Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"If you want to be good at this, you need to do your homework." DKW review

In his comic DKW: Ditko Kirby Wood, writer/artist Sergio Ponchione argues Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby & Wally Wood were (and are) the "trinity" of comic books. In this comic, a veteran comic book creator describes Ditko, Kirby & Wood to a novice artist and his descriptions of each man's work are told through pages illustrated in a style similar to the artist at hand. Ponchione's ability to mimic them is quite a feat - it's not indistinguishable from the real thing, but it is something to see an artist of this time who can draw upon the skills of a true comic book master (much less three of them!).

I grew up on comics in the shadow of Wood's death and a time when Kirby & Ditko had been relegated to less-visible, less-prestigious books. In due time, as a huge Marvel Comics fan (and eventual freelancer for them), I came to explore and love their Marvel work. It took longer for me to step into their non-Marvel work or take an interest in their personal lives (which, I tend to prefer creators keep personal, so I don't begrudge Ditko's quiet withdrawl from the comics scene at all).

Ponchione's Kirby pages seem to be drawn almost exclusively from the pages of the Eternals (note the structure above which is based on the Celestials' Mothership) which suits me fine, it being my favourite Kirby series. Both the Kirby and Ditko pages celebrate the imaginative work produced by those men without any real gray clouds.

However, Wally Wood seems to provoke melancholy wherever his name is mentioned due to how his final years played out. For a long time I didn't know his name - and even when I did see people discussing it, I didn't understand why. In that regard, I could have used a copy of DKW about 15 years ago to educate me on why he's considered a legend. Ponchione seems to have recognized this as he spent quite a bit of text on Wood's style and innovation.

DKW is perhaps something you could hand to a friend who doesn't know too much about Ditko, Kirby or Wood. I already knew those names - but now Sergio Ponchione is another name I'll have to revisit.

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