He said: “The hand lettering and the limited color palette make for comics that look like something someone might photocopy, staple, and sell at a hotel ballroom type show. [..] Flat purple backgrounds should remain a thing of the distant past with today’s technologies. “
Here is the page he was addressing:
First the caveat, that I don’t think Miracleman is a strong example for the power of these coloring techniques. On this page my immediate criticisms are that 1) Dude’s face is purple because of the planet behind him, but his costume and everything else is still the same shade of blue. That’s dumb and makes no sense, and visually, it’s not very strong because that shade of blue is pretty wank on top of purple, to say nothing of that yellow. Furthermore, the green grass on the left panel is wildly unimaginative.
Compare all of that to this:
That’s a page from Enric Sio, from a comic he did for Dracula magazine. Purple looks considerably more powerful on this page, and as a whole, it is a much more dynamic piece of art.
That said, I don’t think the re-coloring effectively addresses the weaknesses of the original Miracleman page, more I think that it just replaces them with other weaknessess. In the original colored page, there is a compositional element in the coloring where the purple buildings diagonal up to the purple planet which draws focus to Miracleman’s face. That is completely lost in the recolor job. The panels are now more separate visually, the only thing holding that diagonal line now is the position of Miracleman’s body in the two panels, which wasn’t that effective on it’s own because of the way his body bows backward and up in that first panel.
And while replacing the green grass was a smart move, replacing it with the same exact color as the nearby building destroys what little depth that image originally had. At least before you had these sort of expressive blocks of color orientating themselves. Now it’s just cold grey blah. It is a good example of how making something more realistic looking doesn’t make it a more compelling piece of art. Sometimes a panel’s strength is entirely that it is this color element on top of this other color element–and the new coloring job just completely removes that idea from the equation.
Moving onto the planets–there wasn’t anything wrong with the purple planet earth. It was all spacey and weird–I do think the orange moon was a problem in the original page, because it bled his boots into the background too much. But by going with a “realistic” palette here, the page has become less dynamic. And I mean that objectively in the sense that 1) movement on the page via the colors has been completely stripped and 2) the impressionistic qualities have been completely removed.
Compare that to this:
This is a Dean White page from X-force. It is also rendered, like the Miracleman re-color–but notice that it didn’t do so AND abandon an expressive and dynamic palette. That orange and the way Archangel explodes through the blue glass into the more mud colored room–you get movement there tracking archagangel’s gleaming teal wings bounce across that backdrop. And then because you’re tracking his wings, you bounce over naturally to the left on the last panel, and it’s this stunning image of two suns, that orange haze, the blue delicate gradiations of blue and white reacting to that light source, and playing off it in an impactful way. That’s the case for rendering a comic. But to say that the miracleman shares a similar strength over older techniques is I think a poor case, even if the original Miracleman colors weren’t the strongest.
In fact, I’d conclude that if you can’t improve on the original Miracelman colors–it is a sneering indictment of all re-coloring jobs, because those Miracleman colors are at times just flat out dumb–and yet they still have objectively more weight than the modern technique.
Also what’s the point of re-coloring something so dramatically, that people haven’t had the chance to own in it’s original form yet? Also, someone is going to have to explain to me how the modern lettering is an improvement on the old hand-lettering. Looks basically the same to me.