How Krackle Kracked the Mold

Silver Surfer. The Silver Surfer has a “space” themed origin and backstory. It connects SpaceKirby Krackle together.                                            Poster from the Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby

Kirby Krackle

Jack Kirby talents are unparalleled by any other comic book artist, maybe even any other cartoon artist. Jack was bold in his ideas because he wanted his comic strips and characters to look a certain way and radiate a specific vibe that only he could produce. It’s clear he wanted to captivate his readers, as well as express his own creativity.

Kirby Krackle is one pronounced feature that does exactly that! It’s hard to describe its actual purpose because in various comics it is used for a variety of reasons. It could be to visualize space, a character undergoing a transformation, energy radiation, and even oceanic expression. Kirby’s options with it are endless, as well as our interpretation of why and how it is used. That is what makes the Krackle so significant and forward thinking in comic book art. Its simplicity breathes longevity into the era of post-Kirby (1917-1994) through its beauty. It can accent a panel or define the entire page, which shows its versatility.

The origins can be a bit muddled because it’s difficult to establish the actual first use when there are traces of it littered throughout Kirby’s work. Here are a few examples pointing to its supposed earliest uses:

The Blue Bolt #5 Issue in October 1940. The black “bubbles” or “shapes” can be seen as a version of Kirby Krackle before it was established as so.   -Jack on pencil. -Simon on ink.
Fantastic Four #57 (December 1966). ‘Enter Dr. Doom’ – page 5. Kirby penciled it. In this example, the cluster of round dots actually represent cosmic energy, and here it’s an enormous amount being channeled!
House of Mystery #84 (March 1959). ‘The Negative Man’ – page 2. Kirby penciled it. Ink by Marvin Stein? In this panel it’s quite evident that “…whole charge of radioed energy…” is Kirby Krackle being used to show that radiant energy is at work here with the Negative Man.

These are just three examples, the Silver Surfer poster was one example that I saw in person at the exhibition but there were a plethora of other comics and posters showcasing his “krackling” Kirby Krackle.

Refer to the link below if you’d like to see more examples and learn more about the origins 🙂

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