§ This interview with former Marvel Talent Coordinator and color overseer Bon Alimagno may just be one of the smartest things I’ve ever read on comics coloring. Critique of color rarely goes beyond “I liked it!” since a study of advanced color theory isn’t exactly on everyone’s CV, and most people aren’t trained to go beyond “orange and green don’t go together.” This this study of why and how Marvel’s color schemes worked is incredibly illuminating:
Now, I’d also go so far as to say the most tantalizingly unexplored growth path for comics lies in finding out-of-the-box coloring styles. As I’d mentioned Marvel’s coloring palette is largely grounded in warmer colors like red, yellows and oranges, playing off lighter blues — what I used to describe as “the perfect sunset” palette. The biggest exception to this is what Dean White has been doing on Uncanny X-Force. When Dean first started coloring Jerome Opena, he essentially created a new coloring technique to color Jerome’s unique style, adding a layer of drawn-in white highlights which added unique depth and life to Jerome’s work that hadn’t been seen before. In setting a new look it also set the book apart for readers looking for something different. Indeed, Uncanny X-Force has been consistently one of Marvel’s best selling books since it was first released. While there’s a lot of things going right on that series, Dean’s coloring was an unexpected revelation and its success is in great part due to the coloring. Are there similarly new coloring techniques and styles out there that could lead the entire industry in new directions? Perhaps if colorists were given much more time to experiment and discover these new approaches instead of always acting as EMT’s for books in trouble, it’d be much more possible.
There’s a ton more to talk about here — how rushed coloring can drain the life from even the finest art, and how the green-brown-purple palette took over many shops. But it’s a start. (That’s White’s out-of-the-box coloring above.)
§ J. Caleb Mozzocco looks at BATMAN: EARTH ONE and observes an area where it excels, Gary Frank’s mastery of different breast shapes and sizes. But he also wonders after its release date:
5.) For the life of me I can’t fathom why DC decided to push this particular book the week Dark Knight Rises came out with all those free preview comics, as it is so radically divorced from the “real” Batman of all those other Batman comics DC publishes every single month and from the Batman in the movies. If the idea was to introduce readers to Batman, they might as well have handed out free reprints of Batman: Year 100 #1 or All-Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder #1 or Batman: Dark Knight of the Round Table #1. Hell, any of those at least get the bit about Batman being a basically stand-up guy who wants justice and has a strict code of conduct that forbids him from shooting The Penguin out of a window with a big-ass shotgun.
Doesn’t seem to have hurt it, as the book is selling incredibly well. The Earth-One line is a big hit.
§ Andrew Wheeler has a very long and incredibly well researched piece on body shape and superheroes and real people, using athletes from the recent Olympics as models. He also gets five comics pros to rank the superbeings by physique, and the results are remarkably in synch:
Strikingly, Ramón Pérez and Jamie McKelvie gave exactly the same answers, while Marcus To flipped the order of only two characters, Flash and Nightwing. Kalman Andrasofszky looks like an outlier, but he only placed Namor and Spider-Man two places higher than everyone else. All four artists agree that Thor is bigger than Superman, Superman is bigger than Captain America, and Captain America is bigger than Batman. Nightwing, Flash and Spider-Man are all at the smaller end of the scale. When it came to applying an athletic body type, the consensus among the artists was that Thor is a bodybuilder type. Pérez and To put Superman down as having an American football player’s build, and McKelvie noted, “Logically, of course, Superman’s power has nothing to do with his muscles, but I think an imposing frame on someone who doesn’t use his power to oppress is part of his point.”
It’s notable that despite their differing art styles and careers, the artists selected all have a similar sense of who’s the buffest one of all.
§ Well hell, I meant to published this Geek Girl Con link BEFORE the con:
Some 7,000 attendees are expected over Saturday and Sunday from throughout the United States and from as far away as Australia — some dressed as Princess Leia, Wonder Woman or other geek heroes and heroines. Big companies are taking notice of women’s interest in all things geek. Video game maker Electronic Arts signed up to sponsor GeekGirlCon and will bring some of its titles, including an NHL game with a female hockey player. “Women have always been a part of geek culture,” said McGillivray, who started watching “Star Trek: The Next Generation” at age 3 with her mother. “We’ve just been in such small numbers, or kind of pushed to the fringes, that we haven’t really been seen before.”
Did you go? What happened? Our own Jen Vaughn was on the scene so stand by for her report.
Continuing our Comics Alliance Olympics wrap-up, this is absolutely da bomb.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.