4CP FTW (9)

By: John Hilgart
April 14, 2011

[Ninth in a series of 10 posts from John Hilgart’s mesmerizing comic-book details site, 4CP (Four Color Process). We’re thrilled to share Hilgart’s hi-lo way of seeing with our readers.]

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While I prefer to look at Jim Steranko’s late Sixties work in the original printings, you could make a case for the way his art comes across in today’s reprint editions.

Steranko was a young, post-pop-art comic book designer with a commercial art background. He was bringing something back to comics after it had been appropriated from comics for other uses. If he wanted a “comic book effect” in his art, he did it with black and white halftone; he put his own dots in as a controlled simulation of mechanical process. He also embraced solid colors and white space in dramatic new ways that were not about illustrative illusion and that often embraced a flat effect.

His best panels and pages are Warhol-like, though he also drew some deliberate Lichtenstein frames. Steranko was arguably designing within the genre of comics but against the medium of four-color process. Here’s the full frame as printed with today’s technologies on glossy paper.

Click on image for larger version.


Comics, Spectacles

What do you think?

  1. Hey, that glossy version doesn’t look so bad. A lot better than the gaudy paperback reprinting I bought a few years ago. I guess they finally got it right-ish!

  2. Sean, the Marvel Masterworks version of this material is definitely worthy. All of Steranko’s special effects look really great, as does his liberal use of dense color and white space. I’ll also stick up for the Masterworks version of something like Jim Starlin’s Warlock, due to the level of detail in the art and the huge amount of black space, as well as Starlin’s own use of gradient effects.

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