Monday, August 04, 2014

I did not care for some of the coloring choices in this collection, as they are horrible.

IDW Publishing's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics Vol. 2 collects Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #16, #22 and #23, all three of cartoonist Mark Martin's issues of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's original black-and-white volume of the comic (If they'd thrown in Martin's 1990 film officially-sanctioned, Mirage-published parody of the original live-action film, Green-Grey Sponge-Suit Sushi Turtles, they'd have the complete Mark Martin's TMNT!). These three issues comprise a single story arc, and, in fact, the first TMNT collections also grouped them together in a single trade, in Mirage's The Collected Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Book 5.

The key differences between the two are, first and most immediately apparent if you're just reading this blog post and haven't read either collection, they have different covers.

The IDW collection sports a new, specially-created cover by Michael Dooney (above), whose style doesn't at all look like that of Martin's, while the Mirage cover was painted by A.C. Farley (below), whose style also doesn't look at all like that of Martin's:
(Farley's includes two key players in the story that Dooney's does not, however, and lets a viewer know right off the bat that it has something to do with time).

The second, and more drastic, difference is that the IDW collection features newly colorized art, by "Digikore Design Limited," and, as was the case with Classics Vol. 1, there are some dubious coloring decisions made. It's a damn shame that Martin didn't get to color these himself, if they had to colorize them at all, given how great his covers for the issues look. This is one of my all-time favorite comic book covers, actually:
If you've never read this story, I should note that it "guest-stars" Gnatrat, a Batman parody created by Martin in 1986, in Gnatrat: Happy Birthday:100 Years Old...
...featuring a nice parody of Bill Sienkiewicz's cover for 1986's Batman #400...
...a character who also appeared in Gnatrat: The Dark Gnat Returns...
...Gnatrat: The Movie and, ultimately, a Fantagraphics-published collection, The Ultimate Gnatrat, which I would like to read but can never find (If anyone at Fantagraphics is reading this, and have a copy propping up a desk or something, feel free to send it to me; I don't mind).

As you can see in the above image, Gnatrat wears a costume comprised of two shades of blue.

This is not a hard fact to verify. One need not even be familiar with Gnatrat's own comics to see this. He's wearing the light blue top and darker blue bottom on the cover of The Collected... and of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #23's wraparound cover:
Or, this being the 21st century, Digikore Design Limited, if that is the colorist's real name, could have just Googled "Gnatrat;" every image that isn't black-and-white that appears will feature Gnatrat in his blue-and-blue costume.

Now, how is his costume colored in this volume?
That is not correct. Coloring his costume gray and black to keep the Batman parody element might be understandable, but the reds just seem...random.

Also, his fur is now the same color as Splinter's fur and, in fact, sort of blends in to his brownish, reddish costume.

The story featuring these two anthropomorphic rats and the four ninja turtles involves a little girl with a time machine, who an alien tricks into going back in time in order to make life on Earth extremely comfortable and easy for the ancestor of homo sapiens, thus altering all of human evolution, so that we lose our instincts toward violence, and Earth is a peaceful paradise full of pacifists (and thus ripe for alien conquest!).

When Gnatrat first appears in the story, it is after the timestream has been so altered, and this former violent vigilante appears under a new identity. There is no crime to fight any more, not really, and so he is now an extreme truant officer known as—
Obviously, obviously he is here meant to be a parody of The Punisher. His costume is that of The Punisher, only instead of a big, white skull on his chest, he has a big white fanny in the process of being whacked on his chest. Hell, the font of his name is Punisher font. So even though this comic is a black and white one, and thus the actual colors of much of it are up to the reader to fill in with his or her imagination, that costume is obviously meant to be black and white, right?

If you said "right," you are obviously not Mr. or Mrs. Digikore Design Limited, as they instead opted for the same colors as Gnatrat's Gnatrat costume:

As egregious as the decisions to mis-color Gnatrat's fur, costume and a Punisher parody costume, it's probably worth noting that he, she or they also mis-color Splinter's white suit coat, which he wears as part of a waiter disguise, a reddish hue as well...
One could perhaps forgive the other mistakes by assuming the colorist/s were ignorant of the subject matter and/or too lazy to "research" it (and, by "research" I mean "type Gnatrat" into Google), but Splinter's waiter costume is actually on the cover of #23, which is included in this collection (The back half of that issue, featuring Gnatrat with his regular gray fur and blue costume, is not included in the collection).

1 comment:

Nick Ahlhelm said...

I have a tendency to avoid recolored works for this reason. Even if the colorists hired aren't bad, they're usually paid pennies to work on these recolored messes and the result is always what the publishers pay for. Dark Horse's atrocious Conan recolors are even worse than this (nothing beats the ocean turned into a plain for example) and even some of Marvel's Omnibuses have had serious problems with it.