Comic Fodder

What Books Should I Read If I Am Interested In Comics?

Okay, you’ve had enough of TV and movies, and you’ve read all your comic books. You don’t want to read just to read, you want to learn. What do you want to learn? How about something that will help you to understand comics better? How about something that will make you appreciate coloring in comics better? How about something that might actually be helpful if you, someday, want to make color comics? How about I stop writing questions and get to the (censored) book already?

Colorful Illusions

by Aki Nursoi with Mark Shulman

Aki Nurosi is what you might call a color specialist. Her education and work in graphic arts compelled her to write this book, and Mark Shulman helped to make parts of the book read easier for the average person who does not live in the graphic design world. The result is a short book composed of a series of illusions. Yes, I suppose you could make it a bathroom reader. The things you people think of when you read online!

The reader is asked to look at each picture first, then to attempt to answer the accompanying questions. An answer key is provided in the back of the book to let you know which principles of color apply for each picture, and there is also a glossary of terms at the end. The introduction explains an aspect of the color red. Red cars do indeed get pulled over by cops more often than the other cars. “Red looks fast.” Is it really faster? Of course not! That idiot in the yellow Maserati just blew by you at 95 mph, but he’s not the one that got pulled over. The key is that color does tend to have a certain affect on the human eye; color deceives.

These are not brand new secrets. The Flash has a red costume for a reason. Superman’s costume has the three primary colors, blue, red, and yellow, for a reason. Batman’s colors… well, it’s obvious in many cases. One of the comments that I have been making a lot more often lately in the reviews is on the job of the colorist. A good colorist will do such a good job that it melds perfectly with whatever is on the page. Like the letterer, you’re not supposed to notice the colorist. However, a good colorist can often do such a good job, it makes you stop to admire a particular page and drink in the effect that has been created by the colors. For a handful of comics lately, the coloring has not been up to the task.

This book will make you stop to think about color, its uses and effects. Professional colorists used to know all of these rules and effects, and we could take it for granted. No more. There are actually some colorists who will put a color on top of the same color in the background, and not on purpose for a good effect. Too many of the modern day comic book colorists do not stop to study their craft, and just picking up a book like this might help.

A friend of mine who studies physics is fond of saying that no two brains are wired the same way. The authors of this book are of the same opinion, and comment that the effect varies, as one person may not be nearly as affected by a particular color illusion as the next person. But these tricks are cool, and you may even learn how the grocer tricks you into buying groceries by using color. The book is intentionally simple enough for children to read, yet fascinating enough to hold an adult’s attention. This is the perfect book to start with when exploring color, and it may spark your desire to find other books that will increase your knowledge and awareness of the importance and utility of color, especially in the comic medium. Let me know if you come across any good ones.
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.

Is "Colorful Optical Illusions: Over 70 Designs and Tricks to Fool Your Eyes" the same book? It's by the same authors but amazon also lists "Colorful Illusions: Tricks to Fool Your Eyes". I am thinking about getting it but don't know if one is better than the other.

-- Posted by: AndreZero at October 15, 2008 1:29 PM

This one is "Colorful Illusions: Tricks to Fool Your Eyes." I think the other title you mentioned is a hardback, and from the written description I read, it may be different illusions covered in that version.


-- Posted by: tpull at October 15, 2008 10:22 PM


-- Posted by: AndreZero at October 16, 2008 2:30 PM