I've tried to reason out the reason, but I'm still flummoxed. I've thought that maybe the pressmen were drunk (but for nine weeks?). I've thought that maybe Kelly had new assistance from someone who was not familiar with the strip's characters, and developed color guides that were made up on the spot. And, of course, I thought perhaps Kelly's illness prevented him from seeing colors as usual as he prepared the color guides.
But I don't know that he normally would perform that duty, and have to lean toward an assistant's culpability, since pressmen usually are loyal in following directives.
Whatever the reason, Kelly's artwork is still spot-on, and as you'll see as we get further into the arc, he brings in funny and unusual elements, making this a high quality arc. His style has that later period look, certainly, but still solid.
To thank you for your patience in the lately slow schedule of posts, I plan to post this arc 2 or three times a week, so that we won't drag it out for a real-time 13 weeks. Do come back every few days, because despite the really odd coloring, this IS a fun arc, as you'll see.