Glow-in-the-Dark Comic Covers
Ghost Rider (Vol 3) #15 Blazes A Bright Path for Future Variants
The 1990s are known for the great comic bubble, caused in part by the use of gimmicks for the covers. One such gimmick, which continues to this day, are glow-in-the-dark (aka GITD) covers. Admittedly, glow-in-the-dark covers are fascinating, even cool. Sometimes we are not even aware that such-and-such comic glows in the dark: for example, Cyberspace 3000 #1, Deadman (Vol 5) #1 and The Spectre (Vol 3) #8.
Ghost Rider (Vol 3) #15 launched glow-in-the-dark variants in July 1991. A deluge using the new gimmick soon followed.
Glow-in-the-dark products – such as comics – contain phosphors which radiate visible light after being energized. Chemists have created thousands of chemical substances which glow like a phosphor. Phosphors have three characteristics:
- The type of energy they require to be energized;
- The color of the visible light that they produce (in this case, glow);
- The length of time that they glow after being energized (known as the persistence of the phosphor).
To make a glow-in-the-dark comic, a phosphor which is energized by normal light must be selected, such as Zinc Sulfide or Strontium Aluminate. Zinc Sulfide seems to be the preferred phospher, as comics do not glow for very long when compared to Strontium Aluminate. Zinc Sulfide is mixed into appropriate ink and printed on the cover of the comic, resulting in the glow effect.
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Sources: How Stuff Works