View Full Version : Neal Adams ruined by bad coloring

08-04-2019, 09:44 AM
I was just looking at that Batman Odyssey book from a few years back. It looks okay, sure, but they have a page or two of the line art... Then you can see how the colorist muddied up a lot of the hatching line work he does.

Would have preferred mostly flat colors that let the line work show through clearly. Damn colorists.

It was on sale so I would almost consider buying it, but not with all the drawing obscured and muddy like that.

Rene A.
08-05-2019, 01:59 AM
Batman Odyssey, the book I like to call "Batman Oddity"! Neal's work has certainly changed over the years, but I still like the energy he brings. I agree on the coloring, especially given Neal's style.

08-05-2019, 09:10 AM
Thank you! Yes imo he's still in the top ranks of all comic artists... Maybe it's not as good as his peak years.. I haven't actually got any of his early work on hand to look at. (Ok I could search online but on my phone so not inclined to bother.)

I need to post some comparison images to make my case better. I was just looking at some John Buscema, colored under the old methods, that shows the same thing. The flat coloring lets you really appreciate the artistry of the linework.

08-05-2019, 01:08 PM
I agree TimR. His work with even just black & white really brings our the art. His style should have been treated with respect and the editor should have picked up a more suited coloring to compliment his work not ruin it. For example: Mignola's Hellboy brings out the black & white intensity of his art with that particular style of coloring.

08-05-2019, 08:56 PM
Digital and full-color, uhm, coloring are good when, like with anything, used with moderation. If you get a Colorist who thinks he's Picasso and decides he just wants to liberally apply color and digital effects all over the place regardless of the Penciller and Inker's contributions AND you get an Editor without the brains or the cajones to tell said Colorist that they're mucking up the works, then you start to run into serious quality issues.

A similar issue is occurring with all the reprints MARVEL is putting out of Silver and Bronze Age material. The colors on them look super day-glo bright and garish because they were never designed to be run on super-while, super-glossy stock and if the Editors behind said reprints had more than half a brain, they'd let someone in an art department somewhere tone those colors down a bit before just sending them off, willy-nilly, to the printer and then out to the comics shops.

08-05-2019, 09:16 PM
Thanks for those comments guys. Agree on all points. Why aren't WE running these companies? Lol

I don't even think the Odyssey colorists were showboating that much.. Not like tons of lens flares or anything.. But an airbrush texture shadow, laid ON TOP of hatched shading, just makes no sense... It's one or the other, people, one or the other. And yes, moderation.. It doesn't have to be as limited as old school coloring, but just let the linework be center stage.

Rene A.
08-05-2019, 10:30 PM
No one has mentioned it yet, but I'll say it. I think that on top of all the digital coloring, part of what is detracting from the art is printing on coated, glossy stock. This just adds a shine to the whole finished page that can be distracting at times. Thing is, it's probably cheaper and easier to print on gloss than it is uncoated paper.

In my opinion, there was a moment where comics and digital coloring hit a sweet spot in terms of reproduction. To give reference, I'm looking at an issue of that old Batman Sword of Azrael series by O'Neil and Quesada, back in '92 (I know, that's going waaaay back!) There was something about that type of newsprint and the way comics colors starting being applied. I believe at that time coloring had gone digital, but the coloring was limited most likely because of printing on uncoated stock.

That type of finished, printed page looks so sweet to me. The lineart is clearly and cleanly reproduced and the coloring is spot on. It does the story justice while not detracting from the art itself.

08-06-2019, 10:04 AM
That's a good point Rene, I've long been on my soapbox about the paper as well. All taken together, it's almost as if "comics" DON'T EVEN EXIST ANYMORE... Lol. And they wonder why nobody buys them! Well, they're not even being produced anymore.... Just some kind of faux, pseudo comics is all you can find....

I have seen a publisher called Alternacomics printing on newsprint, charging one or two bucks a pop amazingly... But the coloring (digital) doesn't look very brilliant... The colors all seem a bit gray, almost murky... Not like I remember old newsprint comics when they were dinw by the majors.

And yes there were other flat paper stocks that were even better maybe, if pricier.

Rene A.
08-06-2019, 01:54 PM
I do agree with jeffchris50 as well. There's a happy medium, for sure. Some books just have the perfect combination of line art and coloring down. Other times, its a miss as TimR points out.

I've wanted to see what an Alternacomics looks like in print, but I haven't been able to get my hands on any copies yet. Admittedly, I've cut back on my comics spending lately.

08-06-2019, 10:24 PM
My local BooksAMillion carries them. Southeastern chain but maybe out West a little too.

08-09-2019, 11:00 AM
This series was colored by Continuity Studios, which is run (owned?) by Neal Adams himself. In fact, it may actually have been him doing the coloring, at least partly.

08-09-2019, 01:48 PM
I also think that Neal Adams is a heavy handed inker and that helps muddy the pages. if you look at his work when inked by Dick Giordano (an amazing inker) the line work was much cleaner and lighter in tone.

08-11-2019, 10:53 AM
The credits list various coloring studios, maybe they're under Continuity? I'm sure he had some role in it but I don't care either way it sucks lol

08-11-2019, 11:00 AM
The book is inked by various inkers as well.. Seinkiwicz and many others.

Further on this topic.. Just got a library copy of Walt Simonson Thor with remastered color by Steve Oliff. It's pretty good for modern coloring, and is lightly dobe so the inks are clear. Also nice matte paper.

However they include an old cover with old flat color, and I give it a slight edge. The colors are bolder, more graphic and complement the art well. Also in Oliff's, it introduces all these subtle details so... Even though you can SEE the inks well, it DISTRACTS from that being the focus. You're kind of divided between the two, focus split between Simonson art and all the color sculpting effects.

08-12-2019, 07:27 PM
I do LOVE black and white comics.
I have the DC Unwraped collection. Waiting for more comics with only pencils and lettering on it.
Several Marvel's Essentials with inks and lettering. Amazing! Romita Sr. and others.
Sean Murphy, Jock, Nolan, Finch, Alex Toth, Alex Raymond, Caniff, Foster, Kirby, Kubert, Buscema's, Jije, Moebius, Toppi, Breccia, De la Fuente, all in black and white Collections. Amazing.
There is when we can appreciate the artist's artwork on all its splendor.
Color is just for the mass audience, the viewer, not the doers. Black and white comics are invaluable for artists. For admiring it, analyzing and learning from it.

08-12-2019, 11:23 PM
That's true Scribbly, great for artists to study... I do think a lot of those were designed w color in mind. Although the best, like Toth, said they wanted it to work in b&w so that the coloring could not ruin it