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Matt Hollingsworth's Marvelous Colors

The talented colorist of DAREDEVIL signs exclusive with Marvel

DAREDEVIL art colored by Matt Hollingsworth
By Jim Beard

The job of infusing the Marvel Universe with color rests not just with its writers, pencilers and inkers, but also most importantly with its creative colorists. And one of them recently won an exclusive contract with the House of Ideas for his colorful efforts: Matt Hollingsworth.

Hollingsworth, known for his hues and tints on such works as ETERNALS, PUNISHER: WAR ZONE, ANGEL: REVELATIONS, IMMORTAL IRON FIST and DAREDEVIL, saw no shades of grey in his being offered a Marvel contract.

"While I've never had any trouble getting work, there's some added sense of security in knowing that I'm guaranteed to be working exclusively on the very best comics in the industry with a publisher who treats me with respect and gives me the freedom to color in my own style," he says. "When the deal closed I felt very satisfied to be locking this down after working for Marvel on and off for the last 19 years, like we finally got married!"

The colorist, a graduate of the prestigious Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, views his position on a title's art team not through rose-colored glasses but as a serious job with an important role.

"I try to work closely with the editors to monitor the schedule and keep pages coming to me so that I can make my deadline and we can ship the book on time," notes Hollingsworth. "That's the non-artistic part, but I think it's important to have a good connection with the rest of the art team and stay in touch with them so that they know when I need pages from them.

THOR art colored by Matt Hollingsworth
"As far as the coloring itself, all of us on the team are here to tell a story, so that's first and foremost. I read the script and watch for moods, time of day, environment changes and other important storytelling points and I try to punctuate those. In addition to that, I try to give the book some punch where appropriate and make it look nice."

Much like his past labors in visual effects for films-he worked on the first "Fantastic Four" movie-Hollingsworth observes the technology of comic book coloring as one that will evolve and adapt, if industry professionals desire a change.

"Digital coloring has really freed us up to fully paint the colors unlike in the old days with color guides," he points out. "There were some painted books in the past but the norm was color guides. And that whole system was relatively primitive and didn't give very good results a lot of times. Digital coloring really allows us to see our work in the printed book.

"As for the future, I don't know that I see it changing a whole lot anytime soon. The software will continue to evolve and shift as will the hardware. You'll see more touchscreens and people actually painting with their fingers on touchscreens. And as you see more digital presentation of comics on iPad or whatever other device, you'll see more comics that utilize the wider color range of RGB colors rather than the CMYK we use in print. But this is all technology. The job of the colorist itself will mostly stay the same: Paint the comic, tell the story with your colors, make your deadlines, work well with editorial and the creative team and make the book look good."

DAREDEVIL art colored by Matt Hollingsworth
Above and beyond the pragmatic side of the job, the four-time Eisner Award-winner most definitely sees a few near-and-dear projects in his past and ongoing work and into the future.

"DAREDEVIL has been my favorite job for Marvel," says Hollingsworth. "I'm working on my 70th issue on the book and still enjoying it. I grew up reading DAREDEVIL and, like a lot of people, really loved the [Frank] Miller-[Klaus] Janson run when it was coming out, then the Miller-[David] Mazzuchelli stuff a little later on. Those were a big influence on me. This particular book allows me to do some more moody coloring which is always something that I've loved doing.

"I'll be starting on the monthly THOR series when the new creative team takes over the book and am very much looking forward to that. I worked with Matt Fraction before on IMMORTAL IRON FIST and really like his sensibility. And I've long admired Pasqual Ferry's art but never had the chance to color over him before now, so I jumped at the chance."


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