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  1. #1
    The Fastest Post Alive! Buried Alien's Avatar
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    Default Wally West's hair color in old Silver/Bronze Age comics

    Today, Wally West is famously ginger (red-haired) and his hair color is a key part of his visual identity, but for years during the Silver/Bronze Age when Wally was Kid Flash, his hair was colored inconsistently. Sometimes, colorists gave it a reddish hue, but just as often, Wally's hair was colored brown. Because hair color was shown visually, but not discussed or described verbally in the old comics, when did it become clear that Wally actually is a ginger and not brown-haired?

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    Not entirely sure. Just off the top of my head though, I know that as recently as 1999, Wally was being drawn as a blonde. (It's a little reddish, yes, but just contrast it with Roy's hair.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buried Alien View Post
    Today, Wally West is famously ginger (red-haired) and his hair color is a key part of his visual identity, but for years during the Silver/Bronze Age when Wally was Kid Flash, his hair was colored inconsistently. Sometimes, colorists gave it a reddish hue, but just as often, Wally's hair was colored brown. Because hair color was shown visually, but not discussed or described verbally in the old comics, when did it become clear that Wally actually is a ginger and not brown-haired?
    I think I read something that part of his costume as kid flash was that he dyed his hair brown.

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    Here I found an article.

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    Extraordinary Member Lightning Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aahz View Post
    Here I found an article.
    Wow look at that, and here I thought it was always just the inconsistencies of colorists. Thanks for that.

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    Yeah, it was established in the comics that Kid Flash changed his hair to brown when in uniform but as Wally West he was always a red-head. However in comics colouring errors were common and it was likely to happen that the brown would sometimes turn out red if you know something about how comics are printed.

    You have four plates--black, yellow, magenta, cyan--so to get red hair (really orange), you need magenta and yellow, to get brown you need magenta, yellow and cyan. So it's easy to see that sometimes the cyan would not get printed and you had a reddish colour. That's if the colourist coded the page right for those women who applied the dyes to the negatives and said women did apply the right dye to the negative.

    That might be why they eventually opted just to have Kid Flash with red hair--which I think it was by the 1970s.

    It was just as easy to happen that the hair was sometimes green. Which I think you'll find in a few comics. Because sometimes the magenta plate didn't get printed. Given Kid Flash was coloured yellow, it's unlikely that the yellow plate would be missing.

    This might explain why there were so many blonde characters in classic comics, since you only need to colour with one plate. And blue eyes were the most common because they only needed a cyan plate. Not counting the black plate for the line work and shading.
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    Ultimate Member Lee Stone's Avatar
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    Aqualad also started with brown hair, I believe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Stone View Post
    Aqualad also started with brown hair, I believe.
    Nick Cardy inked Aqualad's hair as all black (no highlighting) but that read as brown to me. This may seem strange, but that's how it worked in comics. If he had black hair then he'd have blue hightlights. Which I don't believe was the case in the Cardy or Aparo comics.
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    Ultimate Member Lee Stone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    Nick Cardy inked Aqualad's hair as all black (no highlighting) but that read as brown to me. This may seem strange, but that's how it worked in comics. If he had black hair then he'd have blue hightlights. Which I don't believe was the case in the Cardy or Aparo comics.
    True...
    It's likely that the colorists weren't on the same page.



    Of course, the above is Ramona Fradon's art.

    And the cover to Brave and Bold #54:



    It's likely that DC thought brown hair on Kid Flash and Aqualad didn't look dynamic enough, or perhaps it was deemed as too dull at the time.
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    DC Comics Forum Mod The Darknight Detective's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Stone View Post
    Aqualad also started with brown hair, I believe.
    He had black hair for the Filmation shorts of the late '60s, FWIW.
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    Ultimate Member Lee Stone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Darknight Detective View Post
    He had black hair for the Filmation shorts of the late '60s, FWIW.
    True.
    Aqualad's hair color seems to have changed in Aquaman's ongoing series just prior to that Brave and Bold issue, but the artist/colorist was likely referencing his earlier appearances.
    When Teen Titans #1 came out, he unmistakably had black hair, which appears to be more consistent with how he was being colored at the time.
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    The Fastest Post Alive! Buried Alien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aahz View Post
    Here I found an article.
    I've learned something new today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Darknight Detective View Post
    He had black hair for the Filmation shorts of the late '60s, FWIW.
    Wally also had black hair in the Filmation. So there's that. lol.

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    What I was saying earlier is that in the classic comics when the hair was inked completely black--no blue highlights--that was supposed to represent dark brown hair. So there really wasn't a shift in the colour of the hair--it's just that it was Cardy's style to do the hair that way. And Aparo followed suit when he took over. But Garth's hair was always supposed to be dark brown. In reality, that's what most black hair is--a very dark brown.
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    It sucks to be right BohemiaDrinker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buried Alien View Post
    I've learned something new today.

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    I believe the original Question/Vic Sage did the same thing.

    That said, Wally's hair/eye color has been inconsistent, yeah, but I know for a fact that he''s been consistently a red-head in his own book for the entirety of it, while other books sometimes colored his hair blonde. The eye color, however, shifted from blu to green to blue again for a good while: even in Grant's JLA, Wally's eyes are blue for the entirety of the run. Attention only started being paid to the eye color issue during the Dark Flash saga, due to the eye color being the only physicalk difference between Wally and Walter (Walter eyes were blue, Wally green).

    Fun fact, one of Barry's first apearances in the larger DCU post-ressurection - in Brightest Day - had his eyes colored green, because by then "The Flash has green eyes" had stuck, I believe.

    Also worth noticing: the story where Barry alters Wally's costume is believed by many, myself included, to be thew reference Grant Morrison used when he came up with the speed force costume for Wally.
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