The great cartoonist Gene Colan passed away last night. To read his 2001 conversation with Larry Rodman from The Comics Journal #231, click here. We’ll have a full obituary online over the weekend. Robert Boyd has written a smart appreciation.
I was a big fan of his work in kid to teenhood, his Doctor Strange inked by Tom Palmer in the seventies I guess, was just one more of those little things he gave an amazing visual impact to, as printed in those King-sized editions Marvel used to do , just smashing.He maybe the closest Marvel artist at the time to rival Jack Kirby’s visual fluidity on a Superhero page.That in-your-face-quality that just pulled me in every time. At my first ComicCon ( The Creation Thanksgiving Con , Statler Hotel NYC ) , he was just kind of standing there as I was showing a table-artist my attempt at “Marvel way” comic pages of Captain America in a cave, which are great to draw if you don’t “do” backrounds, and he made some comments such as maybe I should make Captain America’s head smaller, bring out the muscles more,and walked away after which the table-artist said that guy had been working really working hard on Batman. and I said “That was Gene Colan?!” He was the first Comics Professional to do anything like for me, and LO , I get to go to The School of Visual Arts and he’s teaching there. He was very encouraging to me, a big moment was him liking how I’d inked a xerox of his work saying, “Keep trying, you’ll make it.” , that was big, he was known for being a difficult person to ink, not to mention a difficult person to impress with your inking talents.He could also be stern, during a little lecture with his Bronxian brogue he said “Will Eisner mixed comedy with dramma” (dram-uh) and I sniggered to the guy behind me, then, “You! What did I just say?!” and I, being a respectful student did repeat what my teacher so said yet disrespectful to the Bronx, I quoth “drama”. Gene showed us movies, such as Jack Palance in a TV Jekyll and Hyde, and of course Dracula , but I don’t remember anything about Gene basing his Count on Palance’s countenance (oh!) as is said elsewhere, but it makes sense. He also schooled us on “Bullit”, with Steve McQueen, the car-chase scene through San Francisco of which gave car-chase-scenes through San Francisco a screaming-tire run for their money. My thoughts go out to his son Erik , who I also got a chance to know at SVA. Gene’s shadow in this realm looms yet longer than e’en those in his pictures
But what did I know from the Bronx , I was from middle-Westchester!But what I know now is, Gene Colan was from Upper-Manhatten.
Re Teen Me.
Holy #@%&#! not only are “F” wording comics not for kids anymore, Mother “F” wording comic book reviews aren’t #@%&#! for kids anymore either.
Clicking through I see Green Arrow strips down with the exception of his opera gloves to shoot arrows into corpses with the arms and legs cut off. Superheroes in their modern incarnation have apparently become nothing more than fetish figures.
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Reprinted from TCJ #132 (November 1989); conducted by Thom Powers. Continue reading →
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