Sunday, 18 June 2017

Kirby's Classics

Kirby's contribution to the visual vocabulary of the comic book is usually summed up in terms of a collection of techniques: 'the kirby krackle', a series of dots that signify not just movement but a fizzy dynamism that cannot be contained by the human body (slide 22); the dynamic posture that defies anatomy to suggest motion (slide 23); the mastery of multiple genres, including the now unfashionable western and romance (slides 24 - 25) and the clarity of narrative across multiple panels. 

His most ostentatious strategy, however, might be his use of collage, another avant-garde style which Kirby could legitimately claim to have been in from the start. Richard Hamilton's 1953 Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing? is one of the earliest collages to reach popular attention and, there at the back, on the wall of the house, is a Kirby cover (slide 27). 

Having been part of the collage, Kirby would turn to the medium nearly a decade later, including collages as part of his attempt to picture the sublime: Reed Richard floats through the negative zone (slide 28), or the Fantastic Four look out onto another dimension (slide 29). Finally, (slide 30), Kirby created a series of unpublished collages that were distinct from his comic book work, suggesting a prolonged interest in the medium. 

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