Thursday, June 05, 2014

Bulls Eye by Jack Kirby and Others

I am the proud owner of the above beautiful drawing of Bulls Eye by Jack Kirby and Michael Netzer. It was published by Greg Theakston in 1994 in Jack Kirby's Heroes and Villains, Black Magic Edition, (which featured a different inker on each full-page Kirby drawing).

A few decades back when Mr. Netzer was known as Mike Nasser, I owned two 1970s originals penciled by the gentleman: a Kobra cover inked by Joe Rubinstein and a Legion of Super-Heroes page inked by Bob Layton. I was a fan of his artwork back then and I feel that Mr. Netzer has gotten better and better.

Now let's dig a little deeper.

Below on the left you can see the original pencil drawing that was published by Greg Theakston in 1987 in Jack Kirby's Heroes and Villains. Mr. Netzer made some cosmetic alterations to the drawing as he was inking it, such as accentuating the arch to the legs and moving Bulls Eye's right hand closer to the cheek. I feel these were excellent decisions that made the great drawing even more robust. Not everyone viewed Mr. Netzer's final drawing as favorably as I did, however. 

Mike Royer is one of my favorite two Kirby inkers of all time and the Fourth World issues he inked are my favorite Kirby comics of all time. But Mr. Royer was referring to the above Kirby/Netzer piece when he said in an interview that it was "inked by somebody who inked his own personality over Jack's pencils, rather than inking it the way Jack would have inked it." DC Comics asked Mr. Royer to rework the drawing as their Green Arrow character for the cover of a reprint edition (and you can read the entire Mike Royer interview over here.) The Kirby/Royer piece did serve as the cover to a fine trade paperback and it would go on to be immortalized on a U.S postage stamp a few years afterward, as seen below on the right. Do you notice, though, that Mr. Royer seems to have based his reworking on (ahem) my Kirby/Netzer artwork rather than on the original Kirby pencils?

Maybe you'd like to see how Bill Black inked the original Kirby pencils for the cover of one of his comics.

And maybe we'll even spin Bulls Eye around a little to see this John Severin inking of a different drawing.

(By the way, I own another page from Jack Kirby's Heroes and Villains, Black Magic Edition and I'll be sure to tell you about it in the future!)


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