On Friday, I found out that Gene Colan had passed away.
Gene was a great artist and a fine man. He will ever remain an honored and revered giant of our industry. I had the privilege once of visiting his home and seeing some of the non-comics art and illustrations he created hanging here and there. Beautiful. Masterful. Breathtaking. Our little business is far poorer for his absence and the wide world has lost far more than it will ever know.
Please stop by again later today for another post. The Origin series will continue tomorrow.
I met him once in NYC- he treated everyone around him like they were comics legends, not him. A gent of a man, and a hell of an artist.
nilskidoo, you express part of the appeal of Colan for me: his art is realistic and stylized. A unique synthesis. A lot of modern comics art is photorealistic but I can't tell the artists apart. Colan's art stands out.
I've been in an honest to god depression over this the past few days. Issues of his Tomb Of Dracula were among the first stack of comics the preteen me came across way back when.
I wish more artists today could follow his lead in bringing aspects of photo-realism to graphic art without feeling the need to literally trace actual photographs. I imagine artists have always had their shortcuts, but his work just holds so much depth. A genuine craftsman.
Another legend passes. Very sad. At least we got to see him work one last time on the recent Captain America issue.
I happened to watch him the Daredevil movie DVD, in the extra portion, and find him to be a really good intervie when discussing his contributions to the comic. Great artist of course, but he easily could, and should, have been asked to contribute more than a pin-up here or there to further put his work out there for younger generations.
I imagine that Gene Colan could have produced some masterful pieces of fine art. Based on what I've read elsewhere, there seems to be a general consensus amongst comic fans that he was admired as a contributor to Marvel, but he wasn't a favorite. I never steered clear of a book with his work in it, but I never sought out anything because he drew it either. I think he led a full life. That's all anyone can expect. My grandmother lived to be 100 years old and having been as close to her as I was, I know I don't want to live anywhere near that long.
I haven't been able to stop thinking about Gene Colan all weekend.
This morning, I opened up Essential Super-Villain Team-Up which is on my to-read list. By sheer luck, I opened it to the story you penciled. Then I flipped backwards through it and immediately recognized Gene Colan's art. I had no idea he had worked on the Dr. Doom strip in Astonishing Tales. I found his work without even looking for it.
Just found these samples of his early nonsuperhero comics art for Marvel. Such range – and growth! My favorite is the last one. Alas, no romance samples there. I've only read one Colan romance for Marvel and would like to read more. Here's my favorite Colan romance cover for DC. No wonder he was assigned to revamp Wonder Woman years before Pérez' relaunch. I picked up that issue as a kid.
I wish I could have seen Colan's non-comics art. I hope that art at his home is now in good hands.
When I read the news on friday I was so, so sad. I loved Gene Colan's work all my life. I can only imagine how it was for the people who met him. We absolutely lost one of the greatest men of this industry, but his work will last forever. At least I'll try to introduce him to anybody I know that's interested in comic books.