Robot 6

Art oddities: A young Daniel Clowes inks Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby

As artists begin to draw, they look to others who have come before them to learn from their experiences and their output — and comics is no different. Virtually all of today’s top artists have traced panels of the greats, sometimes on their own sheets and sometimes inking over their penciled work to discern their decision-making process. A recent post on Daniel Clowes’ website reveals two early examples of the Eightball legend learning by inking over two earlier greats, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby.

According to Alvin Bonaventura, who posted these, the Ditko page was something a young Clowes got as a photocopy from a friend in 1985. The Kirby pin-up of Thor supporting character Volstagg was done on top of the original pencils of the King, for a tribute pin-up anthology in 1994. The Ditko page was pulled from Clowes’ archives, while the Volstagg inking is from Fantagraphics’ Eric Reynolds, who has the original hanging in his home office.

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The Ditko page is from WHAT IS… THE FACE #2 [1987], published by A.C.E. Comics, inked by Frank McLaughlin in the published version.

The Kirby page is from the sketchbook Kirby drew for his wife in the 1970s, published from the pencils as JACK KIRBY’S HEROES AND VILLAINS in 1987 and as an inked version, including the Clowes page, in 1994 by Pure Imagination.

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