Author Archives: Mark

Just Don’t Get on Her Bad Side!

It’s now Day 17 of Howard SImp­son’s month-long trib­ute to Jack Kir­by! Can you believe it? If you’d like to see what oth­ers are post­ing in order to par­tic­i­pate, you can find that work on your favorite social media plat­forms by the hash­tag #Kir­b­yArt­Trib­ut­es.

Today’s prompt is Big Bar­da. Part of Kir­by’s Fourth World saga at DC, she was a key sup­port­ing char­ac­ter in Mis­ter Mir­a­cle, first appear­ing in issue #4. Raised on Apokolips to be part of a group of war­riors called the Female Furies, she lat­er met Scott Free (Mis­ter Mir­a­cle) and fell in love with him. Even­tu­al­ly, she fol­lowed Scott to Earth.

Bar­da’s bat­tle armor is one of those Kir­by cos­tumes with a lot of detail. It’s con­sis­tent in the broad strokes, but has a ten­den­cy to morph a bit from page to page or pan­el to pan­el as far as the spe­cif­ic details go. I like how it looks, and thought a straight-ahead pre­sen­ta­tion from the front would be the best way to show it.

Hope you like it, and please come back again tomorrow.

It’s a Miracle!

We’ve hit Day 16 of Howard Simp­son’s month-long cel­e­bra­tion of the work of Jack Kir­by! It’s open to all cre­atives, and you can find the work peo­ple are upload­ing to your favorite social media plat­forms by the hash­tag #Kir­b­yArt­Trib­ut­es.

The prompt for the day is Mis­ter Mir­a­cle. The lead char­ac­ter in the com­ic named for him, he was part of the Fourth World saga Jack Kir­by spun over at DC. Known as Scott Free in his civil­ian iden­ti­ty, Mis­ter Mir­a­cle lived here on Earth and worked as an amaz­ing escape artist. Mis­ter Mir­a­cle’s back sto­ry is actu­al­ly pret­ty pro­found. I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t read it, but it’s cov­ered in the sto­ries “The Pact” (New Gods #7), and “Himon” (Mis­ter Mir­a­cle #9).

I recall tak­ing a crack at draw­ing Mis­ter Mir­a­cle a few times back in high school, as I was a big fan of the Fourth World mate­r­i­al. It’s been a long time!

Hope you enjoy, and stay tuned!

It’s Dark Outside!

We’re almost halfway there! Day 15 of this month-long trib­ute to Kir­by. Howard Simp­son’s brain­child, it’s open to all cre­atives, and you can find what peo­ple are post­ing on your favorite social media plat­forms by the hash­tag #Kir­b­yArt­Trib­ut­es.

Today’s prompt is Dark­seid. The pri­ma­ry antag­o­nist of Kir­by’s Fourth World books at DC, Dark­seid was a real gift Kir­by gave to DC: a vil­lain con­cep­tu­al­ly much larg­er than any oth­er DC had ever had up to this point. It could be argued that with the excep­tion of Galac­tus, Dark­seid even topped most of Kir­by’s pre­vi­ous vil­lain cre­ations for Mar­vel. He was in search of some­thing called the Anti-Life Equa­tion, which would enable him to take over the minds and will of every­one in the Universe!

Hope you like my Dark­seid draw­ing, and feel free to come back and see what’s new tomorrow!

Why So Angry?

We’re at Day 14 of Howard Simp­son’s month-long online cel­e­bra­tion of the work of Jack Kir­by! It’s open to all cre­atives, and you can find the work peo­ple are post­ing by the hash­tag #Kir­b­yArt­Trib­ut­es.

Today’s prompt: “Draw a mon­ster or an alien cre­at­ed by Jack Kir­by.” There are many pos­si­bil­i­ties out there! As men­tioned pre­vi­ous­ly with Groot, Kir­by did a whole bunch of mon­sters dur­ing the Atlas era. But instead of one of those, I opt­ed for the one you see here: Angry Char­lie. His visu­al called out to me.

Angry Char­lie was a Kir­by Kreation dur­ing his run on the Jim­my Olsen com­ic for DC, which he’d made part of the titles where he was unfold­ing his “Fourth World” sto­ries, along with For­ev­er Peo­ple, New Gods and Mis­ter Mir­a­cle. Angry Char­lie was a cre­ation of the Evil Fac­to­ry, which was ulti­mate­ly destroyed at the end of that sto­ry. Char­lie was­n’t real­ly bad, and the gang had a soft spot for him, so they took him home with them.

Hope you liked Char­lie, and tune in again tomorrow!

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!

This Is Rather Challenging…

We’re now at Day 12 of Howard Simp­son’s month-long online cel­e­bra­tion of Kir­by, in hon­or of the fact Kir­by was born in August! It’s open to all cre­atives, and you can find the work on your favorite social media plat­forms by using the hash­tag #Kir­b­yArt­Trib­ut­es.

Today’s prompt? The Chal­lengers of the Unknown! It’s my under­stand­ing that this was a left­over con­cept from Kir­by’s ear­li­er part­ner­ship with Joe Simon. As real­ized in the pages of DC’s Show­case #6 (on news­stands in Novem­ber of ’56), the char­ac­ters’ ori­gin might sound a lit­tle famil­iar: four peo­ple attempt­ing an aer­i­al voy­age that end­ed in a crash land­ing which could/should have killed them. But they sur­vived, and came away with a great­ly changed out­look on their lives and their pur­pose mov­ing forward.

The ini­tial install­ments in Show­case were writ­ten by Dave Wood (no rela­tion to Wal­ly Wood). Sales were such that after four install­ments there, the Chal­lengers got their own title by ear­ly 1958. Accord­ing to the cred­its in DC’s Archive Edi­tion reprints, Kir­by actu­al­ly wrote some of the ear­ly scripts in the reg­u­lar title himself.

The strip also fea­tured inks by Wal­ly Wood on many install­ments. Wood was an amaz­ing tal­ent all on his own, and if you’ve nev­er seen Kir­by and Wood paired togeth­er, you might find it hard to imag­ine how it could pos­si­bly work. But it does, and amaz­ing­ly well! It’s like you get the best of both artists: the life, ener­gy and imag­i­na­tion of Kir­by’s pen­cils, with the light­ing and nat­u­ral­ism of Wood’s fin­ish­es. If you’ve nev­er seen their pair­ing, you owe it to your­self to check it out.

Hope you enjoy my salute to Kir­by’s Chal­lengers. And stay tuned!

I Am…

It’s now Day 11 of Howard Simp­son’s online Kir­by Cel­e­bra­tion this month, in hon­or of Kir­by’s birth­day. It’s open to all cre­atives, and you can track what they post on your favorite social media plat­forms by the hash­tag #Kir­b­yArt­Trib­ut­es.

Today’s prompt is Groot. Now, some of you are prob­a­bly say­ing, “Hey, wait; that does­n’t look like Groot!” That’s because it’s the orig­i­nal ver­sion of the char­ac­ter as he first appeared in Tales to Aston­ish #13.

At that point in time, pre-Fan­tas­tic Four, Kir­by was bat­ting out many, many mon­sters sto­ries, one after the oth­er, for Mar­vel. Issue after issue, month after month, they had to always come up with new ones. Kir­by was up to the chal­lenge, always find­ing inter­est­ing visu­als for all these monsters.

Groot was just anoth­er among this vast horde, along with mon­sters like Romm­bu, ZZu­tak, Googam Son of Goom, and Fin Fang Foom. Fun, but just a one-off mon­ster, like they pret­ty much all were. Groot was large­ly for­got­ten after the super­heroes took over the spot­light, until the cre­ators behind the reimag­ined Guardians of the Galaxy com­ic in 2008 decid­ed to res­ur­rect him as part of that team, and reimag­ine him. Thanks to the Guardians movies, it’s safe to say he’s a lot bet­ter known now than he ever was before. How­ev­er, it’s still fun to remem­ber how Groot start­ed off.

Enjoy, and feel free to come back tomorrow!

Larger Than Life

It’s now Day 10 of Howard Simp­son’s month-long cel­e­bra­tion of Jack Kir­by! Open to all cre­atives, you should be able to find the work being gen­er­at­ed on your favorite social media plat­forms by the hash­tag #Kir­b­yArt­Trib­ut­es.

Today’s prompt is Galac­tus. He first appeared in the pages of Fan­tas­tic Four, in prob­a­bly one of the best-loved and remem­bered sto­ries of that book, known by most fans as the Galac­tus trilogy.

The Fan­tas­tic Four car­ried the tag “The World’s Great­est Com­ic Mag­a­zine” on its cov­ers. While it was most­ly Stan Lee play­ful­ly doing pro­mo­tion­al hype, more often than not dur­ing the book’s ini­tial run  by Kir­by and Lee, it was truth in adver­tis­ing. Galac­tus as a char­ac­ter was some­thing very dif­fer­ent. I don’t think any­thing like him had ever been seen before in a super­hero com­ic. Not just a street thug or a reg­u­lar human guy in a super suit, he was more a force of nature, vir­tu­al­ly god­like. He pre­sent­ed a real chal­lenge to the sto­ry­tellers. How can you defeat an antag­o­nist like that?

Sur­pris­ing­ly, I real­ized this is the first time I’ve ever attempt­ed to draw Galac­tus! I’m not gonna lie; it was a lit­tle intim­i­dat­ing to tack­le him. His visu­al, while there are cer­tain con­sis­ten­cies, also fluc­tu­ates a great deal from com­ic to com­ic. Even his col­or­ing seems to change over his appearances!

Any­way, I felt like he came out okay, to my relief. Hope you enjoy it, and hope­ful­ly you might stop in here again tomorrow!

Surfin’ Is the Only Life, the Only Life for me, Now Surf…Surf…

Here’s Day 9 of Howard Simp­son’s month-long online Kir­by Cel­e­bra­tion, dur­ing Kir­by’s birth month of August. Open to all cre­atives, you should be able to find oth­er peo­ple’s work on your favorite social media plat­forms by the hash­tag #Kir­b­yArt­Trib­ut­es.

Today’s prompt is the Sil­ver Surfer, who first appeared in Fan­tas­tic Four dur­ing what may be that book’s best-loved and remem­bered sto­ry­line, the Galac­tus tril­o­gy. He was­n’t any­thing that was in any plot that Stan Lee and Jack Kir­by had dis­cussed, and Stan else­where has acknowl­edged that he was sur­prised when he ini­tial­ly saw the pen­ciled pages to dis­cov­er him. Jack explained that he felt a char­ac­ter as con­cep­tu­al­ly big and god­like as Galac­tus ought to have some kind of her­ald to accom­pa­ny and pre­cede him, hence the Surfer.

Stan was so tak­en with the Surfer, he made him his own, and even­tu­al­ly spun him off into his own title. Not work­ing with Kir­by, but John Busce­ma. It’s a high­ly regard­ed book (and char­ac­ter), but Stan’s con­cep­tion was dif­fer­ent from what Jack orig­i­nal­ly intend­ed. Where Stan had the Surfer pre­vi­ous­ly exist­ing as Nor­rin Rad, who sac­ri­ficed him­self and his iden­ti­ty to save his plan­et, Jack thought of the Surfer as a being who was basi­cal­ly cre­at­ed out of noth­ing, and was learn­ing as he trav­eled. That’s def­i­nite­ly how things read in his ini­tial appear­ance as part of the Galac­tus trilogy.

Any­way, I hope you enjoy my shot at the Surfer. Tune in again tomorrow…

Isn’t It Romantic?

We’re now on Day 8 of Howard Simp­son’s month-long Jack Kir­by cel­e­bra­tion! Open to all cre­atives, you should be able to find the work of par­tic­i­pants on your favorite social media plat­forms by the hash­tag #Kir­b­yArt­Tribute.

Today’s prompt is less spe­cif­ic than those we’ve had thus far. It’s “Romance Comics.” If you don’t already know it, you may be sur­prised to hear that the genre of romance comics was cre­at­ed and pio­neered by none oth­er than Joe Simon and Jack Kir­by! So it’s no head-scratch­er that Howard chose this as a prompt. S&K came up with the very first romance com­ic, Young Romance, and sold the con­cept to Crest­wood Pub­li­ca­tions. The com­ic was a huge hit on news­stands, sell­ing 92% of its print run! Of course, sales suc­cess like that breeds imi­ta­tors, which soon fol­lowed from the oth­er pub­lish­ers. But the orig­i­nal S&K sto­ries had a lot more sub­stance going for them, the imi­ta­tors most­ly pale and infe­ri­or in comparison.

My choice to rep­re­sent romance comics was to depict the one char­ac­ter S&K told more than one sto­ry about. Toni Ben­son first appeared in Young Romance #1, in the sto­ry “I Was a Pick-up.” Appar­ent­ly they liked her char­ac­ter well enough that they thought it was worth revis­it­ing her in a sec­ond tale, “The Town and Toni Ben­son,” in Young Romance #10.

I hope you enjoy, and stay tuned!