Promo poster for 2099 with colors by Tom Smith
How did you first become
involved with 2099
Tom: I was
hired by Marvel to color it before the line
even started. I worked on promo art for the
series, I colored the very first 2099 art!
The promo poster for all the 2099 series'
drawn by Pat Broderick. That was used for
everything including a counter top display,
covers for Previews and small hand out mini
promo posters. The original color art is
framed and mounted on my wall at home. It is
for sale if anyone interested...hint, hint
I did 3 posters for X-Men 2099, a display
lite box art, a hanging mobile for X-Men
2099. Lot’s of cool color stuff :).
As a colorist, how
closely do you work with the rest of the
Tom: Most of the time not very
closely in those days but now with the event of computer
color and the Internet that has all changed. I even designed
the colors for the X-Men 2099 and Hulk 2099 and got a
special design fee for that by Marvel at the time. That did
not happen very often at the time. X Men 2009 colors are all
Ron Lim is a great artist and a really nice guy and I really
enjoy working with him any time I get the chance to.
At what part of the assembly line of
comics does the colorist come in?
We are the last guys to get the pages so we have to turn
them over pretty quickly. We have to be good and fast to meet a deadline.
What recollections do you have about
working on Hulk 2099 and X-Men 2099?
Tom: FUN! We had fun! Creating
a whole Universe from the bottom up. And that fun lasted 3
years. I also colored the first cover of Spider-Man 2099
too! Those were the days!
In the case of X-Men 2099, where you
were dealing with all new characters, when and how is it decided
what colors to use for characters? Are they colored at a design
stage, or is it when you get the pages of the story?
Tom: As I stated above Ron
designed the characters but I designed the color scheme and
costume colors for everything in X-Men 2099. Ron and Joey C
“the editor” had input but they pretty
much let me
be and I could do whatever I wanted :) Other characters like
Halloween Jack and La Lunatica I designed color as the
issues came up. Hulk 2099 was the same.
In the case of Hulk 2099 which you also
colored, was there ever any thought to making him a different
color besides green?
Tom: Never...The Hulk is Green
and all the reincarnations should be too
in my opinion. Red Hulk INDEED ! BAH !
Were there any challenges unique to
working on the 2099 books as opposed to others you have worked
Tom: It was a blast and very
easy. I could do no wrong and was allowed to play. That is a
blessing and the best way to work. Ron Lim told me he would
have stayed on X-Men 2099 until issue 100 and beat Kirby’s
record on FF if Marvel
had let him
and I would have stayed too.
At the end...for some reason Marvel thought moving Ron over
to Spider-Man 2099 might improve sales on that title and
took him off X-Men 2099 . A sad day :( I
stayed on for a few more issues that were drawn by Jan
Duursema before The EIC decided to kill the whole line. Politics I
It was a magical fun time those 3 years and I miss my X-Men
Do you have a favorite issue, cover, or
character of the 2099 work that you did?
Tom: Issue #1
2099. Or the one were they meet the real X-Men. Hulk 2009
was cool, but Halloween Jack...he was my favorite!
Cover...X-Men 2099 #20, that was the first cover I colored
digitally for Marvel.
Did you use computer coloring on any of
the 2099 books? Could you talk a bit about how computer coloring
was done in those early days?
did just one
or two covers for X-Men 2099. In those days the colorists hand
colored Xerox color guides and put all the codes on them.
Those were given to
a color separation house in Ireland and they did the
separations following the colors on the guides. On computer
It was not until 1996 that Marvel let the colorists do their
own computer color and separations. I was working on
Avengers at the time and my first whole issue of computer
color & seps was Avengers #31, I think.
How has current digital technology
changed your work?
Tom: You still need an artist
to do it but it has made the comics look better and brought
comic coloring to a new level.
I just had the chance to recolor by
computer the first cover to X-Men 2099 again for a trade
collecting the series by Marvel. After 15 years to color it
again for a second time, but this time using state of the
art computer coloring. How cool is that ? :)
For me I was lucky I was already working with computers at
the time when Marvel fired all the guide colorists in one
black day back in the 90's. If you did not color on computer
you were gone overnight. All those classic colorists gone
Do you recall coloring anything that didn't see print?
Tom: I can not remember
anything that was left behind when 2099 died. I do not
know of anything I did that was left unused at some
point. May be just the design guides for the colors, but
I sold them long ago.
To see more of my 25 years of color work, “even some
2099 art,” check out my web site gallery at:
I also sell prints of my work there as well as my
original art and color art. Also color re-creations of
any of my work on X-Men 2099 or any other project I ever
2099 LIVES !!!!!!!