The Best of DC Digest No. 40 Cover by Gray Morrow

Beginning just as the 1970s ended, DC Comics’ digest-sized comics followed on the success of the format at Archie Comics and Gold Key Comics, and lasted until the mid 1980s. They most often offered reprints based around one hero or a theme in each issue.

The Best of DC No. 40, dated September 1983, reprinted Superman stories which featured his home planet, Krypton. The cover was newly-commissioned art by Gray Morrow, with a Superman drawing by José Luis García-López and Dick Giordano added to the background.

Digests offered a lot of value for a low price and helped bring DC’s back catalogue to a new generation of readers.

Here’s the cover cleaned up and recoloured.


The Best of DC Digest 40 Cover by Gray Morrow

As published.


The Best of DC Digest 40 Cover by Gray Morrow

Scan from Heritage Auctions.

This is a before-after comparison (move the slider left and right) between the scan of the original art and the retouched version.

With most pieces, I’ll create good contrast with solid blacks and white whites depending on the quality of the source scan. In this case, the art was most of the way there.

Dirt and residue from the handling and aging of the art is retouched out. As well, any borders on the art are removed and I’ll usually add bleeds (extending the art beyond the printed page) to give me wiggle room for when I take it into InDesign to do cover layout. Again, in this case, the art had no border to remove.

Any mistakes on the artist’s part I’ll assess and see if they need to be fixed or left alone. On this page, Morrow appeared to have been very rushed with the background, so I fixed a few curves, blobs and long line overdraws without losing his sketchy feel (which is one of the nice things to appreciate about Gray Morrow if you appreciate Gray Morrow). He probably felt he could get away with it given this was a cover for a smaller format.


Comic book art restoration by Scott Dutton

After art reconstruction and clean up.

Superman by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Dick Giordano

Scan from the 1982 DC Comics Style Guide. Superman art by José Luis García-López and Dick Giordano. Scan courtesy of Xum Yukinori.

Comic book art restoration by Scott Dutton

Superman laid into the background.


Screenshots from the reconstruction of the World of Krypton logo. Logo originally designed by Todd Klein in 1979.

Comic book logos and lettering by Scott Dutton

Comic book logos and lettering by Scott Dutton

Comic book logos and lettering by Scott Dutton

Comic book logos and lettering by Scott Dutton

Comic book logos and lettering by Scott Dutton

Comic book logos and lettering by Scott Dutton

Comic book logos and lettering by Scott Dutton


Comic book logos and lettering by Scott Dutton

Rebuilt trade dress – logos, lettering and type – combined with the lineart.


Comic book colouring by Scott Dutton

New colour version.

Comic book colouring by Scott Dutton

Done up as a full-sized comic of the era.

Comic book colouring by Scott Dutton

A possible cover for a current collection.


Catspaw Dynamics Comic Book Art Production Services


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