Spoke to Peter Doherty about this yesterday, am assured that Frank and Grant both love the recolouring and Frank worked closely with Peter on it.
No one thinks it was a bad job, but it's an open question as to whether it is truly an improvement in each reader's eyes as it is quite starkly different. While Quitely and Morrison might love the changes, they aren't the people buying or not buying the book.
I agree with what someone suggested here, a page from the creators explaining why the coloring changes were made would have probably interested readers more than put them off.
Last edited by Victorian Squid; 04-07-2012 at 08:30 AM.
But the original never reflected the artist's intentions, apparently. That's the debate here. Do you feel like an artist should have no say at all in how his/her work is presented?
I'd say once the product has been released, no. Once it's out there, it's not theirs anymore. Secondly, the original colorist obviously contributed to the released product in some way. Isn't he entitled to make the decision?
Thats not to say that recoloring is bad, but when it's done best (looking at you, Simonson Thor Omnibus) its when its honoring the original color scheme.
See, everyone pans the 1990's but for those of us that enjoy speculating-collecting AND a good story, the 1990's publications always made things so handy for us by actually letting us know when an issue was (A) a first issue - because reading the upper left corner indicia way so tiresome, and (B) Letting us know that the issue was going to be a collector's item, sometimes even adding the word 'classic', to let you know that it would not only be a collectors item, but was predestined to be critically regarded before it even saw publication.
These were all extremely helpful. As we return to the 1990's in so many ways already - variant covers, polybags, Rob Lieflield's return to prominence - I hope these helpful and thoughtful cover pronouncements see a resurgence too.
Peter here, just had this thread pointed out to me and I thought it might be pertinent to add some clarifications to stem some misunderstandings and misapprehensions.
First off, Grant wanted the recolouring as he felt the original colour served the story poorly, partially as the technology in 1995 was still pretty primitive so could be improved upon greatly today,and partly because much of it was simply wrong from a narrative point of view. For instance Flex's world is trapped in a perpetual night, something missed in the original mini-series, but an important story point.
The collection has been coloured with close consultation with Frank and Grant, something that certainly didn't happen in 1995. Grant supplied a series of requests and answered questions I had regarding story points that might need emphasis via the colour, and I spoke to Frank frequently throughout the process. The pages went to Frank and Grant before they went to DC, in fact I had no editorial input for DC at all. Some people may think that's a bad thing.
Secondly, Tom McGraw is credited as colouring the original mini-series but what isn't noted in the credits is that he produced colour guides which were then passed onto a separation house where probably many computer operators then interpreted these guides to give the final files sent to the printer, this was standard procedure until computer equipment became affordable. Non of these will have been approved by either Grant or Frank, most likely they didn't even see them until the issues were printed. So Rich's original statement,"Flex was from a time when more colours and more variance was available" isn't entirely accurate as these were the early days of computer colour and the colourist didn't have direct control over the file presented to the printer. So in 1995 there were many compromises that today simply don't apply.
One thing that hasn't been mentioned, many pages are in fact brand new--new scans from the original artwork, processed with much more care than the majority of the scans were 16 years ago. Frank has a number of the original pages squirrelled away at home and he dug out what he had after a conversation where I mentioned the poor quality of the line work in some of the files I had been given to work from. This is the reason there's a few pages of black and white artwork in the back of the book, DC didn't ask for this, it was a idea raised after I and Frank's studio mate, Rob Miller, had scanned the originals.
You can spot them if you look carefully, the most obvious being the two page scene where the lieutenant visit the Hoaxer in his cell. The left hand page was done using a new scan, the right hand page a supplied file where the line work looked like it came from a fifth generation xerox.
In essence this book represents what the original mini-series would have looked like had both Grant and Frank had some input into the colouring and had the technology been advanced enough in 1995 to do the job one can do today. It's just a shame we couldn't source more artwork and make it as true to Frank's originals as possible but compromises have to be made usually.
Last edited by Peter Doherty; 04-07-2012 at 01:15 PM.
Thanks for the insight, Peter. At first I was thinking the project would be more of a touch-up and not a complete overhaul. After the shock wore off, it was a pleasant surprise and I'm beginning to prefer it now that I've read it a few times.
I just read it again yesterday and the added darkness sets a very different tone in certain scenes, like Flex walking down the street in issue 1. Now that its dark, you can clearly tell that it was supposed to be in the original, especially with Flex wearing the detective jacket and the shady characters. The light change makes the books ending have much more of an impact, too. It's definitely a different (and cleaner) reading experience.
Yes, the original had some pretty weird colors which matched the weirdness of the story and that's missed in places, but the new version makes a lot of it flow better. Even if it doesn't keep the vivid color, the overall range of color ends up being much broader. Plus it fixes a lot of lazy mistakes, some of which are shown in the pictures (scene of Flex in the bar with Clark Kent being one of my favorite examples).
Also, I don't think anything is compromised by not having the original artwork. The quality is better than anyone ever thought it would be to say the least.