In early 2015, Rosie Cima took a hard look at the palette of cinema and concluded that color digitization was rendering every film (and film poster) into shades of blue and orange. The article is still absolutely worth a look today for anyone interested in media production or anyone curious about the forces that shape mainstream media, especially since those trends only seem to have been fetishized in the ensuing years. The gist of the article proposes that most post-production grading veers orange because the color of human skin falls under that tone, meaning that blanket changes can be made without anything looking terribly unnatural.
Does the comic industry follow a similar trend? I’d never thought about it until this month, which has a lot of magenta, violet and purple going on. Albeit, these are titles I personally selected: this statement could well be an admission of my fondness for that color scheme more than a blanket appraisal. But…but…when nearly a third of the covers sport those hues, it’s hard not to notice. For the high-genre, otherworldly fiction of most comics, these tones are perfect, unlike the rationale for film’s tendency to go orange. Christian Ward’s cover for Black Bolt #8 hearkens back to the mind-numbingly huge vistas of European artist Moebius, and injecting magenta and purple only adds to the otherworldly flavor. These are colors we will rarely, if ever, see naturally in our world. Dave Stewart also uses those tones for a darker edge in the David Rubin-pencilled cover for Rumble #1, showing a pagan apocalypse where reincarnated scarecrow gods rage. Covers featuring Steven Universe, Jessica Jones and (mostly) Rocko’s Modern Life follow suit, paying homage to the preferred color of grapes, Prince and rugburns. Check out the rest of our favorite covers in the gallery above.