Tag Archives: shades of grey

The Incredible Grey Hulk

When I was young I used to read Marvel comics. My favourites were Spiderman and The Fantastic Four but I also liked the Hulk and Thor. When I was about 10 (in about 1972) I even had this idea of designing a wrist band that could shoot out web like spiderman. What I needed was a substance that would flow (as a liquid) when it was shot out but then quickly solidified to create the web. I noticed that polystyrene turned liquid under heat and I started to build a prototype. Sadly it never worked. But I often wonder if this incident sparked my interest in chemistry, an interest that led me to study Colour Chemistry at Leeds University in 1983 and finally to my lifelong passion for colour.

I just came across a story that the Hulk was not green in the original comic strip versions. He was grey!! Apparently, in The Hulk’s debut (May 1962, a few days after I was born) Lee chose grey for the Hulk because he wanted a colour that did not suggest any particular ethnic group. The chap in charge of the colour, Stan Goldberg, however, had problems with the grey; colour management was not what it is now and this resulted in several different shades of grey, and even green, in the first issue! Given the colour problems, Lee chose to change the skin colour to green. What a shocker! Next, I’ll probably find out that Spiderman was not real!!

Shades of grey – novel

It was nice to stroll into Leeds today and see all the green grass after all this snow we have had. All I have seen for the last 3-4 weeks is white – or rather, shades of grey as the snow melted, refroze and melted etc. So speaking of shades of grey, I came across a novel today in Waterstones of that very name – Shades of grey by Jasper Fforde – published in Dec 09. This novel is a sci-fi vision of the future where democracy has been replaced by colourtocracy; a social hierarchy based on your colour vision. Sounds interesting but it could take me some weeks to read it so if anyone has read it please reply to this post with a brief review.

Notice how the cover has red, yellow and blue on it. A further indication that the notion of red, yellow and blue as the primary colours is well and truly embedded in the general consciousness of the population (whether it is true or not that these are the primaries!).

Out of interest, I also bought The rain before it falls by Jonathan Coe (I love everything by this author) and Gateway by Frederik Pohl. Not of colour interest … but could be good reads.