Those of you who've known me for a long time know that Gil Kane's art has been an acquired taste for me. I've long said that my comfort zone lay squarely with the likes of John Romita, the brothers Buscema, Neal Adams, Jim Aparo, etc. - the realists. I would place Kane's work into (these categories exist in my head; I'm sure this isn't, like, a thing...) the stylists category. With him lives the work of Walt Simonson, and sometimes Frank Miller. At my position square in the center of middle age, I've come to appreciate and enjoy the output of all of the above mentioned artists. Perhaps maturity in the eyes took a little longer for me than it did for others?
As a child, I felt like all of Gil Kane's figures were in the throes of rigor mortis. The lines seemed harsh, the fingers especially. And those nose upshots... Ayayay - don't get me going on the nose upshots. His figures were ubiquitous on Marvel's Bronze Age covers - it seemed that between Rich Buckler and Kane, there were no jobs available penciling covers at Marvel Comics. But again, as I've aged, and have been exposed to more of his work, I think I'd now liken him to Jack Kirby in a way. Sure, their figures bear little resemblance. But the power on the page - the motion, the action, the way the heart quickens while reading an action scene. Kane was a master of anatomy (OK, the King maybe was not...), and every figure looks like those muscles are about to rip right through the fabric of their costumes. I now see Kane's work as incredibly kinetic, and in that regard not unlike a Gene Colan action scene.
I wish I'd come to love the man's work earlier than I have.