Monday, March 24, 2014

(P)Raising Kane: "The Night of the Snake" by Kane with O'Neil and DeZuniga

Hey, hey, hey, Groove-ophiles! You liked Gil Kane's western wonderment a couple'a weeks ago, so Ol' Groove has decided to treat ya to yet another little-seen GK western classic. "The Night of the Snake", from All Star Western #6 (April 1971), pointed toward the title's metamorphosis to becoming Weird Western Tales about a year later (mystery maven Joe Orlando had taken the editorial chair the issue before--wonder why the change took so long?), but on top of that it is one of the most gorgeous art jobs of the 70s! Plotted by Gil Kane, scripted by Denny O'Neil and penciled and inked by Kane and Tony DeZuniga, prepare your peepers for pictorial perfection!


  1. Tony de Zuniga was better by himself, as evidenced by some of his early '70s jobs at DC's romance and mystery titles, and on JONAH HEX, even in the early '80s. He was the very first of the Filipino artists to work in U.S. comics----sadly, by the late '70s he and his fellow countrymen were marginalized by U.S. comics editors, and were relegated to inking the work of lesser talents instead of being entrusted with their own books. Many of them left comics to work in the anonymous assembly line of Saturday morning animation, their talents disappearing in the midst of schlock end product. Tragic.

    Chris A.

  2. While I agree that DeZuniga was fantastic on his own, and in later years he and his countrymen were wasted as work-horses for the Big Two, I don't think that takes anything away from how well he and Kane clicked on this particular art job. They were both at their most powerful here, to me, Chris, creating a wholly new and different style that was made of the best of both of them.

  3. Howdy pahdnahs! Dang it Groove, Gil Kane & DeZuniga once again prove why they were the masters of comicbook art! This lonesome ornery critter sure likes it! Bring on more Groove!

    - 'Cowboy' Mike from Trinidad & Tobago.

  4. Yeah, I agree with Groove, here. The combination of Kane and DeZuniga's art is simply astounding (and I hope Chris A isn't implying that Kane was one of those "lesser talents" as well).

  5. There's an interesting interview with Barry Windsor-Smith conducted by Gary Groth from the 1990s on The Comics Journal website, especially in their assessment of Gil Kane's work. Spot on. As for myself, I regard Kane as a solid anatomist, but with terrible surface rendering (especially when he - like Alex Toth - resorted to the dead line weights produced by MAGIC MARKERS instead of brush, crowquills, and India ink). Furthermore, Kane often cheated on perspective in close up shots, using 'isometric projection' (with very noticeably parallel lines instead of vanishing points) which works well for architects showing their concepts to clients, but not for artists creating for a reading audience (especially one with any discernment). Lastly, Kane drew SO much (he had to - paying alimony to multiple ex-wives was an expensive hobby) that he began to use so many of the same old shots over and over and over again. This story, happily, was drawn before that became the norm for Kane. De Zuniga certainly freshened up the surfaces in this story, but he would have done just as well if not better on it by himself.


  6. Kane and De Zuniga may not be a successful collaboration (their styles fight each other), but it sure is interesting. Sometimes, "interesting" is, well, more interesting than "good" or "bad." Other penciling/inking combos that may not work well are, in the least, fascinating to look at. We can learn from studying failures as well as successes. Ditko/Wrightson. Ditko/Chan. Adams/De Zuniga. Brunner/Chua(Chan). Mooney/Layton. Tuska/Craig. Tuska/Esposito. (Of those last two, Tuska preferred Esposito's inks to Craig's, which puzzles me). - Jeff Clem



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

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