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Saturday, June 1, 2013

JACK KIRBY VS ALEX TOTH




     
JACK KIRBY               VS                ALEX TOTH


















THE DEFINITIVE WRITE UP ON PROVING
WHO'S THE REAL KING OF COMICS

By
John "THE MEGO STRETCH HULK" Cimino

Dedicated to all the creators who have given me some of my greatest moments in life. 



TO THOSE WHOM WOULD BE CROWNED KING

Genius: extraordinary intellectual power especially as manifested in creative activity.

Genius. A word we hold for those who make such an impact on the world that they inspire generations for years to come. No matter what field someone is in, the ones that excel the furthest and leave a lasting impact on others are considered a genius in some way. They are the ones who think outside the box and follow their own paths, carving an impression that lives on well after they are gone. This is what every creator truly strives for. 

In the world of comic book creators, there are a select few who can be called a genius. They are the creators that defined the field on such a high level that all the creators that have come after them, look to their work for inspiration. Some of these creative geniuses are (in no particular order); Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Julius Shwartz, Carl Barks, Robert Crumb, Gil Kane, Bill Finger, Will Eisner, John Buscema, Harvey Kurtzman, John Romita Sr., Wally Wood, Milton Caniff, Doug Wildey, Harold Foster, Frank Miller, Alan Moore, Barry Windsor-Smith, Frank Ferzetta, Jim Steranko, Joe Kubert, Neal Adams and possibly the two most influential comic creators of all time, Jack Kirby and Alex Toth! For when it comes to pure visceral creativity and total impact on the industry, these two titans of the field almost have no equal.

Jack Kirby has always been considered "The King" of comics because he took heroic storytelling to a whole new level. He established a lot of the theories for layouts and pacing that became absolutely ubiquitous. In that regard, he was instrumental in taking comic books away from their strip roots and toward their own thing. With his unmatched creativity, imagination and dynamism, Kirby made these costumed heroes "Super!" And then he took us to places that we never thought possible, that we never thought could ever exist, and we always wanted to go back for more.

Only Jack Kirby had the creative mind to take us to places like this. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1976) 

Alex Toth was dubbed "The Artists' Artist" due to his level of simplistic art, character concepts and unparalleled style of storytelling. He was a gruff perfectionist that wouldn't expect anything less than the best from himself and others. After he left comics and went into the animation field, his ability to design whole new concepts and story boarding grew even more legendary that the industry was never the same.

Alex Toth's simplistic style was legendary. It was always easy to follow despite everything that was going on in the picture. Detective Comics #442 (1974)

Both of these creators at their best are unmatched by their peers. When you look at their bodies of work today, you can still see their lasting impact on comics, cartoons and creations of today. When you ask creators who were some of their biggest influences, chances are Jack Kirby or Alex Toth will be on their lists. How could they not be? These two creators have become the standard and that will never change. Here are two examples of their prestige by others.

The New York Times, in a Sunday op-ed piece written more than a decade after his death, on Jack:
"He created a new grammar of storytelling and a cinematic style of motion. Once-wooden characters cascaded from one frame to another—or even from page to page—threatening to fall right out of the book into the reader's lap. The force of punches thrown was visibly and explosively evident. Even at rest, a Kirby character pulsed with tension and energy in a way that makes movie versions of the same characters seem static by comparison."

Journalist Tom Spurgeon on Alex:
"He had an almost transcendent understanding of the power of art as a visual story component that he is one of the handful of people who could seriously enter into Greatest Comic Book Artist of All-Time discussions and a giant of 20th Century cartoon design."

Although I loved their art as a young kid reading comics and watching cartoons, I didn't know why I always returned to their work time and time again. There was just something about it that drew me in. As I grew older and became more aware, I got educated by studying them and their work (a 20 year ordeal). I noticed that they were so admired and heralded by their peers but yet, so vastly different in art styles. Since both of their styles intrigued me, I became curious to find out which one really made more of an impact on the world of comics and popular fiction. Who was truly better at their peak? Who was more influential? Who was more creative? It kinda turned into an obsession of mine...I had to know who has the right to be called the true "KING" of comics! In order to find out that answer, I have to compare them and stack their talents up against each other head-to-head, and that is what this write up is all about.

Evaluating and comparing these two genius creators can be purely subjective, especially to their fans. Because let's face it, fanboys think that their creator of choice is the best at everything. Hey, I get it, but it's not really the truth (and I pride myself on the truth). If you take a step back and compare each artist based on their greatest strengths and weaknesses, an answer can be found somewhere in the middle. I know this won't be easy, but I want an answer. And just to show the readers how difficult this is, see for yourself how both artists' compare to each other with similar action sequences shown in the examples below. Both are literally flawless...how do you compare perfection?

Nobody used unadulterated power and pacing as well as Jack Kirby did to tell a story. Journey Into Mystery #112 (1965)

 Alex Toth's storytelling and pacing was just as flawless. Adventure Comics #418 (1972)

Now, just so you know, I didn't write this article to disrespect either of these great creators. Truth be told, they are BOTH my heroes (along with Stan Lee)! I couldn't tell you how much their works have entertained and inspired me throughout my life. It also saddens me that I never got a chance to meet either of them, to thank them for everything they've given to me. So here is my chance. I hope you readers will enjoy it as well because this is a monumental task that is a true labor of love.

Without further ado, lets take an analytically-charged-in-depth look at Jack Kirby and Alex Toth, the two titans of comic book creators and find out who is really the best of the best! KAAA-POWWW!!!!!!!!!



TALE OF THE TAPE

Jack Kirby
(August 28, 1917 - February 6, 1994)

Born Jacob Kurtzberg in New York City, Kirby is regarded by comic-historians and fans alike as one of the major innovators and most influential creators in the history of the comic book medium (he's been dubbed the "William Blake" of comics). He entered into the nascent comic industry in the 1930's in which he drew various comic features under different pen names, ultimately settling on Jack Kirby. In 1940, he and writer-editor Joe Simon created the incredibly popular character Captain America for Timely Comics (Marvel Comics). During the rest of the 1940's, the highly prolific Simon and Kirby team created numerous characters for both Timely and National Comics (DC Comics).


One of Kirby's greatest creations

After serving in World War II (fighting under General George S. Patton and almost losing both his legs due to frostbite in the famous battle of Bastone), Kirby returned to comics and worked in a variety of genres. He produced work for a number of publishers, including DC Comics, Harvey Comics, Hillman Periodicals and Crestwood Publications, where he and Simon created the genre of romance comics. They also launched their own short-lived comic company, Mainline Publications. Kirby ultimately went on his own and found himself at Timely's 1950's iteration, Atlas Comics, soon to become Marvel Comics. There, in the 1960's, he and writer-editor Stan Lee co-created many of Marvel's major characters (widely considered some of the greatest fictional characters ever), including The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, Silver Surfer, The X-Men, The Avengers, The Hulk and many others to give birth to the Marvel Universe. Cranking out hit after hit, the duo quickly became the greatest writer/artist team in the history of the medium. Nicknamed simply as "King" by Lee (and his peers) for his unmatched creativity and work, Kirby still felt treated unfairly. Despite the high sales and critical acclaim of the Lee/Kirby titles, Kirby left the company in 1970 for the rival DC Comics.
All Kirby magic!


There Kirby created his Fourth World saga, which spanned several comic titles. While these series proved commercially unsuccessful and were eventually canceled, The Fourth World's New Gods have continued as a significant part of the DC Universe to this day with many legendary characters coming out of it such as the villainous Darkseid. Kirby returned to Marvel Comics briefly in the mid-to-late 1970's, then ventured into television animation and independent comics. In his later years, Kirby, began receiving great recognition in the mainstream press for his career accomplishments, and in 1987 he was one of the three inaugural inductees of the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame.

Kirby was married to Rosalind "Roz" Goldstein in 1942. They had three children, and remained married until his death from heart failure in 1994, at the age of 76. The Jack Kirby Award and Jack Kirby Hall of Fame were named in his honor.


Alexander Toth 
(June 25, 1928 – May 27, 2006)

Born in New York City, Toth did much of his comic book work outside the mainstream of superhero comics, concentrating instead on such subjects as hot rod racing, romance, horror, and action-adventure with character's like Zorro from the 1940's through the 1980's. But he is widely recognized for his unparalleled animation and character designs for Hanna-Barbera Studios throughout the 1960's and 1970's. His work included Johnny Quest, Super FriendsSpace GhostThe Herculoids, and Birdman among many others that continue to inspire animators and creators to this day.  



The Super Friends is one of the longest running and most watched superhero cartoons ever.

All Toth magic!

Toth's talent was noticed early on as a teacher from his poster class in junior high took time to urge him to devote himself to art. Enrolling in the High School of Industrial Arts, Toth studied illustration and soon sold his first paid freelance work at the early age of 15, illustrating true stories for Heroic magazine. Although he initially dreamed to do newspaper strips, he found the industry "dying off" and moved into comic books.

After graduating from the High School of Industrial Art in 1947, Toth was hired by Sheldon Mayer at National Comics (DC Comics). He worked there for five years, drawing the Golden Age versions of The Flash, Dr. Mid-Nite, Green Lantern and The Atom. For a brief time in 1950, Toth was able to realize his dream of working on newspaper comic strips by ghost illustrating Casey Ruggles with Warren Tufts.

In 1952 Toth ended his contract with DC Comics and moved to California. It was during this time that he worked on crime, war and romance comics for Standard Comics and his ability to tell a good story started to become unprecedented. In 1954, Toth was drafted into the U.S. Army and stationed in Tokyo, Japan. While in Japan, he wrote and drew his own weekly adventure strip, Jon Fury, for the base paper, Depot Diary.

Returning to the United States in 1956, Toth settled in the Los Angeles area and worked primarily for Dell Comics until 1960. At that time, Toth became art director for the Space Angel animated science fiction show. This led to him being noticed (and hired) by Hanna-Barbera Studios, where he worked as a storyboard and design artist creating legendary works on some of their most famous superhero cartoons and single-handedly reinventing the entire process. He continued to work in comic books, illustrating contributions for the Warren magazine's; EerieCreepy and The Rook. During the end of his nearly sixty year-professional career he became so revered by his peers that he became known simply as the "Artists' Artist".

Toth died at his drawing table on May 27, 2006 from a heart attack, at the age of 77. He is survived by his four children.




COMPARING CREATIVE GENIUS

In all honesty, comparing Jack Kirby and Alex Toth head-to-head is a very difficult task because both artists' are so creatively and stylistically different. Kirby's art was more based around originality while Toth's art was more about refinement. Here is a story from DC Comics editor and art director, Mark Chiarello discussing about a conversation he had with Alex Toth when he met Jack Kirby for the first time. This is a perfect example on how vastly different these two creators are:

"Alex Toth told me this story, he said that when he moved to California, he got a call from this guy, Jack Kirby. He knew Jack's work, but he never met him. Jack said to him, Alex...this is Jack Kirby, I really love your work. So many people say that you and I are really the two main guys in the industry and everybody else falls into place behind us. Whether or not that's true, I want to learn why you do certain things. I want to know what you do. Why don't you come over. And so it was a short drive to Kirby's house, Alex jumped into his car and went over. Roz Kirby (Jack's wife) made hamburgers while Alex and Jack sat by the pool talking. Jack says okay, I'm going to tell you exactly what I do and why I do it. And for the next 35 to 40 minutes Jack spoke about everything he knew about his art, comic books and storytelling. And Alex said to me...Mark, I didn't understand a freaking word he said. And then I started my 45 minutes and I could tell by the look on Jack's face that he didn't understand a word I said. Our approaches were so different. So I thanked him for the hamburger, thanked his wife and I got up and left."

With that said, readers need to understand that this face off isn't just about style, it's about their brilliance. I compared each artist by analytically breaking their work down into seven specific categories; Storytelling, Versatility/Detail, Dynamism, Simplicity, Imagination, Prolific, and Influence. I will explain how they stack up to each other in that category, who has the edge and why (not to mention, I put a few pictures of their work as examples). Then I will do an overall analysis at the end, and try to come up with a definitive answer. I should point out that regardless of who has the edge between them in certain areas, both icons are "off the charts" when it comes to pure talent and are rarely equaled by other creators.


Jack Kirby on a train in New York City during the early 1960's.

A dapper Alex Toth in the early 1950's.


STORYTELLING: This is the category that separates an artist and a comic book artist. To be a great comic book artist you must adapt the script of the writer and interpret it through art and panels (known as sequential art). When it comes to telling a story with art, Jack Kirby and Alex Toth are simply the best of the best. They have the visual eye much like a movie director showing exactly what is needed in the comic panel to stimulate the eye and subconsciousness within the reader. Kirby and Toth are both so enormously influential at their ability to tell a story that it is truly impossible to determine which artist has the edge. Both are literally as good as it gets. RESULT: EVEN


Fantastic Four #51 (1966) by Jack Kirby

Detective Comics #442 (1974) by Alex Toth

The Incredible Hulk #1 (1962) by Jack Kirby

Star Spangled War Stories #164 (1972) by Alex Toth


VERSATILITY/DETAIL: First off, both artists' are completely versatile, there is not much (if anything) that they cannot draw. Kirby had such talent that most of the time he came up with his own interpretations of a particular subject. Toth on the other hand was a master at studying everything he could. He was obsessed with knowing every detail about things, how it worked, how it moved, etc. He was known to have thousands upon thousands of books and magazines in his house (he was a huge fan of National Geographic magazine). And when Toth drew something, it was as perfect as it could be literally down to the most minute detail. Kirby wasn't like this at all, he was more of a visceral artist that came up with impressions of things on his own. Believe it or not, Kirby was too imaginative, too creative and too dynamic! So in essence, his versatility and detail lacked due to his style, especially when compared to Alex Toth. Kirby was known to have a tough time drawing the specific details on things, most noticably on the characters, Spider-man and Superman (the two biggest superheroes ever). It was the inkers' that had to help him out considerably to get them right. When a drawing called for something more concrete, Toth was better at it because that was his style. This is a big reason why Kirby never reached the level Toth did in the animation-field. Kirby's ability was much better suited for a comic book, while Toth's style could excel at both. RESULT: EDGE ALEX TOTH


Sorcerer's Apprentice (1967)

Birdman model sheet (1967)

Blazing Combat #2 (1966)


DYNAMISM: When it comes to pure dynamic expression and power in art, no one is on the level of Jack Kirby. Exaggeration is the most time-honored technique for dynamism in comic book art and Kirby was able to hone this skill more than any artist before or since. While this ability may have hindered Kirby in the Versatility/Detail category above, this is where he excels. Just about every panel Kirby drew (even if characters were just standing around or sitting) screamed with electricity and motion. It was almost as if the page itself couldn't contain the art due to the unbridled power it radiated. It was with this skill that Kirby made heroes "super" and comic battles "slugfests." While Toth was grounded in reality and detailed oriented, he lacked the explosiveness that Kirby could create. RESULT: EDGE JACK KIRBY


Tales of Suspense #59 (1964)

Fantastic Four #73 (1968)
Tales to Astonish #82 (1966)

SIMPLICITY: Where Kirby excels at being the most dynamic artist ever, being subtle was not one of his strong points. As for Alex Toth, he was a total master of minimalism. He was a no frills artist who stripped out any and everything from a picture that wasn't necessary to get his point across. It was because of this exhaustive approach that Toth was such an incredible storyteller. It's also this level of simplicity that changed the entire industry of animation as well because nobody could do it better or as meticulous. Kirby was never simple, his art and perspectives were in different area codes. Sometimes there was so much going on in a picture that it was hard for the reader to take it all in, they had to step back and look at it for a few minutes to get it. Toth was so excruciatingly precise, with so few lines, that you could see exactly what his picture was from just a glance. RESULT: EDGE ALEX TOTH


Golden Age Sandman sketch (1995)

Batman: Black and White #4 (1996)

Bop Comics #1 (1982)


IMAGINATION: When you look closely at both artists' bodies of work, you can see how much imagination they both possessed. They were able to come up with ideas and concepts that were so far ahead of their peers that it was truly amazing. Toth had come up with some of the best character designs, spaceships and worlds ever to come out of a Saturday morning cartoon. About 90% of all Hanna-Barbera's action-adventure toons from the 60's and 70's were designed by Toth himself. And if it wasn't, he still had a hand in it. But if you check out all the character's and world's that Toth came up with, they still pale in comparison to what Jack Kirby thought up and put on paper. To be honest, as good as Toth was, it isn't even close. Kirby was a master of creation and concepts that were so far above any artist in the history of comics that it could be considered a super-power. Although Kirby did create some legendary concepts for DC Comics in the 1970's, Stan Lee was the guy who utilized Kirby's imagination better than anyone else ever did in the 1960's. Lee would plant a small idea into Kirby's head and then let him run with it, and the results were always extraordinary! Together, they brought new life into the dying field of comic books and came up with characters and ideas that not only saved the industry, but cannot be matched by any other creative team in the history of the medium!! Jack Kirby created just about the entire visual look of the Marvel Universe and nobody, not even Alex Toth can match that. RESULT: EDGE JACK KIRBY


Jack Kirby self-portrait (1969)

Fantastic Four #51 (1966)

The New Gods #5 (1971)


The Almighty portrait (1990)

PROLIFIC: Both of these artists' have had long and illustrious careers and have produced enormous catalogs of work that crossed over many genres. But Toth had a habit of bouncing around from comic publisher to comic publisher, he never really established himself on any titles before having a healthy stay in the animation field (to his credit, that's what he liked to do). Jack Kirby on the other hand produced many legendary title runs, most famously his uninterrupted 102 issue stint on The Fantastic Four with Stan Lee. He was a tireless workhorse that usually started drawing by 12 in the afternoon until 4 in the morning, seven days a week without any holidays and amazingly, he never missed a deadline. During the 1940's he was known to draw up to an incredible 5 pages a day!!! Kirby was so insanely prolific that he is the only artist within 3 decades that was the top man in his field and able to reinvent himself each time. The way he drew Captain America in the 1940's was completely different from the way he drew romance and monster comics in the the 1950's. Then in the 1960's at Marvel when he co-created The Fantastic Four, he went on a creative bindge producing his best work ever! And even more incredible, if you look at his work from 1961 through 1966, it's totally different and better every time...and this is 30 years down the line from when he became a comic book artist! For someone to have that much intense creativity, for that long and for that many pages into his career is unprecedented. RESULT: EDGE JACK KIRBY


Jack Kirby was so incredibly prolific that he remained the top artist in comics for 3 straight decades (the 1940's throughout the 1960's) and consistently reinvented himself becoming better and better each time.

Jack Kirby's drawing desk where gods and universes were created.


INFLUENCE: Both artists' have legions of fans and their influence is legendary, nobody can deny that. But Alex Toth is an interesting case because his impression on other creators goes majorly unnoticed by the masses (and sometimes even to them). Jack Kirby doesn't have this problem. When artists' (as well as animators' and movie directors') come into the entertainment industry and want to capture the "Supa Dupa" magic and feel of superheroes, they are first told to look at what Jack Kirby brought to the table. It's a no-brainer, all novices should become educated on his explosiveness, excitement, and raw power because he is simply the master at it!!! Kirby was the artist that put comic book art into the stratosphere and everybody pays homage to him for it (even Alex Toth himself). And with superheroes bigger today than ever before with blockbuster movies and merchandise for every generation out in stores, you can still see Kirby's influence on everything (shame his family isn't getting a dime for it). The only other man who I can think of that can match Jack Kirby in influence in the world of comics and superheroes is his partner Stan Lee...NUFF SAID! RESULT: EDGE JACK KIRBY


If you want to talk about Jack Kirby's influence on popular culture, look closely at this picture from Fantastic Four #84 (1969). This scene sure looks like something that may have influenced the Darth Vader scene at Bespin from the movie, The Empire Strikes Back (1980)And where did Star Wars creator, George Lucas get the idea for Darth Vader anyways, hhhmmmmmmmmmm...

With superheroes bigger than ever, Jack Kirby's drawings are still seen on Marvel products even today. Whether it's on U.S. postage stamps, clothing, packages, etc. the influence is still prevalent and the vibe is still action! Here's the Sentinel of Liberty looking as grandiose and majestic as he should be from Captain America #112 (1969)

OVERALL: After comparing these two legends in this write up, who do you think should be crowned The true KING of comics? While Alex Toth has the edge when it comes to animation (and could be considered the "King" in that field), it still doesn't match up to the entire impact that Jack Kirby created in the world of superheroes. His style, skills and limitless imagination were perfectly built for it. His concepts and ideas are so incredibly popular that it's making Hollywood BILLIONS today!! He cannot be compared to by anyone else in comics for his sheer creative output resulted in so many enduring characters. Stan Lee dubbed Jack "The King of Comics" as a nickname back in the 1960's, but he was also telling readers the truth. Even some of the greatest creators ever in the field went to Kirby for advice and tips to be shown how to make a true superhero comic or layout. Lee was the first to tell his artists' to give him action, perspective and impact, "the way Kirby does it." That's why Kirby would do the layouts on so many comics for other artists' during the 1960's, his style was Marvel Comics and they crushed the competition because of it. In truth, no one comes close and no one ever will.


Is there really any doubt who the true King of Comics is?

But I must say that in twilight of his career, Alex Toth managed to get even better. Most of his work during the 1990's was some of his most brilliant and flawless ever. Even before his death in 2006, Toth was cranking out absolute magic and not many other artists can make that claim. Kirby on the other hand, actually slowed down and fizzled a bit at the end of his career, especially in the 80's and 90's before his death in 1994. Regardless, they were both so far ahead of their peers in terms of skill and talent that they could never be seen as anything less than two absolute geniuses. 



COLLABORATIVE EFFORT


While Jack Kirby is, and will always be considered "The King of Comics", let's make no mistake, Alex Toth is right up their with him in the creator hierarchy of the greatest comic book artists' ever. While this write up has been about them head-to-head, how about them as a collaborative team? Believe it or not, as long as they have both been in the comic-field, they have only worked with each other on two comic books. The first issue was X-Men #12 (1965) which saw Kirby do the layouts and Toth do the finished art. Surprisingly, this issue is more renowned for being The Juggernaut's very first appearance, rather than the collaboration of two of the best comic book artists' ever.


The Unstoppable Juggernaut makes his debut in the Marvel Universe. With layouts by Jack Kirby, finished art by Alex Toth and inks by Vince Colletta, this issue is so much more than collector's realize.

The X-Men #12 (1965)

The X-Men #67 (1970) reprinted this historical issue

X-Men: The Early Years (1995) also reprints this classic issue.

The other issue was in DC Comics Presents #84 (1985). This comic is a bit odd through and through. First off, Superman teams up with the Challengers of the Unknown, which is uncommon. Then Kirby pencils the first 2 pages and Toth pencils the next 7 pages for a flashback sequence. Finally, Kirby pencils the remaining 15 pages to finish the comic. It has been speculated that Toth's pages weren't even supposed to be for this issue. It has been said that the Toth sequence was originally supposed to be a chapter in the Rob Rozakis/Alex Toth series that briefly ran in Adventure Comics Digest and it was modified to fit into this story.


Jack Kirby and Alex Toth make an unexpected collaborative effort in this issue.

And while both artists' are also known throughout the animation-field for their character designs and story boarding, the year of 1980 saw them pair up on the Saturday morning Ruby-Spears cartoon called Thundarr the Barbarian. While the series was created by comic-writer Steve Gerber, it was up to Alex Toth to design the three starring characters. Soon after that, Toth was unable to continue working on the show and left, so Jack Kirby was hired on to design everything else due to his creation for DC Comics, Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth in which Thundarr was loosely based on. If you look closely when watching this toon, you can clearly identify Toth's art on Thundarr, Okla and Ariel and Kirby's art on everything else--it's a real treat for the fans of both creators. Although this cartoon lasted only 2 seasons with  a total of 21 episodes that ran from 1980 until 1982, it still remains a cult classic today. 


Character design sheet of Ookla the Mok, Thundarr the Barbarian and Princess Ariel by Alex Toth

After Toth left the show, Jack Kirby was hired on to design the villains, ships, vehicles and world since this show was loosely based on his comic Kamandi from DC Comics.

Thundarr the Barbarian intro


It should be noted that although they didn't work together, Alex Toth redesigned Jack Kirby's characters for animation on the Hanna-Barbera Fantastic Four (1967) cartoon. This toon was later added to the Hanna-Barbera's World of Super Adventure (1980) show that ran in syndication. This was a re-run "package" combination of several different Hanna-Barbera action-adventure cartoon series that originally ran from 1966 to 1970 (which Toth had a hand in designing just about all of them). These cartoons consisted of Birdman and the Galaxy TrioSpace Ghost and Dino Boy, The Fantastic Four, Moby Dick and the Mighty MightorHerculoidsShazzan and Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles.




Fantastic Four into

Hanna-Barbera's World of Super Adventure intro. And I must say, this is the greatest cartoon intro of all time!!



THE END??


Today we speak of Jack Kirby and Alex Toth as two of the true masters in the industry. Their work is the stuff of legend and still continues to inspire others even to this very day. And it really doesn't matter which icon you like better, we need to always honor their legacy and give thanks for all the years that they entertained us. And as my dedication stated above, this is not just for Jack Kirby and Alex Toth, this is for all the creators, many who consistently go unrecognized to the masses. We need to remember and give thanks to those who paved the road for everyone today. Especially the creators from the 1930's throughout the 1950's who worked long hard hours in complete anonymity for little to no money. Most of them were frowned upon for working in this "embarrassing" field, and yet, they made magic on every page for making children smile and giving them the ability to dream. You guys are the real heroes in my book and I thank you... 

Jack Kirby: "The King of Comics"

Alex Toth: "The Artists' Artist"

Agree? Disagree? Let's hear it fanboys!!



Check out other "DEFINITIVE WRITE UPS" here:


Superman vs Captain Marvel
Thor vs Ulik
Hulk vs Thor
Hulk vs Hercules
Hulk vs Sub-Mariner

John "The Mego Stretch Hulk" Cimino - "Hero Envy" Central
John Cimino is a Silver and Bronze Age comic, cartoon and memorabilia expert that runs a business called "Saturday Morning Collectibles". He buys, sells and gives appraisals on everything pop culture, so if you got something special, let him know about it. He contributes articles to BACK ISSUE Magazine and THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR from TwoMorrows Publishing and has appeared on the AMC reality show Comic Book Men. He has written and starred in the "Hero Envy" webisode series, is the host of the Reckless Sidekick "Swass-Cast" and has contributed to the "Hero Envy" comic book. John also thinks he's really Captain Marvel, people just don't have the heart to tell him he's just an obsessed fanboy that loves to play superheroes with his daughter Bryn. Contact him at johnstretch@live.com or follow on twitter at @Elastic_Hulk and have some fun.

18 comments:

  1. Jack Kirby vs Alex Toth: The definitive Write Up on Proving Who's the Real King of Comics?

    Now this is genius. I commend you on a wonderful article.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm always looking outside the box (much like Kirby himself) to bring readers something new and fresh to the table. Everything I do is for the love and respect of the comic industry. Keep on coming back because you haven't seen anything yet!

      Delete
  2. Terrific article. Thank you.

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  3. Awesome message I got from DC Editor and Art Director, Mark Chiarello (who also happens to be a great guy and BIG TIME fan of Alex Toth;

    "John...thanks for sending the link to your Kirby/Toth article. I ABSOLUTELY loved it! It's really right on the money, pal, especially the part where you vote for each of their strengths. I think I would have voted pretty much the same way down the line. Although Toth was better!"

    -Mark Chiarello

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  4. Alex Toth is the greatest artist that no one really knows about...he is almost an enigma, and that's how he liked it.

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  5. Nice response from legendary writer J.M. DeMatteis

    "Great piece! Really enjoyed it! (For the record: Kirby all the way as far as I'm concerned.)"

    -J.M. DeMatteis

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  6. I was a big fan of both these artists'. Honestly, I can't see Toth being much of a match to Kirby in the "King" department. But he is one of the all time greats and he should get his due respect.

    Great article.

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  7. Legendary writer Dan Jurgens sent me a few words here...

    "Nice work. You came to sort of the same conclusion as I do, which is the fact that while both are brilliant, Kirby created a visual language for an entire company that lasted long beyond his lifetime. Toth, today, has more guys working who are probably directly influenced by him, but Kirby has more who fit that "indirect" label because many guys ended up looking at guys who were influenced by Kirby, though three or four generations removed."

    -Dan Jurgens

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  8. This was well written and a very entertaining read, thanks.

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  9. Jack Kirby is the King!! End of debate!!

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  10. I've rarely read any blog author more full of himself than you are, Stretch. How many comments singing your praises are really you in disguise? The self-aggrandizement really is hilariously pathetic.

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    1. Now this is interesting, let me guess...you like the blog too ;)

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    2. This guy is just jealous.

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  11. Great article.

    Taking nothing away from Toth, I think number two on the list (Kirby should be number 1) belongs to Will Eisner. To me there is no contest between Kirby and Toth, but Kirby only slightly edges out Eisner.

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  12. I would go with Jack Kirby over any other comic creator. No one comes close.

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  13. Great writing again John! Love it- both are legends and I couldn't imagine comics and cartoons being the same powerful forms of story telling had either not been in the game.

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  14. I got sent an awesome question that I wanted to answer on here:

    "Stretch, who do you think is the top comic artist in each decade?"

    While there are many artists that can make a claim in each decade, I'll choose just one.

    1930's: Hal Foster
    1940's: Jack Kirby
    1950's: Jack Kirby
    1960's: Jack Kirby
    1970's: Neal Adams
    1980's: John Bryne
    1990's: Todd McFarlane
    2000's: Jim Lee
    2010's: ????????

    What do you guys think?

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  15. Kirby will always be the king.

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