Thursday, June 23, 2011
Spotlight On: Gil Kane
Doug: Nose upshots. That is seriously the first thing I think of when Gil Kane becomes the subject at hand. After that, I think of contorted fingers. OK, got that out of my system. Now let's talk about Gil Kane the storyteller. The guy can move the reader's eyes through a book. One of the best. Great camera angles, great emotion (however, see contorted fingers, above...), and dynamic action. Certainly he's probably best-remembered for his long tenures on Green Lantern, the Atom, and the Amazing Spider-Man. After those three runs, I think of him as Marvel's go-to cover artist in the Bronze Age; in fact, it would be interesting to see how many covers Kane had published as compared to Jack Kirby over the 1970's. Either guy was prolific in the middle part of the decade, and each arguably drew every character in the MU.
Karen: As a kid, I did not care for Kane's art, for the reasons you cite and more. It just looked 'weird' to me, whatever that meant. But now that I'm older and hopefully wiser, I have come to enjoy his work. The nose upshots still bother me, but I can see what a good story-teller he was, and how dynamic his art was.
Doug: There are certain characters that I cannot take Gil Kane on. Primary on that list would be the Incredible Hulk. I don't know why -- part of me says it depends on the inker. For example, if you check out our reviews of Amazing Spider-Man #119 and #120, you'll see Kane's Hulk looks pretty good. But how much of that is due to the inking of John Romita, Sr.? Conversely, a visit to Marvel Super-Heroes #43 gives us quite a different interpretation. What do you think? Am I wrong? I don't even know what to say about that art from the Tales to Astonish reprint. It doesn't look like anything Kane did over at DC, and it sure as heck isn't as nice as the ASM stuff.
Karen: I think for most artists there are characters that they just aren't suited for or don't draw well, and I would agree with you that for Kane, the Hulk was one of those. I didn't think his Iron Man was particularly good. He worked well on Spider-Man, and I can't help but think that was partly because he tended to draw sort of contorted figures, and that works with Spidey.
Doug: I'm sure for many readers of old-time Spider-Man stories felt that Kane's presentation of the web-spinner was Ditkoesque. "Contorted" is a great way to put it! Our recent look at the deaths of Gwen Stacy and the Green Goblin showcased some wonderful Kane/Romita art, and certainly the Ditko influence could be seen here and there. Maybe the Morbius stories from ASM #100-102 would be even better examples of Ditko's influence on Kane's interpretation of the Wallcrawler.
Doug: What do our readers think? Kane, or no Kane? Sound off!
*Thanks to the folks at scans-daily for the Gwen Stacy image*