Welcome to the Arktoons roundup. Bounding Into Comics’ weekly look at some of the best in new and classic comics that Arkhaven Comics has to offer. Today we will be taking a dive into the classic side with an examination of Arkhaven’s Chuck Dixon Presents series, with a special look at the restoration process that takes these vintage comics from Fair to Near Mint.
Most avid comic book collectors share one thing in common. We didn’t start with our own comics, we started with someone else’s collection.
Maybe you followed your Dad into the attic when he was reorganizing things and he found a box toward the rear wall. He got a huge smile on his face and motioned you to come to join him.
Or perhaps you found your eldest brother’s collection in the basement after he had gone off to college and you decided to claim his collection as your own.
However you got into it, Arktoon’s Chuck Dixon Presents series of titles feels a lot like those moments of discovery when you were first digging through a big cardboard box with the word “COMICS” emblazoned on the aide with a black mark.
The Legend Chuck Dixon Presents Comedy
Comedy is literally the foundation of comic books. The very first of them were collections of Sunday newspaper “funnies.” Which is what put the “comic” in comic book.
Jack Cole’s (1914-1958) comedic art style is very much in keeping with his milieu. And not just in America, take a look at Asterix from France and you’ll see very similar character designs.
However, Cole was able to use Plastic Man to experiment with text and character art in way that was quite new and different. His contributions to comic book art-school grammar added significantly to what we now call the Golden Age of Comics.
Plastic Man was one of the very few titles to get picked up after Quality Comics collapsed. Jack Cole bounced around various comics publishers for years before ending his days at Playboy.
The Legend Chuck Dixon Presents Adventure
Kids in the mid-twentieth century were fascinated by undersea adventures. The “Frankenstein Suit” diving rig had only been out of use for only fifteen years when this comic was published.
The old Cousteau style twin-hose/twin-tank Aqua-Lungs that this comic book features had quite literally opened up a new world.
The frontier of space was limited to a minuscule number of government employees but anyone with enough money and access to a beach could become an explorer. Kids were no exception.
One of the most charming things about this title is the character’s devotion to their own personal integrity. It doesn’t even occur to them to lie for their customer.
Although, maritime archeologists were probably less than charmed by the team’s wreck looting.
Truthfully Indiana Jones was much worse.
The Legend Chuck Dixon Presents War
For our final segment, we are going to take a step-by-step look at the restoration process on these classic comics. Any of you who have read the Chuck Dixon Presents webtoons and wondered, where did Arkhaven get a hold of these mint quality, obscure comics? Well, they didn’t. The process starts with an issue that would probably grade as no better than good.
Here is the start of the process. A page that isn’t in terrible shape, no tears, and doesn’t seem to have been handled too much. But there is significant yellowing, along with color and text distortion.
Let’s lighten things up a little.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. You break the problem into more easily managed chunks. The page is divided into sections.
Because the text is going to have to be recreated by an exact script of what the original dialog was.
Next, the panel to be restored is isolated, since this will be done in webtoon format. Then one section of the panel is selected.
And zoomed in on so the cleaning process can begin.
The dialog bubbles have to be removed at this point, so the cleaning and restoration work can start in earnest.
Now the dialog has to go back in.
And a newly restored classic comic book is ready to be passed down to a new generation of readers.
That’s it for this week’s Arktoon’s round-up.
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See you next week.