Four Color Process: the inner world of dots and comic books
March 14, 2011
Comic Book, detail. Four Color Process. From 4cp.posterous.com a blog by Half Man Half Static
My regular readers know I've been a bit obsessed with making and or blogging about large scale reproductions of fragments from printed ephemera, particularly chromolithography, stone lithography and other early to mid 20th Century color-print processes.
Mid 20th Century Needle book. Detail. Liza Cowan ephemera collections.
I recently discovered the blog 4CP (four color process) by John Hilgart, the blogger known as HM/HS Half Man Half-Static, A Curator of lost items. (Great name, by the way.) HM/HS writes in an early early essay In Defense Of Dots: The lost Art Of Comic Books:
"Who is responsible for this art? At the level of a square inch of printed comic book, no one was the creative lead. 4CP highlights the work of arbitrary collectives that merged art and commerce, intent and accident, human and machine. A proper credit for each image would include the scriptwriter, the penciller, the inker, the color designer, the paper buyer, the print production supervisor, and the serial number of the press. Credit is due to all of them, to differing and unknowable degrees, for every square inch of every old comic. The hand of fate created this art, and it guides our hand as we search for 4CP images: We move a tiny Ouija board pointer across mid-Century comic books, looking for beautiful ghosts."
Comic Book, detail. Four Color process. From www.4cp.posterous.com
Jell-O booklet. Chromolithography. Detail. Liza Cowan ephemera collections.
"However, in the decisive, paradoxical twist, four-color process created a form of depth even as it fought against illustrative realism. Whereas contemporary reproductions of mid-century comic art are truly closed and flat, old comic books are visually leaky and deep. Four-color dots perforate the flat surface of the universe, opening onto nowhere – some uncharted cosmos."
Detail of Comic, 4 Color Process, from www.4cp.posterous.com
Early 20th Century seed packet, stone lithograph. Liza Cowan ephemera collections
Comic book detail, four color process, from www.4cp.posterous.com
Read the whole essay HERE and make sure to spend some time in the 4cp archive for amazing images and really well thought out and well written articles.