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Golden Age Starman Archives Vol. 2

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  • Posted July 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is not a DC Archive book due to poor restoring.

    I own and have read every DC Archive they have published over the last 20 years. This book is not an archive edition of Starman, but looks more like a 21st Century rework of the original Starman comics. It is also a low quality rework.

    An archive is a "depository containing historical records and documents". The prior DC Archives gave us a version of old comics that was closer to what was seen after the comic colorist was done painting the art, but before the comic was printed on the cheap yellow comic paper. In the past archives you got a clear and bright comic on white paper that did not have muddiness and smearing that was caused by the printing technology of the time.

    The Golden Age Starman Archives 2 suffers from only being partially restored. DC has tried to make each page look like a scan from the original comic book by making it look like it is on comic paper. The comic book paper background is not from the page scan. If you look at the top of each page you will notice that the same digital yellow paper background was used. Look closely and you will see the color variation caused by the wood pulp is that same. Using the comic book paper background is actually a clever trick to cover up the partial restoration.

    DC has done some color cleanup, but DC has cleaned up the color only in places that emphasize the focal images (i.e. the person or item that are the focus for the reader of a comic panel) and the narrative boxes (e.g. which is a focal image too) on most of the panels.

    For example on one page (page 139) the Starman character flying into the cave is the focal point of the page. Starman's red uniform's color is restored and is sharp and solid. The rest of the images on the page are dull, you can see the dots of color from the original printing press. Another example, page 140 is somewhat restored and all the yellow-green narrative boxes color have been retouched (also they are retouched through out this archive). It creates a dramatic effect where the reader's eye will focus on the yellow narrative box first and then the rest of the non-retouched images in a panel. Also on page 140 there is a pink narrative box at the bottom of the page where the color has not been retouched. You see the color again is dull and the dots from the original printing can be seen. The restorer on the retouching up of this page, took some care. If the pink box had been retouched up, composition of the images on this page would have started to look jumbled and unbalanced. However this partial re-coloring has created comic art that has never existed before in the Starman comics.

    THIS BOOK IS NOT A RESTORED ARCHIVE OF STARMAN. BECAUSE OF THE WAY THE COLOR IS APPLIED, THIS ARCHIVE IS CREATING A NEW LOOK AND DIFFERENT VISUAL IMPACT FROM THE ORIGINAL STARMAN SOURCE. The original DC archives gave us a version that was closer to what was seen after the comic colorist was done and before the comic was printed on the cheap yellow comic paper. This Starman archive is neither a comic colorist version nor a lightly cleaned up comic book scan for the reasons listed above. It is some 21st century interpretation of the original Starman, not an archive version.

    This book is $10 more expensive than most of the past DC Archive editions. It also has the cheesiest reconstruction I have ever seen. DC you need to do better.

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