Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Green Machines

Did you ever come across something that makes perfectly good sense, yet you can't quite reconcile it with something else you know to be true? Here, read this quote from Greg Theakston that was published in Comics Interview #20 (Feb. 1985) :

[Jim] Steranko told me a story once about Stan Lee and his colorists. Again, there was nobody out there teaching anybody how to color, so Stan took a mess of comic books and cut them up, pasted them into a big scrap book, and marked DON'T DO. Don't do this, don't do this, don't do this, don't do this, don't do this, don't do this. And a lot of it is logic. I mean, you don't color machinery green. Green is an organic color. You color things like vegetation green, and maybe costumes green, but you don't make machines green because machines are metal, even though can paint a machine green, you think of chrome and metallic colors, which tend to be in the blues and purples. Now, a comic book is shorthand for reality. A twisted reality, but it's a shorthand for reality.

What's the problem with that, sez you? Well, something was nagging me about it, but I couldn't put my finger on it for the longest time. Then, I realized what bothered me about the story. It was the Titanium Man.

Who? Old Iron Man villain, first appearance in Tales of Suspense #69 (Sept. 1965). Notice something about that cover? He's the Titanium Man (as in steel), and he's green.

Well, you say, that sort of thing happens. But if it's a rule, you'd think they would have changed it. But no, Titanium Man stayed green for years. He's probably still green, if he's still around.

And who was the editor of all three comics linked above? You guessed it : Stan Lee.

Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

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