The last 2 episodes of the first season of What If…?, Marvel Studios first canonical animated series, saw a significant ramping up in terms of action and big, frenetic fight scenes. Episode 8 saw The Watcher go God-mode and take on Ultron in one of the best battles of the series which also saw an iconic comic book aesthetic jump mediums to the MCU: the Kirby Krackle. In an interview with ComicBook.com, What If…? director Bryan Andrews talked about bringing the artistic convention to the series and honoring the man for who it’s named, comic book legend Jack Kirby.
Kirby often used the Krackle, or Kirby Dots, as a representation of Cosmic energy (and in Episode 8 The Watcher was giving off some big energy!). Comic readers might mostly associate the style with Kirby’s work on The Fantastic Four (as seen below) but the unique representation permeated his work and has been used in animated series and films before such as Ben 10 and Into the Spider-Verse. Andrews, who has worked as a story board artist for Marvel Studios for more than a decade, was thrilled to bring the effect to the series.
I just wanted to do it forever. And then I’ve always been bummed that they haven’t done Kirby Krackle on the live action movies, so I was like, ‘We’re doing it here, guys,’ and everyone was like, “Yay!” I think, now that we’ve done it and it looks amazing, I’m hoping that whatever weird thing that the visual effects people have been avoiding it for [is over] — I don’t know why they would. Come on guys. Bring it, bring it! So we’ll see. Maybe it’s a new era of visual effects.
Kirby’s influence has been felt more and more in the past few years of the MCU. Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok designs were very Kirby-esque and in just under one month one of Kirby’s most obscure creations, the Eternals, will be featured in their own film. It’s both wonderful and appropriate to see the Kirby Krackle introduced into the MCU via The Watcher, one of Kirby’s creations and a staple of The World’s Greatest Comics Magazine. Let’s hope the live-action crew take a cue from Andrews and find a way to bring the Krackle to the big screen in Marvel Studios Fantastic Four.