TALES TO ASTONISH # 91 May 1967
Gil Kane original artist
|Gil Kane was the first established DC Comics mainstay to jump ship over to the upstart Marvel line in the mid-sixties--or so we readers of the day supposed. A nice tall serving of tunnel vision, it seems, is what supported our case.|
|Certainly, Gil had the highest profile of
any of the artists who crossed the line from
one firm to the other, at least with the
sort of comics fans who would at all CARE.
Consider that he'd been pencilling both GREEN
LANTERN and THE ATOM since their inception
for DC. Finding him illustrating the adventures
of the Hulk--as well as Captain America,
and a handful of assorted covers--was a bit
of a culture shock for us devotees of slam-bang
super heroic action adventures. Truth is,
at least two other DC pencillers took the
plunge before the celebrated Mr. Kane, and
unlike Gil, THEY didn't continually vacillate
between the two publishing giants ('ol Sugar
Lips, as Stan was apt to call him, also toiled
for more than his share of publishing MIDGETS
during his day, it should be duly noted)
The gents I'm talking about are, of course, Gene Colan and John Romita. They both did a substantial amount of work for the company formerly known as National Comics, but it was the sort of stuff likely to go unnoticed by the rabid readers of my ilk. Gene could be found in the war titles, the mystery books, and of course, the love line. Aside from a few Sea Devils tales, continuing characters didn't figure into his bill of fare, allowing his highly distinctive style to somehow remain anonymous, even to these eyes. Colan did the lead story-- even the cover-- several months running of a spate early sixties MY GREATEST ADVENTURE issues that I still own. What puzzles me to this day is how I never connected the singular art style found in these stories with the later Colan art published by Warren and Marvel. I was convinced--mistakenly-- that my eyes were viewing this magnificent cartooning for the very first time. Guess I wasn't as smart as I thought I was, huh? Probably still isn't--or is it "aren't"??.... Oh--and the other guy? John Romita, of course. He only ever appeared in the romance comics DC unleashed on the teenage girls of America, and hey, WHY would I be reading THOSE? So when Romita the elder came over from the competition, considering the route he used, it was if it didn't even count in the scheme of things. Yup, being a teenaged comics fan apparently gives one license to be close-minded...
But Gil was the one whose transition made the big splash with us fanboys. It's just too bad his stay didn't last longer. Oh, he'd be back by the early seventies, in enough time to pencil, gosh, what? Ninety per cent of Marvel's cover that decade!?! But his short stint on the Hulk's ASTONISH slot lasted only four measly issues, of which, this issue was the last (five, if you want to count a job done under the name Scott Edward over a year earlier, one that had the dynamic Kane style buried under the contributions of several others. Me, I DON'T count it. Sorry, "Scott"...) His return to DC disappointed me, frankly, seeing as Marvel clearly had the more entertaining stories, ones I'd've much prefer he lend his talents to. But there I go, still thinking like I'm thirteen years old and know what was best for everybody in the comics biz. Old habits are hard to break, y'know?
At least we had these few episodes to relish. They've left a lasting impression on yours truly, and you have only to look at the power and excitement Kane brings to the Green Goliath's confrontation with the Abomination on this cover to see why. The Hulk was never a particular favorite of mine, admittedly, but had the Gil man stuck around just a tad bit longer, that very well may not have stayed the case. If only Kane had been able...
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