Friday, December 6, 2013

Barry Windsor Smith's "Ka-Zar, Lord of the Jungle"

 Barry Windsor Smith is most famous for his amazing work on Conan the barbarian though fewer people know of his equally amazing work on the other barbarian, Ka-Zar Lord of the jungle!

Stunning splash page of Astonishing Tales #6, June 1971

In the early 70's Barry Windsor Smith was breaking all kinds of new ground and Marvel-ites were treated to a new anthology on the news stands called Astonishing Tales featuring superstar super-villain, Dr. Doom by the legendary EC comics alumnus Wally Wood on art duties and a Ka-Zar strip by the brilliant newcomer, Barry Windsor Smith.

cover of Astonishing Tales #6, June 1971by big John Buscema
Up until this time Barry had appeared in a number of Marvel comics like The Avengers and X-Men though his previous appearances were done in a crude Kirby-esque style.

The Uncanny X-Men #53, Feb, 1969, Barry's first professional work at Marvel.
For Astonishing Tales Smith employed a much more original and lyrical style. It's amazing to think that while drawing these 10 pages he was also drawing 20 pages of Conan #6. That's 30 pages in one month and at such a high level.

By Issue 6 of Astonishing tales, Barry's artistic powers and attention to detail had grown to an incredible extent. The fact that it was inked by the Golden Age great, Bill Everett didn’t hurt none either. Bill has this delicate quality that perfectly enhances Smith's finely detailed art.

Bill Everett's subtle and lyrical work on Sub-Mariner #50
And while I’m not 100% sure, it looks as if this issue may have also been colored by Smith as well. With this issue I can see some of what he took on into his mature 80’s style when he drew and colored mostly covers for Marvel like the Conan Saga reprint book though he would occasionally come out with an issue of X-men or Iron Man.

And for an added bonus here are a few pages of inks for your viewing pleasure.


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