Sunday, October 26, 2014

When Artists Changed Hats

While it's always nice to have a reliable penciller/inker combo when reading your favorite comic, sometimes it's nice when management slips in a guest artist to fill one or both of those slots, just to have a little something new and to see what a different style brings to the character(s). In fact, in those early Silver Age stories, when artist staff was tight and finishers were making the rounds among different titles practically every month, there would occasionally be artist team-ups that were a real treat to find together, even if just to satisfy your curiosity as to how the final product would look.

For instance, in Jack Kirby's last few issues of Mighty Thor, Bill Everett steps in briefly for long-time Thor inker Vince Colletta and turns in some outstanding work that enhanced a lot of nice detail which Colletta generally suppressed:

By the way, did you know Hogun the Grim's mace was enchanted? Wait, it's not? Are you sure??

While Hogun prepares to mercilessly brain another enemy of Asgard, let's look at some other cool combos that gave us some interesting results.

First, John Buscema had a number of finishers on his Avengers work (including, on occasion, himself), and Iron Man penciller George Tuska also had the opportunity to embellish Buscema's pencils:

(Tuska is also listed as inker for issue #54, featuring the Masters of Evil and the Cowled Commander--but judging by the style of the work, I think the credits meant to list George Klein, instead. Would you concur?)

Tuska also inked some of Jack Kirby's Captain America work:

And as long as we've got Cap here, how about the rare combo of Gil Kane and Joe Sinnott?

Some of Gary Michaels' nice work with Gene Colan you've already seen--but since "Gary Michaels" was a pen name, have a look at some other scenes from his brush, this time when you know him by his more familiar name as inker Jack Abel:

And here's an about-face for you: While Dan Adkins inking Doctor Strange is certainly nothing unusual, how about Adkins inking the pencilling of none other than Tom Palmer?

Their styles are quite similar, aren't they? And both clearly seem to have a flair for the abstract.

Marie Severin also put in some hours pencilling Dr. Strange, and just look how nicely Herb Trimpe's inks enhance her work:

Finally, while penciller Don Heck has clocked a good deal of time drawing Captain America, inker Don Heck gives Jack Kirby's pencils some embellishment while leaving Kirby's overall touches and style intact:

Cap didn't fare so well in this battle, but he can have no complaints with his artists.


Anonymous said...

A power-packed post!
(yeah, I know, I can't help myself sometimes.)
Geez, C.F., this has always been a great blog for the classic Marvel Comics fan, but TPPOC continues to amaze. It's gonna take me a while to mentally digest all this.
A doff of the feathered helm! Nuff' said. mp

B Smith said...

Bill Everett was an underrated inking talent in my opinion - his inks lifted any number of penciller's works, from Gene Colan (their Black Widow is still the definitive look in my books) to Alan Weiss (their Widow in Daredevil #83 is the one exception) to Ross Andru (remember that Defenders issue where Everett, apparently in a fit of pique, rendered every single line Andru put on paper?).

Another inker in some odd combinations was Dave Cockrum - there were two issues of the Avengers where he inked George Tuska (#106 and 107) and Bob Brown (#126) and enhanced what were already two solid pencil jobs.

Adkins on Palmer, though - that one really is out of left field!

Comicsfan said...

mp, thanks very much, we aim to please!

B, I couldn't agree more about Cockrum--I was also an admirer of that Tuska/Cockrum Avengers story, and I really should have cited it. And another "I hear ya, bro" on that first Defenders tale in Marvel Feature, which ended up with something of a sketchy look to Andru's work; though in the third story with Xemnu, their work together looked solid and complemented each other nicely.

Rick said...

I can imagine Colletta inking that first Thor panel. We would be missing at least five horsemen.

Doug said...

I think most of us know that during John Buscema's 80s stint on the Avengers he was doing breakdowns with Tom Palmer contributing most of the heavy lifting. But I have to wonder about the Magneto images you provided from the 60s Avengers. There's a whole lot of Tuska's style there, with Buscema showing through mainly in the faces. Now I'm curious as to what Tuska was given to embellish!

Some of those combinations are really intriguing. Sinnott just buries Gil Kane, but I must declare that I rather like the outcome. Kane's sometimes jagged joints and oddly-contortioned limbs are certainly softened by the Joltin' One. And no nose upshots!

Great post!


david_b said...

Awesome post, like others, I'll have to take some time to digest.

Aaaaaand start digging out other Silver comics to discover other combo's..

Comicsfan said...

Rick, LOL (and ouch)!

Doug, you put it very well re Kane--I was thinking along the same lines about Sinnott's inks overpowering Kane's style. Frankly, it's hard for me to imagine Kane's work being affected to such a degree, as distinctively as his work stands out. I found myself wondering how Sinnott would have meshed with Kane's art on stories where his influence is strongest, such as stories where he inked his own pencils. (The Hulk stories he did for Tales To Astonish come to mind.)

David, happy hunting--there must be a lot of good examples out there, just waiting to be rediscovered.