The Phantom Stranger No. 33 Cover by Jim Aparo

In the early 70s, both DC and Marvel went to a cover format that put solid colour behind the masthead and boxed in the cover art below it. It might have made covers more consistent and easier to lay out, but to my eye it was cramped and did a disservice to the power a good cover could generate to get a potential reader to pick up the comic off the newsstand. It put production convenience and cost control before editorial and artistic decision making. Penny wise and pound foolish is another way to express it.

Case in point was this fantastic issue of The Phantom Stranger guest-starring Deadman. After Neal Adams, and before José Luis García-López, Jim Aparo put his unique stamp on Boston Brand, bringing more menace to the character than the other two did.

It was easy enough to finish off the top of the art to free it from the confines that had been imposed upon it and see what might have been. New colour and cover packaging by me.


The Phantom Stranger 33 by DC Comics

As published.

Original art by Jim Aparo

Scan of Aparo’s original art from Heritage Auctions.

Production art by Scott Dutton

Scan cleaned up for production. Art extended at the top to free it from its original box.

Comic book colouring by Scott Dutton

Homage to the published colour.

Comic book design and packaging by Scott Dutton

Re-created trade dress added.

Comic book colouring by Scott Dutton

New colour version.

Comic book design and packaging by Scott Dutton

Alternately-coloured trade dress added.


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