Police Lineup #1

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Grottu

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So, this one I got for five bucks on eBay. The interior is not bad, but the cover is missing a good 1 to 2 inch strip down the entire spine. Not sure exactly how that happened (the tear pattern isn't typical of a remaindered copy), but my goal is to restore the missing portion of the cover and reattach it to the interior via the original staples. It's a fun book -- a nice Easter egg is the Wally Wood art on the inside cover. Storywise, it's the usual hard-boiled early '50s crime stuff, but this one also has some tough dames clobbering, shooting and stabbing everybody, only to get a comeuppance at the end (literally)...

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First step was to clean the cover and remove pencil markings on the tough guy's face. Then it was on to leaf casting the two halves of the cover back together again. That required using the interior wraps as a guide to determining how much of the original cover was missing, so that the newly reattached cover would fit properly. Unfortunately, I misjudged it and the "new" cover was not wide enough. Soooo, rather than redo the leaf casting to the spine, I decided to just use leaf casting to add new paper to the back-cover edge, extending it a fraction of an inch to properly cover the interior pages. The faint seam left by that process will need to be dealt with before it's finished. 

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Edited by Grottu
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Reinforced the new spine with Japanese paper and wheat paste. Next is to prepare the new portion of the front cover for inpainting, and recreation of missing text and graphics on the inside. Outlines are in place, and now it's time for acrylics. Important to note that the color touch and imagery recreation will only be applied to newly added paper, and so the restoration will be completely reversible (btw, those are Wally Wood “mug shots” on the left, his only contribution to the front cover)…

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Edited by Grottu
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Filling out the "mug" of Irene Schroeder -- the real-life gunslinger profiled in this issue -- you get an appreciation for the craft of Wally Wood, who uses little more than shadows and smudges to perfectly evoke a woman's face. The actual Irene (posted below) wasn't exactly the flame-haired beauty of Wally's imagination, but not too far off the mark ...

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Amazing.

Your color palate next to the work with your extensions of the original art looks really good.  Your lines are great and it is fun to see how you figure out the colors.  

The fact that you are working on books that are super cool at the core but have totally lost their visual appeal is a great part of this.

The books I've seen you do so far were complete wrecks before you rescued them. What you are doing is a rescue, imo.  That book was close to garbage and now it is very, very cool.

I think it would be cool to stop some of your projects at various stages, with the test colors and half finished art and raw patches. Keep them like that and display them like a still shot of surgery. They are works of art at every stage of the process.

 

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On 12/14/2021 at 8:54 PM, Turnando said:

Amazing.

Your color palate next to the work with your extensions of the original art looks really good.  Your lines are great and it is fun to see how you figure out the colors.  

The fact that you are working on books that are super cool at the core but have totally lost their visual appeal is a great part of this.

The books I've seen you do so far were complete wrecks before you rescued them. What you are doing is a rescue, imo.  That book was close to garbage and now it is very, very cool.

I think it would be cool to stop some of your projects at various stages, with the test colors and half finished art and raw patches. Keep them like that and display them like a still shot of surgery. They are works of art at every stage of the process.

 

Thanks @Turnando...appreciate the thoughtful comment. I also find the artistic aspect of restoration to be a cool and satisfying part of it, and for me personally it sorta takes comic collecting one step beyond just the acquisition of more stuff (though I'm a sucker for that too!). And given the over-heated state of the market today, low-grade books are often the only affordable options a lot of the time, so making them "better" -- either through simply dry cleaning and pressing or, if warranted, a full-blown restoration -- has become a lot more important.

I like your idea of "pausing" at various restoration stages. That's sort of my intent here by posting updates along the way, but I hadn't thought of actually displaying them in that state. An interesting concept!

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Finished the mugshot gallery (“before” photo is on left, actual comic is on right). Not thrilled with the paint texture, to be honest.  Been shifting to a new type of acrylics and haven’t gotten used to it yet. Also have not managed to come up with a better way to recreate the look of the old dot matrix printing that makes inpainting some comic covers such a challenge. I know of at least one restorer who uses a microscope to do it, something I haven’t tried. 
 

Next will be recreating lost text and imagery on the inside covers, which will require a different process…

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Closing in on completion of this one. Top photo is before-and-after of image transfers to begin recreating the missing imagery on the inside covers. What's depicted there is the first step -- getting the basic recreated image down -- and it now has to be finished to more closely match what's already there. This is done not with inpainting, but proprietary methods of digitally transferring an image of the B&W photos, tiny text and other graphics that make inside covers almost impossible to recreate by hand with acrylics.

The second photo is after reglossing of the covers, again, using a proprietary method (all I can say is it doesn't come in a spray can!). "Reglossing" is actually a misnomer, because comic book covers were never chemically glossed in the first place. Rather, the high-speed rollers they passed through on printing presses -- a process called calendering -- imparted a shiny finish.

The final step will be to reattach the cover to the book, humidify and press it.

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Finished and up in the 'restoration corner' of my wall display, a refuge for misfit toys that have been put back together...(the cloudy-looking little bubbles in the photo are from UV-blocking film I put over the outside of the toploaders)

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Edited by Grottu
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On 12/10/2021 at 7:47 PM, Grottu said:

Reinforced the new spine with Japanese paper and wheat paste.

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Didn't the spine thicken and become less pliable after u reinforced it with Japan paper and wheat paste? Great job in-painting with acrylics.

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On 12/21/2021 at 12:29 PM, aardvark88 said:

Didn't the spine thicken and become less pliable after u reinforced it with Japan paper and wheat paste? Great job in-painting with acrylics.

Good question. Not with the type of Japanese paper and paste I use. Extremely thin, yet strong, paper adhered with just enough paste to make a bond but not so excessive that it dries stiff.

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