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Comparing Marvel’s remastered ‘Miracleman’ to Eclipse original

miracleman-1

Following the release this morning of the preview of Marvel’s remastered Miracleman #1, CBR News Editor Kiel Phegley dug into his archives for the original 1982 color issue, by Alan Moore and Garry Leach, so we can compare and contrast (the story first appeared in black and white in 1982′s Warrior #1).

While some traditionalists may argue for the original, we can probably all agree that Miracleman’s recolored, non-purple face on the right is a great improvement. You can compare the other preview pages below.

The remastered Miracleman #1, featuring a new cover by Joe Quesada, goes on sale Jan. 15.

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miracleman-5

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Doesn’t look too bad, but I wish they just left it alone. I found the recolouring of Walt Simonson’s Thor really disappointing.

Love it! I have many complaints about modern comics, but today’s coloring isn’t among them.

The recoloring used in the 1990 Miracleman Book One collection seems to be what Marvel is most closely emulating.

All versions (Warrior B&W, Eclipse color #1, Book One recolored, and Marvel) can be seen here:
http://mistahphil.tumblr.com/post/69617657544/miracleman-color-comparisons-from-left

Just learned that I’m a “traditionalist” today. Surprising since I’ve always considered myself a progressive. It just seems that the new coloring diminishes the “warmth” and humanity of the original and seems more stark, cold and uninviting to me as a reader. Sure the old coloring was clumsy and bleedy but it just seems a bit more “human” that way. Can anyone else help me see what I’m missing in the recoloring?

How can anyone prefer the original colouring? It was probably ok for its time but it’s just terrible now. Marvel’s version is a vast improvement.

given how old and how comic book fans have head the legend of miracle man given how the rights were a mess. can see why marvel redid the pages to look like the series just hit.

Marvelman. I refuse to use any other name.

I’m still curious to see what they are going to do a dozen issues in when a whole issue is spent on a childbirth, mostly in unflinching vaginal closeup, or around the same time when an entire chapter is spent with a villain torturing, mutilating and slaughtering the city of London in excruciating detail.

I have a bad feeling about those issues coming out from Marvel unscathed and uncensored.

Strange. I look at the new version and get a real strong Steve Dillon/Gary Frank vibe, which I do not get from the original. Not a bad vibe, mind you, just unexpected.

Sometimes the original coloring was an artistic choice and sometimes it’s a PRINT error.

Treating every print error like some sort of artistic license sacred cow is weird.

On the other hand, sometimes the new version lacks a deliberate method for mood.

Cliff said:I’m still curious to see what they are going to do a dozen issues in when a whole issue is spent on a childbirth, mostly in unflinching vaginal closeup, or around the same time when an entire chapter is spent with a villain torturing, mutilating and slaughtering the city of London in excruciating detail.

I have a bad feeling about those issues coming out from Marvel unscathed and uncensored.

I Say: Same concern I had. I wish Marvel had published Moore’s (sorry, The Original Writher’s)work as a HC, and started the series with Gaiman’s run. I can’t imagine why Marvel would want to continue Eclipse’s numbering when they reboot their own titles every 3 years. As an aside, Marvel Man closed down two publishers before the run concluded. The new issues (new for us old readers) is three years away. Hope Marvel survives long enough to publish them. Heh.

@Docspin “It just seems that the new coloring diminishes the “warmth” and humanity…”

Well the original did use a warmer palette. Lots of oranges and yellows. I wouldn’t have minded even a tone-down version for the recolors if they’d stuck with the same palette. Also looks like they went for realism over impressionistic. Look at the Earth and Moon in the second (big) panel. They’re purple and orange in the original versus the revamp which has a more natural look.

I agree, I like the charm of the old, but a happy medium would have been okay too.

“Warmth” and “humanity” are about the last words I’d associate with this work.

oh man, this looks phenomenal. can’t wait to hold the issue in my hands. i always felt the shoddy coloring took away from the beauty of the art, this feels like it is enhancing it. beautiful!

Cliff & Dave

Why are you concerned the material will be unaltered? Nothing about said issue should be changed.

Sadly I preferred the original coloring and wished Marvel has stuck with it for the reprints.

Whoever did the recoloring should be ashamed of himself and apologize to the creators of the pages he butchered.

No Don, we’re concerned they WILL be altered.

I don’t think the new colors look *totally* perfect, but…

When the original colors had the main character’s face bright purple in the middle of a one-character splash page for no reason whatsoever, you know someone along that production line was not giving a single f%$#.

From what I’ve seen, I think my favorite colors are probably in the 1990 recolored reprints (thanks, Phil Jackson!). They seemed to get things right without going down this rabbit hole of computer flashiness the the new Marvel edition seems to in some spots (MM’s face in that new bullet-deflecting panel, I don’t know man…).

Well this stuff was originally printed in black and white so I don’t know what half of you are complaining about. To me it looks great, and I hope out of this Garry Leach gets the props he’s long deserved.

Anybody else think it’s weird that they ADDED a dedication 30 years later? (“We can’t be sure, but we suspect the people who originally produced this comic would have wanted to acknowledge…”)

“Whoever did the recoloring should be ashamed of himself and apologize to the creators of the pages he butchered.”

What a wonderful sentiment, coming from someone calling themself as “voice of reason”. If you really were the Voice of Reason, you’d surely dispassionately understand that not EVERY colouring decision from the past was some part of some grand artistic, reverential master plan; if a human HAS A PURPLE FACE, and is in front of a PURPLE EARTH and an ORANGE MOON there’s a fair chance that the colouring to begin with was pretty far off.

Also moaning so-called purists, remember that these pages were originally printed in black and white in Warrior. Eclipse themselves made a total ball-up of the colouring. Bitch about Marvel all you want (and a lot of the time it’s justified), but as far as what they’ve done here, I see no need to complain.

Laurence J Sinclair

December 10, 2013 at 2:37 pm

It’s not the quality of the colouring that is annoying (because yes, the newer version is much better), but the colours themselves. Giving everyone human skin tones is one thing, but changing glowing energy from yellow to white? Changing the science gestapo’s uniforms from purple to red with grey trim? Those just seem like changes for change’s sake.

Michael, have you been getting enough rest? You look so pale.

I love the recoloring. it makes the art cleaner and easier to see . the yellow people keep saying they want makes it look we have a black and yellow drawings. this looks like new art. I agree with Quesauda this look much better. back in the eighties the color pallet was limited it isn’t now so there is nothing wrong with up dating the product and making it fresher. DC Did the is with there Sandman collections. another thing to think about is the artist involved gave there blessing and there suggestions. It is not like there repainting the Sistine Chapel with out Michel Angelo’s permission.

Drew Melbourne

Anybody else think it’s weird that they ADDED a dedication 30 years later? (“We can’t be sure, but we suspect the people who originally produced this comic would have wanted to acknowledge…”)

no I don’t Dez Skinner published Marvel Man with out Micks permission.Marvel bought the rights eclipse did not own them. Marvel is just being fair Eclipse did care who they were honoring.

@Jay — thanks Jay, I agree about the “happy medium”. Still there was something charming about the purple Earth……lol. It’s a comic and not sure everything has to be so realistic. Also:
@ Andrew Carl — yes, the white facial highlights on the bullet deflection are really excessive. They took me completely out of the action in a really garish way.

I agree that coloration improvements have greatly enhanced comics, but I don’t enjoy them when “colorists” are just trying to place their own personal stamp on a work rather than gently enhance the overall tone. I suppose it all comes down to the actual colorist and it seems that re-colorists are generally given to extremes in an attempt to “improve” already legitimate coloring. Wasn’t impressed by the recoloring on The MAXX either. Would be awesome to see “re-coloring” of the same caliber of Jose Villarubia or Alex Sinclair’s art.

Not loving it. Typically, modern coloring techniques are used to enhance depth and shading, and lose dot matrix. Not here. Here, I’m seeing arbitrary color changes. A background from pink to blue, another from orange to blue. A sweater from orange/yellow to green. Titles and sound effects from yellow to pink and from pink to yellow. Skin tone changed to bright white? These changes are supposed to justify the lofty price point? The colorists can argue that modern audiences are more accustomed to… whatever. But I see no improvement; they seem like arbitrary changes to me. Marvel won’t be seeing dime one from me until they get to the new stuff.

Don:

As Cliff said, we are worried about how Marvel will treat the graphic scenes of childbirth (which were controversial at the original publisher) and the gang rape of a minor (not as explicit), but disturbing) in a non-Max or Icon title. Both scenes are pivotal moments in the story and may give Marvel cold feet. I’m not too worried about the graphic violence. I remember at the time that the final battle between MM and KM were considered to be the most violent in comics. Sadly, we’ve surpassed those levels and the scenes may be considered tame by current standards.

Well they certainly took some liberties with the art, didn’t they?

They should have left it as-is. it’s not about liking or disliking new coloring, but it’s about keeping things as close to original as possible. Just publish it collected in hardcover – people will buy it. Humanoids learned when they published Incal with new colors – people didn’t like it. Who cares if the new colors are better – they are new. And the old is retro and retro is always in.

I find myself agreeing with DocSpin. The second and third pages look far too modern (and we clearly printed/meant for newsprint quality paper). They look modern in an off-putting way (like trying to turn a Joe Shuster page into a John Cassidy page, though honestly, the artwork looks weirdly Rags Morales-esque). It also feels like they assumed the monochromatic look of the originals was because of a lack of resources/old age/newsprint quality paper as opposed to an artistic choice. You can really see that in four panel strip along the second page.

But pages four and five seem to be marked improvements. They managed to retain the softness of the old serial look the original pages had. The pages look like they are from the 1940s (especially rewarding since they were 1982 in the first place)

Maybe that’s because Marvel/DC/comics in general have much more experience cleaning up the Golden Age works that they know what they’re doing a little more than with more modern work.

The cuffs and chest emblem are colored wrong in the new version of the last panel of page 3 for no reason whatsoever, you know someone using that copy of Photoshop was not giving a single f%$#!

Exactly, n. It is all about releasing it as close to original as possible, not about creating something new. At least, not until they get to the new material.

Miracleman was part of Eclipse’s attempt to compete on price, as I recall. Airboy and New Wave were the other initial titles. Eclipse had these published overseas (why does my brain say Iceland?) and they obviously weren’t able to work with the printer the way they could with a North American printer (this is well before the internet folks). Those of us at the time were ecstatic to see a color independent book break the dollar barrier.

It’s also important to remember the printing technology. These were printed on lesser quality paper (these were the days when publishers promoted that it was Mando or Baxter paper instead of newsprint, remember?) and the coloring system used for 4 color printing was nowhere near as sophisticated as what we can do today.

many times people tend to be nostalgic for the way things were just because those are the way they were. Nobody ever thinks about whether the artists who worked under those restrictions would have liked to have the options available today. I hate that George Lucas won’t let the original versions of the original trilogy be released, but I do recognize that it’s his right to use later technology to present his original vision that was compromised by the available technology at the time.

Funny, I remember ordering comics way back in the day…and got the original Eclipse MM issue as a freebie with my order..and I was like…what the hell is this?! Guess I should have held onto it….

Don’t sweat it, the first issue’s worth like 5 or 10 bucks. Now if you’d let go of a complete set, like I have three times now…ugh, don’t get me started.

Re: Censorship.

The rape scene isn’t any more explicit than IDENTITY CRISIS and that wasn’t a Vertigo or Max title.

The birth scene, yeah. It makes me sad that violence, even rape, has become more accepted in comics, but healthy sexuality is as off limits as ever.

>> It just seems that the new coloring diminishes the “warmth” and humanity of the original and seems more stark, cold and uninviting to me as a reader.>>

Since the mood of the story is pretty stark and cold, it seems like they’re coloring it more appropriately.

>>Whoever did the recoloring should be ashamed of himself and apologize to the creators of the pages he butchered.>>

Garry Leach, the creator of most of those pages seen above, hated the first version of the coloring, which is one of the reasons they changed it for the TPB. But he got to consult on these pages, and actually have a voice in how it was colored.

So what you’re saying is that the guy whose work the artist actually had input on and approved should apologize in favor of work the artists didn’t like at all. I’m guessing neither the new colorist nor Leach feel any need for shame.

>> Anybody else think it’s weird that they ADDED a dedication 30 years later?>>

I’m pretty sure that dedication was added earlier; I think I’ve read it before. Maybe in the TPB? Maybe in a different issue? I wouldn’t be surprised if Moore had written it at some point, and it was dropped in in one of the later printings — maybe not on that page, but somewhere in the book.

Moore has been very clear that he thinks Anglo was ill-used in all this, so it doesn’t seem out of line that it’d be one of the things he asked for. Take his name off it, dedicate it to the original creators.

>> it’s not about liking or disliking new coloring, but it’s about keeping things as close to original as possible.>>

The original was in black-and-white. What you’re asking to be preserved is the version that first scrapped the original approach, not the actual original.

kdb

IMHO, I think there is something valid to point out. First, I can see both views of the old coloring vs. the new. Yet, remember that what they had to work with was complete and utter crap. I believe they only had negatives to work from, so that means that for all four colors used in printing were separated down to 4 negatives each page to make it look full/four color. Each color of that spectrum (Cyan, Yellow, Magenta & Black) had to be digitally scanned to even begin the process of recoloring and re-lettering, which hasn’t been brought up . Marvel had substandard negatives to work from. I could go on, but it’s boring as hell.

Thank You Mr Busiek for adding even more context.

Now imagine, only having one negative to work from (black) to create however many color revisions there have been through the years. I’m not privy to what exactly Marvel had to work with, but I believe they were trying to convey the “Original” creators intent especially if they had input on the final work. Is it perfect? NO Is it close? Yes!

Sidebar, remember Marvel paid through the nose for this work and they want to recoup every cent & like it or not that’s what companies do with their investments. They are attempting to appeal to a very BROAD scope of readers, many of whom have never heard of Miracle/MarvelMan before…

I myself had once reservations of getting this newly remastered version, but upon seeing how Marvel is committed to make this relevant and significant again, I am definitely hooked up. Going to tell my fave retail store to put this in my pull-list right now!

“CBR News Editor Kiel Phegley dug into his archives for the original 1982 color issue.”

That “original” color issue is actually from 1985.
The B&W original Warrior #1 was out in 1982, but it was a few years before the U.S. version came out.

I think the recoloring looks a lot better, however the original has this real classic feeling to it.

I really like the new colouring. But I will NOT buy this reprinted comic for $4 an issue!! Marvel are f**king insane at that price!

I still have the original series as well as the spinoff miniseries that Eclipse did. I’d like to see Marvel make an official announcement re: the Childbirth issue. Just so we can either be happy to know its not censored…. or to be prepared to tell Marvel where to stick it if they do censor/alter the issue.

Some of the changes are improvements. But some of the changes degrade the quality. So what is the point in doing when you do not do it right?

As an example additional to many other mentioned in the comments, take the “A DREAM OF FLYING” on the 2nd page (I dedicate this comment to Kurt Busiek!). On the left side we see sleeping Michael, yellow Kid Marvelman, and a text referring to the costumes of Young & Kid Marvelman as red and yellow. Now in the new coloring Michael is painted in red, thus leading to the conclusion that it is him who is referred to as a “red firebird”. I actually believe the colorist interpreted the text this way.

The new colouring is a vast improvement to the old. I still prefer the B+W originals.

If I remember correctly, the dedication was in the Warrior version, and deleted from the Eclipse one

Wow, it’s like they actually tried to significantly alter every single panel. It’s the coloring equivalent of a kid standing on a table, waving his arms and saying “Hey, look at me! I’m special!” No. The original MIracleman is special. The new coloring is just needless distraction.

The recoloring is a big improvement but I hope the industry doesn’t forget how great the original was (I’m looking at you, George Lucas).

The colouring is now on par with the quality of the writing and the line art. Since the original was in B&W I’d say any “purists” out there should take that into account.

To the people complaining about the re coloring, it was all done with the artists notes and participation in some cases.

Why are people ignoring Kurt’s comments?

I’m not surprised with the recoloring… given some of the ‘improvements’ in the Masterworks that led me to drop collecting those and sell what I had.

These don’t seem quite so egregious, but – as others have said – keeping a similar palette might have been a nice compromise.

hmm… what to say…
I would have like to see 3 comparisons:
1/ the original colours
2/ the original colours remastered
3/ the new remastered colours

Then, my opinion would have been a very constructive one. Anyway, I like the new remastered colours BUT (this is the “BUT”), like I said, I would have liked to see the real colours remastered.

I will not pass this opportunity to read of of the comic book masterpieces because of new remastered colours. I am not dumb or “classical” enough to stop myself to such futile aspects.

So, yes, I add this comic book in my pre-orders monthly list. Well done Marvel. one comic book dropped for DC (the Deceptive Company).

Wow, I hate to sound like an old fanboy, but it is so cool to read a comment from Kurt Busiek! I’m about to collect your Conan run from Dark Horse, sir, and really looking forward to it!

To the topic at hand, I like the new coloring, and feel like Marvel would have been crazy not to update this for bookstore type purchasing down the line. My guess is they hope this will turn into a perennial seller like Watchman, and to have it not look “modern” would likely cut into that. I’m just surprised they didn’t go straight to a hardback collection with this, rather than monthlies. But I guess they are hoping to double dip.

Great discussion, by the way!

>> I’m pretty sure that dedication was added earlier; I think I’ve read it before. Maybe in the TPB? Maybe in a different issue? I wouldn’t be surprised if Moore had written it at some point, and it was dropped in in one of the later printings — maybe not on that page, but somewhere in the book.

Hi Kurt,

According to the pages scanned by Mr. Phil Jackson (kindly linked above), that dedication appears in the same place on the original Warrior issue but not on either of the Eclipse reprints.

(And now I’m off to my local shop to pick up Astro City #7 and some other things!)

I don´t like those are that bad. At least not as bad as Flex Metallo. However, that last page is almost painful. The colors of the original one were of course making a reference to pop-art, which in the new one is totally gone.

I would have prefered all new artwork period instead. While the colours look great, it still looks dated, so it makes it look out of place…

“hmm… what to say…
I would have like to see 3 comparisons:
1/ the original colours
2/ the original colours remastered
3/ the new remastered colours”

The original is black and white. I’m pretty sure black and white remastered is still black and white.

And to anyone complaining that they made unnecessary changes – that makes no sense. They probably barely (if at all) looked a the colours from the Eclipse reprints as they’re completely irrelevant.

Go back and read Kurt Busiek’s comments.

(oh and the new colours look great)

Originally printed in black and white. That means that the first colored run mucked up the Black and White original printing. Therefore, unlike The Killing Joke or Flex Mentallo, recoloring it isn’t such a big deal, since the art was never meant to be colored in the first place.

I don’t really like the coloring. I think a key thing is that I consider Miracleman comics to be strongly tied to the era they came out, and the new colors look nothing like a comic colored in the 80s. If they realized a heavily updated recolorization of Alan Moore’s Swamp thing, i’d feel the same way about it.

regarding the changes – I doubt the colorist was paid enough to look at every page of the earlier colors for comparison.

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