Eric Shanower launched Age of Bronze 20 years ago. The series won Shanower Eisner Awards for Best Writer and Best Artist, once in 2001 and again in 2003. In its pages, he brings an archaeologist's eye to the Trojan War story. Drawn with painstaking attention to the most recent historical records of the region during that time period, Age of Bronze made even its most ardent fans learn patience, with 33 issues and one special appearing over a 15-year period until 2013. And then, nothing.
But after a five-year absence, Shanower is bringing his acclaimed, award-winning series back, and he’s adding a new wrinkle. The first trade paperback, A Thousand Ships (collecting issues 1-9), will be reissued in September from Image Comics -- and it will be in color for the first time. Shanower has also announced that the series will return, also in color, picking up with Issue #34 in January 2019.
“Several years ago, Age of Bronze was published in color as an iPad app,” said Shanower. “Cost for color printing and my limited time to actually do the coloring determined the original black-and-white format, but digital publishing doesn’t entail the same costs that print publishing does. The digital publisher found a colorist willing to work with my nitpicking specifications for the project. The Age of Bronze app only lasted four issues, but from the beginning of the app edition the colorist, John Dallaire, and I intended to eventually go to print with color. We continued working on coloring Age of Bronze after the digital issues stopped and the digital publisher folded.”
Shanower went on to say that the Age of Bronze black-and-white collections have done well over the years, but that colored comics are generally understood to be more appealing. Shanower said the art hasn't been changed dramatically for the color editions.
“I’ve done no retouching or changing of previous art specifically for the color," said Shanower. "There are a few artistic choices I originally made for black-and-white, but the colorist is working with them. The only intentional change I made was an addition: Color designs for the walls of Priam’s throne room. Those designs weren’t there in the black-and-white version. There are also several instances where John Dallaire, while coloring Age of Bronze, has noticed that I didn’t draw consistently from panel to panel, mostly in costume details -- for instance, a character’s wristbands might disappear for a panel or two. I have gone back to insert those details and keep the story world consistent.”
Although Shanower expressed enthusiasm to see his creation in color, he doesn’t feel that the change makes for a radically different series.
“I don’t feel that there’s any change to the material beyond the simple fact that what a reader used to see in black-and-white now is in color," said Shanower. "We’ve been careful not to let the color overwhelm the line art. The color isn’t added to perform tricks or be sensational -- it’s there to support and enhance.”
Shanower's famous attention to historical accuracy will definitely carry over to the coloring.
“My intention in Age of Bronze has always been to show to the best of my ability what the world of the Late Bronze Age Aegean would have looked like,” said Shanower.