Thursday, July 12, 2007

Super Hair

Did you ever notice anything strange about Superman's hair? I mean, other than it always stayed perfectly in place even when supervillains tried their best to muss it up. It was blue. Why blue? Except for little old ladies in Florida, nobody has blue hair. Well, back in the old days of three-color presses, you basically had your choice of red, yellow or blue, you could leave it white, you could do it all black, or you could make dot patterns (called Benday dots). Flesh, for instance, was rendered with a white background and red and yellow dots. Well, all black made it look like just a clump, while leaving some white in made it kind of look like gray hair. Red made it look like red hair and yellow, of course, looked kind of blondish.
Somewhere along the way they decided that "black" hair was best rendered with blue. It seems odd, but it works. You can still see detail in the hair, it doesn't look like a big clump of nothing and it doesn't look gray. I've noticed that these days with modern printing presses they sometimes still use blue, but they also sometimes go with brown. I guess I'm old school—and I've expressed how I feel about the use of the color brown in comic art—it's just too subdued.
I just want to know how come his hair was so amazingly super that it could survive flying through the sun without so much as getting frizzy, but it still went limp and soggy in the rain; especially, when he was at the 'almost losing" part of the battle.

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