BFTB Colouring Project
Posted: 26 Jan 2009 13:48
The BFTB Colouring Project first started when http://www.devilsdue.net reintroduced the Red Shadows to the world. When I saw them I had to learn more and so, after doing some research, I came across the website http://www.bloodforthebaron.com and was blown away by the awesome work by the site owner and administrator James Marshall (AKA The Baron). Being an American I was immediately attracted to the later stories featuring the US cast and I started reading them and loving them. The more I read the more I was hooked. After reading all the great stories featuring the Cobra era characters I started reading the stories that mixed the Red Shadow and Cobra eras and thatâ€™s when the Red Shadow bug really bit me. I actually started printing the black and white pages up on regular A4 paper and putting them in a folder because I always preferred reading something I can hold in my hand over something on the computer.
Time passed and about four years ago I came across a post by Seaneley at thewww.bloodforthebaron.com forum. He had posted about a year before I joined the boards and the comment was that someone should try and colour these stories. That old post got me thinking and I thought it would be super cool if we could try and do it. So I put out the call expecting to be lucky to get more than two people to help us out. Shogi from http://www.hisstank.com and http://www.yojoe.com sent me a pic and posted it online and then the colourists just started coming in. This inspired me to scour the world over for every resource I could to find colourists! Pages came in almost every day and I was blown away at how much colour actually brings to a story, I loved the stories before in black and white but the colour just made them come alive. I was seeing things that I never saw before! We started posting a chapter every week and have been doing so since March of 2007.
I bought Adobe Photoshop and learned the basics myself and have even contributed some pages to Volume III. I then started looking at buying the original black and white issues as I dIdnâ€™t actually own any before, but the prices were extremely high and I basically gave up. I mean, why buy a 25-year-old newspaper quality paper black and white comic, that even in the best of conditions is falling apart, when you have these great coloured ones online? With that said I then went to the university where I work and had them print up two of those coloured stories and I was amazed at how well they came out.
After about a year of online weekly releases I came across an auction on http://www.ebay.com by Nacho from http://www.joereloaded.com. He had taken all of the original comics and had the pages bound in several nice black hardcover volumes with a gold logo on them. I realised that if he could bind the original pages from the actual comics that we could get our pages professionally printed on new, high quality book paper and bind them too! I knew the pages were good enough to reprint from the university printing press. I just had to find a publisher to do It and after a lot of research I finally found one and the rest is history!
The goal is to bring in new fans as well as please the old ones. We really wanted to introduce these great Action Force characters and stories to US fans and the best way to do that was to use the crossover stories. People are more likely to read something that has some familiar faces rather than a comic with unknown characters, so I chose the issues where the Red Shadows fought against Cobra or GI Joe. I also chose any stories that had Cobra characters interacting with original Action Force characters. I believed this would get people more interested in the UK characters and would make them interested in their previous stories. That is how the stories were chosen and the thinking behind it. It was to draw in the fans and reintroduce them to Quarrel, Jammer, Gaucho and more and I think itâ€™s working, Iâ€™ve seen customs of these guys on sites like http://www.joecustoms.com being made a lot more frequently. There are more new fans being made all the time and membership at http://www.bloodforthebaron.com keeps going up.
I just want to say thank you to all of the people who made this whole thing possible; the colourists listed in the back of this book, the original creators of the toyline and comics and last but surely not least James Marshall who has done such a killer site. He has done so much work, not only scanning all of the original comics, but also a ton of work on this book and the forthcoming books as well. The cover layouts to the Complete Works books and the Action Force: Red Dawn comics are all his handiwork. None of us would be here it it wasnâ€™t for his dedication and we all owe him a lot. I canâ€™t praise him enough.