Any Colour you like

January 24, 2011

As long as it’s black and white apart from the covers. There was a time when British black and white reprints of american comics were seen as perfectly acceptable reading matter. But we still considered them pale imitations of the real thing. Now I’m surprised to see that there are comic fans in the USA who avidly seek out old British, Australian and South American reprint comics as an opportunity to see uncoloured Ditko or Kirby etc artwork in its original state. All the better to examine the detail of the linework I suppose. For me, the worst of all worlds was when the Annuals used that strange green and black or red and black duo colour artwork inside.

When they did decide to colour the reprinted Marvel Comics stories in the UKs “Power Comics” Annuals of the late 1960s the results could be wildly unpredictable. The digital files of today must make such things a doddle, but in 1969 they evidentally only had black and white artwork to work with. The colourist had probably never seen, or even bothered to see an original US comic and relied on guesstimation rather than a detailed colour chart. Consequently the 1970 Pow Annual is the best place to visit if you’d like to see a red-garbed Fantastic Four and an almost-transparent Thing.

The 1969 Fantastic Annual gives us a completely different take on The Uncanny X-Men No 24 with changes in costume colour from panel to panel. Thor is barely recognisable in the 1970 Fantastic Annual. I don’t know why it annoyed me so much at the time though……