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Re: Q for ME

On Fri, 23 Jul 1999 12:46:09 -0400, Nate Piekos <nate@piekosarts.com>

>I was wondering... There are a lot of repreints (collections) of GROO
>issues... how does it work where the art is concerned?
>When you go to reprint, do you simply reprint from computer files saved at
>the time of the first printing?  Or master sheets (seperations etc.) used
>by the printer the first time around?  
>If so, that means there are master sheets/seperations  out there for almost
>every page of every comic in existence.... where do they keep them all? Are
>they filed at the printer's or does every comic publisher have a huge
>library of master prints?

ME: First off, it has only been in the last few years that computers
have been involved in the production of comic books.  Prior to that,
the color separations and set-up were all done on large sheets of
film.  Comic book companies kept some of this film in storage in some
cases but it can be expensive to preserve and store...so most of it
gets thrown away.  

DC and Marvel have generally kept the film around for a few years,
then tossed it.  So if you see them do a reprint of something recent
-- like a paperback collection of material that recently appeared in a
mini-series -- that would usually have been done off the same film.
Anything more than a few years old, however, would involve a
reconstruction.  They would take a photostat of the original
black-and-white art and then start the coloring process anew.  Often,
they find they do not have such a stat -- or they have a bad one which
must be retouched.  A lot of the current reprints of old comics are
done by photographing a printed comic and bleaching the color out.
(DC's recent reprint volume of 1940's BUGS BUNNY comics was done off
copies from my collection.)

In the case of GROO, Sergio and I have been diligent about holding
onto the film.  When Pacific Comics went bankrupt, I managed to get a
friend there to smuggle the film to their issues out to me before it
was all destroyed or sold in the bankruptcy auction.  With the one
Eclipse issue and the Marvel and Image books, we took custody of the
film after we severed our relationships with the company.  (It took me
a year after Malibu folded to locate the MAGNOR film but I found where
it had been stored and we now have it.)

A couple of things have been lost.  When we did THE GROO CHRONICLES,
we found that the film to one or two things from the Pacific issues
had been damaged but, fortunately, Sergio still had the original art
so we just recolored those stories.  And the first Groo story in
DESTROYER DUCK #1 presented a problem.  The film could not be found
and Sergio couldn't find the original art...so he redrew it.  (What's
funny is that, at the time we realized we'd have to do this, we'd
already done a page in which I had Sergio say he would redraw all the
old stories because it was faster than finding the old art...)

Since then, I believe everything has been reprinted off the original
film, which we have someone storing for us.  Some of the companies
that buy the right to reprint stuff overseas pay to have the film
duplicated and some merely buy stats of the original black-and-white
art and they do their own coloring and film.

The Dark Horse issues are the first to be separated on computer.  The
computer files are all stored away for future use.  And starting with
the next mini-series, Tom Luth will not only be doing the coloring but
he'll be doing the separations on computer, as well (as he did on
FANBOY) so he will also have the computer data.

Mark Evanier
PMB 303
363 S. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036-3124