Kirby’s Narrative Art

Charles Hatfield

in Hand of Fire

Published by University Press of Mississippi

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9781617031786
Published online March 2014 | e-ISBN: 9781617031793 | DOI:
Kirby’s Narrative Art

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)


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This chapter examines Jack Kirby’s works as a cartoonist in the world of comics by focusing on his narrative drawing, particularly the hallmarks and gradual distillation of his graphic style. More specifically, it describes the qualities of Kirby’s comic art, namely its liveliness, forcefulness, and idiosyncrasy. Drawing on semiotics, it looks at the kinds of “signs” created by Kirby’s cartooning. It argues that Kirby’s narrative drawing violates any neat classification of signs, is not similar to illustration, challenges the conventions of realism, and constantly revises relationships among the various functions of drawing and between naturalism and cartoon stylization. The chapter suggests that Kirby’s style is generated by tension and struggle. To demonstrate Kirby’s narrative art, it analyzes The Demon.

Keywords: comics; Jack Kirby; narrative art; graphic style; comic art; semiotics; signs; cartooning; realism; The Demon

Chapter.  16530 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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