Gil Kane: The Atom, no.32

As a little guy I get a kick out of the Atom as a colossus. Great cover by Gil Kane in period when he did a lot of great covers for DC, on the Atom and Green Lantern in particular. The covers he did for DC are very different in their use of pictorial space from those he did for Marvel in the Seventies. The Marvel covers are -for the most part–divided between upper and lower tiers, compressing the area in which Kane placed his figures. In contrast, the DC covers from the sixties allow for more vertical freedom, and so we see a good deal more flexibility and freedom in Kane’s compositions. I’m guessing this was an editorial directive, because a good many Marvel covers of the seventies are composed accordingly, the artists might have been told that the action takes place within such and such an area below the logo. At the point in the sixties when “The Atom” cover was done, there doesn’t seem to have been such a directive at DC, and so their covers, by Kane, Infantino, Kubert and especially Adams-are unique in the freedom with which they play around with space.  So this is one of Kane’s best, I think–and it’s wonderful for the way he pulls the viewer up and into the space, making the 6″ x 9″ picture area seem vast and The Atom himself as monumental as–oh–Mount Rushmore.

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