Friday, November 04, 2005
Ed Strops and a Poll Question
I have several purposes to posting this big batch of Ozark Ike Sundays from 1955. Regarding the strips themselves I wanted to point out that poor Ozark Ike had been banished from his own Sunday strip by this time (he would reappear occasionally), and this storyline is about a female baseball team called the Glamazons, led by Ozark's ladyfriend Dinah Mite. Second, you'll note that the strip is credited to one Ed Strops. If that last name seems a bit on the odd side, try reading it backwards. Ever so clever... Strops is actually writer Bill Lignante and artist George Olesen (this info from Bill Lignante in an unpublished interview conducted by Paul Leiffer).
The weird part is that it is painfully obvious that Lignante did not have any interest in sports. With the notable exception of this sequence, you'd be amazed at how little sports comes into the strip. Lignante is much more interested in doing soap opera and light adventure that would be more appropriate to Rex Morgan MD than a strip purportedly about baseball.
Okay, now onto the poll question. I'd like for you good folks to look over all the above strips and tell me which you prefer in terms of the reproduction quality. What I did was to give you an array of different techniques, varying from raw scans to a variety of automated and manual retouching techniques, and I'd like to know which you find most readable, most in tune with the original look of the strip, most complementary to the art, most aesthetically pleasing. What I'm trying to find out is how you'd prefer that I deal with color strips here on the blog, so that I present strips in a way that you folks like best. I'd prefer that you leave comments here on the board, but you're also welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll not be posting for a few days in hopes that keeping this poll at the top of the blog will get more of you good folks to weigh in with your opinions.
To make it easiest to refer to the strips, use the dates. They are:
4/24 5/1 5/8 5/15
5/22 5/29 6/5 6/12
And finally, just a comment that I have now been doing the blog for a full month!
5/1, 5/8, 5/15 and 5/29 strips for
reproduction. The 4/24 strip seems just a bit out of focus, and the 6/5 strip is...uh, I don't know, just somehow not right.
For color I'd go with the 4/24, 5/1, and 5/29 strips, though the 5/1 strip is out of registration
(a raw scan?).
Not mentioning the 5/22, 6/12, or 6/19 strips as a fog seems to have rolled into the ballpark on those days.
If I had to settle I guess I'd go the opposite of Steve and go for the 5/29 over the 5/1 as my first and second choices. Though the 5/29
may seem a bit garish to others.
It's possible I'm being swayed by that extreme close-up of Dinah:
"See how she leans her cheek upon her hand. Oh that I were a glove upon that hand that I might touch that cheek."
The consensus of two seems to be that while you feel the 5/29 might be a tad garish, the vibrance of the image makes up for it. On the other hand, strips that had a much lighter touch-up were okay too. The raw scans were panned.
I pretty much agree with your findings. I like the 5/29, too, but it is also a pretty unrealistic impression of what the strip looked like in the paper. It's sort of a "if I had a color proof this might be sorta what it looks like." The ones with lighter touch-up still look like images taken from a real newspaper. The problem with these is that as soon as you start touching up you can quickly get into trouble (like the yellow cast seen on some of the images). So I think I'm going to go with the somewhat garish 5/29 look if I don't hear anyone making an argument against them.
Since my beautiful $1500 Microtek Scanmaker died on me I switched to the super-cheap but serviceable Mustek ScanExpress A3.
Easy choice for me, 5/1 is it. But the stuff by Gotto tops this no matter what system you use. Dinah just ain't as sexy.
I like the scans of 5-29 and 4-24 best. Good color and solid blacks --lush. Most of the others are washed out or too green. On the other hand, I love washed out, discolored old strips!
Enjoy the blog! Keep up the great work.