21 March 2013

Tom Ziuko and The Dark Knight Returns

"Batman and Robin" by Tom Ziuko (1980s)

Can you remember the world of Batman before Frank Miller hit the scene?

In the mid 1980s, as the summer convention schedule was nearing, DC editorial handed colorist Tom Ziuko a reproduction of a sketch by Frank Miller.  In Tom's words:

"... [I]t was to be used in a slide show presentation at upcoming conventions; and was only intended to be seen on screen for a few minutes, and never published or used in print - hence the loose (sloppy?) look of the color. Since I'm extremely meticulous with my coloring, I'm somewhat mortified now that this is under the microscope.
In fact, I seem to recall that they needed this done at the last moment, and I sat down and colored it in the production department with a borrowed set of [Dr. Martin] dyes, as opposed to taking it home and coloring it in my studio. (Which also accounts for the somewhat 'gritty' look of the greys on Batman - my dyes at home were much 'cleaner')."

Whereas Tom may be mortified by this promotional piece, I think it's amazing for those reasons: It's fast and loose, which adds strength to Tom's artistic impressions of color.  It also shows us the world before anyone had heard of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.  Carrie Kelley was unknown as Robin (hence the dark hair color) and Tom used his own interpretation of Batman's costume, as Frank had not blacked out the Bat symbol.

Brilliant.  A wonderful snap shot of Batman history.

More recently, Tom has done a considerable number of color jobs for TwoMorrows Publishing.  Tom also included this print from a George Perez sketch used as the cover of Back Issue #1

"Batman and Captain America" by Tom Ziuko (2012)

Tom, a long-time colorist for DC and MARVEL, has taken ill.  He is currently offering his deep collection of hand-colored production art from DC and MARVEL to offset his mounting healthcare costs.

You can preview his artwork on his facebook page, where you can contact him directly.

The world needs more color and Tom Ziuko.  Please consider an addition to you art collection and keep a good thought for this talented artist.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you on that colour!

    I like the gritty aspect. Lovely piece!