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No. 463: The Color-Correction Caper

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The Color-Correction Caper

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Permanent URL: https://mezzacotta.net/itoons/?comic=463

Strip by: KelpTheGreat

Title panel: iToons presents the final part of The Ice Cream Caper starring Baby Huey
Text: Our story so far: Duckville has been hit by a spate of ice cream truck hijackings. "Babyface" McQuack (pictured right) and his gang are the culprits, and there is a reward for their capture.
Text: Baby Huey stumbled across the gang's hideout, where Googie and Kookie le Duck mistook him for their boss in disguise. Huey insisted that they all eat the stolen ice cream, and play hide & seek with him. The goons obliged at first, but Huey quickly wore them out, and they became sick of ice cream.
Text: While it was Huey's turn to hide, the real Babyface returned to his hideout. The exhausted le Duck brothers were surprised to see him there, undisguised, and there was a falling out when he claimed no knowledge of Huey's rigorous playtime.
Text: Huey roped some policemen into playing with him, and the officers were delighted to find Babyface and his cronies, who had knocked each other unconscious. We now rejoin our story in progress, where Huey is about to be rewarded...
Caption bubble: Soon...
{Huey enters the police station, carrying the freezer which had contained the stolen ice cream}
Policeman: That guy led us to Babyface and his boys!
Policeman #2: Get him the reward from the ice box!
Policeman: Your reward is 100 gallons of ice cream!
Huey: Oh, boy! Just what I always wanted!
Policeman: {looking into the gang's freezer} Hey-- they ate all the evidence!
Babyface: Har! Har! Har!
Huey: Googie an' Kookie, you gotta help me eat all the I scream!
{The le Duck brothers are distraught}
Googie: Don't let him make us eat any more ice cream!
Kookie: We'll confess to hijackin' the ice cream trucks!
{Huey leaves the station, carrying his reward}
Huey: Googie an' Kookie sure is nice fellers, but Babyface ain't no good! I don't like his looks!
Caption bubble: {cut off} The end

The author writes:

Recently, I decided to re-read through my mom's old comic collection. She's got hundreds of comic magazines and digests, including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Scrooge McDuck, Richie Rich, Archie, all the Looney Tunes characters, and some lesser-known characters such as Baby Huey. The collection spans probably four or five decades, and I grew up reading these.

Re-reading through the collection, I've been noticing a ton of printing errors, most of them where the wrong color was applied. One Archie story even had Jughead's shirt change colors three times in three sequential panels. But there were also some text errors, such as a character telling Josie something like "thanks for playing at the 2004 car show," when a banner in the same panel is labeled "2007 car show." There were far too many little mistakes and color errors to bother making a strip out of any of them, and were I to do a single strip where I pointed out every single one, it'd probably result in an image file of several hundred megabytes.

So instead, I made a strip about just one: the single biggest color error I've ever seen. This is possibly the biggest color error in printing history. This bothered me a ton when I was a kid, so in a sense, I've been wanting to do something about this for well over 20 years.

The error I corrected was in the penultimate panel. Here's what it originally looked like:

The character on the right is Kookie le Duck. Not Babyface McQuack. Of the five colors that are used in the character, they printed every one of them wrong. They gave Babyface's colors to Kookie. Instead of white skin (feathers?), they gave him yellow; instead of a red tie, they gave him purple; instead of a brown hat, jacket, and pants, they gave him green; instead of a white shirt, they gave him a yellow-orange one. Wait... I just realized that they got the beak right (because the two characters have the same color beak). So four out of five.

I have no idea how an error of this magnitude could have happened. Someone had to have looked at the uninked page and written in specific instructions on what color to apply to each portion of the character; how could they have gotten the character wrong? The story just doesn't work if the rightmost character in that panel is Babyface. This is like inking a Garfield strip and saying, "yes, Garfield is yellow with a black spot."

What's almost as strange is that Babyface himself has a color change between the two pages of the story that he appears in. In the second panel of my strip, I've used a cutout from the first page that he appears. Compare that with how he looks in the other two panels: the shirt goes from a solid, bright yellow to an orange-yellow texture; the clothes go from a solid green to a darker, textured green. At least the coloring is consistent between panels on the same page.

Final note: I made a small error with the scan and cut off some of the sides of a few panels, but I didn't think it was worth re-scanning. Here's the scan I used to make this strip, which is most of two pages. The full story is five pages long.

Original Baby Huey story: The Ice Cream Caper, Baby Huey, Volume 2 No. 5, printed in 1992 under the Harvey Classics label.