Music of the Night Coloring Book for All Phantom Lovers (2017)

     by The Black Rose

Unfortunately, this is neither a good coloring book nor an ethical one, and it should be avoided.

The pseudonym on this book is The Black Rose, which has appeared a few other places in Phantom literature, but it would be irresponsible to assume they’re all the same person since it’s a fairly generic Phantom-related name. The publisher’s attribution refers to a “Dark Starlight Publications” as the copyright holder, but there is no website for such a publisher and it’s probably another pseudonym for a collection of self-published works. Searches online turn up other books with the same publisher listed, but only via booksellers’ websites; they seem to have published a few other authors, including at least one other fairly prolific Phantom writer.

But all of this is pretty much besides the point. This coloring book consists of fifty-five black-and-white illustrations for coloring, but unfortunately they are all just stolen (and none too high-quality) images from the web. In addition to stock photos (some repeated more than once!), there are also black-and-white fanart drawings from a number of different artists, redrawings of scenes from the movies (mostly the 1925 Julian/Chaney and 2004 Schumacher/Butler ones) without attribution, images taken from online artist tutorials, and occasional “related” images such as roses or music notes. Nothing is sourced or attributed, and I would be very surprised if any of the artists knew their work had been used or was being sold.

If you just went to Google Image Search, plugged in “phantom of the opera”, and changed the Type option to “Line Drawings”, you’d see half of the contents of this book without even moving on to the second page of results. It’s a copyright Hindenberg.

I’m not going to list all the artists here in this review both because I don’t want to drag them into it and because the publisher’s note at the beginning (hilariously preceded by copyright boilerplate) leaves room for doubt about whether the creator of the coloring book realized that they were committing a number of copyright and intellectual property crimes. The Introduction (which is verbatim the same as the back cover copy) touts the coloring book as geared for folks with disabilities and illnesses and seems genuinely to have been well-intentioned, but it’s still profiting off of other peoples’ work and property.

Also, if you wanted to color any of these images, you could just do the aforementioned online search, print them out, and color them yourself in the comfort of your own home without infringing on anyone else’s intellectual rights. My eight dollars is already gone, but yours doesn’t have to be.

All content © 2007-2020 Anne Myers