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Firestorm #53 Cover Reveals Villain Name Change & Color Guide

Several color guides to Firestorm The Nuclear Man covers have recently surfaced on eBay. One particular color guide worth noting is the cover to Firestorm The Nuclear Man #53 (Nov. 1986). Not only does it show how coloring was done in the 1980s, it also reveals there was a name change for the villain of this issue! Apparently the villain “Silver Shade” was originally planned to be called “Silver Shadow.” I’m guessing the name change occurred due to the character “Silver Shadow” who appeared in Dave Cockrum’s The Futurians in 1984 (from Marvel, then Lodestone Comics). Not a tremendous difference in the overall scheme of things, but this was Firestorm co-creator Gerry Conway’s last issue on the book. So really, this is the final villain Gerry created for the Nuclear Man to fight. That makes it worth noticing.

This particular color guide is available on eBay and the current asking price is only $10,000. Be sure to jump on this folks! :)

This cover was penciled by Joe Brozowski, inked by Dick Giordano, and colored by Nansi Hoolahan. According to the eBay listing, color guides were instrumental in the production of comics before computers. The sheets were printed with the line art and then given to colorist to complete with watercolors or inks. The cover does not have the codes in the margin, instead they are on transparent paper that is laid over the cover. Colorists not only brought each page to life with their artistry, but they were also responsible for making sure that they properly coded each part of the page. The codes (YRB) indicate the different percentages of Yellow, Red and Blue that would be needed to produce the desired colors when printed. This particular piece was part of the Nansi Hoolahan Collection that the seller acquired. Nansi was not only a colorist and letterer for DC Comics in the early 80’s but she also was the layout mechanic. What that means is she was one of the last people to work on the production of a book, and consequentially is the reason why she had these items in her collection. Interesting stuff!

First, we have the approximate color guide to the cover… 

Fury of Firestorm #53 cover by Joe Brozowski, Dick Giordano, and Nansi Hoolahan

Next, we have the the semi-transparent overlay identifying specific YRB color codes and surprints (or color holds). Note the sticky note about the name change.

Fury of Firestorm #53 cover by Joe Brozowski, Dick Giordano, and Nansi Hoolahan

Finally, here is the cover as printed. Neat to see the whole coloring process!

Fury of Firestorm #53 cover by Joe Brozowski, Dick Giordano, and Nansi Hoolahan

My thanks to our good friend Jon from FIZZIT, the Firestorm-themed blog for sending this information my way!

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One Comment

  1. Kyle Benning says:

    Hmm that’s very interesting!

    PS I love Cockrum’s Futurians! A great Graphic Novel and subsequent mini-series, and very cheap and readily available on ebay, I recommend it to everyone who hasn’t read it, it’s well worth the $6 it’ll set you back!

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