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Elric meets Conan?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Zax
    As it happens, that Lancer edition was the first MM book I ever bought (Woolworth's, Llanelli, South Wales, 1s.6d) and I treasure it. I have to say it's informed my mental image of Elric ever since - not literally, but in terms of his otherwordliness - I think many other depictions of Elric tend to make him look like Edgar Winter having got dressed while very, very stoned.

    Amusingly, I was first directed to MM and Elric in particular by a passing reference in the letters page of, I think, Marvel's Tales to Astonish, which made a fanboy compare-and-contrast thing between Elric and Bill Everett's Sub-Mariner. It didn't get very far (lessee, both have pointy ears and are rulers of exotic kingdoms... er, that's it), but the description was in all other respects enough to get me thinking. Then this book turned up and hey, you couldn't actually see the guy's ears, but clearly 'twas he.
    Very amusing post, and a fantastic Marvel Comics / Elric link that I wasn't aware of. Now I will have to try and track down that comic!

    Any chance it still lurks in your collection? Or that more detail might emerge from the memory banks?

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
      Blue Blade of the Barbary Coast meets Bluebeard the Pirate...
      I'd hoped Barry could have drawn the Elric sequence in Multiverse since he said he'd always wanted to do a 'proper' Elric, thinking I'd approved the Jack Gaughan version, which I hadn't. I've been very well served by illustrators in the main, from Cawthorn onwards. Ironic that Jim worked with me on that first Conan story but Gaughan's version was used. I still hope to work with Barry on an Elric story. Walter's artwork for No 3, by the way is superb. Frankly I was a little disappointed by Jerry Ordway's
      Elric and his depiction of the moonbeam roads (as opposed to Walter's) but liked his Seaton Begg a lot.
      It looks as if Ordway was trying to make Zodiac look as much like Begg as possible to play up the family resemblance.

      I used to like Ordway a lot but these days his work always disappoints. IMHO like many comic artists he appears to be resting on his laurels; taking the pay-check and putting in as little effort as he can get away with.

      Barry Windsor-Smith and Walter Simonson have never gone that route and seem to be interested in constantly stretching themselves artistically, if arguably within a fairly settled "style" or set of stylistic elements.

      Consequently the idea that BWS might one day come back to Elric is very exciting!

      And of course I'm looking forward to the next Simonson comic hugely.

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      • #18
        Can't Elric finally meet someone who's his size like Marlene Dietrich or at least Mae West ("Are you just happy to see me?")?

        Consider writing the encounter between Elric and Oscar Wilde ...!

        Happy May 1st to you all!
        Google ergo sum

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        • #19
          Mayday! Mayday!

          Comment


          • #21
            Originally posted by GuyLawley
            Blue stands in for black in the old 4-colour comics a lot.
            "That's right, Dougal. Sometimes you see sword-and-sorcery heroes bear what look like black blades but if you look closely you'll see they're very, very, very, very, very, very, very dark blue..."

            Slأ،inte,
            Ant

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            • #22
              Originally posted by GuyLawley
              ... The Chronicles of Conan is on good paper, but has been re-coloured from the original and I for one don’t like the colouring job. Can’t remember how sharp the blacks are; anyone own a copy and care to comment?
              Stormbringer is still a pale imitation of its true self, sometimes bluish, sometimes only grey. (And not even very dark grey.)

              Cheers,
              Ant

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              • #23
                No doubt that I've been best-treated by Craig Russell and Walter Simonson as far as mass-market comics are concerned, but both gents control their own colour (even color) most of the time and it makes a difference. On the other hand Druillet and Cawthorn contributed far more to my perceptions of Elric in those early days than any number of 'homages'. I loved working with Chaykin, too. He is also very firm about how his work is coloured and reproduced. In those early days, even Barry had no control and even when control has been agreed, that doesn't necessarily mean the printer might not want to cut a corner or two as far as positioning his runs. We are talking about commercial comics, after all. Part of their charm. Still we've come a long way in the UK from Gerald Swann and Marvelman, too. I remember American artists who used to drool for that lovely, rich photogravure we printed Look and Learn, Eagle and Bible Story (as well as Boys World later) on.
                Artists I knew could use lovely water colour shades and have a fairly good chance of getting them in. Spoiled me for most other reproduction methods since. Of course, continued the OF, I remember a time when artists did their own colour and sometimes even their own lettering...

                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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                • #24
                  Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                  Blue Blade of the Barbary Coast meets Bluebeard the Pirate...
                  I'd hoped Barry could have drawn the Elric sequence in Multiverse since he said he'd always wanted to do a 'proper' Elric, thinking I'd approved the Jack Gaughan version, which I hadn't. I've been very well served by illustrators in the main, from Cawthorn onwards. Ironic that Jim worked with me on that first Conan story but Gaughan's version was used. I still hope to work with Barry on an Elric story. Walter's artwork for No 3, by the way is superb. Frankly I was a little disappointed by Jerry Ordway's
                  Elric and his depiction of the moonbeam roads (as opposed to Walter's) but liked his Seaton Begg a lot.
                  I read this and I was in a panic thinking that it had shipped already! But I just checked the last 2 months worth of diamond's lists, and, thankfully, it still hasn't been solicited. This is what happens when I miss an entire month of going to the comic shop.

                  I just read the second part of Tom Strong. A decent outing, but not as remarkable as I was hoping for. No sign of Quelch, either. :? The short length of the story, plus having to fit Tom and friends into didn't do the story justice. Still not certain how the ray worked on a magical metal, either, but it was a nifty approach, even though it make Zenith look like a fool. I guess all incarnations aren't as bright as others are :twisted:

                  Ordway's always been a better inker/finisher than all-in-one artist. He just doesn't have a dynamic layout mind such as a Neal Adams or Walter Simonson. Hey, how about talking to Neal about doing a mini-series ;) He's still got the chops, too... Anyhoo.

                  Looking forward to seeing Simonson's next Elric. His covers for the new Day of Vengence mini-series are being bad-mouthed on the comics message boards unfortunately. The man deserves some respect :!:

                  Jeff

                  Comment


                  • #25
                    Originally posted by GuyLawley
                    The Chronicles of Conan is on good paper, but has been re-coloured from the original and I for one don’t like the colouring job. Can’t remember how sharp the blacks are; anyone own a copy and care to comment?
                    The first 2 volumes were rather rudely re-colored, but the colorists were trying to feel their way into the project, methinks. Unfortunately, it was rather dark and muddy that first volume. Later volumes are much better.

                    The Elric 2 parter is in the third volume and it looks fantastic. I could always do a scan for you, if you'd like.

                    The new Dark Horse editions are fabulous, and they keep on coming, almost bi-monthly it seems. And they are quite affordable, unlike most trade paperback editions of '70's material which usually runs $25 American; but the DH Conan books are only $16. A steal.

                    Oh, Marvel also had a series of Conan black and white books published by Pocket Books, I think, back in the late 1970's, featuring the BWS stories. Hard to find, but that's what Ebay is for. These were regular paperback sized editions, unlike the giant phone book sized (and OOP) Essential Conan.

                    Jeff

                    Comment


                    • #26
                      Originally posted by Ant
                      Originally posted by GuyLawley
                      Blue stands in for black in the old 4-colour comics a lot.
                      "That's right, Dougal. Sometimes you see sword-and-sorcery heroes bear what look like black blades but if you look closely you'll see they're very, very, very, very, very, very, very dark blue..."

                      Slأ،inte,
                      Ant
                      :D :D :D

                      Nice one, Ant! This gag deserves a place in the Hall Of Fame!

                      Comment


                      • #27
                        Originally posted by Lord Doom
                        Originally posted by GuyLawley
                        The Chronicles of Conan is on good paper, but has been re-coloured from the original and I for one don’t like the colouring job. Can’t remember how sharp the blacks are; anyone own a copy and care to comment?
                        The first 2 volumes were rather rudely re-colored, but the colorists were trying to feel their way into the project, methinks. Unfortunately, it was rather dark and muddy that first volume. Later volumes are much better.

                        The Elric 2 parter is in the third volume and it looks fantastic. I could always do a scan for you, if you'd like.

                        Jeff
                        Thanks, your lordship! I'll check it out next time I'm in my favourite comics shop.

                        Comment


                        • #28
                          Originally posted by GuyLawley
                          Originally posted by Ant
                          Originally posted by GuyLawley
                          Blue stands in for black in the old 4-colour comics a lot.
                          "That's right, Dougal. Sometimes you see sword-and-sorcery heroes bear what look like black blades but if you look closely you'll see they're very, very, very, very, very, very, very dark blue..."
                          Slأ،inte,
                          Ant
                          :D :D :D
                          Nice one, Ant! This gag deserves a place in the Hall Of Fame!
                          You are too kind!

                          Hey...
                          • The Champion: Ted
                            The Companion: Dougal
                            The Lover: Mrs Doyle 8O
                            The Weapon: Jack :twisted:
                            The Adversary: Dick Byrnes


                          Mmm... maybe not...

                          Slأ،inte,
                          Ant

                          Comment


                          • #29
                            Well, pards, I bought the Dark Horse reprint book The Chronicles of Conan vol.3, with the re-coloured version of the Elric stories, and I have to say this (and I have to say it at some length!):

                            (1) The black films used to print the two Elric issues are pretty poor. Comparison with the original comic shows that a lot of the cross-hatching and other line work has “blacked in.� This makes the black artwork look considerably cruder than it did originally. The only thing in this book's favour is that the black plates used for the 4-colour reprint in Giant-Size Conan Annual 5 are even worse!)

                            (2) The new computerised colouring is very slick and sophisticated and all that, but this does not sit well to my eye with the original art style. Barry Windsor-Smith and Sal Buscema were drawing for 4-colour reproduction (albeit to a higher standard than a lot of the comics of the time). Given that the black line art looks cruder than it ought, the slick colouring is even more out of place. Simple black line art with fancy “air-brush� effect tones added can look OK, but it needs skill and restraint to get it right.

                            (3) There is far too much use of muffled grey and brown colours.

                            Page 29 is a good example. Two brown humans on brown horses seen against a brown mist and a brown tree, and even the background of the title logo banner is brown!! Elric has a brown hat, an almost brown cape, and a greenish-blue jacket that is tinged with grey.

                            Elric’s clothes throughout the story are made a dim dark green / brown instead of bright green and red. His armoured gauntlets, beautifully drawn by BWS, and originally yellow/golden, are rendered here as dark greyish blue. In many panels his greyish blue arms are seen against blue-grey backgrounds. Result: hardly any tonal distinction between background and foreground elements.

                            An example of this: page 32, panel 1. For no good reason, the panel background and Elric's clothing are almost exactly the same colour. Result: the Elric figure has no graphic “presence� at all. He almost fades into the background, literally. The Conan figure is painted in such a brownish tinge of flesh colour that he too fails to stand out as he should.

                            (4) The colourists have done some clever computer tricks which they must think enhance the art but in fact sometimes IMHO do the opposite.

                            Examples: Stormbringer is in several panels given a sheen of white/blue-ish “lightning� or electric haze/spark effect. This might be clever in full colour art (except that Stormbringer is supposed to give off black light not white). But whereas in the original comic, the sword was seen as a shape, clearly defined, with this shimmery haze over it, the sword loses its shape and its definition. As a graphic entity it loses power, not gains it. (Page 31 panel 7 is a good example; also pg.26, panel 2.)

                            Another clever trick: they drop the blacks from some pictorial elements, such as the clouds of smoke or dust behind Terhali on page 37, where the black is replaced by brown. Taking out the black from some elements, in a picture where most of the shapes have black outlines, has the effect of dropping the non-black elements into the background. In this case, it works fine, as the clouds of dust are behind the foreground elements.

                            On page 33 they pull the same trick with the water of the lake, making the black lines into a greenish grey. Here they achieve the master-stroke of taking a foreground element and making it appear to drop into the background. Not so clever.

                            (5) Some of their other errors of judgment are simply impossible to understand. Why did they colour the dawn scenes (clearly stated as such in the text) on page 7, 8 and 9 like a sunset? They pull the same stunt on page 45.

                            Why take Xiombarg from her eerie demonic red colours, which made her look like a true goddess / demon queen, to the colours of an ordinary woman with overly-bright red lipstick on? `

                            Why take Gaynor from his original silver armour (which stood out against the backgrounds) and put him in blue-grey suit which drops back into so many greyish backgrounds?

                            (6) Reading the book in bright morning sunlight, rather than my first look under electric light, makes many of these defects less bad, but they are still poor use of colour. The original, anonymous, colourist of the comics did a much better job. He or she understood that colour in a comic book has a job of work to do, to aid the flow of the narrative. Unless they happened to be really talented in their own right, the new colourists should have been given a simple brief: follow the original colours but tone them down where the results would look garish on this glossy paper stock.

                            If they had any decent original ideas (e.g. make Elric’s clothing nearly all black or dark grey to fit more with Moorcock’s descriptions) they should have been capable of working the colours of other pictorial elements (especially backgrounds) to preserve graphic clarity.

                            These guys, I must conclude, have zero understanding of how colour should function in a comic book narrative. As with the artwork itself and the placement of the word balloons, colour is there to serve the narrative. It must aid the graphic clarity of the panels. The eye needs to read the artwork within a split second each time a panel is read. Every pictorial element needs to be clearly seen in its place. If the eye has to linger over the panel, working hard to figure out what each pictorial element is and how they relate to one another, either the artist or the colourist has failed the prime directive.

                            This is not some dry and academic exercise. A comic narrative exists to be read (probably more often by electric light than by bright sunlight) and has to be clear to the eye.

                            I am sorely disappointed to find that the “highest quality� printing so far of this well written and well drawn comic story should have been so badly coloured that it is not actually good quality at all.

                            I have revised my former opinion. So far, the best way I can see to read this story is in the original Conan comic no's 14 and 15. Copies in less than great condition might be picked up at reasonable prices still!

                            I am trying to find copies of the various B&W reprints it has had over the years. If one of them is particularly sharp it might win out!

                            Watch this space.

                            Yours,

                            Guy Lawley
                            (alias Pedantic Stan The Comic-Book Fan !)

                            Comment


                            • #30
                              Originally posted by Ant
                              Hey.
                              • The Champion: Ted
                                The Companion: Dougal
                                The Lover: Mrs Doyle 8O
                                The Weapon: Jack :twisted:
                                The Adversary: Dick Byrnes
                              Maybe so! Ted was always striving for balance. Always ready to help out in a crisis (as in the lingerie section.) And of course the weapon needed feeding, its appetite seemingly insatatiable. For Drink! at least.

                              Feck! Arse!
                              You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

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