althechi: (revel in excrement)
[personal profile] althechi posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Greetings all! Reading through some old issues of Conan the Barbarian, Spider-Man and Batman pencilled by Gil Kane, I've picked up a trend in his artwork, and I'd like to share it with you guys to get an idea of how well-known this trend is.

Now, what is that trend? The long and short of it is this:

This particular shot, drawn from a low angle and highlighting the bottom of people's noses.

Here's a slightly bigger pic of the above cover (Conan the Barbarian Pocket Book #13, Roy Thomas writing and John Buscema on interior art):

Here's another example from the Conan pocket books (#7, Roy Thomas writing, Gil Kane interior art). Note how there's one larger figure drawn in the upshot with foreground events detailing the present - we'll be seeing more of this soon.

Yet another from the same issue, this time a 3/4-page spread. Take a close look at the bat-creature: Gil Kane even designed his nose to be ideal for the dramatic upshot.

And here's a closeup on the bat-creature itself!

This is far from an isolated incident either. I don't doubt this consideration was on Kane's mind when he designed Morbius in his debut in Spider-Man (The Amazing Spider-Man #101, Roy Thomas writing):

As opposed to an uncostumed vampire? (Never mind, let's not go there)

Once again, dramatic nasal upshot in the back, "action" in the foreground:

(Amazing Spider-Man #104, Roy Thomas writing)

Horrifying as it is, it isn't limited to men and beasts either! Never has Gwen Stacy looked so unappealing. Ugggrgghgh.

(Amazing Spider-Man #97, written by Stan Lee)

And now he tops himself, with a cover comprised purely of that one dramatic angle! Well, there's Spider-Man too.

Now we take a break from nasal upshots and nostrils, to show a self-portrait of the man himself, and his own oddly bulbous nose (and Roy Thomas):

(Conan the Barbarian pocket book #6, Roy Thomas once again)

In fact, nostril shots aside, the way Gil Kane drew noses in general just kept getting weirder and weirder:

Seriously, it's like a couple of rutabagas crawled up their faces and died. Also, relevant cultural references FTW! (Detective Comics #520, Bob Rozakis writing)

Overall, one has to wonder why Gil Kane was so prone to this particular angle and noses in general. Was he a rather short fellow? Was it the main view he saw of people when he sat down drawing? Did he keep a mirror on his desk to reference that angle? Will we ever know?

DISCLAIMER: I have nothing against Gil Kane and his art (I wouldn't have put effort into scanning and cropping these if I really disliked it), just intrigued by the prevalence of this particular shot and focus on the nose in general.

Date: 2010-09-24 01:54 pm (UTC)
aelflar: (Default)
From: [personal profile] aelflar
It`s about the Drama! and Expression! in those shots. It ads to the Action! (and lulz now that you`ve mentioned it)

Date: 2010-09-24 02:42 pm (UTC)
pallas_athena: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pallas_athena
Haha, awesome post. Those are some insane noses.

...As someone who fails at drawing faces a lot, though, I have to say: Noses are REALLY hard to draw.

Date: 2010-09-24 05:27 pm (UTC)
recognitions: (Default)
From: [personal profile] recognitions
Heh. I remember a few shots like that from the Action Comics "New Brainiac" arc in the 80s. I probably have them on my home computer.

When I was a kid I hated Kane's art. He got more and more stylized as he got older and at the time I thought it was just sloppy. But as weird as he was, he was unique and an original.

Date: 2010-09-25 06:27 am (UTC)
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
From: [personal profile] skjam
I posted the New Brainiac storyline on the community a couple of months ago, if anyone wants to see.

A Difference Of Opinion (friendly)

Date: 2010-09-24 05:52 pm (UTC)
filkertom: (Default)
From: [personal profile] filkertom
Well, I never had a problem with the GK noses. They're an identifying feature of his art, and I think he uses the dramatic upshot as well as anyone ever has.

I also don't see what's so unappealing about that Gwen.

And, complaining about the non-human noses of the bat-creature, J. Jonah Jameson and Morbius is just grasping at nostril hairs.

Date: 2010-09-24 08:02 pm (UTC)
jkcarrier: me, at my old office (Default)
From: [personal profile] jkcarrier
One of my buddies used to joke that Kane must've been a midget, and all those low-angle shots were just him drawing what he saw every day. But I saw him at a convention once, and he was actually pretty tall. So go figure.

Personally, I think he was just showing off. Anyone who's tried it will tell you, drawing a face at that kind of extreme angle is frickin' hard, and Kane seemed to pull it off effortlessly. If I could do that, I'd be putting a nostril shot in every other panel too, just to rub it in. ;-)

Date: 2010-09-24 09:21 pm (UTC)
nezchan: Navis at breakfast (Default)
From: [personal profile] nezchan
So Kane was drawing what everyone else saw when he was around. Fair enough.

Date: 2010-09-24 10:01 pm (UTC)
halloweenjack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] halloweenjack
That, and muscular anatomy so precise that some of his dudes look like they've been flayed.

Date: 2010-09-25 02:25 am (UTC)
btravage: (Default)
From: [personal profile] btravage
Art teachers only tell you to avoid this shot because it's fucking hard, but if you can pull it off, that's a rule that's definitely made to be broken.

Date: 2010-09-25 04:25 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
It's possible that he was going by cinematic logic - namely, if you shoot someone from a lower angle, it makes them look bigger, and hence more impressive and imposing. It makes you feel like you're shorter than this person, and looking up at them. Next time you see a Godzilla film, you may note that the big G and pals are almost always shot from a lower angle - apparently, this was official studio policy, as it gave the monster suits that extra feeling of BIGNESS, which helps one ignore the fact that they're, well, guys in monster suits.

Date: 2010-09-25 08:08 am (UTC)
jlroberson: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jlroberson
I remember a page from AMBUSH BUG where Giffen did six panels satitizing others' styles, like Kirby(whom he'd assisted), Ernie Colon, Frank Miller(as of RONIN) and Kane. The Kane panel was nothing BUT a nose and mouth from below, saying, "My boy...WHEN did you say it was due, my boy?"

The "my boy"(or "dear boy") is something Kane would say all the time, if you read any of the Journal interviews with him Gary Groth did. (he and Groth became very good friends)

Date: 2010-09-25 09:29 am (UTC)
bradhanon: (Serious editor)
From: [personal profile] bradhanon
My first experience with LSD, lo these many years ago, was a fairly light dose, and I remember thinking it made everything look like it was drawn by Gil Kane. Clean, clear lines and compositions, with extraordinary little details that jump right out if you look closely.

Date: 2010-09-26 11:17 am (UTC)
geoffsebesta: (Default)
From: [personal profile] geoffsebesta
It's because noses are hard to draw. They're usually the shiniest and brightest part of the face, they change shape based on angle and expression constantly, and the line between "gross giant nostrils" and "weird no nostrils at all" is often a pixel or less. Moreover they're pretty much the biggest markers of ethnicity on a face.

Gil Kane drew lots of weird noses because he was into action poses of the human figure, which involves a lot of weird heads at weird angles, and if you look at his work you'll see he doesn't care overmuch about faces. He likes posture and texture. So not caring + lots of dramatic low-angle shots = lots of weird nostrils.


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