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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

 

Eye, Eye, Eye

There really is something about those Kirby eyes, I guess.

With my lowly post wending up the blog chain all the way to BoingBoing, I want to point out one thing: almost every one of these panels is taken from less than two years of the King's career, when he was cranking out 4 Fourth World books simultaneously for DC. (Thanks to Athelind in comments for the correction.)

There probably isn't enough space on all the internets to display like examples from Kirby's Marvel days and other DC books like Demon and Kamandi. A cursory look at my Thor and FF Essentials show roughly one use of the composition per issue after Kirby's style exploded circa 1966. and I'm counting only the panels where a face fills the entire frame. Eyes are the focus of countless other panels.

I don't think the eye obsession was blind artistic reflex for Kirby; the power of eyes was central to much of his work, from such minor characters as the count from Transylvane with his the "Evil Eye" to Madame Evil Eyes, to, most famously, Darkseid's fatal Omega Beams. Orion's hidden face is a literal demonstration of the dichotomy between how people see themselves, and how they are seen by others. And of course it's strange that Kirby, given how often he drew them, often drew what was supposed to be a normal set of eyes at irregular sizes and way out of alignment, as if the person's head had been caught in a vise off-panel.

I don't know exactly what it all means, but I know I've been hypnotized since 1975.

Comments:
Was he really doing four books a month? I seem to recall that the Fourth World books were bi-monthly.
 
My mistake. Yeah, 80+ pages a month does seem impossible even for Kirby. I should have said 4 books simultaneously--which would push the fourth world project to two years. That's still a lot of eye close-ups in a short period of time.
 
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