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POP RETRO COVER CLASSIC: A powerfully emotional & colorful Neal Adams scene at the end of TOMAHAWK

Tomahawk #121 (1969) by Neal Adams

The character was more than a bit contrived from the beginning. And a blonde white man nicknamed "Tomahawk" was an insensitive contradiction to be sure. Tom Haukins served under George Washington during the French & Indian War, and was adept with a tomahawk, so "Tomahawk and his Raiders" became legends.

Tomahawk had been around as a backup feature since 1947, but got his own title in 1950, lasting an astonishing 20 years and 140 issues. Toward the end of its run, Tomahawk was blessed with some powerful and dramatic covers from DC's cover king at the time, Neal Adams. Not only did Adams bring a realistic style to the comics field, he also brought a determination to push comic industry color theory and printing capabilities beyond their traditions and limitations.

Tomahawk #121 (1969) showed what some technical knowledge and extra pre-press effort could achieve with color. Not only is the cover composition and illustration supremely dynamic, but the coloring equals it and brings extra drama. Backlit by the setting sun, the fronts of the figures are in shadowed tones, using subdued and subtle colors rarely seen on comic covers until then. In the modern era of Photoshop computer coloring, it's hard to imagine a time when such gradations in the sky were considered significant achievements.

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