Thursday, 25 November 2010

THE POWER OF COLOUR (PART 1)...


Art by Walter Simonson
 
What a difference colour makes. Not convinced? Take a look at these basic, flat-
coloured examples of JACK KIRBY & VINCE COLLETTA THOR stories from
the TALES OF ASGARD 1984 Special (Vol. 2, No.1). Alongside are the newly
coloured, multi-hued MATT MILLA pages from the deluxe, hardcover edition
of the same tales. (First available as a 6-part mini-series.) The pages are given a
whole new dimension, enabling them to go toe-to-toe with many contemporary
offerings available in comics shops today.
 
 
Not wishing to labour the comparison, but the difference is similar to that of
an old POPEYE or BETTY BOOP cartoon compared to the almost 3D effect
of the animation in WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? Last year, I picked up
the computer-coloured reprint of MARVEL COMICS #1 and the effect was the
same. The pages seem to have become imbued with a vitality lacking in their
original printing and don't appear quite as dated in contrast to more modern
presentations.
 

A while ago, the U.K. magazine AVENGERS UNITED reprinted the Tales of
Asgard series in its original form, and it was generally met with an indifferent,
sometimes even hostile reaction. It seems that kids of today have been spoiled
by the photo-realistic, more complex colour-art in contemporary stories, and
couldn't quite take to the four-coloured classics of yesterday. I'm pretty sure
that, had MARVEL/PANINI been able to present the Matt Milla versions
(which hadn't yet been done), the reaction would have been more positive.
 
 
I think it can only be a matter of time before Marvel start colouring all their
stories from yesteryear in this same fashion and then re-presenting them as
"definitive versions" in deluxe, hardcovered volumes. As I said, it certainly
gives them a whole new dimension and might help them to appeal to younger
readers not yet steeped in the company's glorious history who seem to have
an aversion to older material. (Hard as it is to believe.)

ISBN # 9780-7851-3921-8
 
The Complete TALES OF ASGARD is available now from all good
comic shops (and has been for some time). And here, for completists,
is the cover to the original 1968 TOA Special. (Vol. 1, No. 1.) 

Art by Jack Kirby & Frank Giacoia

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

All of the examples are ugly. The originals because the printers lost all of Collatta's fine-lined inking. The new ones because, well, they are just all-round bad.

Kid said...

You may not like the colour scheme perhaps, but the Matt Milla pages give the artwork a whole new, almost 3D dimension in my opinion. (Similar to "Who Killed Roger Rabbit?)

NP said...

I don't generally like 'realistic' colouring, but these examples are good - they bring the pages to life and limit the damage done by Vince Colleta's rushed, scratchy inking. They somehow look like a cross between Kirby and Frank Hampson! A tentative 'Yes' from me.

joe bloke said...

I kinda like the new pages, but ONLY kinda like. there's no denying that Milla's good at what he does, and undoubtably his colours will make the work more accessable to newer readers, but I feel about these pretty much how I felt when they released the tarted up Star Wars films: " yeah, it's pretty, but I prefer the originals."

but that might well be because I'm an old fart.

cerebus660 said...

TBH I think the re-colouring loses some of the original work's charm. The colourists back then ( especially Marie Severin ) worked wonders with the four-colour system, designed for the cheap newsprint paper of the day. That's probably just nostalgia talking, but I really think a lot of modern computer colouring is overly fussy and self-indulgent.

Kid said...

I think that the original printings are hard to beat. There was something about the paper they were printed on and the "dot" colour which (when it wasn't too out of register) had a magical quality. The MARVEL MASTERWORKS volumes, with their shiny paper and perfect-register printing, although very nice, seem to lack the charm of the originals.

However, it can't be denied that, to a modern audience, when the classic stories are reprinted on the better quality paper used today, they look kind of "flat" compared to more contemporary work. Matt Milla's colouring on these Asgard tales has at least given them a feeling of depth and substance, although I do find myself wishing that he had worked his magic following (in the main) the original colour schemes.

Anonymous said...

I'm an old fart too (46) and I love this guy's colouring. As Kid says, it brings these classic tales bang up to date in a very attractive manner.

Most computer colouring in Marvel & DC comics that you see nowadays looks like garish 1980s style airbrush work which combined with the dreadfully low standard of comic book art that Marvel & DC are content to put out make for comics that are just plain unreadable (to old farts like me). The Panini purchasing post puberts who hated the T.O.A. stuff will probably only read comics for a few years unlike us old crumblies who had the likes of Infantino, Kane, Ditko and Kirby et al to brighten up our childhoods. Matt Milla Rules!

Don Alsafi said...

I'll have to add my voice to those who think the new recoloring is superb! I discovered your blog while researching the issue for a discussion on my own blog. Good stuff!

Kid said...

Thanks, Don. Your own blog is featured in my blog list so that folk can click on and visit whenever they like.