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Friday, February 24, 2006

World Around Us #31

Among Kirby's work for Gilberton published in 1961, in addition to his one full issue of CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED, were a few short bits in five issues of THE WORLD AROUND US. This issue's theme was Hunting, and Kirby contributed 12 pages, inked by Dick Ayers.

The Kirby starts on the title page, an image of some hunters getting ready to take down a bear with spears and arrows. The archer's pose in the foreground is especially nice.

Later in the issue is the 6-page "Early Hunters" chapter, which has a quick summary of a few thousand years of mankind, starting with hunting with clubs and wandering from place to place as hunter/gatherers, and then developing more complex weapons and hunting techniques. Then follows the discovery of farming, allowing for permanent villages, and domesticating animals.

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Following some non-Kirby stuff is the 5-page "An End to Slaughter", which starts with the story of Theodore Roosevelt, starting with a quick look at his buffalo hunting as a youth, bear hunting as President and his post-presidency African safari. The story then goes to Roosevelt's role in expanding the National Park system in the US and inspiring similar efforts around the world, and a look at protected lands in other countries and the importance of following hunting laws, getting proper licenses and all the rest.

This isn't a bad sample of Kirby's art, although clearly doing short vignettes, single panels on a theme, doesn't really play to his story-telling strengths. There are also a few bits every now and then in the art that just feel off, which are likely panels or parts of panels that the Gilberton folks had redrawn, either by Kirby or by another artist to meet their standards of accuracy. A few of the animals seem to suffer from this on Kirby's pages.

This issue also includes a lot of art by Sam Glanzman and a few pages by Pete Morisi, so is worth checking out for more than the Kirby.

Published 1961

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