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Wednesday, April 11, 2007 

Finding a tinker-job done in a trade paperback

If you're looking to buy the trades of the New Teen Titans, namely, Terra Incognito and the Judas Contract, you'll probably want to know that there's a very odd manipulation in the former.

A couple years ago, I bought three issues of the New Teen Titans from around the time of the Terra storyline. Later on, I bought both the above trade paperbacks, and so I now more or less have all of that famous storyline. That aside, when looking at some of the pages inside the former, I noticed that there was some very strange thing done there, as I'll explain by presenting the following panels below. For starters, here's page 9 from NTT 28:
Now, Donna sure looks great taking a shower, doesn't she? But the main subject here is how, in the trade paperback, they manipulated her word balloon when she's talking to Koriand'r about Dick and how he tries to be as good as Batman (being such a classy girl, she often referred to the Masked Manhunter back then as THE Batman, which probably shows how much she respected Dick's mentor back then.): here, you see that both word balloons are truly Donna's. Now, I wish I could scan what's to be seen in the trade as well, but I'm afraid of damaging the fabric with which it's been glued together (I have another trade of Spider-Man that almost came close to risk of coming apart on the inside a couple years ago), so I have a strict rule NOT to scan out of those, let alone offer a description of scenes there. But what I can say is that in the trade compilation, it appears that the editors fooled around with the combined word balloon and made it look almost like Kory was the one saying "he's just not driven the way the Batman is. He hasn't got that same fanatical obsession." A line was drawn between the two balloons, and a little triangle was drawn underneath the balloon hovering over Kory, making it almost seem as though Kory were the one to say it. Not at all, as shown by the above scan, it's Donna who told her fellow Titan this.

Frankly, it's ludicrous that they should be toying around with what was shown in the original material in the early 80s, since it almost dilutes the impact of the original scene. I think the editors have something to answer for here.
Now, see this panel from issue 29? We see that Frances Kane's coat is colored reddish-pink. But in the trade, it's plain white and the footnote was omitted. Not so bad a step but still very odd that they bleached her coat.
Now, in issue 33, that appears to be Gar Logan doing a backstroke in the water in the third panel to the right, but his hair looks blond and he's not colored green. In the trade, they recolored this part properly so that he IS green. That, on the other hand, is a good step.

So there we have three examples of alterations done in a trade paperback, one that's sloppy, one that's so-so, and one that's meant well. But good or bad they may be, I've noticed that many times, DC has omitted certain things minor though they may be, either by blacking them out or by digitally erasing them, from a lot of the trade paperbacks they've published. And I have to wonder, is this a good thing? Marvel, for all their faults today, usually doesn't tinker with small details like footnotes, writer/artist/editor credits and "Next ish" announcements in their trades, and leaves them more or less the the way they were seen in the original pamphlets.

If it's for doing something like recoloring the skin color of anyone like Beast Boy, then I'd say that's good, but when it comes to footnotes, I really don't see the point, even if it's possible to look these things up on the internet and on Wikipedia.

On one more note, the second trade, while there were some omissions, is otherwise okay and there didn't seem to be any serious manipulations there. One difference is that that one is published on a form of paper almost similar to what you find in the pamphlets!

And with that, we now return you to your regularly scheduled Donna-gazing. ;)

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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