Top comics artist David Lloyd, creator of Kickback, has been sharing some of the newly-coloured 'bridging pages' for the upcoming Absolute V For Vendetta, due for release in August.
"For those of you who are only familiar with V in its collected form as a paperback or hardback, or in the various versions of it which have been published around the world, the bridging pages were full-page illustrations which I created for the original issues," David explains via his web site, "in order to link together the separate chapters of the story, and sometimes lead into and out of the issues.
"For the purpose of printing economics, all of the individual issues had to have a specific page-count, but the interiors of the issues couldn't be completely filled with reprint story material without breaking the chapters up. Blank pages were not an option of course, and we didn't want any advertising filling these blanks and marring the atmosphere of the story - so the concept of using bridging pages arose.
"My intention with them was never to use them to add meaning that wasn't intended to the end of a chapter if they followed one, or to it's beginning if the pages preceded a chapter," David continues. "My purpose at all times was for them to complement the action and not distort it. Within those boundaries I had a very enjoyable and creative time, and produced some illustration work I'm proud of."
However, David notes a caveat to the original version of the work. "At the time this work was done, there was no budget available to pay for these illustrations to be fully coloured and little time to do it anyway, so they were all simply tinted with an overall tone of any colour I considered appropriate for the atmosphere of the chapters they were attached to," he reveals. "But for the Absolute edition, I was offered the opportunity to fully colour all these pages, and I gladly took it.
"Over 50 of these full-page illustrations are now in full color, and have been colored using the same palette that V's colourists - Siobhan Dodds and Steve Whitaker - used in the individual chapters they worked on, to homage their contribution and join theirs in its tone. Siobhan and Steve used watercolour and colored inks respectively for their work, but I used coloured pencils, manipulated in Photoshop, in a repetition of the technique I applied to the colour of my graphic novel, Kickback. It worked well in maintaining the look of the original colour work.
"This new colour is part of a great package in the Absolute Vendetta," David enthuses, "which will look very much like a perfect binder of all the original issues of the serial, reprinting for the first time absolutely all of the art they contained, and more of the preparatory art that went into all the issues."
Recently, David also explains he wants to clear up a misconception that many V for Vendetta may be suffering from over how V came to be published in colour after its long run in the British comics magazine, Warrior in black and white, "a form that many admirers of the graphic novel still have a great fondness for," he acknowledges.
"This didn't happen because DC Comics insisted on it as part of the deal of reprinting and continuing the serial, as many may imagine," David explains. "DC's Executive Editor at the time, Dick Giordano, asked me if I wanted it to be reprinted in black and white and kept in black and white for future issues. I said I didn't, because I knew that the widest readership could only be accessed through publishing it in full colour.
"This was not a decision I made because of a blinkered interest in the greater financial rewards of gaining the widest readership," David insists. "It was because I wanted the work and its message to spread as far as it could possibly go.
"In my view, what had prompted Dick to offer me that choice between colour and black and white from the high position he occupied in a company which was built on colour comics, was the remarkable success of some of the b/w indie books of the time, such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which sold massively despite being in monotone. I thought then that this development in comic-reader habits was a detour, not a new highway, and I was convinced that Vendetta could be coloured appropriately and effectively in its new incarnation.
"Printing didn't always do its best in representing the skill that Steve Whitaker and Siobhan Dodds - V's major colourists - applied to the work, but that's another long story," David adds. "For those interested, I can tell you that the definitive colour balances in V were applied to the hardback version of the collection in 2006 and are now also seen in the latest softcovers. And, of course, they will appear in the Absolute edition."
• Absolute V for Vendetta will be released in August 2009. View more previews on www.lforlloyd.com
• Read our 2006 interview with David about his Kickback project