Saturday, September 24, 2011

Same Story, Different Cover: Kulkulkan, Fran, and Ollie

L: [Uncanny] X-Men #26 (November 1966), pencils by by Werner Roth and Jack Kirby (Kulkulkan assist), inks by Dick Ayers
R: [Uncanny] X-Men #74 (February 1972), reprinting X-Men #26, pencils by Gil Kane, inks by Frank Giacoia
(Click picture to Kulkulkanisize)


Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

I gotta say I'm digging the cover for X-Men 26 over X-Men 74.

What I like about this one is how the artwork continues beyond the logo. Ordinarily with covers of this era we just have a solid color around the tile so as not to distract from the logo. Here we have a huge fire behind our big bad. And he's a giant of a bad guy at that with that peacock feather headdress to make him appear even bigger. True, I'm not sure were in space he's standing, but he certainly looks intimidating.

Plus we've got the beaten X-Men retreating an regrouping. Iceman and Beast are cowering away and Angel has been seriously injured while Cyclops wonders how they could ever defeat such a foe.

Would they regroup for another assault? Would they retreat to the X-Mansion for reinforcements or other equipment? This cover gets me curious about what is going to happen next.

In addition to the huge fire, we also have the exotic location with the cracking ground and crumbling pyramids, its just so exciting!

In contrast, #74 is probably better, but I don't find it as interesting. The first strike against is that the how story is stuck in a box. The illustration is already constrained by its own dimensions as well as all the title and other little sales details into that space, so why make it smaller than it already has to be? I guess so that we can be a big dramatic deal about how "Holocaust" here is breaking his own frame. This might be impressive if this box were a part of every issue, but it isn't, and really contributes to the cramped, boxed in feeling to this cover.

Unlike the original, this is a charging attack scene, which we've seen a billion times before. Flip this one horizontally and its not different from the pose on the original X-Men #1.

The villain is higher up and we see more of him, his pose is more striking and dynamic which is good, but his speech balloons are really unnecessary.

We his power at taking our Iceman, Angel and Beast, but they're all so cramped together that it hardly resisters.

Also, what is Jean Grey doing? Lady, you have flippin' superpowers, USE THEM! As I said, back in the post with the Fantastic Four Annuals, if you put a woman on a super team, and that team charges the enemy, have her do something! Making the lone girl on the team into an accessory really loses points in my book.

So yeah, of the two, 74 is probably the better realized, but #26 is my personal pick.

Bully said...

Thanks once again for your incisive analysis, Erik! I usually don't add much text to SSDC, and your comments are great complements to the artwork. Consider yourself hereforth awarded the prestigious Bull-Prize, Annotated Version!

Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

Wow the Bull-Prize! Its like the Marvel No-Prize, only except of being nothing its complete Bull!


haha. Thanks for the recognition, I was beginning to think no one actually read these SSDC comments I make, and I always have a blast writing about them, so thanks for providing a venue for my madness!