Sunday, April 1, 2012

Kirby Cover Discovery!

It's always wonderful to not only discover something new when looking through old comics, but actually get conformation from someone who was there. I've been lucky to meet some of the creators of the early Marvel period in person and occasionally go over their work. As a student of comic art I examine covers and interiors and find alterations by other artists, or uncredited pencils and inks from time to time. Some changes are pretty clear cut, others puzzling. Not every artist is aware of corrections, or is unable to identify uncredited inkers. Drawing so many pages, they sometimes have a hard time identifying their own work if it was inked by a strong hand, or perhaps rushed out. I've discovered that it never hurts to ask a question, and this weekend proved the point.

I attended the New York ComicCon with "The Yancy Street Gang", that group of scallywags that includes my brother John, Barry Pearl and Michael Vassallo (AKA Doc V). We always have a delightful time, and this excursion was no exception. Aside from getting some tremendous bargains, I was able to speak to some wonderful talents, including meeting Timely artist Allen Bellman and revisiting old pros Jim Steranko, Joe Sinnott and Stan Goldberg. These are not only fine artists and storytellers, but entertaining and thoughtful gentleman. They all have wonderful stories to tell and enjoy talking to fans. The greatest compliment I can pay them is that my resepect for them has grown considerably after I met them in person.  

As I was going through the dealers room I discovered some wonderful bargains, including many obsucre comics; westerns, romance, mystery. I bought a nice stack, and, since we had stopped by Stan Goldberg's table earlier, decided to let him sign a copy of Modeling with Millie that he drew (it also happened to be one of the earliest stories that then-newcomer Roy Thomas wrote). Although I never had a chance to examine the cover up close before, I always had a suspicion that the Millie figure was not by Stan, even though he signed the cover. The huge face of Millie looled very much like Jack Kirby's work. As I handed the cover to Stan to  sign, I asked him if Millie's face had been drawn by someone else. He immediately shouted "Jack Kirby!" drew that face! It is one of those moments that always thrills me. My suspicion was confirmed by the guy who drew the cover!

Modeling With Millie # 45, Feb 1966

Stan G noted that Stan Lee probably wanted a change in Millie's face or pose and asked Jack to make the correction. We discussed how important the covers were, and how different artists wold make corections. Stan G also mentioned that Jack Kirby once inked one of HIS drawings on a Stan Lee Golf book that featured photos, captions and cartoons. Doc V has that book, and I mentioned to him that Kirby may have done some of the cartoons. In the future we'll have to show the book to Stan G and have him identify the drawing. 

As Stan looked inside the book he explained to me that he only inked the fashion pages in that period. The inker was not always identified in the romance and teen humor titles. As I was looking at the interior along with him I mentioned John Tartaglione might be the unidentified inker on the rest of the book. He confirmed that it was indeed Tartaglione (another discovery). As a GCD indexer I added the information to their site.    

Stan G is not only a gentlemen, he is also a funny guy and still extremely prolific. At the con he was drawing sketch after sketch for fans, and we discussed his latest job. The funniest moment was when he told me: "You know, I was thinking of you guys  (the Yancy Street Gang) when I was drawing the Three Stooges." Well, aside from getting poked in the eye from Stan G, what more could we ask for?


Barry Pearl said...

Another great post. Stingy is just a wonderful guy and I'm so glad he remember that cover. I think you picked up a record 53 comics at the comic con!!!

Barry Pearl said...

That should have been Stan G is a wonderful guy

Booksteve said...

Wow. I look at that image and immediately see what I would have thought was a Kirby "influence" rather than actual Kirby art. Nice find.

I second (or third) the good words on Stan G. I interviewed him twice in 2010 and then got to meet him at a Con last year. Fun, funny and loves to reminisce.

When I first called him (at a time of his request) he asked me to hold on a second. He came back on and said he had Stan Lee on the other line (This was when Stan G was still at Archie and Stan Lee was about to do some work for them, also) and had to tell him he needed to speak with me and would call him back. To this fanboy of 50 years that was very surreal.

Kid said...

Well done, Nick. If you look closely at the cover there seems to be a patch beginning just above the lettering blurb, but I could be wrong. Did Kirby just draw the face or the arms as well? The hands (especially the girl's right hand) really needs a 'fix' in my opinion. Doesn't look quite right to me.

Nick Caputo said...


I believe you're correct about the patch. I'm not 100% certain if Kirby drew the arms, but I'm guessing he did. It looks like a pretty rushed correction job.

Barry Pearl said...

Check out "Caputo's Collector's Item Classics." With Nick enlarging and updating
his great piece on Ditko and the lifting sequence from Spider-Man #33.\