It’s back to the e-mailbox to continue our discussion of color separations…

I heard something about Neal Adams (or Dick Giordano or Joe Orlando) taking credit for changing DC’s color palette in the late 1960s. What’s the scoop?
Bob Greenberger

As I explained last week, the colors used in comic books were all made up of 25%, 50% and 100% tints of cyan (blue), magenta (red) and yellow ink. The possible combinations of these tints gave colorists 64 possible colors to use in the books, though most used no more than half of them.

At some point in the 1970s – the 60s would have been too early for this to have happened — someone suggested adding a 70% tint to the mix, which would double the possible colors to 128. While it’s possible that one of the three gents you mention might have said something, it is far more likely that it was brought about by the actions of Sol Harrison (then Vice President) and / or Jack Adler (then Production Manager).

Sol and Jack had both been with the company for years and had done coloring and hands-on separations back in the days when DC did the work in-house, so they certainly knew how it worked. Adding the extra tint was as simple as creating three more acetates for the separator to paint and having the colorists indicate those tones on their color guides.

While I don’t recall exactly when the additional colors were first used, it was a common opinion that they were wasted in the standard letter-press / newsprint comic books. Too often, the 70% dot printed heavily and looked like a 100% solid. (Precise color correction and quality control were not priorities of the comics business back then.) It was not until DC began publishing comics in “upscale” formats – offset printing on better paper – that the 70% tint became part of the norm.

And by then, most of the better-printed books were being separated by Murphy Anderson’s Visual Concepts operation in New Jersey. Veteran artist Murphy and his son “Young Murph” started doing seps for DC (and a few of the smaller companies) and raised the standard for colorists, publishers, and the folks at Chemical Color alike.

But this was just another step in the march of progress in the color separations of comic books. Next week, we’ll take a look at the next giant leap… and someone whose influence on the industry was as unexpected as it was unlikely.


1. Ruff was half of this late 50s/early 60s cartoon pair; who was the other half?
2. A Nazi leader on Earth-X, who came to Earth-1 seeking revenge and what guise did he adopt?
3. In an attempt to compete with GBS, Dr. Peter Silverstone created a hero named after the United Broadcasting Company building; name him.
4. Name the hero who was said to be a descendent of the Lone Ranger.
5. Before there were comic books, what early comic strip character got his name from the color of his shirt?
6. Originally Daniel Garrett, what super-identity was adopted by Ted Kord?
7. Who exclaimed about Caesar’s Ghost (or Elvis’ shades) when he got excited or annoyed?
8. His infatuation with a little red-haired girl went on endlessly; name him.
9. Usually associated with fiberglass insulation, what character had his origins in the Inspector Clouseau movies?
10. Even though she had more than one super-hero identity in the comics, who went only by her given name in the X-Men movie?
11. Salu Digby, whose parents were born on Imsk, joined the Legion using what name?

1. There are no words in the English language that rhyme with orange, purple, or silver.
2. Blue M&M candies replaced the tan ones after a vote by the candy-eating public. Pink and purple were the two “losing” colors.
3. Sportswriter Grantland Rice gave Red Grange the nickname “the Galloping Ghost.” As a halfback at the University of Illinois in the 1920s, Grange scored 31 touchdowns in 20 games.


I was wondering if you knew when Howard Mackie was leaving AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. There are a lot of rumors floating around and I’d like to find out once and for all.

No, I don’t know what Howard’s plans are. However, you have at your fingertips two other parts of this very website that may give you the answer. One is the “Silver Bulletins” section here at SBC and the other is Rich Johnston’s column All The Rage, which is chockfull of rumors about the industry.

I checked out JUSTICE LEAGUE ARCHIVES #5 from the library. In the middle of “Battle Against the Bodiless Uniforms,” I stopped. A Wonder Woman villainess named The Mask? An Aquaman foe named Dagon? Do you know these guys?
Park Cooper

Wonder Woman battled a villain named The Mask back in the 1940s (#24 of her first series, to be precise). We may have to wait for a few more volumes of WONDER WOMAN ARCHIVES before we learn if it’s the same character. I can find no mention of Dagon, though. It’s possible he was a throwaway character in a back-up story… or JLA-scripter Gardner Fox made him up.

By the way, Park, that’s some great public library you have!

What are Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway doing these days? How can I get in touch with them?
 Writer Unknown

Roy is involved in some new Robert E. Howard properties, as well editing the revival of ALTER EGO, which is published by TwoMorrows and is worth a look-see. You can contact him at

Gerry is living somewhere in California and writing for television. His credit pops up on episodes of LAW & ORDER and LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT from time to time. I don’t have an address or email for him.

Also, I apologize to the writer of this question (and a few others that will appear in future columns). I inadvertently deleted the names of some of the people who emailed me using the conveniently-placed box on this (or the SBC Home) page. If you submitted a question between June 25th and August 1st, you might want to send it again… and this time I promise to keep the names with them.

How come two great books by a famous creator, JOHN BYRNE’S 2112 and CRITICAL ERROR, have not been listed in the Overstreet Price Guide since they were published in 1991 and 1992?
Tom Aresto

I found JOHN BYRNE’S 2112, a $9.95 trade paperback from Dark Horse in 1994, on page 515 of the current Overstreet. You’re right that there is no listing for CRITICAL ERROR, but perhaps it had a different title.
You could ask Bob Overstreet at Gemstone Publishing [1966 Greenspring Drive, Suite LL3, Timonium, MD 21093] or you could try John himself, whose email the last time I looked was

By having their questions used in this column, Bob, George, Tom, and (assuming we can figure out who he was) “Writer Unknown” earn an extra 10% off anything they purchase from Silver Bullet Comics for one week once our new retail partner is in place.(The same holds true for the folks who earned a discount last week.) You can save yourself some bucks too by submitting your question using the box on the left.

Park Cooper would get the discount, but I’m sure he’d much prefer that I plug the fact that he is a fellow SBC columnist and he’d appreciate your checking out his material. Go on, check out SBC Lite.

That’ll do it until next week.


What’s more appropriate during a discussion of color?
1. Reddy
2. Raphael Van Zandt a.k.a. the Silver Ghost
3. Blackrock
4. The Green Hornet
5. The Yellow Kid
6. Blue Beetle
7. Perry White
8. Charlie Brown
9. Pink Panther
10. Jean Grey
11. Shrinking Violet

Can’t get enough trivia? Check out BobRo’s Anything Goes Trivia


Copyright ? 2000 to 2003 by Bob Rozakis. All Rights Reserved.

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