Sunday, July 5, 2009

Repros - Coda

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Images:
1. a Prince Valiant (by Hal Foster) panel as published in a Portuguese edition (Príncipe Valente, volume 1, Editorial Presença [presence publishing house], 1972); what a mess!... (and, yes, in case you're wondering: the panel was published crooked as shown);
2. when I first saw my good friend Manuel Caldas' Príncipe Valente edition (Livros de Papel [paper books], 2005) I thought: I've been disrespected by publishers who were selling comics in about the same way as they very well could be selling potatoes (and they would sell rotten potatoes if people were dumb enough to buy them: are comics readers somewhat less bright than potato buyers?, I guess so...); if you like Hal Foster's art (or Warren Tufts') do yourself a favor and buy Manuel's editions in Spanish and Portuguese (http://www.manuelcaldas.com/) or in English (http://tinyurl.com/l8qcxr; http://tinyurl.com/l252ck: scroll down a bit, please...); these are labors of love; (only now, after all these years, did I notice that Hal Foster used aerial perspective in this spectacular image!, thanks Manel!);
3. a Winsor McCay self-portrait as published in Winsor McCay Early Works Volume VIII (Checker Books, 2006); nothing excuses such bad resolution and such bad design and production values!;
4. the same drawing as published in John Canemaker's Winsor McCay His life and Art (Abbeville Press, 1987); it's not Manuel Caldas repro quality, but, at least, it's a decent one;
5. this is a messy edition of Héctor Germán Oesterherld's and Alberto Breccia's Mort Cinder (Colihue, 1997); the repro quality is not the only problem: notice how a balloon content mysteriously disappeared in panel four;
6. the same page as in # 5. above as published in the excellent Italian edition: Mort Cinder, Sacrificio alla luna, L. F. Bona Editori, 1977; the repro is so good that it maintains an original art feel;
7. the last panel of an absolute comics masterpiece: "Un tenente tedesco" [A German Lieutenant] by Héctor Germán Oesterheld and Hugo Pratt (Mondadori, 1976 - one of two pirate editions; the other one was by Ivaldi); not only was the panel published crooked as shown, it also lost almost all the washes (the lines aren't that greatly reproduced either);
8. the same panel as originally published in Hora Cero (monthly) # 3 (July, 1957); no comments needed... (the original title of the story is "Un teniente alemán..."; as an aside: I can't understand why the Laconia became the Lacinia either?, it's not even a case of laconism...);
9. people blame technology sometimes (or the lack of it) for bad repro, but how can a body explain this superlative color edition of Flash Gordon done back in 1980!?, Flash Gordon, Le peuple de la mer (Slatkine B. D.); the only thing that I know is that the book was printed in Switzerland; if anyone can give me more details I will be much obliged...

11 comments:

Ng Suat Tong said...

The difference in the Prince Valiants is astonishing. The first looks as if it was taken from a bad photocopy of a Sunday page. The second one looks almost as if it was scanned from the original art. Which year is this from so I can check the Fantagraphics edition to see the difference?

Isabelinho said...

Hi Suat, great to hear from you (and sorry for being late answering my email):

this is exactly page 38 (October, 30, 1937)

Ng Suat Tong said...

You've written to me about the difference between the new Portugese edition of Prince Valiant and the Fantagraphics edition...and it has to be said that the Fanta edition looks almost as bad as the Editorial Presenca. Looks like I will have to make space for these new books....

So far you've mainly considered vintage artwork but I'll add a modern example to your list. Here's an example from Absolute Sandman Volume 3 which is printed at nearly 2/3 the size of the originals so there are few excuses. I suspect the printed art here is from a medium quality photocopy. I don't have a blog so CAF will have to do: http://www.comicartfans.com/GalleryRoom.asp?GSub=77973

Isabelinho said...

I see what you mean. The idiots just blew up the comic book page. So, obviously, the lines lost quality. To attain the opposite effect (i. e., the thinning of the lines) old comics artists drew from big to huge knowing that a reduction would occur in the printing process. But what did they know, right?...

João Oliveira said...

Domingos. Daqui João Oliveira, filho de José Manuel Oliveira.

Acabei de fazer um post num blog de uns amigos, onde eu participo, e divulguei o teu fantástico blog.

Isabelinho said...

Muito obrigado João!
O blog mencionado acima:
http://a-mentira.blogspot.com/2009/07/crib-sheet.html

Isabelinho said...

Oops!
Este é que é o link correcto:
http://a-mentira.blogspot.com/

Andrei said...

Hey Domingos--

I just found this post. Here's what I wrote on this topic in an essay for IJOCA:

"What mainly justifies this attention paid to original art, however, is the inherent visual qualities of the art itself. There are a good number of such qualities that viewers can see in a piece of original art, but not in the printed comic. To begin with, even though many assume that a pure black and white image can be translated into a printed black and white comic or into the black lines of a color comic with minimum loss, this is hardly the case. As can be seen when comparing a panel from Jack Kirby’s and Mike Royer’s original art for a page DC Comics’ Sandman no. 1 (1974) (figs.1, 2) to the printed product (fig. 3), oftentimes the reproduction process thickens the inked lines, which lose some of the gracefulness they had in the original drawing. Additionally, for the sake of reproduction, printers increase the black and white contrast, which gives lines a somewhat raggedier appearance (the proximity of lines to the color-screen dots also emphasizes this visual degradation). We would expect that the use of more sophisticated imaging technology would have corrected this situation. Actually, if anything, it has made it worse. As you can see in this comparison of the original and the printed versions of a panel from Ivan Brunetti’s Schizo 4 (figs. 4, 5, 6), line thickness is significantly exaggerated in the printed version, and so is the raggediness of the line edges. Now, of course, one might argue that the artists created their original pages advisedly, accounting for the later transformations--in the same way that painters in the eighteenth--century knew to work a little too brightly, so that some of the brightness of their color might survive under the painting’s darkening protective glazes. Yet, the liveliness and confidence of the application of the lines that, in the originals, really draw out the abilities of comic artists such as Brunetti and Royer survive only partially in the reproduced images."

Sorry, I can't post the images here...

Isabelinho said...

Hi Andrei:

I liked your essay in IJOCA a lot. Sometimes the published work is an exact replica of the original art, but this happens in incredibly rare occasions. I gave a couple of examples in my post and I can add _I Love You Helza_ by Guido Buzzelli (published by Segni & Disegni).
It seems to me that artists drew with a brush full of ink until it was dry (I'm not talking about the dry brush technique though). They couldn't care less because they knew that everything (from thick black to light grey) would appear black in the published page. Maybe that's what they intended (as we can see in the Roume page), but I, for one, agree with you: I like the visual effect in the original art; it adds contrast to the drawings.
As for the variation in the lines' thickness, no need for that now, apparently... It continues to happen (and Suat provided us with another example)because most publishers don't care. They continue to treat readers and artists with the same ol' disrespect that we know too well already...

mauro said...

Dear Domingos I congratulate you on this fantastic blog !!
And thank you for sharing these beautiful images with us !
I invite it to my blog
http://mauro-historietasargentinas.blogspot.com/

Regards from Argentina. Mauro

Rotebor said...

Estimado ISABELINHO:
Felicitaciones por las excelentes entradas en tu blog.

Por otra parte, el episodio completo de la edición original de "Un teniente alemán" puedes verlo en
http://chiquirritipis.blogspot.com/2009/02/una-joya-de-pratt-y-oesterheld-un.html

Y ahora mismo te agrego en mi lista de blogs favoritos.
Un cordial saludo.
Rotebor.