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-Arkon

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 Roy Thomas John Buscema Tom Palmer
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.  

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