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Thursday, 25 November 2010
THE POWER OF COLOUR (PART ONE)...
Art by Walter Simonson. Images copyright MARVEL COMICS
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 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 bought the com-puter-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. mag 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 response would've 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.)