Friday, November 7, 2014

That Wardrobe is SO 1970

In this duplicate Marvel's Greatest Comics cover of the original Fantastic Four #96, there are some curious choices that were made in the revised cover--the most obvious being that all of the major elements are flipped horizontally:

And if you flip the new cover back, to resemble the original, it would appear that the only reason to flip it in the first place would be to avoid the universal barcode symbol partially covering Reed Richards:

It doesn't seem that big of a deal, since we're only talking about sacrificing part of Reed's jacket and arm--but since the general angle of the view of the FF figures (and their victims) isn't altered one way or the other, the cover is still intact for all intents and purposes.

Yet there are a number of other choices that are made which invite speculation. It's not all that unusual for coloring changes to be made in an eight-year span--yet it's the extent of them here that catches the eye. The Thinker is obviously given a more distinctive appearance, as opposed to being kept "in the shadows"; but also, the clothing colors of Reed, Sue, and Johnny have been altered. Perhaps it was felt that Reed's brown suit blended him too much into the background--and if it's then changed to bright blue, Johnny's clothing then has to be changed to another color so as not to clash. (Though he could really only clash if he, too, were wearing a suit.) And Sue is now wearing a one-piece dress, though it's unclear to me why separates would be frowned upon--and her dress color now coincides with the color of the caption box directly above her, which appears to be intentional.

And then we move to other noticeable items. The scene of the city from the window is less detailed, while the skyline coloring provides less offset to the buildings and seems like a step backward. (The caption box has also been moved down to partially obscure it, in order to accommodate the MGC logo which the Torch and Thing icons bookend.) There's also less contrast to the Thing's definition--while Johnny's flames in the revised cover have been eliminated, which unfortunately gives us less a sense of the battle having just concluded and thus saps the cover of some vitality. (The head of the unconscious Johnny has also been tilted up slightly for some reason.)

If you've noticed how often the word "less" is used above in reference to the newer cover, you've probably guessed correctly which cover I'm partial to. All in all, I found the original cover more heightened in color choices and contrast, even with all the characters on the newer cover still as originally positioned.


Anonymous said...

First of all, Sue's bosom just looks weird. In all three covers.

B) and I say this with all sincerity, why douse the flame? What did you really gain?

Lastly: I agree you with wholeheartedly, I want my childhood back.....

Thanks a bunch Marvel.

The Prowler (Good weed, white wine I come alive in the night time okay, away we go only thing we have on is the radio).

Colin Jones said...

So was Marvel's Greatest Comics the only er, comic to do this - I mean redrawing the cover rather than just reprinting the original ? It all seems a bit pointless - in 1980 I had a few issues of Tales To Astonish which reprinted The Sub-Mariner but they just used the original covers although with some colour changes (of course I didn't know that at the time as I'd never seen the original covers).

Colin Jones said...

UPDATE: I've just been reading Rip Jagger's Dojo which shows Marvel Triple Action reprinting Avengers #54 but with a new cover so Marvel's Greatest Comics wasn't the only one - it still seems a bit pointless though when there was nothing wrong with the original covers.

Comicsfan said...

Colin, yes, MTA (like MGC) had a mixture of either using the original covers (with perhaps added captions or word balloons) or making a completely new cover for the story. I suppose the latter might have been done to "dress up" what was essentially a reprinted story, rather than give the appearance of simply reissuing the same issues on the comics rack again. I couldn't begin to tell you the thinking behind it all; personally, I might have gone with a "reprint" line of books, give one of them a main masthead like "Marvel's Greatest Comics," and directly below in smaller but noticeable type, "Presenting Earlier Stories from Issues of Fantastic Four!" and follow suit with the Avengers, Thor, et al., while making sure that they all came with new covers. Seems a more marketable way of approaching it, rather than adjusting the original covers to give the book on the sales rack a newer appearance.

david_b said...

I loved when they'd bring Starlin in to totally redo the reprint covers. Most of 'em are quite nice on their own.

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