In case you’re worried that my joke-writing abilities have atrophied even further, or that I’m throwing my hat in the ring for who owns the Fantastic Four copyright, this was a commission for the Fantastic Four 9 project, run by Mr. Jason Young. I was super flattered to be asked, especially as it puts me in the august company of a ton of amazing artists like Chester Brown, Anders Nilsen, Jeffrey Brown, and more. I certainly don’t mind being on that list. Oh and Brandon Graham too, although I don’t think his has been added to the site yet.
This was a pretty fun project. It’s hard to think of a cartoonist with stronger layouts than Jack Kirby, but this particular page was not one of his best, so I fiddled with the layout just a little bit, which was really instructive. Composition is probably my number one challenge, so having a Kirby page to play with, even a mediocre one, is a great start. It also gave me a chance to ink with a brush for the first time in forever, which was predictably frustrating. Here’s what the original page looked like:
Inking with a brush is so hard, but having a Kirby page to look at really makes it a lot easier. Even a Dick Ayers-inked one. For instance, look at Alfred Hitchcock’s hand, then Stan Lee’s hand next to it — the Hitch hand I inked based on the original, and the crummy Stan Lee hand I obviously just winged. I should just go into the reproduction business, I’m much better at that than thinking up my own drawings! Also, many thanks to Evan Dorkin for identifying all the Hollywood types in the original page, although I ended up deciding to sub in the artists who worked on the book. He even had a good theory on who the eyepatch guy in the first panel was.
By the by, it should be stated for the record that the Fantastic Four is © Marvel Entertainment, at least that’s what the lawyers say!