I don’t know exactly when comics started to be re-mastered. It might have been back in 1989 with the launch of the DC Archive Editions. I also don’t know if “re-master” is the right term to use here, but it’s basically the process of re-inking and re-coloring very old comics that hadn’t survived the ravages of time that well.
With the advent of digital comics, it seems like this process was sped up, and the techniques got better. There are exceptions, but most of these I’ve seen have been fairly well done.
However, there are still some leftovers from before this era where the approach wasn’t as refined as we expect to see today. For example, Wonder Woman #1 (1942) as it exists on the DC Infinite service, still seems to be using the re-mastered version which I assume goes as far back as 1998 when the first Wonder Woman Archives volume came out.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the original art as it appeared in the final issue, and the re-mastered version:
Look at the detail on Diana’s face, and on the crowd in the background. So much of it is lost in the “re-mastered” version.
Sadly, this is how these pages also look in the prestigious Omnibus collections, too. It seems that with each new collection released, they just use this same version again.
However, with a service like DC Infinite, there’s an opportunity to correct this (just as streaming services are able to update movie and TV copies as we’ve recently seen with blunders accidentally showing up on Game of Thrones and The Mandalorian). Is this on anyone’s radar? What’s involved in getting something like this fixed? Is posting here as lost a cause as making requests?
I’d love to hear the community’s suggestions as to how we can raise awareness about this. As well as other examples. It’s a real shame to see these treasures neglected like this.