Quick. someone Ask Jeeves.

§ May 17th, 2019 § Filed under dc comics, how the sausage is made, publishing, swamp thing § 7 Comments

So the plan was to continue my dicussion of DC’s history of getting superhero chocolate into Swamp Thing’s peanut butter, and to do so I was going to, ahem, “borrow” some images from the DC Universe streaming app/service/comic library thing to save myself the time scanning the appropriate images. But lo and also behold, when I went to check out issue #23 of the original 1970s Swamp Thing series, this is what I found:

…It was in black and white. And so was #24. And when I checked other issues in the series, the available online scans from #14 ’til the end of that first run are all in black and white. Oh, and I eventually noticed the little, um, notice that was in the short text intro for each issue letting you know that, yes, this issue you’re about to read is in blcak and white.

That struck me as a bit…odd. I haven’t come across any other series on the service that was originally in color being presented in black and white. Granted, I haven’t done much of a deep dive beyond scattered issues of DC Comics Presents and some Silver Age Green Lantern, and there are literally thousands of digital comics recent thrown onto the service here, but it seems like this is weird.

Now there never was one of those black and white DC Showcase paperbacks for this series, and the entire run of the book was recently recolored and reprinted in that big ol’ Bronze Age Ominbus that came out not long ago. And other recently returned for regrooving and recoloring issues of other Swamp Thing series, like the 1982 run (also in that omnibus) is on the service, in full glorious technicolor. So why did the ’70s series get singled out?

There must be some kind of production issue involved here, though I have no idea what it is. The first thirteen issues are presented in color, and those same thirteen (representing Len Wein’s entire run of stories) were also recolored and reprinted in a hardcover some years back. So, I guess, maybe since those issues were reprocessed a few years back, they were ready for digitizing and uploading, but the later issues had yet to be recolored for that much more recent omnibus and weren’t ready when it was time to get all this online? But then, the pre-Alan Moore issues of the 1982 series had also never been reprinted before, but they’re all up and newly colored…so I have no idea. I’m really just guessing, and someone’s probably already explained why somewhere, but Alta Vista’s down and I know of no other way to search the World Wide Web.

Anyway, thought that was interesting. I’m still gonna talk about those issues soon, but I’m going to have to scan my own comics like some kind of caveman. I have talked about issues #23 and #24, the particularly superhero=y Swampys, on the site before, back in ye olden dayes of comics blogging, back before the meteor struck and killed 90% of Earth’s comics-blogging population. The scans I used then were tiny little things designed for dial-up, and not the glorious giant bandwidth-hogging pics I try to use now, so I’ll get on that in short order.

To follow up on BobH’s question from Friday’s comments section, about whether or not that final caption from issue #24 is in the currently-available print editions…my answer is “I don’t know.” I got pretty wiped out on much of my trade paperback stock during Free Comic Book Day, so I don’t have those Swamp Thing books readily available to peek at. I’m restocking best I can, and those Swampys are a priority what with the TV show about to debut. When last I investigated this important matter, that caption was missing from the then relatively recent hardcover printing, but present in the softcover edition. I believe we’ve had a repackaging of those issues since, so when my stock of those gets replenished, I’ll take a looksee.

In other Swamp Thing reprint news, DC has a series of “facsimile editions” (new printings of classic comics, ads and all, kind of like what Marvel’s been doing lately) coming soon. And House of Secrets #92, featuring the work of Jack Kirby and alos the first appearance of some swamp creature, is on the docket. That’ll make reprint number…man, I don’t know, I’ve lost count of how many versions of this I have. I made a list on this site long ago, and a later addendum or three, and I was up to, what, 15? 16? Whatever it is, it’s too many, and I’ll be adding to that collection soon, it seems.

7 Responses to “Quick. someone Ask Jeeves.”

  • Rich Handley says:

    Since I assume we use the same free streaming site (ending in .to), my guess is that whoever scanned these particular issues inadvertently did so in BW format, then didn’t feel like re-scanning them.

  • Mikester says:

    Rich – actually, I’m talking about the official streaming channel/digital comics service from DC Comics its own self! The actual publisher of these comics didn’t have color scans of these pages, for some baffling reason!

  • Chris Hutcheson says:

    Long-time reader, first-time commenter: I’ve owned these later issues of Swamp Thing on Comixology for several years, and they’ve always been in B&W. They almost look like they were intended for one of those Showcase Presents books DC was publishing. I’m hopeful that some day I’ll open one of them up and see color (heck, DC will post color scans of printed comics on Comixology and even mix those pages in with professional quality digital scans, like when they finally offered Detective Comics 500 on Comixology).

  • Rob says:

    Since Redondo’s version of Swampy always seemed more humanoid — but still malformed — and emotionally heightened than Wrightson’s (not a good or bad thing, just two different styles), seeing the art in b&w just makes him seem like a lumpy noseless dude, like an Un-Man. If he were colored green it’d be easier to imagine the visual continuity between his and Wrightson’s takes.

  • BobH says:

    Well, here’s another oddity on the mission caption. A few years back when the 1980s Swamp Thing issues were put on Comixology I bought a few of them, including #24. Naturally the “and meet the sun” caption was missing (and a few double page spreads were displaying wrong so they read out of order), so I send them a note and they got back to me in a few days saying that DC had given them updated files, and I checked and they were indeed fixed.

    Just downloaded and rechecked #24, and the caption is missing again. The other fixes seem to be fine.

    That caption error seems to have, as Alan Moore once referred to a repeated irritant, a “herpes-like persistence”.

  • Rob Staeger says:

    I know that some Aquaman comics on Comixology that had previously only been available in b/w have not been replaced by color versions, so there’s hope for these…and hopefully soon, considering the TV show. The Aquaman books got changed around the time the movie hit the theaters.

  • Dave Carter says:

    There were also some issues of the mid-70s “The Joker” series that were in B&W on comiXology when I first bought them on a sale a few years ago, but I went and checked just now and they are now in color.

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