Wasn't there talk recently of a separate colour volume of covers being published?
There are two problems with this idea.
1. Despite arguments stating otherwise by fans these stories were rendered for black and white publication. In the good ol' days of the early to late seventies it's true that such stories were colorized on occasion but that process of coloring was different that todays. The colors were flat, not molded and multi-hued like the digital coloring done today. All that line work would be muddied by the new coloring process used today and would likely make the images very dark. Even bright daylight scenes would be overdone. I'm sure the fans wouldn't mind, few complained about the horrible re-coloring of Barry's work in the the first 4 Chronicles volumes.
2. Dark Horse is considering the above stated aesthetic and the bottom line bargain that these SSOC volumes are by not coloring them.
While I'm not happy with the smaller size (again, the format issue appears to be a secondary concern) I'm one of those heathens who is happy to see the stories remain in black and while because this is how they were first printed. It is also how the were drawn to be presented. Some rare stories made it into SSOC over the years that would be fine if colored, but all the earlier issues would be made uglier for the effort. a good example of how bad this would look can be seen in the Cross Plains/Wandering Star edition of Robert Howard's Bran Mak Morn story "Worms of the Earth". This was originally printed in SSOC with heavy inks by Tim Conrad who also pencilled most of the story as well. The color in this volume is juggling act between wanting to illuminate the panels and not slog them down with too much color to overcompensate the heavy line work. The result is a washed-out look where the color defines nothing but tepid hues. There's nothing striking or dynamic and color actually distracts the viewer due to muddying effect of trying to color it. It was much more striking in black and white.
For what it's worth I don't blame the colorists on WOTE. That was a tough job and, then, who knows how well those printed pages reflect the actual job done by the colorists? I can onle say that coloring was a bad idea from the outset.
Calls for a better colorist would only yield a soupy mess as the colorist's ego trumps common sense (look to the early volumes of The Chronicles of Conan for proof of this and those stories were drawn to be colored).
In the end I will always be an artist first and a fan second (if indeed, I can be called a fan at all).
The effectiveness of the graphics to tell the story will always come first for me rather than the demands of fans to ruin something just to satisfy some misguided need to colorize everything under the sun.
Yeah, it's my opinion but I hope readers here understand my point is not to deride color but to defend the use against something unnecessary. If I believed color would help these stories I'd be the first in line to make that suggest and support others. Seeing the results of recent re-coloring efforts leaves me wishing they'd just leave some things alone.