TALES TO ASTONISH 76, page 7 /
art by Jack Kirby, Gil Kane & Mike Esposito (February 1966)
Once again, I avoided looking at the original color, intent on seeing what I could come up with entirely on my own. I wanted the war-torn future to have a "barbarian" look about it, drab, low-key, with The HULK being the one bright patch of COLOR in the whole place! I doubt Stan Goldberg would have used so many browns and grays on an interior page, as he knew how difficult it was getting them consistent from the printer they were using at the time.
X-MEN 53 / rejected cover by BARRY SMITH (February 1969)
"Hey, is there any chance you'd like to color this? I found this unfinished cover for X-Men 53 on a couple of sites, and on the original art Barry Windsor-Smith sketched out the logo: The X-Men, featuring The Rage of Blaastar! He probably didn't yet know that they stopped using those kinds of logos a few issues earlier, but I always liked the logo. So I mocked up a quick cover in Photoshop, using the text from page 1. I thought it would look great on our blogs if it were colored in the style of the published issue. Let me know what you think, and if you're interested in taking a crack at it!Thanks!"
Well, that didn't take too long.
I spent an hour or two last week playing around with the design. I really wanted it to be the proper proportions. This meant losing some of the background detail, but A)it couldn't be helped, and B)it was a question of what was really important.
I looked at several other covers from the period, and realized Cyclops was only colored purple on this one, and, apparently, to somehow distinguish him from the Beast, who was blue. But he was blue on every other cover. And, having both hero and villain in shades of purple didn't seem right. Plus, blue makes a better contrast with reddish-orange.
I decided to more-or-less go with the original background color.
I think the shading on Blastarr makes more sense here than it did on the original. I thought about adding a shade to Cylcops, but then decided he looked okay as-is. My tendency is to go with as simple as possible, then add if it feels necessary. Too many modern colorists totally sacrifice the power of graphic simplicity because they mistakenly think "more" is better. (Or, they just don't know what the HELL they're doing.)
Similarly, I was about to color in the figures in the corner box... when I realized, no, it looks fine as a single color! It works as an effect, it goes well with the background color, and also subtly separates the rest of the group from the main cover image, since they're not there.
OMAC 9 / art by David Morris & Dek Baker (2002)
X-MEN seems to have had more than its share of rejected covers.
X-MEN #33 had 2 different covers rejected. The first was by then-series regular Werner Roth. While I consider Roth's depiction of the characters to be the definitive one (above even Kirby, who created them, and Adams, whose work was a huge inspiration for the 70's revival), he was known more for romance than action.
Gil Kane, a longtime DC mainstay, wound up doing several Marvel covers around this time. AVENGERS #37 (Feb'67) & X-MEN #33 (Jun'67), both books written by Roy Thomas, had Kane's work replacing already-drawn pieces by each book's regular artist (Don Heck & Werner Roth, respectively).
X-MEN 33 / rejected cover by GIL KANE (June 1967)
But then, the Comics Code apparently thought the main figure of "The Outcast" was too frightening. So The Outcast was replaced by The Juggernaut (who had been on Roth's cover in the first place). Juggernaut's hands were left unchanged from the previous version. The figures of Marvel Girl & Cyclops were replaced with Iceman and Angel, and their floating heads were replaced with the faces of Cyclops and Marvel Girl-- taken directly from Roth's cover!
Thomas & Kane would go on to collaborate on a wide variety of books, including the creation IRON FIST.
With the Werner Roth cover, I colored the figures first, then, by trial-and-error, designed the background colors for contrast and dynamic effect. I like how the color scheme wound up looking so "pleasant" and "traditional", which was a perfect fit for Roth's art.
For Gil Kane's cover, I started out the same way, but for contrast, my choice of colors, first on "The Outcast" and then on the background, was designed to highlight their otherworldliness and evil, as well as reflect the manic intensity of Kane's art. I didn't even bother trying to make it similar to the published version, and I specifically wanted it to be as "wild" and "demented" as possible. I feel this manages to capture the look of the era (1967 was the "summer of love" and "psychedelia" after all) but also comes close to almost looking like a "black light" poster.
X-MEN 25 / rejected cover by Werner Roth & Dick Ayers (October 1966)
It's a hell of a thing when an artist is reduced to being a guest-star on his own book.
X-MEN 10 / rejected cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone (March 1965)
Not sure why this cover was rejected, although perhaps it was a lack of focus. The published version had a much bigger close-up of Ka-Zar, lunging at The Beast while Cyclops once again fired those annoying eye-beams at him.
I really didn't like the gray plants & white sky in the original, so I let my own instincts dictate the color scheme.
This cover, I'm pretty sure, had already turned up on an issue of Chrissie Harper's JACK KIRBY QUARTERLY magazine some years ago. I didn't dig that out for reference, either.
X-MEN 10 / rejected cover /
"Ralph Bakshi-Gray Morrow" tribute version (March 1965)
More as I go!
Artwork (C) Marvel Comics /
Raw scan of TALES TO ASTONISH #76, page 7 from Heritage Auctions site
Raw scan of X-MEN #53 supplied by Chris Heizlip
Raw scans of X-MEN #25 & 33 (Werner Roth)
from THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR
Raw scan of X-MEN #33 (Gil Kane) supplied by Roy Thomas
Raw scan of X-MEN #10 from Original Comic Art Locator site
New Color by Henry Kujawa.
See all my COLORING work:
Rebel 3, Part 1 art by Jeff Toliver
Rebel 3, Part 2 art by Jeff Toliver
American Sentinels pin-ups by various artists
HSQ covers by Jeff Toliver
American Sentinels, Part 2 by Eric Douthitt
American Sentinels, Part 3 by Eric Douthitt
Coloring Samples by various artists
Coloring Samples, Part 2 by various artists
Coloring Samples, Part 3 by various artists (HSQ comics)
Coloring Samples, Part 4 by various artists
Edgar Allan Poe stories in COLOR:
CAVALEIRO ANDANTE 453 (Sep'60) --
"THE GOLD BUG" by Fernando Bento
CLASSICOS DE TERROR 1 (1960) --
"THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO" by Gedeone Malagola
CLASSICOS DE TERROR 8 (1960) --
"LADY BERENICE" by Flavio Colin
CLASSICOS DE TERROR 9 (1960) --
"THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH" by Manoel Ferreira
"THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM" by Gedeone Malagola
CLASSICOS DE TERROR 12 (1961) --
"I'M ALIVE!" by Gedeone Malagola
CLASSICOS DE TERROR 14 (1961) --
"THE BLACK CAT" by Luiz Saidenberg
EERIE 12 (Nov'67) --
"THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH" by Tom Sutton
ALBUM CLASSICOS DE TERROR ? (1967) --
"NEVERMORE!" by Luis Meri
ALBUM CLASSICOS DE TERROR 3 (1967) --
"THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH" by Nico Rosso
"MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN A BOTTLE" by Osvaldo Talo
ALBUM CLASSICOS DE TERROR 4 (1967) --
"THE OVAL PORTRAIT" by Osvaldo Talo
"THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO" by Osvaldo Talo
ALBUM CLASSICOS DE TERROR 5 (1967) --
"THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER" by Osvaldo Talo
ALBUM CLASSICOS DE TERROR 6 (1968) --
"WILLIAM WILSON" by Osvaldo Talo
"BERENICE" by Edegar & Ignacio Justo
ALBUM CLASSICOS DE TERROR 7 (1968) --
"THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF M. VALDEMAR" by Edegar & Ignacio Justo
"THE TELL-TALE HEART" by Nico Rosso
"A DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTROM" by Edegar & Ignacio Justo