In brightest day, in blackest night, the basic layout, is sketched in light
May 7, 2012 9:59 AM   Subscribe

The lost layouts of Gil Kane.
posted by Artw (18 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
There's some kind of coordinated crotch attack going on here.
posted by echo target at 10:02 AM on May 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

Gosh, I was really naive back in 2008.
posted by Artw at 10:04 AM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Man, I loved me some Gil Kane back in the day. It's amazing just how many of these covers that I remember; it was my heyday for collecting comics.
The one thing that strikes me is that it looks like he did everything with an old Bic Felt Tip Pen; such an even line.
Great find! Thank you!
posted by THAT William Mize at 10:12 AM on May 7, 2012

Oh, and apologies for the shitty rhyme, I couldn't resist.
posted by Artw at 10:14 AM on May 7, 2012

I love Gil Kane: his layouts and figures are immediately recognisable even when otherwise heavily disguised under inferior inking.

So many times though in the seventies and eighties he would be used on a cover and then you'd open it and it was somebody else entirely doing the artwork, or worse, a 1950ties reprint.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:42 AM on May 7, 2012

I misread this post as "The lost layouts of Bill Keane" and wondered why anyone bothered.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:58 AM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

This western one is great. The perspective really gives it a sense of speed.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:20 AM on May 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

I misread this post as "The lost layouts of Bill Keane" and wondered why anyone bothered.

I did the same thing, and was utterly confused after clicking the first link.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:24 AM on May 7, 2012

This Conan here looks a lot like Erol Otis' Moonglum. No doubt an homage from the D & D artist.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:27 AM on May 7, 2012

I take it back--that's Jeff Dee's Moonglum
posted by Ironmouth at 11:28 AM on May 7, 2012

It never really occurred to me that the characters in Elric books would all be wearing flares, but really, they would, wouldn't they?
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on May 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Flares that suck your soul, but flares none the less.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:50 AM on May 7, 2012

Giant head of David Bowie overlooks security staff scramble (5th panel).

If you think the Elric flare are bad, you should see the kinda suits that transtemporal hack Jerry Cornelius sports. Talk about about stuck in Ladbroke Grove.
posted by mwhybark at 12:18 PM on May 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm curious I've noticed a lot of love for GK over the last 10 years or so, but when I was collecting comics in the 70's my impression was that he was not one Marvels top tier artists. Has his reputation improved or is it more of an ironic, so bad it's good, kind of love? My associations with his name are lots of splayed fingers and a tendency to be looking up the noses of the drawn figures
posted by doctor_negative at 12:48 PM on May 7, 2012

ChurchHatesTucker: "I misread this post as "The lost layouts of Bill Keane" and wondered why anyone bothered.

I did the same thing, and was utterly confused after clicking the first link.

Knowing that two other people also did that, I wish I had the artistic skills to mock up what what would look like. Because in my head it's fucking hilarious. (It involves Billy being tortured by Not Me and Ida Know after walking all over the god damned neighborhood -- but that description doesn't do it justice.)

Onto the content of the post itself: Just wow. Some of these, even in their roughest sketch form, maybe especially because they are in this form, are just breath taking. I wish I knew enough about art to explain why - or if it's just that Kane's style is so firmly established as "the right way" in my brain, that seeing the rough form excites me because of how I'm wired.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:45 PM on May 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Well, part of Kane's "the right way" is a rock-solid foundation in figure construction -- he was a George Bridgman man, through and through (but I don't think I ever made that connection till I saw these roughs).

Truly a master of foreshortening...
posted by Bron at 3:59 PM on May 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh, even then he was one of their top artists: why do you think they had him on cover duty so often, rather than put him on one particular series?

But Gil Kane never quite fitted in at either Marvel or DC the way a Carmine Infanto or the Buscema brothers did: he was far too intelligent and uncompromising to be a good company man. He wasn't really the man who demanded and got the top assignments, though he would do his best on everything he drew: he'd rather go his own way.

So instead of racking up huge runs on Spider-Man or whatever, he went out and brought out some of the first attempts at what would later be called "graphic novels" in the sixties, with His Name Is Savage and Blackmark, then later would try and make a go out of the Starhawks sf newspaper strip at a time when these were already dying off anyway, or just do the things that really interested him at DC (Captain Action, The Sword of the Atom) rather than coast on Green Lantern.

Kane was an incredibly smart, intelligent artist, fully aware of his own limits as an autodidact, ultimately perhaps never quite transcedending the limits of the genre fiction he had to work in, but which doesn't distract from his genius, one of the most influential artists in American comics, part of that select pantheon (Toth, Kirby, Ditko, Kubert, Infanto, Buscema, perhaps Fine and Meskin) of artists that together created the landscape in which every other (superhero) artist coming after them worked in.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:40 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

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