Olyoptics Timeline - 1988

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Computer Color Arrives

Mike Saentz actually beat us to get the Iron Man graphic Novel “Crash” out a week before Akira #1 in Spring 1988. “Crash” turned out to be a muddy, strange, stilted-looking book that is a milestone experiment, but does not hold up well over time. Akira, even though simple, still looks good. I consider Akira #1 to be the first time that a color guide artist was his own separator in comics (Richard Corben notwithstanding). I was able to make the color more a part of the art, and I had the ability to use gradations anywhere at all. I also had the ability to create colors that no one else would have.

 

  About this same time, over at DC, Declan Malone, the Irish entrepreneur, and production manager Bob Rozakis were working on modifying TimeArts Lumena software to coloring comics. The only difference was that they weren’t trying to push any limits. They just wanted it to eliminate the need for hand separations. They didn’t want it to look different.

  I wanted to be different. I wanted Akira to look like nothing else. I tried to do something new every issue. I was rewarded for my efforts when I won the Harvey Award for best color in 1989 for Akira.

  The computer age was on. There was no turning back.

  For the next couple of years, Akira, an Epic comic, was the only regular computer colored book. For DC, the first computer coloring project I did was the comic adaptation of the first Batman movie, starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. At some point we began computer coloring Alien Legion for Epic. Generally speaking, though, Marvel wasn’t interested in computer color because it did cost more than the old-style separations. In fact, we had to adjust the price up 3 times over the first two years of Akira to make ends meet. I again have Gene to thank for that. He was always on our side.

  The one book that I really wanted to color with computers was a book drawn by a hotshot young turk artist who was an Akira fan. It was Todd McFarlane’s Spiderman series. That series sold millions, but Marvel didn’t want to spend a few thousand more on the color separations. The color was never very good on that series.

  A few years later, I got the chance to work with Todd.

 

 



Iron Man, CRASH

Akira #1
Akira #1

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