Dead Reckoning and Marvel are working together to release Atlas at War on June 17, 2020. The collection features fifty hard-hitting stories from Marvel’s Atlas era.
From 1951 to 1960 Atlas Comics, which later became Marvel Comics, published more war titles than ayn other comic company. The collection is edited by comics historian Dr. Michael J. Vassallo. Some of these comics are being reprinted for the first time. 4 never-reprinted classics were written and penciled by Jack Kirby.
The collection features stories from sixteen different Atlas war titles and features the artwork of artists like Russ Heath, John Severin, Bernie Krigstein, Joe Maneely, Jerry Robinson, Steve Ditko, and Kirby.
Each page has been restored from its first printing by comic art restorer Allan Harvey.
In the 1950s, when these Atlas war comics were originally published, the hand-drawn artwork was photographed, and the resulting negatives used to produce the printing plates from which the final comic was printed. In the intervening sixty or seventy years the artwork, negatives, and plates have all been lost or destroyed, so, if a publisher wishes to reprint these comics, the only thing they have to use as a source is the decades-old printed comic. Over that period of time acids within the paper itself have acted to darken the paper and make it brittle; oils from countless fingers, too, may have taken their toll, making a clean reprint very difficult—without help. That’s when someone like me steps in.
As a restoration artist, I take a high-resolution scan of the printed comic page and load it into computer software [See image 1 above] where I use my skills to remove or minimize the accumulated dirt and deterioration of the ages. First, I strip out the color information, which results in a very washed-out file [See image 2 above]. I work on this extensively, manually darkening the linework and black areas, removing deterioration, dust and dirt and any problems introduced on the original printing press, such as line drop-outs, etc. This process produces a file which looks as close to how the artwork would have looked when the artist handed it to the editor back in 1950 as I can make it. [See image 3 above]
At this point I reintroduce the color information and work on that, again removing defects and smoothing out the “look” to my satisfaction, working and re-working it until I get a sharp, clean digital color file [See image 4 above], from which reprints can be made, allowing these exciting comics to be brought to a whole new generation. The time taken to complete a page varies, but, on average, a single page can be produced in around 4-6 hours.– Allan Harvey