Gemstone Carl Barks collection - cancelled

creator of Duckburg and Scrooge McDuck

Postby admin » Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:46 pm

Old information from Matthias Wivel, March 28th, 2008:
A solicitation via last week revealed that, beginning this fall, Gemstone will be collecting and releasing the Duck comics of Carl Barks in their entirety in the original language! On paper, this is great news for Barks fans and lovers of great comics everywhere. For my money, these are some of the best comics ever produced by anyone, anywhere. One of the great treasures of 20th Century art.

A note of caution should, however, be struck before we break out the champagne. The edition Gemstone will be releasing is going to be based on the edition published in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Germany over the last three years. It was put together and produced by Scandinavian publishing giant Egmont and is unfortunately a deeply flawed product.

In its basic editorial concept, this is a great package. It includes every single story Barks did, including the ones he didn’t write or draw himself. It publishes several previously censored stories in their original form for the first time since their original publication. The able Daan Jippes has been called in to restore a number of damaged stories, as well as redraw the late “King Scrooge the First,” (1967) which was originally mangled by Tony Strobl, on the basis of Barks’ original thumbnails. It includes around 1500 pages of supplementary material, including covers, sketches and illustrations by Barks as well as documentary material written by the Barks expert Geoffrey Blum. And last but not least, it presents the stories in strict chronological order of publication, allowing the reader to follow closely Barks’ development as an artist and storyteller over his almost three decades as a comic book artist.

This is all well and good, but unfortunately thoroughly undermined by the colouring of the strips, which is not only amateurishly executed but fundamentally misconceived. [...] Protests raised by fans and customers of the books — which were sold by subscription only — made Egmont rein in their colouring strategy somewhat, toning down the use of gradients, airbrush, supplemental elements alien to the comics (such as vectorised cloud patterns), and other horrid computer effects. These changes were, however, only implemented from the third cassette onwards, meaning that six volumes out of thirty are pretty much ruined.

The little I have seen of the revised colouring clearly shows that things have improved, but the changes are still only cosmetic. Carried out as it is by the same people responsible for sullying the initial volumes, the colouring remains insensitive to the material, synthetic and without depth. [...]

What does this mean for the American edition? Though it will surely be based on Egmont’s work, Gemstone has stated that everything is still up in the air regarding the production of their version, but they don’t exactly have a stellar record on the issue: their Disney comics, already substantially based on Egmont-produced material, are marred by exactly the same approach to colour, and the new EC Archive is a sad case of interference with material that already had perfectly fine colouring in earlier reprints. Even if Gemstone chooses to use the changes to the colouring of the first six volumes apparently implemented in the Finnish edition, which started publication later than the other Scandinavian ones, the colouring remains deeply unsatisfying, and vastly inferior to the high-quality colour restoration of other classic strip reprints such as Fantagraphics’ Krazy & Ignatz and Popeye as well as Sunday Press’ Little Nemo — So Many Splendid Sundays! and Sundays with Walt & Skeezix.


The Gemstone collection is cancelled.

According to Wikipedia, Gemstone Publishing published licensed Disney comic books from June 2003 until November 2008.
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