- Booster Gold
Monday, February 25, 2019
What's a color guide, you ask? Time for a brief history lesson!
Computers and modern printing techniques have changed things, but for most of the history of comics, all hues were printed from a few shades of one of three distinct colors. Below is artist Todd Klein's color chart from the 1980s when he worked at DC Comics. It has codes for each possible color, where "Y" stands for yellow, "B" for blue, and "R" for red. The "2" meant 25% saturation, "3" was 50% saturation, "4" was 75% saturation, and no number was fully saturated, pure color. When JLI #25 was released in 1989, 124 colors were possible.
DC colors on cover stock via KleinLetters.com
Like a kid with a single box of crayons, the colorist filled in the black and white drawings with watercolor paints to match those colors. The less fun part came after the paint dried. That's when the colorist had to go back over their work to provide the printer of the comic with an appropriate code for each color used so that the image could be reproduced. The colored and coded page was called a color guide, and that's what Aaron is selling.
Justice League International #25, page 11, panel 1 as planned
(If all that sounds like a lot to do, keep in mind that it was followed by a much more labor-intensive process called color separation. Using the coded pages of the color guide as their template, the color separator would paint sheets of acetate to be used when photographing the original art for transfer to the four printing plates needed for the CYMK color process. Printing comics was hard work!)
Justice League International #25, page 11, panel 1 as printed
Aaron's auction ends tomorrow, so don't drag your feet. If you'd like to lay your eyes (or your hands) on a bit of Blue and Gold history, hurry over to eBay.com today!
(And if you'd like more information about how comics are made, check out Todd Klein's fine blog at kleinletters.com or Klein's book co-written with Mark Chiarello, The DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering Comics.)
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