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Gabriella Miyares on Worlds, Dot by Dot: Four-Color Process in the Age of Pulp Comics

Extreme halftone close-up from John Hilgart's Four Color Process Blog.

Extreme halftone close-up from John Hilgart’s Four Color Process Blog.

Twenty-first century comic book aficionados have a feast of media choices at their disposal: glossy offset-printed comics on bright white paper, special wrappers, and even digital distribution through vendors like comiXology. So why would they even deign to taint their eyes by reading off-register comics with low resolution and limited tonal range halftone screens on dingy newsprint? Well, because, as Gabriella Miyares so proved in her talk, the BANG! is in those dots. The printing limitations of 4-color rotary letterpress during the early comic book era from the 1940s to the ’70s, set an iconic look—one that is imitated certainly in art, (think Roy Lichtenstein), but also in contemporary comic artists,’ inkers,’ and colorists’ styles. Miyares’ slides were riotous confetti-strewn close-ups of millions of comic book CMYK dots, many credited from John Hilgart’s Four Color Process blog—a place I suspect many APHA-goers will now be lurking for a loupe-simulated fix!