Howdy folks! Welcome to a (very lazily delayed) new edition of the Super Powers Highlight! Today I’m focusing ATTention (heh) on a very rare piece…something that only one of which exists, and something where the subject matter never ended up being produced by Kenner before the line was canceled. It took some begging, pleading and dangling some rare foreign carded Marvel Secret Wars like fresh meat to start the process…until finally, the result is here. It took well over a year of negotiating to land it in my collection, but I now have the All-Terrain Trapper cromalin in my grubby little mitts.
For the casual Super Powers collector, you may ask…"What the hell is that? All-Terrain Trapper? The name sounds familiar…but I just can’t place it." Well, friend…it’s simple. Take your carded Orion or Tyr or Cyborg and flip it over. Ta-dahhhh! There it is!
Now that you know what the vehicle is…your next question is probably, "What the hell is that? Cromalin? Is that one of the Red Lanterns?" (As much as I’m joking around, I KNOW there’s at least one modern comic fan that probably thought that. Ugh.)
A cromalin’s primary use would be for color management, correction and adjustment. Many cromalins would be marked by the proofer, pointing out various suggestions and items that needed to be fixed before the actual box or card went into production. These marked items were sometimes accompanied by a sign off box or separate sheet indicating what was checked and the initials or name of who did the checking.
Technically, Cromalin is a trade name for the DuPont material the image is printed on. It is heavy like photo paper and with a slight texture. When the design is printed on a Cromalin, the image will be quite vibrant, which makes it ideal for proofing the colors in the actual design.
From the DuPont website :
Cromalin®, introduced in 1972, is the most popular color proofing system in use today. Color proofing in the printing business means checking the accuracy of color during the process of reproducing an artist’s drawing or a photograph on the printed page. Proofing is necessary partly because errors can occur in the process, and partly because color itself is the complex product of an almost infinite combination of the three primary colors: red, yellow and blue. In the typical "four color" printing process, colors are made by combining magenta (a reddish color), yellow, cyan (a bluish color) and black. Prior to photopolymer proofing technologies like Cromalin®, high-quality color proofing meant superimposing layers of color-sensitive films on expensive printing plates. If the colors didn’t turn out right, the process would have to be repeated, sometimes several times. Cromalin® polymer laminates are more efficient and accurate, so final colors are more likely to look right on the first try.
Cromalin® uses light-sensitive photopolymers laminated to paper stock to register either positive or negative film images. Light-exposed areas harden leaving sticky surfaces when the laminate’s cover sheet is removed. Dyed powder, or toner, is applied and adheres to the sticky portions. Additional cover sheets are applied and removed, and different toners used on successively exposed sticky surfaces, until the desired color results have been achieved. In 1981 DuPont introduced an automatic toning machine to perform these functions automatically. More recently, DuPont has developed Cromalin® products for computer-based digital publishing and inkjet printing. These "computer-to-plate" technologies supplement traditional line of Cromalin® "film to plate" products.
As you can tell from the pictures, this thing’s been through a war. Tons of scratches mar the plastic, but thankfully when you stand about five feet away from it (or drink an entire bottle of wine) they disappear. There also are lots of circles in grease pencil (or crayon) where spots of color needed to be corrected/eliminated. You can see the one worded correction written on the side panel above. Arthur needs a more effective silhouette, dammit! Hurry up!
The front panel artwork is pretty cool. However, like most SP vehicles, you have to wonder why the indestructible Superman is INSIDE and driving the damn thing while frail "only human" Batman is riding on top with nothing protecting him from, say, a stray boulder tossed at them by Kalibak or someone… You KNOW they’re gonna try and bust Darkseid outta there, right guys?
As my buddy Rob (of The Aquaman Shrine)would say, "It’s about damn time Arthur kicked some ass!" Here you have the hand-crafted prototype used for box photography being driven by Mister Aquaman and dispensing hard-nosed hamster-ball justice to the mighty Steppenwolf. This prototype of the vehicle has not yet turned up to the public eye. Whether or not it resides in a private "black hole" collection remains to be seen.
This back box panel is interesting because it shows yet another hero that would have absolutely no reason to use this device to capture criminals actually using it. Why Fate wouldn’t just cast a spell to imprison the Parademon is outside my understanding. Plus it’s nice to see that they hold females in such high regard…"Wonder Woman scouts for villains." At least they let her ride in the back of the car, eh? Something tells me Wonder Woman could have smashed this vehicle into a thousand pieces if she wanted to. This panel showcases some of the features this vehicle would have offered the youth of 1986…the ball collapses around villains and then literally bounces off the payment multiple times to render them unconscious.
See??? Here’s PROOF I purchased it! One other fact about this piece is that it’s the only one that was rescued from Kenner when they were about to discard it. No other cromalins of this piece exist.
Finis! I hope y’all enjoyed this blog and I’m glad I could offer up more information showcasing this un-produced vehicle other than the small picture shown on the backs of the 3rd series cards. Until next time…thanks for reading!