Colorists don’t get enough love in comics. But they should.
I was reading this week’s new comics and gave a huge mental thanks that Marvel seems to have moved on from the era – two or three years ago? – in which the predominant color of all their comics was brown. Dark, muddy brown. I dropped the X-Force title at the time based on my dislike of the colors alone.
This is no longer the case. Comics – at Marvel and elsewhere – have made a strong return to vibrant colors and palettes that further the story. Here are a few of my current favorite colorists:
In the past few weeks I have seen Ms. Bellaire’s work on Captain Marvel, Mara, and Journey Into Mystery. In these three titles alone we see the strength and breadth of the colorist. Captain Marvel has a slightly pastel scheme, punctuated by bright primary colors. There’s the real world, and then there’s superheroism.
In Mara the landscapes and crowds are massive and oddly bleak in color, while the sport of volleyball is foregrounded. This is color in support of plot.
And in Journey Into Mystery? Here we have page after page of mighty battles, drenched in alien blood. Bellaire’s color choices are the key, making the slaughter epic yet not disgusting.
Fiona Staples is doing all of the art on Saga. And, my goodness, is it ever worth your time. This is wildly imaginative space adventure – saga, for lack of a better word – and the richness of everything alien is beautifully rendered by her art. Including the color.
Gracia is the one bringing you the fantastic colors on All-New X-Men. This is a shadowed story, punctuated by the bright qualities of the younger X-Men. This is reflected in the colors used.
Locke and Key, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriquez, is one of the best comics I’m currently reading. This owes a certain amount to the work of colorist Jay Fotos. The atmospheric horror of the comic would not be the same with a different color scheme.
My thanks, to all of you colorists out there. I truly appreciate your work.