pa­per strip artists were seen as more pres­ti­gious by the gen­er­al pub­lic, and it poten­tial­ly paid bet­ter than com­ic books. So I sus­pect when this oppor­tu­ni­ty came up for Kir­by, he was­n’t going to pass it up. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it ulti­mate­ly did­n’t work out so well for him, but I’m not going to get into all that here.

The strip was a good look­ing one, though it only last­ed a lit­tle over two years (late ’58 to ear­ly ’61). Writ­ten by Dave Wood, it also fea­tured inks by Wal­ly Wood (no rela­tion). As men­tioned in my pre­vi­ous Chal­lengers of the Unknown post, if you’ve nev­er seen the pair­ing of Kir­by and Wood, it’s hard to envi­sion it work­ing. They’re very dif­fer­ent artists. But it works beau­ti­ful­ly! Kir­by’s ener­gy and live­ly lay­outs and imag­i­na­tion are intact, and Wood brings his light­ing and nat­u­ral­ism into it. It’s a great com­bi­na­tion, if you haven’t seen it!

There have been a few col­lec­tions of the Sky Mas­ters strips pub­lished at var­i­ous points, so if you’re curi­ous, you should be able to find one. Well worth the effort!

I feel like a lit­tle of the Kirby/Wood com­bo man­aged to sneak into my trib­ute piece here. At least I hope so. Enjoy, and we’ll see you again tomorrow!

2 thoughts on “Let’s Not Force the Issue!

  1. Joe musich

    Sky Mas­ters entered into my com­ic book uni­verse much much lat­er than it was in the papers. I would have been absolute­ly out of this world had I known about it. I start­ed read­ing the news­pa­per with the help of my old man when I was quite young. I would not have missed it if it was in the three papers we had around the house. I regret that. I am total­ly pleased you drew (haha) atten­tion to this strip. It appeared at a crit­i­cal time on the rebirth of the flop­py. And may have in a back­wards way been incred­i­bly instru­men­tal in the come­back. Anoth­er great image. I love the col­or­ing. Thank you.

    1. Mark Post author

      Glad you enjoyed what I did here.
      Yeah, I was­n’t aware this strip had even exist­ed until maybe the ear­ly ’90s. The Kir­by-Wood com­bo blew me away when I saw it.


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