Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Steranko! Part 2 - The World's First 4-Page Spread

In 1968, Strange Tales #67 appeared and Steranko gave me another of those spine-tingling moments when I realized I was looking at the first 4-page spread in the history of comics. As usual, Steranko was battling the limitations of the cheap mass-market production process. The art couldn't enter the gutters where the pages met and of course you had to turn the page to get the second half of the spread. Here's how the first two pages appeared...

In the words of 'Stingy Stan' "To get the full effect, of course, requires a second ish placed side-by-side, but we think you'll find it to be well worth the price to have the wildest action scene ever in the history of comics!"

I either couldn't afford the extra shilling or I couldn't find another copy. But now, with the magic of Photoshop, I can finally see the spread as it was intended.

I've scanned this extra-large, so if you're at home with a full-size monitor, click on the image to get the full cinematic scale of this mind-blowing scene. You can also play 'spot the colour cock-ups' as the colourist was obviously working on individual pages. Steranko was frustrated by the colouring on his strips and sometimes did the separations himself (on the previously-featured S.H.I.E.L.D. #3 for instance), but not this time. Even so, the effect was impressive for the time and another first for the great innovator.