Cape Crisis #125 – With Bill Murray As Superman!

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Henry and Chris deal with a slow news week and a light new comic book day the only way they know how: By exploring Saturday Night Live’s long history of comic book-based sketches! If you’re still on an SNL buzz after the 40th anniversary special, you’ll be shocked just how many times the show wrote sketches based on Marvel and DC. All that, plus your answers to the question of the week!

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Cape Crisis #125 Question: Do we learn about big comic book events too early?

9 thoughts on “Cape Crisis #125 – With Bill Murray As Superman!

  1. Ooft.

    I’m close to the end of the episode – and really enjoying the SNL stuff! – but I feel like I have to come in to talk about how “colourists and letterers basically don’t exist anymore” – I’m very loosely paraphrasing, but the implication was that those jobs aren’t important to comics.

    I’m a comic book flatter (I’ll explain in a minute what that is), and work very closely with colourists, and they would all take serious issue with dismissal of their hard work. You were correct in that it is all done digitally now – when these tools became available, it vastly improved the scope of what colourists could do. Colour can make or break a page, can define the mood visually, and helps add depth to a scene.

    AN EXAMPLE:

    I work on Southern Bastards with the artist, Jason, who in this case is also the colourist. Her’s a page from issue 4 that he sent to me, this is the basic inked lineart:

    http://pucomic.com/cc-1.jpg

    I then come in as the flatter to fill in all the flat areas of colour – no artistic involvement in this, I just have to fill in the shapes, keep between the lines:

    http://pucomic.com/cc-2.jpg

    Jason then turns that into this:

    http://pucomic.com/cc-3.jpg

    NOW, consider how much his colours have added to this scene, how the mood is set by his choices (the sky and grass are not that colour in real life, but they evoke a mood suitable for a war time scene.) Look at how lighting is used to draw attention to certain characters, compared to how comparatively flat they are in the black and white lineart.

    This is a simple example, but every page of every comic you read goes through this – someone has put a lot of thought into how it’s coloured. Even when you see Spider-man, and you know his basic red and blue colour scheme, the scene and lighting have to dictate HOW the character is positioned in the frame. Look at this page from an upcoming Spider-man special (art by Luca Pizzari, colours by Nolan Woodard) to see how the colours add depth to a scene, pushing Spidey to the foreground:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ew4L8xm-xPE/VNwt9SY-fvI/AAAAAAAAJHY/qsZVqUkpGRk/s1600/ASMSP2015001001_col_LO.jpg

    SO, yes, colourists are super important. If you’re interested in seeing more excellent work, seek out pages coloured by Jordie Bellaire, Matt Wilson, Nolan Woodard, Nathan Fairburn, Betty Breitweiser, Ruth Redmond and Matt Hollingsworth (by NO MEANS a comprehensive list, just people who first came to mind.)

    Lettering I know less about, but I do know that it’s important to how a page functions on a basic level. The letterer has to make a page easy to read, in terms of how the reader’s eye scans across a page. If word balloons are placed poorly, it can cause confusion, with bubbles being read out of order, or covering important bits of art. It’s something readers don’t think about, nor should they have to, but it is vital to making a page read well.

    In addition to this, letterers often add sound effects and other text based flavour to a page, to make things interesting.

    Lettering is mostly only noticed when it’s done poorly. To show how important it is, here’s an example of it done badly, from the Twilight manga a few years back:

    http://ozandends.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/omg-are-they-serious-twilight-lettering.html

    NOW, I may be a little tipsy here, and I’ve already rambled on too much, but I hope my point comes across, that these are important roles in creating a full comic story. I hope to get colouring work this year, and this is close to my heart. I hope this doesn’t come across as whiny or angry, I just hope I’ve helped people appreciate these crafts a little bit more.

    1. Thank you for the info, that’s exactly the info I wanted, but that was not the implication at all. Literally the exact opposite, and mourning the loss of a similar occupation in a similar but separate industry, with a legitimate question posed based on our belief of their importance.

      Either, way, thanks for the response, brother. Yes, I’m betting you’re a bit tipsy. That was a helluva lot of projection 😉

    2. Thank you VERY much for all that insight into the coloring process, especially when using my favorite book of 2014 as an example.

      I’m sorry if I came off as dismissive of the coloring profession, because I didn’t mean to. I have the utmost respect for that profession, and letterers too. I’ll be sure to mention all this in the next episode!

      1. Oh man, I am surprisingly coherent under the influence of alcohol! I resized those pictures and everything!

        I think Chris is right, I probably misunderstood your point a little, I’d have to go back and listen. Hope this was interesting to people though!

        Keep up the great work guys!

  2. yes Chris, inkers still exist in the animation industry. we’re called clean up artists now and it’s all done digitally in programs like toon boom now. Its pretty much still inking and the way the layers in the program are layer out are a lot like working on cels. but yah, I have done some freelance clean up work and my room are is a a fulltime animator and works part time at gearbox (he doesn’t sleep) but yup they’re still basically inkers. the jobs are still the same, but the tools are different now. I went to school during a period of transition where we started off learning on paper with light boxes and I graduated using cintiqs and programs like flash and toon boom. which by the way can look good if done using traditional methods like they Don on ssteven universe. that’s a good show.
    you guys are so weird.
    it’s why I love y’all.

  3. God, it was painful listening to that superhero party sketch just die. The audience just wasn’t getting any of it. And I feel like a lot of the jokes they were making were more “inside” than what you’d see on SNL, even today.

  4. Bullshit, people had a huge complaint about that Hulk catching Ironman shot during the Avengers trailer, its at the end as well.

  5. Getting this comment posted, but I just had to give a shout out for my fellow letterers! It’s still alive in comics, although some more than less. Especially in manga adaptation, lettering is a pretty vital part of the process. I’ve done about 14 books so far for Kodansha Comics, as well as stuff for Last Gasp and Digital Manga, and various books have various lettering needs. Often my gig involves spending a ton of time doing touch-up on the original art first (taking out the Japanese sound effects and drawing in the backgrounds). After that, I do the sound effects (mostly with modified fonts, but sometimes hand-drawn on my tablet), dialog text, narrator text, and miscellaneous stuff. I put about 60 hrs of work into each 170 page tankoban volume, with about 60-70% of that time being touch-up. It’s heavy-duty work sometimes, but it’s fun!

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