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INNOVATION COMIC BOOK (REVIEW - ARTIST SCOTT ROCKWELL)

Updated: October 01, 2004

"A Review of Lost in Space Innovation Comics by Artist - Scott Rockwell"

Here's the epic story of my involvement with the Lost In Space comic book:

I had known David Campiti, the publisher of Innovation Comics, since we were in high school together. We had an earlier foray into comics publishing with Amazing and Wonder Comics in 1986. When Innovation opened its doors in 1989, I was working as the art director at the local NBC affiliate TV station. Since I was bored with that job and wanted to get back into publishing, I took the job as art director with Innovation. After some time, I became disenchanted with Innovation's office politics and editorial direction, and left my job there to freelance as a writer and colorist. I was Innovation's de facto colorist on any series that I chose. Shortly after that, Innovation acquired the Lost In Space license.

David Campiti was the driving force behind the comic -- I think it was a project that he'd always wanted to be involved in. David, George Broderick (who took over as art director when I left) and I discussed the coloring in detail at the start. We decided not to stick to the show's original pastel color schemes for a several reasons:

1) The characters were older, and would've needed new clothes as the old ones wore out or, in the case of Will and Penny, were outgrown. Since tastes change, we decided to use stronger clothing colors and more muted backgrounds (see below). This is also a standard in comics coloring, since muted background colors and strong foreground colors make the figures stand out better. For the individual characters, John and Maureen's clothing colors were pretty close to the old show, just a bit less 1960's ish. Will and Penny were the most different, being brighter. Judy was sort of in-between the two. Don, though, always wore the dark brown costume he'd worn in the original TV show. Dr. Smith also wore a darker costume, befitting his role as the villain. But, of course, we weren't going to mess with the silver flight suits -- those stayed as they were.

2) The settings had changed. If you look closely at the Jupiter II in the comics, it is different in several ways. We wanted to show that the ship had been repaired several times, sometimes with alien technology. The Jupiter II's interior proportions, since the walls and such were modular and movable, had been changed. Also, any environment, even a spaceship, grows more muted with use.

3) We wanted the alien environments to look different each time the Robinsons landed on a new planet. And we wanted them to look as little as possible like a set with a painted sky and cardboard rocks (sorry, I couldn't resist -- I know that's the best they could do at the time).

4) It was the 90's, not the 60's. We wanted to appeal to comic book readers of that decade. Also, David always envisioned this series as an update, rather that a recreation, of the original.

A bit of technical information on the color method: We used a technique called "graylines". This was before computer color had become the standard, and graylines were a good way of getting a fully painted look to the color. In essence, the original art was photographed by the color separator and sent back to me in two pieces; a transparent sheet with the black line art and a sheet with a faint gray image of the art, onto which I painted the color. Both sheets were then scanned and combined at the separator before printing.

I know I made several coloring mistakes in the early issues. The biggest one I remember is that I colored Will's eyes brown, which drove Bill Mumy nuts. He has blue eyes. I think I also used green as the color for the sky way too much, but it was a good way of showing that the landscape was alien. I also wanted to get away from coloring any aliens green, which is such a cliché. The Aeolus slug aliens in the final few issues were the only aliens that I deliberately colored green, because it added to their general "yuckiness."

Best,

Scott Rockwell


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