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Erasing Heads of Characters to Improve the Art

Anybody who thinks the penciled version of that panel looks better than the one that Vince Colletta inked has no business commenting on art. Kirby’s pencils are a tangled mish-mash, thank God that he had Colletta to make sense of them. – Blog Commenter Henry Moreno (4/20/09)

36 Comments

Who the hell is Henry Moreno?

Henry E. “Hank” Moreno (May 12, 1930 – February 1, 2007) was an American Thoroughbred horse racing jockey and trainer.

Henry Moreno rode a number of stakes race winners for Cain Hoy Stable including Kentucky Oaks and Beldame Stakes winner, Lalun and the prized Garden State Stakes for juvenile horses aboard Turn-To. However, Moreno’s most important win for Harry F. Guggenheim’s stable came in the 1953 Kentucky Derby when he rode Dark Star to victory over future the Hall of Fame colt, Native Dancer. Of his three mounts in the Preakness Stakes, Moreno’s best result was aboard The Scoundrel in 1964 when he had a second place finish behind Northern Dancer.

While still riding, Moreno also trained quarter horses in the 1960s. In the 1970s, he settled in California where he began training Thoroughbreds at Del Mar Racetrack. Of note was his uncommon feat in the 1978 Del Mar Handicap in which he both trained and rode the winner.

Moreno is also remembered for training major stakes winners from South America of which the multiple Grade I winner Tizna is the best known.

In his later years Henry Moreno battled pancreatic cancer and in 2007 died at age seventy-seven at Florence, Oregon.

In all seriousness… I am guessing we mean somebody else, someone with no taste in Kirby’s art.

Colletta was not Kirby’s best inker. Not even close.

Was this put up as an exercise in raising people’s blood pressure?

That is the definition of “called out”.

Shenanigans!!! Henry Moreno can not be real, no way! An April Fool’s joke 19 days too late.

….Or, maybe possible, Henry Moreno posted this comment at 4:20 am this morning, getting an early start on today’s pointless celebration, thus possibly explaining his skewered opinion.

Ha! I was almost right. He posted at about 3:30 am. :p

Dunno if it’s the same guy or not, but maybe a year ago on the Classic Comics Forum we had a guy who was pretty obsessed with proclaiming Vince Colletta as one of the greatest talents in the history of comics. Occasionally, if memory serves, his approach included denigrating Kirby’s work.

I can’t remember the name he posted under, but he wound up getting banned for, I guess, general truculence.

I wouldn’t be at all shocked if it’s the same person.

Woo! Internet Colletta hate party! I’ve never come across one of those before!
I didn’t think that the Cronin barrel was so close to running dry.

Yes, because I’m the one who popped in today replying to a two-month old post to note that if you think the panel is better with the character’s head in it then you have “no business commenting on art.”

As Odin might say, giveth me a break.

Just wanted to note that I’m far from being in agreement with this Moreno guy about Kirby’s pencils being a mess. I acknowledge that Colletta has plenty of sins, but they’re mainly confined to the “erasing to avoid work” issue; I have a real fondness for the texture of the stuff that he bothers to do.
Interesting post by Eddie Campbell in defense of Colletta:
http://eddiecampbell.blogspot.com/2007/05/vincent-colletta-my-favourite-1960s.html

I love and admire Kirby’s work, but this idea that so many seem to have that it’s blasphemy against his memory not to spit at every mention of Colletta’s name is just silly, and so widely taken for granted that it can’t actually be right.

Funnily enough, I was going to bring up the whole “two month old post” thing myself; namely, that this guy’s way-too-late-to-matter comment would have gone pretty much totally unnoticed without you dragging it back into the light with it’s own brand new post highlighting it. So, no break to be giveth (not by mine own self, in any case).

Two-month late bizarre shots shouldn’t go away unnoticed, hence the post.

Ironically, Marvel is about to re-issue this whole series as floppies and they’re redo-ing the… wait for it… coloring! Because, you know, comic book coloring has gotten so much better in the meantime. Needless to say, the new mudstorm of computer color looks terrible. (And yes, I realize that they have to redo the color because the original color separation was a one-time process, but why not emulate the original? The Thor Masterworks actually did a beautiful job with this.)

The obvious question becomes: how many of these comics do we have photos of the un-inked pages for? If it’s all of them, then why not RE-INK the pages? This is their chance to correct what is widely regarded as the one of the worse ink jobs in comics history. (Even moreso than the other Kirby-Colletta pairings, since Kirby was especially enthusiastic about “Tales of Asgard” and Colletta seemed to be especially half-assed with these.)

Why do you assume that it won’t be colored in the style of the original like the Masterworks volumes and the reprints from Thor #600.

I thought I was the only one that saw that. I was going to reply but it seemed pointless. Maybe Henry doesn’t understand how pencils work in comics. If Kirby’s pencils had have been published as is, then that could attract comment. But complaining that they are unclear, I mean the purpose of inking is to make pencils clear, isn’t it. That’s like complaining that they are black and white. Surely you can’t criticise pencils for being pencils.

Matt is on target; take a look at the preview:
http://www.newsarama.com/php/multimedia/album.php?aid=27325

http://www.newsarama.com/php/multimedia/album.php?aid=27325

Hope that comes out right. Anyway, I read that a few days ago not knowing the story and wondered why the coloring seemed so drab and lifeless — now I know!

How recently was that drawing discovered because the villains head may have faded with time. Otherwise this person is an idiot if he thinks the work rate and general quality of Kirby’s work; 4 to 5 books a month compared to a contemporary penciller of 1 and maybe a shoddy 2nd is inadequate. Vince colleta may have been an Ok inker but he is not the reason for the Kings success.

Yup, as Mike Blake points out, my comments were based on the preview pages.

Oh man, he’s kind of right.

That first panel is ALL fucked up. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

@Mike: I think it looks good. Care to offer a comparison to the original or the Masterworks version? It might just be a matter of personal taste. That being said, it’s Kirby. Nothing could make his stuff look bad.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

April 20, 2009 at 11:03 pm

Funnily enough, I was going to bring up the whole “two month old post” thing myself; namely, that this guy’s way-too-late-to-matter comment would have gone pretty much totally unnoticed without you dragging it back into the light with it’s own brand new post highlighting it. So, no break to be giveth (not by mine own self, in any case).

Dude, it’s a pretty funny comment – that’s why Brian shared it.

I got a laugh out of it anyway.

The disappearing head is obviously the most egregious part of this inking job, but I’m also disappointed by how the dynamic crackathackaboom starburst of impact in the original pencils is replaced by a plain ol’ whoosh of motion lines, making Odin’s mighty blow look comparatively like a light thump.

How exactly do we know this Henry Moreno guy isn’t just making a sarcastic joke that went over everyone’s heads?

“Oh man, he’s kind of right.

That first panel is ALL fucked up. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.”

On the other hand, the inked and colored panel is kind of messed up too. Whole lotta ugly going on here. Neither man’s finest moment, I’ll wager.

Is the bad guy’s mace supposed to be talking?

Is the bad guy’s mace supposed to be talking?

Aha!

Suddenly everything is clear! By removing the head, the inker has clarified that the villian actually has a talking weapon! Well-spotted, Cass.

Yeah, you’d have to be a pretty lazy jackass to claim the headless inked version is better. Inking it correctly should have made the action obvious. Anybody who thinks the penciled version of that panel looks worse than the one that Vince Colletta inked has no business reading anything more visually challenging than Family Circus. Except those “follow the dotted line” panels. I hate those things!

Okay, while I agree that Colletta was a hack and it’s palpably ridiculous to praise him for taking out the character’s head– I mean, come on– and generally employed all sorts of lazy corner-cutting in his 60s and 70s work particularly, I don’t think Jack Kirby is invulnerable from criticism. The panel isn’t terribly well composed to begin with.

I think Kirby fans suffer some massive blindspots when it comes to his work. Certainly Kirby’s work has a powerful raw dynamism that has never been duplicated and when he was on his game he could keep a story moving like no one’s business. And I agree he’s one of the greats of the industry. But I think people want the myth of King Kirby they won’t admit he could draw some horribly clunky stuff too– there are lots of moments with bad composition and terrible figure drawing. And let’s not get into his post-1980 work where everyone suddenly became made of metal.

So yes, Colletta bad for omitting a head but not Kirby not necessarily good here.

How exactly do we know this Henry Moreno guy isn’t just making a sarcastic joke that went over everyone’s heads?

Because jokes are supposed to be funny or witty, even those rooted in poor fanboy-ish sarcasm.

Though you could be right because someone posts a poor attempt at “witty” sarcasm on a comic book message board every second. It’s practically a full-time job.

Though you could be right because someone posts a poor attempt at “witty” sarcasm on a comic book message board every second.

I feel like that was directed at me. Was that directed at me? I don’t mind, I just hate it when I miss stuff like that.

I feel like that was directed at me. Was that directed at me? I don’t mind, I just hate it when I miss stuff like that.

I don’t even know who you are.

Morena = tool

I don’t even know who you are.

Are you threatening me?!

In the second panel, Odin’s eyes are closed and his facial expression (not amazingly drawn by Kirby, admittedly) is gone. He looks like he’s sleep-fighting.

Come on, can’t Henry have an opinion? Kirby fans are idiots for the most part. Colletta did beautiful work, maybe the best inker of all, but because he dared to erase a few figures drawn by St. Kirby he is, instead, villified. Take a look at the cover of Thor 128 for God’s sake.

Come on, can’t Henry have an opinion?

Yeah, what the hell, can’t Henry just show up to a discussion two months late and takes shots at people without anyone calling him out on it? Come ON, people!

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