Monday, July 27, 2015

Angry Young Men: Incredible Hulk #1 and...

I've long wondered if Kirby's fine-featured, brooding Hulk was based--facially, anyway--on a certain fine-featured, brooding actor. And yeah, I first posted this on a comic book forum a while back but I'm re-posting it here just 'cause I like these images. So there! 

(l.) Brando as Antony in the 1953 film Julius Caesar         (r.)  Incredible Hulk #1 by Kirby-Reinman                   

Fun fact: In 1969 Jack Kirby designed the costumes and posters for a production of Julius Caesar at the University of California at Santa Cruz. More info at the  Kirby Museum. 

Update: check out August 2015 Time magazine on Kirby!  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Scarlet Witch's Hair Color Part 4

Last time we established that Wanda's hair color reverted to brown way back in 1970's Avengers #75 (click here for details). For the most part her hair's remained rich brown aka red aka auburn aka chestnut aka marsala ever since....though there've been a few variations along the way. 
Black or brown? Scarlet Witch by John Buscema (l)...and by Bob Hall channeling his teacher Buscema (r)
1990s: Yeah I know Wanda's hair color is the kind of brown that can be called "red"; but it's criminal to depict Wanda with bright tomato-red hair--you know, the shade that's normally associated with Medusa or Matt Murdock or Jean Grey. Wanda should never be depicted as a Jean-clone as she was back in the late '90s (leave that sort of stuff for Madelyne Pryor). That's Jean in the first panel and Wanda in the third--I think
Uncanny XMen 335-Avengers
X-Men #335 (1996)

2000s: Ultimate Wanda had black patent leather tresses.   
Ultimate XMen


2005: Basic brown at the conclusion of House of M.
House of M Wanda Maximoff


2007: The lighter, gingery red-brown hair she sported as Wandjelina  was wrong. Just. Wrong.          

New Avengers 27-ClintBartonWandamaximoff
New Avengers #26 (2007)
      
Scarlet Witch Olsen
2015 Vintage

There you have it, a look at Wanda the Scarlet Witch's hair hues. If you want a refresher you can check here and here and here. So, which do you prefer, the brown or black? I must confess that while I find Wanda's deep brown hair lovely, I've always preferred the black as it's a great counterpoint to Pietro's white hair. Plus I feel Wanda's black hair is a better complement to her usual red attire, it's got that le rouge et le noir thing going on. Ah well, c'est la vie...  ;)


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Scarlet Witch's Hair Color Part 3

We've reached Avengers #75 (1970), the issue in Wanda and Pietro returned to the Avengers. As noted last time, on #75's cover Wanda's hair was blue-black, which was her the hair color she'd sported since she'd joined the Avengers back in #16 (for details, click here).
Avengers 75-ArkonAvengers 75-RoyThomas-JohnBuscema

But wait! Inside #75 it's a different story. Not only does Wanda sport a slightly modified costume--it's now strapless and she has shorter gloves and simpler boots--but her hair is back to brown. By this time Marvel's color palette/technology had changed and her brown hair seemed a bit lighter, more redder, and less heavily inked than it had during her X-Men days. Quicksilver also received a makeover; his costume was now primarily light blue (silvery?) instead of green.
Avengers 75-WarlordandWitch
Avengers #75 (1970) Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Toad
But why the change back to brown? A reader asked that very question in Avengers #81's letter column, calling Wanda's hair color in #75 "a ghastly mistake" and demanding to know why "Tom [Palmer] inked it auburn." (Marvel likely tweaked the letter; I mean, how many teenage/twentysomething comic book readers would describe hair color as "auburn?") The letter writer concluded by imploring Marvel to "PLEASE bring back Wanda's lovely black hair!!!"


The answer at last! Marvel--presumably Roy Thomas, then the Avengers writer--responded by stating that first, inkers aren't the ones who color comics, but that coincidentally inker Tom Palmer also happened to be the colorist for the Avengers at the time; and second, that both Tom and "Rascally Roy discovered that, in the early issues of The X-Men...wistful Wanda's hair was indeed auburn...Thus, since Tom and Roy both prefer auburn to the gray and blue highlights applied since then, they decided to change her back to her original shade." And there you have it: it was none other than Roy Thomas--with input from Avengers inker/colorist Palmer--who determined that Wanda return to her roots.

As an aside, whoever colored Hulk #128 must not have gotten Roy's memo. Hulk #128 was on sale the same time as Avengers #76, was written by Roy Thomas, and marked the first instance of the post-#76 core team--Clint as Goliath, Vision, Black Panther and the newly-returned Wanda and Pietro--in action. Yet despite all this, in the Hulk issue Wanda's hair was colored its old blue-black hue. 
Scarlet Witch in Hulk #128 (1970)
Anyway, despite Hulk #128--and even though Wanda's hair would continue to be colored blue-black on quite a few Avengers covers...and also sometimes miscolored black within the stories themselves (example: Avengers #104-5)...and occasionally her hair would even change colors in the middle of story arcs--for the most part Wanda's hair has remained a beautiful brown shade to this very day.
Avengers 75-John Buscema-Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch  in 1970-2
Now I know some consider Wanda's brown hair "red"--she is the Scarlet Witch after all--and her hair at times has been been described as auburn...or chestnut...or mahogany or...To prove I'm willing to compromise, what say we call her hair color marsala. According to the Pantone Color Institute, which named it the 2015 Color of the Year, marsala is a "rich and full-bodied red-brown." That pretty much says it all, doesn't it? 

Next, part 4 of the Scarlet Witch Hair Chronicles: tones and highlights.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Scarlet Witch's Hair Color Part 2

As we saw last time, Wanda and Pietro left the X-Men comic (X-Men #11) and immediately showed up that same month's Avengers comic. Her hair was still brown on the cover of Avengers #16...
Avengers 16-OldOrderChangeth
On the cover of Avengers #16 
...however in the story itself, we come across a Stan Lee caption describing a certain "graceful black-haired beauty."  Yep, instead of a brown base color Wanda's wavy windswept hair now has a grey base, again with a lot of black inking.
Avengers 16-LeeKirby-OldOrderChangeth
Wanda and Pietro in Avengers #16 (1965)
The million dollar question: why the change in Wanda's hair color? Was Stan Lee merely being poetic when he called her black-haired--after all many describe dark brown hair as "black"-- and did the colorist mistakenly take him literally? Or if the change to black hair was an editorial decision, did showman Stan hope to invoke an association with a certain ebon hair'd, headline-grabbing movie queen?
Cleopatra Elizabeth Taylor

Maybe Stan felt that since Wanda was now a newly-minted heroine she needed to have her own unique hair color. At that time Marvel's lead super-heroines--so few in number you could count 'em on one hand with fingers to spare--all had different hair colors: Sue Storm was the blonde, Jean Grey was the redhead, and Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp, had brown hair. Perhaps Stan thought two Marvel "brownettes" would confuse the kiddies (never mind that Jan and Hank's feature in Tales to Astonish would only last a couple of months after they departed the Avengers).  
XMen Jean Grey
Sue Storm, Jean Grey and Janet Van Dyne
But guess what, the new Sub-Mariner series that replaced Jan and Hank's in Astonish included the return of a character, Lady Dorma, who--though non-powered--had always had an exotic look similar to Wanda's...including wavy, tousled brown hair with black shading!
Tales to Astonish 70-Lady Dorma
Dorma in Tales to Astonish #70 (1965)
In any event, here's the black-haired Wanda with her Kooky Quartet cohorts: 
Avengers Captain America ScarletWitch
Scarlet Witch in 1965-6
By Avengers #36 the team had grown beyond the Kooky Quartet and Wanda traded in her big ol' headgear for a much sleeker model (though a reader wrote in and complained that the new design looked like it would puncture Wanda's cheeks every time she spoke). A couple of issues later, Marvel expanded its color palette and began to use blue as her hair's base color, instead of the grey.
Avengers 38
1967: shades of grey in Avengers #36...and dark blue in Avengers #38 
Here's Wanda by John Buscema, Don Heck, George Tuska and Werner Roth. 
Scarlet Witch Hair John Buscema Don Heck
Scarlet Witch in 1967-8
Wanda and Pietro left the team in Avengers #53 (1968) and didn't rejoin until nearly two years later in Avengers #75 (1970). During her time away she was shown in Avengers Annual #2, Avengers # 58, Spider-Man #71 and X-Men #59-60, always with black hair. The black hair was even present in Silver Surfer #5, in a Buscema recreation of a Kirby X-Men #11 panel from her Brotherhood of Evil Mutants days.  
Scarlet Witch-Neal Adams-John Buscema
On hiatus from the Avengers: Scarlet Witch in 1968-9
As mentioned above, Wanda and Pietro returned to the team in Avengers #75. On the cover she has blue-black hair...
Avengers 75-QuicksilverScarletWitch
On the cover of  Avengers #75 (1970)
...but as with #16, inside it's a different story! Next:The Scarlet Witch returns to her roots. 
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