Friday, March 6, 2009

Phantom comics coloring: Other publications

Last time I discussed the coloring of some phantom publications, namely, Harvey-hits, Gold-key, king, charlton, indrajal comics and also the coloring of some newspaper and magazine strips. Continuing with the discussion, here are few more publications and my opinion about them.

5. Diamond Comics: If I have to choose the worst phantom publication from the coloring point of view, then without doubt the prime contendent for the crown will be Diamond Comics publications. Not only the coloring, the overall printing quality of most of the phantom comics they published was far below even the ordinary level. The only consolatory thing in their favour is that they printed far less edited versions of original Phantom dailies compared to indrajal. Look at the sample here. How terribly they have treated the great Sy Barry's artwork. Miserable job.

6. Wolf: Now this is the best. Very eye-catching color selection with excellent blending of colors in panels. The perfection with even the very small and delicate objects are painted makes it almost perfect job. They have a very different style than others. Superimposing a similar (or in some case contrasting) color over a light background produces excellent effect. I just want to learn this style.

7. Egmont: We see a large variation in color quality of egmonts. Sometimes they come up with very good coloring but in some other comics their work is pretty ordinary.

8. Defenders of the earth series (1987): Normal quality work. Less than one's expectation.

9. DC (1989): Illustrating a comic book is highly different than drawing the panels for a daily or sunday strip. While in strips the diamension of the panels are fixed, comic book artist have liberty of using more work-space because of the big panels available. The same thing reflects in coloring also. Have a look.

10. Marvel (1995): To make the soulless stories sellable, the publishers opted to go for much darker/brighter coloring, something which closely resembles todays TV shows which are as dull and ineffective in catching public attention and to pull the public to the shows they rely on making it as much shiny as possible. Average work, no marvels done.

11. Moonstone (2008): The worst stories. Probably more matching the today's public taste in US, but for the old lovers of phantom they are a complete no-no. I don't like their coloring work either.

8 comment(s):

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. @Stephen: Thank you very much for these sweet words of appreciation. It makes me feel very happy to know that my little effort is being able to provide some moments of joy to you.

    I have learnt the art of coloring the comics only recently and am personally enjoying the work very much. Once completed, I see no point in keeping the finished work for myself only, instead sharing is fun. And when someone like you, to whom I am completely unknown by all means, comes here all the way from Singapore, and showers the words of praise encouragement, it feels that all the efforts and troubles have finally met their target. That's very satisfying.

    You are most welcome and thank you once again for taking time and writing.

  3. Great effort,TPH.....continue in the same vein.
    One thing has always been puzzling me.I know Lee Falk's stories weren't published in Egmont,so why do they put his name on the cover?
    Another point,irrespective of how colouring was dictated,iam glad Diamond publ'n gave us a oppurtunity to go thru some of stories which were not published by Indrajals.
    Coming to that Diamond comics page,u said that it was bad work.I didnt see any lacklustre creativity there.Can u clarify?
    I myself have read many many dcs(Diamond) and found them ok.
    Just wanna know.


  4. @Chandan: Welcome Chandan. Good to see you.

    Not only egmont, but frews is also printing Falk's name on cover or on back page picture. I guess it is for the sake of attracting more buyers since after Falk's death, popularity graph of phantom stories has suffered a downward journey. And the publishers may be searching a chance to reach the readers mind and trying to remind him that it is the same age old character that they have loved so far.

    Also there might be some more publishers trying to use phantom like characters to cash on the popularity of the this unique masterpiece. so Falk's name may just be there as a symbol of originality. These are all my guesses.

    That is very true what you have said. At a time, when indrajal closed thier shop abruptly, indian readers were all left wanting. Diamond comics tried to fill that gap, though most of the stories they published were reprints of old dailies only, but some new stories were also published by them.

    About the diamond page, it misses on any creative coloring display. A lot of part in each panel is filled with a simple color. Actually the panels are not that big in the original story and it is work of local artists to provide extra width. then they filled that with ordinary colors.

    Diamonds printing was below standard quality. The appearance of illustrations suggests as though the artist used very wide brush. More resembles the looks of a pirated edition of some best seller book.

    Compare any diamond story with same story in indrajal and then judge yourself the points they score.

    In many phantom and mandrake comics they published, the speech baloons were filled with printed fonts and not artist's artwork as is the usual practice in comic industry. It made them very bad.

    Hope I have made my points clear.

  5. Dear TPH, another great post. I often wonder why Diamond, eventhough boasting as the largest comic book publishing company, never went out of their ways to establish themselves as a good comics publishing house, rather than to appease kids and tender age groups. Their handling of eternal characters like Phantom,Mandrake, etc in their comics books leaves much questions. No wonder you chose them as the worst in the lot of coloring world.

    Wolf coloring seems to be on the classic style. Simple but still attractive. Where was this published ?

    Egmont, I leave them to be.... They never impressed me much.... and now are in the market under the new name of Euro Books.... Oh god, will they get over from their 21 comic set reprints... I think its 4th or 5th time they are reprinting with different covers (every time they are the worst versions compared to the previous ones too).

    DC, Marvel, Moonstone.... pathetic.... they are just killing the golden image of phantom with their prints. Maybe that's how they are liked in US, compared to other big bang superheroes stuffs.

    I understand your comment that modern day artworks leaves much of their styles, for later to be improved and colored using Photoshop and other coloring tools. Which the ARtists seem to be preferring to keep themself upto the current trent and more vibrant colors. But that does dent the skeleton artworks credibility.

    As I told elsewhere, the only coloring art which I seen recently, which was far better than the original black & white is on the Bone series, released earlier in India.... See my comparative study at my comics blog, and I would love to hear your comments on the same. >> Bone India Debut Review

    Happy Posting and Reading.


  6. @Rafiq Raja: Wolf was a UK publication of early 90s. It didn't proved to be successful and finally cancelled only after 9 issues. More info is here:

    Right, Moonstone etc suggests about the public taste in US today.

    I'm going through your article. Will register my views.

    Thanks again.

  7. A few notes:
    Wolf published stories from Egmont (although the company was called Semic back then). So, the coloring of Wolf is the same as the coloring of Egmont's, only from a different year. I'd say that the variations you see on Egmont's coloring is because the stories come from different time periods.

    As for Lee Falk's name on Frews and Egmont issues - this began even during Falk's life time as a request by Falk personally I think. In sweden (where Egmont's stories originate) I don't think that Lee Falk name attracts any more readers, but it was added as a sign of respect to the Phantom's creator.

  8. @ Andreas: Thanks. Very good information.