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This month's AKIRA issue #17 released in the US by EPIC and collected in OORU KARAA KOKUSAI BAN AKIRA 5 (オールカラー国際版 AKIRA 6), includes a three page article, the last of a four part series, about the making of the colored version of AKIRA.


Over the past few months, we've examined the art, coloring, and scripting of the Epic version of Akira. These three elements are combined by the staff at the Epic editorial offices to form each issue of Akira. In our fourth and final article on The Making of Akira, we will explain the role of editorial, as well as the duties of the staff involved.

Editor Margaret Clark and Assistant Editor Marie Javins are in charge of producing Akira for Epic. They traffic the various elements, create mechanical representations of the final product, make necessary script or art corrections, and design covers and text pages.

The most apparent role of editorial is in trafficking. Tokyo's Kodansha Ltd sends the original "mirror" proofs, as well as the script translation, to Epic. Epic in tum sends the script to Jo Duffy, who then "westernizes" the script and returns the new version to Epic. The editors then send the script to Kodansha for approval. Upon approval, the script is sent to Michael Higgins, who letters the word balloons and returns the lettering to Epic. The "mirror" proofs and the lettering is given to the Marvel "Bullpen", where graphic artists diligently paste the words down onto the art, and return the proofs to Margaret Clark. She carefully checks the pasted-up proofs, and makes necessary corrections. 

The Epic intern then photocopies the proofs, and copies are again mailed to Kodansha for approval. Ms. Yuka Ando sends her comments, and the proofs are put back into the Bullpen for the necessary corrections.

Simultaneously, Margaret Clark and Marie Javins work on other aspects of the book. They choose scenes from each issue for the cover and back cover; as well as the frontispiece and text pages, and have photostats made of the chosen scenes. The artwork is then sent to Steve Oliff and Olyoptics for coloring, while the stats are pasted down onto mechanicals and marked that they are "For Position Only." This indicates to the printer that the mechanicals are only a representation, and the actual art is to be shot separately from the cover. The Epic staff also chooses the colors for the cover. Clark says that she attempts to choose colors that look attractive when put next to each other; since in Japan, the Epic Akira's are sold in boxed sets of three. 

Margaret Clark writes the teaser for the back cover; and edits the "What Has Gone Before" summary, while her assistant works on the text pages that appear at the end of Akira. Together they spec the type for the three text items as well as the indicia. credits, price and cover information. They also spec type for any signs that appear within the artwork for the issue, and for the computer-like speech of the caretaker robots. 

After the type is generated, it is given back to the Bullpen along with the cover mechanical and interior art pages for pasteup. The proofs and mechanicals are sent to the printer, as are Steve Oliff's color-coding disks. The Epic staff waits for the return of chromalins. as detailed in the last article.

After the chromalins are marked-up and returned to the separator; the separator makes the detailed corrections and, as discussed last month, the printer pulls "blues" on the book. The blues are also marked-up or given the go ahead, and Akira is printed.