Saturday, June 18, 2016

Strange Colors!

One of the earliest rules I learned from blogging is: be careful when you're presenting material from a reprint as opposed to the original publication.

Sometimes art has been re-drawn; sometimes words have been altered to eliminate mistakes or conform with more recent continuity. That's why I try to note when a story I present panels from is a reprint, because it just may different than the original.

Trivial but profound example: a Google image search for something else led me to this panel...or rather, 4 different versions of this panel, from 4 different websites:

Now, none of these websites identified where they scanned/clipped the panel from. But the story, originally from Strange Tales #138 (1965) has been reprinted a jillion times, many of those times with a different colorist credited for the reprint (GCD lists "Stan Goldberg (?)" as the original colorist). And aside from the Doctor Strange figure, there is nothing in the panel that's the same color in all four versions, save a few black areas.

Now, I'm not going to tell you that one of these panels is preferable to the other, that one is superior. Indeed, such re-coloring might be necessary due to time and/or unavailability of the original materials.

But think about this: if one relatively inconsequential panel can differ so much from printing to reprinting to re-reprinting to re-re-reprinting...what about everything else in the story?

So remember--when you're reading a reprint, or even a presentation of the original one on of these new-fangled digital platforms, you may not be seeing same thing the contemporary readers saw when they grabbed it off the rack. Even in a particularly important comic from an artistic legend.

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