Washtone / Greytone Covers -- All of them in one place. . .time to weigh in
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It's kind of like this thread is on ignore. (shrug)

 

Too many images in one post can cause problems depending on your browser.

 

 

 

page 2 :whee:

Edited by Jeffro

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page 2 :whee:

 

:whee::whee:

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Mick - Holy %$&@(!!%#&$@#)!!!

 

What a killer thread - man, those are some just incredible covers.

 

Thanks for compiling them all!

 

Shep

 

 

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Mick - Holy %$&@(!!%#&$@#)!!!

 

What a killer thread - man, those are some just incredible covers.

 

Thanks for compiling them all!

 

Shep

 

 

Yeah, the war books are just amazing. I haven't tackled them yet...maybe I never will...but it sure is fun to see them.

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I am sort of a greytone "purist" so even covers with partial washtone effects don't cut it for me. I need most of, or a significant part of, the cover to have that effect in order to call it a true greytone. So, with that in mind, here are my "gut" rejections from the list....

 

Adventure 232

AAMOW 110

Aquaman 9

Challengers of the Unk. 30

A Date with Judy

GIC 113, 119

HOM 70, 85, 189, 194, 197, 198

HOS 1, 6

Metal Men 37

MGA 18, 20

New Gods 1

OAAW 56

OFF 26

Sea Devils 4, 6, 33 (these were tough to judge, a lot on the borderline)

SSWS 67, 80, 122, 130

SA 93

TV Screen Cartoons

Western 81

WH 3

Weird Western 22

Wonder Woman 101

World's Finest 93

 

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So here are my thoughts. I tend to feel like october in the sense that partials don't quite cut the mustard. However, they should be noted as washtones since they have some. The easy solution is to just note them as "partial washtones".

 

I also wonder about Adventure 42. Is that washtone or charcoal? It looks more like charcoal to me. Same goes for GIC 69. One tell-tale effect of washtone is that the colors have some blending or gradation (from water color). GIC 69 looks like the blacks were done with charcoal and the rest is just plain blue. Look at the front of the gun, that's scribbling, not brushwork.

 

Also, looking at the covers in this thread... Heath just did it better than anyone else. Look at GIC 93. The flames coming off the tank, the smoke - the way he was able to mix just the right amount of linework in with the washtone was nothing short of masterful. And GIC 86 - you have to think that when Adler got that he said, damn Russ, look at all the work I have to do on this!

 

Andy, I don't know how you could reject AAMOW 110. That's all washtone.

 

Partials would be:

Adv 232

ASW 109 (but what a great use of the effect!)

Aquaman 9

Batman 227

Challs 30 (is that washtone?)

Date with Judy 70

Flash 117

HOM 70, 85, 189 (again, is that even washtone?)

HOM 197 doesn't look anything like a washtone to me.

HOM 198 is partial, if at all.

HOS 1, 6 - again, very iffy.

Metal Men 37 - I sold my copy, I never thought it looked like a washtone.

MGA 18, 20 - underwhelming. The fish guy's face on the 20 is a maybe, but I'll discuss that a little more at the end.

MIS 39 is a partial

New Gods 1 looks like a photo, not washtone

OAAW 56

Can't see the scan well enough on the OFF 26

Peter Panda 30 is a partial, but there are a few more Peter Panda's that are full washtones - 20, 28, 31

Sea Devils 27 - again, a bad scan, but enough there to make me question.

Secret Hearts 59

SSWS 67, 80, 81

Strange Adventures 1 - interesting because it's clearly a photo, but has it been touched up with a washtone method?

3 Mouseketeers 9

TV Screen Cartoons 129

Western 81 - I'd have to see that one up close. It looks like it could be all or partial.

Weird Western 22

WF 93

 

 

That's my thoughts on the partials.

 

DC did something with the mid-50s sci-fi titles that had a similar effect to washtones and I think those get mistaken at times. What it looks like is that they took parts of the art and just subtracted the black. A great example is HOM 7. I don't think that's washtone, but it has a nice effect on its own. The head in the background of Phantom Stranger 4 is another example.

 

 

 

 

 

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I withdraw my objection to AAMOW 110. The scan is hard to see, and it sounds like Buttock has looked at it up close. I think the reason I put it on my list is the fine line work on the underside of the planes. But the rest does look washtone, from what I can make out.

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I withdraw my objection to AAMOW 110. The scan is hard to see, and it sounds like Buttock has looked at it up close. I think the reason I put it on my list is the fine line work on the underside of the planes. But the rest does look washtone, from what I can make out.

 

That's the genius of Heath at work. That, some of the early Sea Devils, and a few of the GICs are so good you have to take a second look to see they're washtones.

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One tell-tale effect of washtone is that the colors have some blending or gradation (from water color). GIC 69 looks like the blacks were done with charcoal and the rest is just plain blue. Look at the front of the gun, that's scribbling, not brushwork.

 

Also, looking at the covers in this thread... Heath just did it better than anyone else. Look at GIC 93. The flames coming off the tank, the smoke - the way he was able to mix just the right amount of linework in with the washtone was nothing short of masterful. And GIC 86 - you have to think that when Adler got that he said, damn Russ, look at all the work I have to do on this!

 

 

As far as techniques go, I agree that blending of colors is a sign of a washtone, but as has been mentioned before, there are other ways to blend colors (plain old water color, or just carefully building gradations of color next to each other). The thing I look for--rightly or wrongly--is if the linework is brushed in vs. drawn in. The classic washtones have that soft linework, it seems to me.

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I withdraw my objection to AAMOW 110. The scan is hard to see, and it sounds like Buttock has looked at it up close. I think the reason I put it on my list is the fine line work on the underside of the planes. But the rest does look washtone, from what I can make out.

 

Yep, you nailed it. The linework on the belly of the planes is what threw me off.

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One tell-tale effect of washtone is that the colors have some blending or gradation (from water color). GIC 69 looks like the blacks were done with charcoal and the rest is just plain blue. Look at the front of the gun, that's scribbling, not brushwork.

 

Also, looking at the covers in this thread... Heath just did it better than anyone else. Look at GIC 93. The flames coming off the tank, the smoke - the way he was able to mix just the right amount of linework in with the washtone was nothing short of masterful. And GIC 86 - you have to think that when Adler got that he said, damn Russ, look at all the work I have to do on this!

 

 

As far as techniques go, I agree that blending of colors is a sign of a washtone, but as has been mentioned before, there are other ways to blend colors (plain old water color, or just carefully building gradations of color next to each other). The thing I look for--rightly or wrongly--is if the linework is brushed in vs. drawn in. The classic washtones have that soft linework, it seems to me.

 

I agree about blending. It's necessary, but not sufficient. That's why I was using it to illustrate my thoughts on GIC 69. But there are several washtones that have standard inking (GIC 91 for example), so I don't think you can use brushed vs. drawn as a criterion.

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One tell-tale effect of washtone is that the colors have some blending or gradation (from water color). GIC 69 looks like the blacks were done with charcoal and the rest is just plain blue. Look at the front of the gun, that's scribbling, not brushwork.

 

Also, looking at the covers in this thread... Heath just did it better than anyone else. Look at GIC 93. The flames coming off the tank, the smoke - the way he was able to mix just the right amount of linework in with the washtone was nothing short of masterful. And GIC 86 - you have to think that when Adler got that he said, damn Russ, look at all the work I have to do on this!

 

 

As far as techniques go, I agree that blending of colors is a sign of a washtone, but as has been mentioned before, there are other ways to blend colors (plain old water color, or just carefully building gradations of color next to each other). The thing I look for--rightly or wrongly--is if the linework is brushed in vs. drawn in. The classic washtones have that soft linework, it seems to me.

 

I agree about blending. It's necessary, but not sufficient. That's why I was using it to illustrate my thoughts on GIC 69. But there are several washtones that have standard inking (GIC 91 for example), so I don't think you can use brushed vs. drawn as a criterion.

 

The later GIC's and some others definitely have some finer lines in them.

 

I'd like to know more about exactly how a washtone is created to understand how to spot the washtone vs. regular watercolor, but I do know that the brushed in lines is a real tip off.

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The later GIC's and some others definitely have some finer lines in them.

 

I'd like to know more about exactly how a washtone is created to understand how to spot the washtone vs. regular watercolor, but I do know that the brushed in lines is a real tip off.

 

 

I posted this a couple of years back:

 

Okay, just to talk about the term "washtones" and the term "greytones", they are describing the same thing. I'm going to quote Chris Pedrin's Big Five Information Guide for the history of washtone comic covers.

 

 

THE "ADLER" WASHTONES- A Big Five exclusive

 

" In the last few years, one element of comic book collecting has received an incredible amount of attention. Greytones! Those beautiful wash covers found on a few DC comic books. Well you can thank the war collectors for this interest. And you can think the various publications for the inaccurate term "greytones".

Lately, collectors have been scurrying all over the country to acquire these issues. Even collectors who have little or no interest in BIG FIVE books actively search out these gems. For not only were these covers seen on the war titles, they were also found on such titles as-- SHOWCASE, SEA DEVILS and MYSTERY IN SPACE just to name a few! I have heard and read countless times about the "Great Kubert and Heath Greytones" and about the "Fantastic Grandenetti Greytones". Well, Fandom, You are all WRONG! You collectors are WRONG! And ALL the publications are DEAD WRONG!

To begin with, the proper term for these covers is WASHTONES. W-A-S-H-T-O-N-E-S. The term was given by the man who invented the process to achieve the effect that the covers give. Calling these covers "greytones" is the mark of an uninformed collector. Well, now you are informed. The man responsible for all the great DC "WASHTONE" covers, and also the inventor of the process (now used the world over!) is... JACK ADLER. Jack Adler was the senior colorist in the production department at DC.

The colorist seldom signs his name to his work. This was the case with Jack. He signed only one cover (a SHAZAM issue-- also featuring his grandchildren!). He has been devising color separations since 1938! He did the color work on the Prince Valiant Sunday sections for five weeks. Once, while doing these sections, William R. Hearst (Newspaper Magnate) went to see him because he wanted to know who the genius was doing the color. Well, the genius is Jack Adler!

Jack Adler came up with the washtone process out of necessity. Jack and his good friend Sol (DC Production man, Sol Harrison-- whom Jack had known since junior high school!), had a problem getting separations done for the cover art. The separations were done by a Union shop, and they did not want to do them. Jack had always wanted to be a photo engraver, but his talents as a colorist went unnoticed by the Union because they locked him out. Jack devised ways around the union rules, one of which was the WASHTONE process, and proceeded, along with Sol to form their own Union! He experimented constantly to obtain the effect he wanted.

The process is quite complicated and to accomplish the "look", artistic talent would be required. Jack would receive a piece of cover art drawn in pencil only, on either Strathmore paper or coquille board. He would then "ink" over the penciled work by doing wash separations done as separate drawings, making a watercolor blank being extremely careful with the color bleeds. Visualizing each color while doing the wash in diluted black ink (hence the term WASHTONE). He had to imagine each color and the effect it would have when overlapped with another color! By doing the art in this way, he would be categorized as an inker and the Unions couldn't touch him! And that's only the simple explanation!

In talking to the master craftsman, comic great and true gentleman, I learned quite a few other things. Mr. Adler is also the man who laid out the ground work for the Joe Kubert School of Graphic Arts! He was the first person Joe thought of when his idea of a school began. The school has been a success for many years, and that success can be attributed, in part, by his efforts.

Besides the fact that he created and did the DC WASHTONES, there is one more startling fact that will be revealed here in the BIG FIVE! When Jack Adler began his stint at DC in 1938, he sat at the desk with Donnenfeld, his friend Sol, and a few other notables, the moment the Golden Age of Comics began! The artwork for Action Comics #1 was laid out in front of him and the others as the decision to put Superman on the cover had been decided leaving only one final decision before history would be made. History not only for comics, but also for all of humanity for years to come! Jack was asked-- "What color should we make Superman's uniform?". And then Jack did it. Jack Adler gave Superman's costume the colors he wears to this very day! Red, Blue and Yellow! Siegel and Shuster gave the world Superman in black and white, Adler gave him to us in color! It doesn't get much more exclusive than that.

And now you know a little more about the EX-most unsung hero in comics!

As the popularity for these Washtones covers grow, and they will, let it be known to all that the man responsible, is Jack Adler. I don't call them washtones...I call them "ADLER WASHTONES". "

 

 

So, that's exactly as Chris Pedrin described the greytones/washtones/Adlerwashtones. I personally, don't get upset when someone calls them greytones, but I do love these covers! I think that they are absolutely gorgeous and I'm very happy that Big Fiver created this post. I will post some more "Adler Washtones" in the next couple of days. Hopefully, we'll all have some more being posted shortly.

 

Thanks for listening... acclaim.gif

Andy

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Yes, I remember reading that post! Fascinating stuff.

 

Unfortunately, the explanation of the process, while intriguing, is a little skimpy:

 

"The process is quite complicated and to accomplish the "look", artistic talent would be required. Jack would receive a piece of cover art drawn in pencil only, on either Strathmore paper or coquille board. He would then "ink" over the penciled work by doing wash separations done as separate drawings, making a watercolor blank being extremely careful with the color bleeds. Visualizing each color while doing the wash in diluted black ink (hence the term WASHTONE). He had to imagine each color and the effect it would have when overlapped with another color! "

 

What does "wash separations done as separate drawings" mean? Or "making a watercolor blank being extremely careful of the color bleeds"? It's interesting that he says Adler used diluted black ink. That would support the notion that washtones lack the fine line drawing.

 

I also recall someone posting that these were done using a specific type of watercolor (don't recall the term) that was heavier and more opaque than regular watercolor.

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Here are my pics:

I must say that some of these you just ahve to see in person to make the call.

 

Partial was-tones:

 

Adventure 232

Aquaman 9

Challengers of the Unknown 30

Date with Judy 70

HOM 70

HOS 1

HOS 6

My Greatest Adventure 18

My Greatest Adventure 20

World’s Finest 93

 

Doubtful:

 

Flash 117

House of Mystery 85

Strange Adv. 93

Wonder Woman 101

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I see that someone eventually quoted the Chris Pedrin partial explanation. I was about to do that before I started.

 

Before I start, my disclaimer!

I'm not an artist so don't have 100% confidence in my opinions on artistic fine points, especially from scans. (Not a common malady on the CGC boards.)

 

Frankly, I think that a lot of the "borderline" cases are not gray/washtones at all. The term should refer only to the technique developed by Jack Adler where the colors are separated into different plates, etc. A lot of the borderlines are merely shaded with gray by using charcoal (or similar) techniques. I don't believe in "partial washtones."

 

Here are the ones I reject:

 

Adventure 42 (technique hadn't even been developed yet)

Adventure 232

Adventures of Rex the Wonderdog 31 not sure

Adventures of Rex the Wonderdog 38 probably not

Adventures of Rex the Wonderdog 39 probably not

Adventures of Rex the Wonderdog 42 looks more like washton -- could be yes

All American Men of War 110 not sure

ASW 103 not sure

ASW 109

Aquaman 9

Batman 227 I don't think so. Somebody ask Neal -- he'd probably be willing to weigh in.

B&B 18 not sure

B&B 21 not sure

B&B 22 probably yes

B&B 23 probably no

Challengers of the Unknown 30

 

Dale Evans 3

 

Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love 3 probably yes but could be a technique w/ similar effect

 

Date with Judy 70

GIC 77 probably yes

GIC 86 probably yes

GIC 87 not sure

GIC 93 not sure

GIC 95 probably yes

GIC 97 not sure

GIC 104 doesn't look quite right

GIC 113 probably not

GIC 119 probably not

HOM 70 probably not

House of Mystery 85 probably not

House of Mystery #189:

 

House of Mystery #194

House of Mystery #189 probably not

 

House of Mystery #198

 

House of Mystery #205 probably yes! Did Adler teach someone else how to do it?

 

HOS 1 probably not

HOS 6

HOS 88 That's a definite Neal Adams painted cover, right?

HOS 92

HOS 94 not sure

HOS 97 I don't think so

HOS 105 not sure

House of Secrets 112 not sure -- a painted cover is not the same thing as a washtone

Metal Men 37 I don't think so

My Greatest Adventure 18

MIS 39

New Gods 1 no way

 

OAAW 56 probably yes

 

OAAW 124 not sure

OAAW 126 not sure but inclined toward yes

Peter Panda 31 cool coloring though

 

Sea Devils 6 not sure

Sea Devils 12 not sure

Sea Devils 15 not sure

Sea Devils 27 not sure

Sea Devils 29 probably not

Sea Devils 31 probably not

Sea Devils 32 probably not

Sea Devils 33 probably not

Sea Devils 34

Sea Devils 35 not sure -- different technique?

 

Secret Hearts 59 background painting w/s standard color separation in foreground?

Secrets of Sinister House 9 Jack Sparling painting

SSWS 45 probably yes

SSWS 67 probably no

SSWS 80 probably no

SSWS 81 probably no

SSWS 122

SSWS 130

 

Strange Adv. 1 not sure -- some other technique? I bet Adler did it anyway.

Strange Adv. 91 not sure but some interesting shading

Strange Adv. 93 probably no

Strange Adv. 150 not sure, probably yes

 

Three Mouseketeers 6 maybe but interesting pastels

Three Mouseketeers 9 something else is going on with these, I think

Three Mouseketeers 13

 

Tomahawk 65 not sure

TV Screen Cartoons 129

Unexpected 133 Sparling painting. I don't think he did washtone separations. That's probably documented somewhere.

The Witching Hour #3: painted background w/ standard separation?

Weird War 28

Weird Western 22

 

Wonder Woman 101

Wonder Woman 108 this one puzzles me. It doesn't seem like a full Adler washtone, but I'm not sure what it is

 

World’s Finest 93

 

No wonder you didn't get many answers. That's a lot of work.

 

Jack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by selegue

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:o

 

Actually, Jack, you and I listed the most books of anyone who's responded so far, and I agree with you that many of the "partials" likely aren't washtones in the classic technique that Adler created.

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Here's another method we might use to clarify the list. The DC index site (Mike's Amazing...) seems to have an authoritative list of credits for most DC books.

 

http://www.mikesamazingworld.com/database/index.php

 

It seems safe to conclude that a book is a washtone if Jack Adler is credited with the inking, no? On the other hand, if a book has another inker listed, it may be safe to conclude that it's not a washtone.

 

Also, it appears that sometimes a book that is clearly a washtone doesn't have an inker given credit in the index. So, the lack of an inker being listed could be a clue that a book may be a washtone, especially if the penciler is an artist that usually has an inker--Kane, for example. Of course many artists usually didn't have inkers (Kubert, Heath, etc.), so the lack of one listed on a particular book wouldn't be a clue.

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I see that someone eventually quoted the Chris Pedrin partial explanation. I was about to do that before I started.

 

Before I start, my disclaimer!

I'm not an artist so don't have 100% confidence in my opinions on artistic fine points, especially from scans. (Not a common malady on the CGC boards.)

 

Frankly, I think that a lot of the "borderline" cases are not gray/washtones at all. The term should refer only to the technique developed by Jack Adler where the colors are separated into different plates, etc. A lot of the borderlines are merely shaded with gray by using charcoal (or similar) techniques. I don't believe in "partial washtones."

 

Here are the ones I reject:

 

Adventure 42 (technique hadn't even been developed yet)

Adventure 232

Adventures of Rex the Wonderdog 31 not sure

Adventures of Rex the Wonderdog 38 probably not

Adventures of Rex the Wonderdog 39 probably not

Adventures of Rex the Wonderdog 42 looks more like washton -- could be yes

All American Men of War 110 not sure

ASW 103 not sure

ASW 109

Aquaman 9

Batman 227 I don't think so. Somebody ask Neal -- he'd probably be willing to weigh in.

B&B 18 not sure

B&B 21 not sure

B&B 22 probably yes

B&B 23 probably no

Challengers of the Unknown 30

 

Dale Evans 3

 

Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love 3 probably yes but could be a technique w/ similar effect

 

Date with Judy 70

GIC 77 probably yes

GIC 86 probably yes

GIC 87 not sure

GIC 93 not sure

GIC 95 probably yes

GIC 97 not sure

GIC 104 doesn't look quite right

GIC 113 probably not

GIC 119 probably not

HOM 70 probably not

House of Mystery 85 probably not

House of Mystery #189:

 

House of Mystery #194

House of Mystery #189 probably not

 

House of Mystery #198

 

House of Mystery #205 probably yes! Did Adler teach someone else how to do it?

 

HOS 1 probably not

HOS 6

HOS 88 That's a definite Neal Adams painted cover, right?

HOS 92

HOS 94 not sure

HOS 97 I don't think so

HOS 105 not sure

House of Secrets 112 not sure -- a painted cover is not the same thing as a washtone

Metal Men 37 I don't think so

My Greatest Adventure 18

MIS 39

New Gods 1 no way

 

OAAW 56 probably yes

 

OAAW 124 not sure

OAAW 126 not sure but inclined toward yes

Peter Panda 31 cool coloring though

 

Sea Devils 6 not sure

Sea Devils 12 not sure

Sea Devils 15 not sure

Sea Devils 27 not sure

Sea Devils 29 probably not

Sea Devils 31 probably not

Sea Devils 32 probably not

Sea Devils 33 probably not

Sea Devils 34

Sea Devils 35 not sure -- different technique?

 

Secret Hearts 59 background painting w/s standard color separation in foreground?

Secrets of Sinister House 9 Jack Sparling painting

SSWS 45 probably yes

SSWS 67 probably no

SSWS 80 probably no

SSWS 81 probably no

SSWS 122

SSWS 130

 

Strange Adv. 1 not sure -- some other technique? I bet Adler did it anyway.

Strange Adv. 91 not sure but some interesting shading

Strange Adv. 93 probably no

Strange Adv. 150 not sure, probably yes

 

Three Mouseketeers 6 maybe but interesting pastels

Three Mouseketeers 9 something else is going on with these, I think

Three Mouseketeers 13

 

Tomahawk 65 not sure

TV Screen Cartoons 129

Unexpected 133 Sparling painting. I don't think he did washtone separations. That's probably documented somewhere.

The Witching Hour #3: painted background w/ standard separation?

Weird War 28

Weird Western 22

 

Wonder Woman 101

Wonder Woman 108 this one puzzles me. It doesn't seem like a full Adler washtone, but I'm not sure what it is

 

World’s Finest 93

 

No wonder you didn't get many answers. That's a lot of work.

 

Jack

 

Wow Jack, I'm interested to see what your criteria are for a washtone. You rejected so many of the "canonical" washtones.

 

 

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Here's another method we might use to clarify the list. The DC index site (Mike's Amazing...) seems to have an authoritative list of credits for most DC books.

 

http://www.mikesamazingworld.com/database/index.php

 

It seems safe to conclude that a book is a washtone if Jack Adler is credited with the inking, no? On the other hand, if a book has another inker listed, it may be safe to conclude that it's not a washtone.

 

Also, it appears that sometimes a book that is clearly a washtone doesn't have an inker given credit in the index. So, the lack of an inker being listed could be a clue that a book may be a washtone, especially if the penciler is an artist that usually has an inker--Kane, for example. Of course many artists usually didn't have inkers (Kubert, Heath, etc.), so the lack of one listed on a particular book wouldn't be a clue.

 

Adler inked (or did color separations on) far more non-washtones than washtones, so I don't think that would be very helpful.

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