Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: Knowing One's Limitations!

Ya gotta appreciate this caption from THE FLASH #168 (DC Comics, Cover Date: March, 1967), acknowledging the inherent shortcomings of the printing methods of the time! 

Given that, back in 1967, most comic books (save Gold Key and Charlton, who owned their own presses), were printed at World Color Press in Sparta, IL - and were more than adequately done for the times, before we were collectively spoiled by modern printing and coloring techniques - Flash writer John Broome or editor Julius Schwartz accept the limitations of the coloring process, and engage in a little "truth in advertising" with the following caption narrations...

"At the sensational COLORAMA show, Dr. Maybrook, the show's creator, is seated at his special COLOR ORGAN, expertly

"...projecting on a wide screen an extraordinary play of vivid hues (here, alas, within this magazine-medium, shown only approximately -- with only a bare hint of its startling real-life effect)!..."

And, for what my view is worth, it actually enhances (in your "mind's-eye") what the images might look like within the context of the story!  

A nice touch that didn't need to happen - but did! 


Achille Talon said...

Ooh! I agree, that's a very classy move, there.

(Mind you, did they really need to make the background white, even so?)

Joe Torcivia said...


Just another reason why Julius Schwartz was the greatest editor at DC (… and for other little touches like, ya know… pretty much single-handedly ushering in the Silver Age with SHOWCASE #4 in 1956, and other things too numerous to mention)… and, at least as far as the USA goes, one of the greatest comic book editors of ALL TIME!

Just being “the greatest editor at DC” is quite the achievement considering that DC is unquestionably one of the world’s leading and most influential publishers, from the 1930s to the present day – and much of that “leading and most influential” stuff occurred during his tenure! (…as opposed to a great deal of their 21st Century stuff!)

What can I say, I love the guy and his body of work! …Even got to meet him twice!

If you ask me, the white background simply served to make the various colors better stand out… again, given the printing limitations of 1967. A non-white background would either overrun or mute the colors in one way or another. I’d like to imagine this done in modern coloring techniques – and in 3D!

Aw, HECK! I’m imagining so why not do it in animated swirls as well!

Mark Lungo said...

They were doing the best they could with what they had. At least they admitted it.

P.S. Joe, can I email you soon? I had some personal stuff to talk about, as well as some Irwin Allen-based opinions that might interest you.

Joe Torcivia said...


SO SORRY for the delay in posting your comment! For some reason it went to my spam folder instead of its usual place!

“They were doing the best they could with what they had. At least they admitted it.”

And that was one of the many differences between DC “Then”, and just about any comics publisher (save Fantagraphics) “Now”! They had a certain integrity – especially when Julius Schwartz was involved – that’s missing in all walks of life today.

You can ALWAYS e-mail me! Just know that I’ve (regrettably) become very bad at personal communications for a number of reasons. See my comment in the “Meece on Earth…” post for more on that.

…And, I’m always interested in all things Irwin Allen!