The Jack Kirby Ukulele

Okay, it’s not really a Jack Kirby ukulele, but a while back the folks at Satisfactory Comics posted one if their “doodle penance” entries (where they draw things from their site’s log of visitor’s search terms) for the phrase “Jack Kirby Machines.”  The post featured a hilariously-accurate “how to” diagram by Isaac entitled “Principles of Kirbytech,” which you can see below:


I thought this was especially brillaint at the time and really wanted to use it to draw some common machine that I use in my day-to-day life… but, alas, this was posted right in the middle of “crunch time” reading for the Eisner award nominations and I could do nothing about it until now.  But, with the nominating weekend over and my Amelia pages turned in, (Yea!) I’ve had some time to give it a go.

I wanted to attempt to do a Kirby version of the machine I most commonly use and my first thought was that I should do a squash racquet–but I disqualified that based on its not having any moving parts.  It’s occurred to me since then that I missed the obvious choice which would have been my daughter’s baby stroller (which I–seriously–use more than our car), but what I settled on was my ukulele.  So… here it is: the Jack Kirby ukulele.  I think I’ve made pretty good use of all the techniques outlined on Isaac’s diagram–plus I’ve added some “Kirby crackle” just from memory.



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  1. Isaac says:

    Awesome. I know when you play that ukulele, it will sound cosmic. On the other hand, it might be the sort of thing that shatters dimensions when you play it, in which case I’d recommend ear protection.

  2. Chris S says:

    Wow. Thanks you for sharing that (both the Ukelele and the diagram, which I’d not seen before).

  3. Mike says:

    Outstanding. My first stringed instrument was a baritone uke, and one of my favorite bands, the Vigilantes of Love, featured a solo played on an instrument billed as the “psycho-uke.” I think your drawing goes well beyond “psycho” into transdimensional. Oh, to hear that thing play!

  4. Ben says:

    I’d thought of another approach, based on Mike’s “doodle penance”: a uke with a giant headstock and a tiny body and in a floating chair… but I wanted to approach it from a non-MODOK direction since I’ve done a fair amount of MODOK-riffing at thisn point.

    Mike, I know of the baritone uke, but I’ve never played one. I’ve heard that they’re tuned differently than a soprano or concert uke. They’re tuned the same as the top four strings on a guitar, is that right?

  5. Mike says:

    You are correct, sir. In a sense, I got the baritone uke as a highly portable, low-cost placeholder until I got a guitar of my own, having poached on my brother’s acoustic six-string in the meantime. I came quite to like the ol’ uke, though; it was an attractive burgundy color, and the reach of my fingers on the smaller fretboard was gratifying. It may have started out merely as a substitute guitar, but for a while there it was my main instrument.

  6. Isaac says:

    Ben, I’m thinking about doing a 3-D version of your ukulele for a tutorial in the “relaxed eye stereoscope-Photoshop” over the weekend. If I have time. I think it’ll be a lot of fun. I hope you don’t mind.

  7. Ben says:

    Isaac, I have no idea what a “relaxed eye stereoscope-Photoshop” is, but feel free to use the uke!

  1. Friday Links: Madame Pamita, Uketopia | Ukulele Hunt says:

    […] Jack Kirby style ukulele by Ben Towle. […]

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