Tag Archives: Spiderman

1950s graphics

When I was younger I was a big fan of Marvel comics. I loved The Fantastic Four and Spiderman in particular. I remember that US-based comics (Marvel and others) around the 1960s included the most outrageous adverts that offered fantastic products at very low prices. I always remember wanting some of the sea monkeys and also some of the x-rays specs. Though they were inexpensive, USA seemed a million miles away to me at the time and the notion of buying something from the USA and having it delivered to the UK seemed too fantastic. So I never placed an order. Probably a good thing – check out this interesting review of the 10 most outrageous comic-book advertisements. See also here for more about the monkeys!!

I was reminded of all of this when I came across an article today in the Daily Mail about the work of Peter Stults, an American artist who has taken modern movies and imagined how they would have been advertised in the 50s and 60s. Really interesting and evocative.

ps. If you like Marvel you may like to read what I found out about the colour of the Hulk.

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!!