8 Comic-Based Adult Coloring Book Ideas

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8 Comic-Based Adult Coloring Book Ideas


I was going to do a gag list about the Top 10 Adult Coloring Books I’m Looking Forward To, but then two of them got announced and a third used a gag I had planned, and I nearly had to throw out the whole thing.

Instead, I decided to do a Top 8 list with what’s left.

The trend of “Adult Coloring Books” is a cute one. I make no judgments on people who like them. I have a young child at home, so I’ve done my fair share of coloring in recent years. The proponents are right — it can be a relaxing distraction. And, yes, there are even times when I’ve wished for something more challenging than a Disney Princess to color.

That said, I’m not sure I’m into coloring modern comics. When I look at them, all I imagine doing is pulling them into Manga Studio/Clip Paint Studio/Photoshop, throwing in a few layers, and going wild with the help of the Undo key. I’m afraid I’d get too serious about it and hire a flatter to get the pages started for me.

As with any fad, the comics marketplace is here to exploit it. The Adult Coloring Books fad/movement/trend is only just starting to take off, and the Direct Market will do its best to exploit it within an inch of its life. It’s early days, though, so we haven’t hit saturation. But let’s think about how far we could push this new market.

Without further ado, the Top Eight Worst Adult Coloring Books I Can Think Of! (And, in some cases, how to save them.)

8. “Descender” by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen

Wait, this isn’t actually a bad idea — it just needs a little help. This need to be one of those books that comes with a set of watercolors and is printed on thicker paper so the Adult Colorist can do a proper job with it.

Actually, people really are trying to watercolor adult coloring books. They’re on YouTube if you’re looking for them.

7. Lewis Trondheim’s “Mister i”

Yes, this book did appear in color. Yes, it’s an awesome example of how to tell a story without words. And, yes, I’m one of six people in all of North America who has read both “Mister i” and “Mister O.”

I just can’t imagine finding coloring this anything but, well, tedious.

6. “Batman: Evolution”

Remember back around the time of “No Man’s Land,” when Greg Rucka was writing “Detective Comics” and Shawn Martinbrough was drawing the series?

Those issues are best known for being colored in only two hues. Some readers, of course, being the fine connoisseurs of art that they are, wanted half their money back since they paid for a full color book with only two colors.

Seriously, that happened.

Yes, it’s dumb.

So here, coloring aficionados and know-it-alls, is your chance to miss the point entirely and show us how the book should have been colored.


George Perez and Al Vey’s beautiful artwork requires your full concentration and meticulous planning. All of those primary colored uniforms by the dozens per page, often fighting amongst themselves, will test the colorist’s patience.

But this book comes with a twist! To make the coloring fun, it’s a color-by-numbers book. Match your eight crayon set from Crayola to the eight numbers in the book, and you can correctly color all of the obscure and forgotten Avengers and League members who make appearances, while leaving backgrounds open to your own interpretation.

It is also suggested that crayons might be too blunt. Extra-sharp colored pencils are preferred.

4. “Sin City” by Frank Miller

A book so purposefully made to be experienced in black and white provides a unique coloring experience. It’s a world in which shadows are white outlines against black brick walls, and the absence of lines are filled in by the viewer’s eye, not a hard colored edge.

Play your cards right here, and you might spark a movement to put “Sin City” in the same category with “Bone” or “Scott Pilgrim.” We can all buy “Sin City” again, but this time sparked by your imaginative colors!

3. “The Geoff Darrow Omnibus”

This book comes complete with chapters devoted to “Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot,” “Hard Boiled,” and “Samurai Cowboy.”

Sharpen your colored pencils! No, even finer…

As a bonus, the book will feature a centerfold of this Angouleme poster Darrow did back in 1986.

Good luck!

2. “Cities of the Fantastic Omnibus” by Francois Schuiten

You know those coloring books I was talking about that are intricate mazes and densely detailed patterns, designed for you to spend hours coloring carefully inside the lines? Schuiten’s detailed architecture pushes you to your limits.

This is the coloring book to make you cry.

1. “Cerebus: Jaka’s Story” by Dave Sim and Gerhard

This is a complete mess of a coloring book. Between Gerhard’s crosshatching in the backgrounds and Dave Sim’s use of tones to handle all the grays — including the entirety of Cerebus, minus his eyes — no colors stand a chance in this book, though you’re welcome to try.

Not that it matters, “Cerebus” has been printed as a coloring book as thick as phone books for thirty years now….

Dave Sim was ahead of his time.

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