Sunday, June 26, 2011

Remembering Gene Colan

This past Thursday saw the death of comic artist Gene Colan. WGTB would like to add to the chorus of appreciation and thanks we have heard since his passing, and briefly reflect on the career of this great artist.

Gene Colan was born in Brooklyn in 1926. His first job in comics was in 1944 and after briefly serving in the US Army, he returned to the business and Timely Comics in 1946. During the slower years of the early 1950s, he worked as a freelancer, but would go on to become a key figure in the comic book resurgence of the 1960s. Indeed, it would be in Silver and early Bronze Ages where Colan would leave his greatest mark. Not only did he create African-American characters like Falcon and Blade, helping keep Marvel on the forefront of important social issues in the United States, he and long-time collaborator Marv Wolfman, also created the definitive Horror comic of the Bronze Age, Tomb of Dracula. This title would run for 70 issues and become a very successful Horror outpost in a world of superheroes.

In the late 70s Gene Colan moved back to DC where he had impressive runs with Batman and Detective Comics in the early to mid 1980s. At this time he would also flex his creative muscle with such non-superhero titles such as Nathaniel Dusk: Private Investigator and Night Force. Moving back to Marvel towards the end of his career, Gene was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 2005 and won an Eisner Award in 2010 with Captain America #601 (Best Single Issue).

Gene Colan passed away from complications of an injury and liver disease on June 23, 2011 at the age of 82.

WGTB would like to offer our condolences to Colan’s family and friends. Comics has lost one of its all time greats and in tribute, we have surveyed our humble library and decided to post some Gene Colan drawings we have enjoyed over the years. This is not an exhaustive list, and unfortunately does not include any of his great Silver Age works, but it does showcase the significant talent of a great creative mind. We hope you enjoy our selection and ask that you support the Hero Initiative, a charity that works to ensure the greatest of our medium retire in dignity.

We begin with Tomb of Dracula #50 (Marvel Comics - November 1976) where the Dracula storyline was visited by the Silver Surfer. This book gave us some of amazing art and captured the essence both the Surfer and Dracula remarkably well.

Moving to DC, let's look at Detective Comics #535 (DC - February 1984) foreshadowing events to come:

or Detective Comics #535 (DC - Janurary 1984) with Poison Ivy.

From Nathaniel Dusk: Private Investigator (DC -- February 1984) where Gene’s artistic flair gives us some very cool images.

And finally Wolverine #35 (Marvel - 1990) where Patch helps some street kids.

We hope you enjoyed this short tribute and thank you for visiting.

Gene Colan 1926 - 2011

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