Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Now let's check in with IDW's Tales of the Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles collections, which are still being colorized...poorly.

IDW's Tales of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 4 is the second collection of the comics from the 2004-2010 Tales of The TMNT comic (the one that accompanied the Mirage-published fourth volume of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics; IDW's Tales Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 collected the original, late 1980s Tales title). The book contains Tales #5-#8, all of which have been colorized...with the exception of #5, which has to be black-and-white.

That's the Jim Lawson issue in which Leonardo is blinded by an opponent that he himself once blinded in battle, and the entire issue is told in reverse silhouette, with white silhouettes on black fields, as a way of approximating Leonardo's attempts to orient himself and fight without being able to see. It was curiosity about this particular issue that originally lead me to check out IDW's collections of Tales; the publisher has previously colorized every Mirage TMNT story they've collected (with the exception of the Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird issues from the first volume of TMNT in their Ultimate Collection series), and while the coloring generally doesn't do the comics any favors, the black-and-white was so integral to Tales #5, "Blind Faith," that I wanted to see if IDW would simply let that comic be or not.

They did. It is presented in this volume exactly as it is in the original comic, with only the Michael Dooney-drawn frontspiece getting the colorization treatment. You can see some color attached to Leonardo's Foot foe on Lawson's new cover for the collection, however. He's still in silhouette, but here it's a dark, classic silhouette; the lighting on the image is perhaps wonky to accommodate keeping that one character in shadow, but it works. Once again, the conceit of the image is the four ninja turtles squaring off against various foes from the stories within; here the blind Foot ninja from #5, a werewolf from #7, Foot ninja Cha Ocho from #6 and Leatherhead from #8.

I've previously read and reviewed three of these four issues. We've already discussed #5 briefly. The other two I read were #6, "Scars," by Steve Murphy, "Dean Clarrain" and Chris Allan and #7, "Darkness Weaves," by Steve Murphy, Eric Talbot and Jim Lawson.

As for #8, that is "Virus," a Leatherhead story plotted by Dan Berger and Peter Laird, and written and drawn by Berger. It's a pretty direct sequel to TMNT (vol. 1) #45, Berger's previous Leatheread comic (as it's one of the issues I did not get when recently ordering much of the run from Mirage, I'm going to forego reviewing it anywhere until I can get my hands on the original). So let's ignore that altogether for now, and focus on the by now expected godawful coloring choices made in the collection (One again, there is no colorist credited, beyond Joana Lafuente, who gets a "Cover Colors" credit.

As previously stated #5 is unmolested after the frontspiece (which is good...although I notice this trade is still priced at $19.99, or about $5 per originally-$2.95 issue it contains. If the crazy expensive price was to defray the cost of colorizing the comics, one would think this trade at least would be a bit cheaper, as they only had to colorize three of the four issues within).

"Scars" features the most problematic coloring. That's the one detailing the past history between Leonardo and Foot Clan ninja Cha Ocho, who gained his scarred visage via a "lesson" taught to him by Leonardo. He only appeared in color during the Mirage series on the covers, but there it was pretty clear he was meant to be a black man, and though his skin was technically paper-white in the interiors, it was clear that artist Allan was drawing him as a black man there too.
Sure, his face is in shadow there, but if you had to guess whether he was black or white, which would you guess...?

In IDW's colorized version, though? It's a little unclear, as his skin color darkens and lightens from scene to scene. Here are some Cha Ocho headshots, the first of which is from the frontspiece by an uncredited artist, the rest of which are drawn by Allan:

The weirdest change however, comes at the climax. Cha Ocho and Leonardo have been trying to track down the man who (accidentally) killed Ocho's wife several years earlier. When they find the man, they chase him into a church, and Ocho executes him with his sword on the chruch's altar.

We don't see the killing blow cutting into Ocho's victim's flesh; there's just a panel of his sword flashing down at the man, and then a cut to a close-up of of a crucifix, with blood splashing upon it.

In the black and white original, the blood was, of course, white,but here it's been colorized not red, but...cream? Pale pink...?

(Also, check out what the coloring does to Jesus' eyes. In the black and white original, he appears to have his eyes closed; but since the colorist colors Jesus' face a fleshy color but leaves the eyes white, it looks like the Son of God either has pupil-less white eyes like the ninja turtles do when they have their masks on, or that he's wearing very light colored eye make-up. Neither of which is a very good look for Christ.)

One gets the sense that whoever is coloring these collections is looking at the art without reading the comics, or considering what story the art might be attempting to tell. How else does one explain a panel that once showed a man's blood splattering a crucifix now looking instead like someone spilled a milkshake on a crucifix?

It makes other coloring decisions, like giving the Foot Clan brown uniforms rather than the bluish black ones they were clearly wearing at the time seem unimportant.
That issue also originally contained the short back-up story "The Raisin" by Steve Murphy and Jim Lawson, which is here colorized and, as per usual, the coloring looks quite rough over Lawson's heavily inked and textured artwork, which was clearly not meant to have color applied, as well as a pin-up which, oddly enough, is represented in the collection, but is not colorized.

As for the #7, the Raphael-and-Shadow-vs.-Werewolves comic, the most notably weird coloring choice comes on the Michael Dooney-drawn fronstpiece that precedes the story. It shows Shadow in her bedroom, reading her old journal. On the floor is a fluffy toy that appears to be Fluffy, a character in Dooney's own Gizmo comics. Fluffy is white, as one can see on the (color) covers of Gizmo and Gizmo and The Fugitoid.
Here, however, he's pink.
Finally, I was pretty freaked out by the revelation that the one lady cop in "The Raisin" was actually a Utrom wearing an super-advanced, lady-shaped android suit, as revealed in a splash page of a Utrom alien staring out from beneath her breasts.

I'm not sure if the image is more or less terrifying in color...

...I mean, they're both so terrifying; I can't really decide, you know...?

No comments: