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Gene Colan 1926-2011

Clifford Meth shares the details.

Gene Colan was one of my favorite artists in my early teen years, when I was first discovering comics.

The first full run of a comic book series that I read was Daredevil (lent to me by Kurt Busiek in middle school), including many issues drawn by Gene.

The first drawing I made of an established comic book character may well have been based on images he created for that series.

Gene Colan’s work was unique, personal, and always a joy to look at. May he rest in peace.


Discussion (18)¬

  1. Steve Weiner says:

    He was the only artist whose name I recognized as a kid. His comics seemed to me the way I imagined people moved in dreams.

  2. Brett says:

    DAMN that was good.

  3. Mark Greene says:

    Hey Scott, please delete my first draft above. Thanks. LOL

    • Scott says:

      Oh, Crap! I just deleted the SECOND draft!

      (I thought it was just a duplicate at first)

      Post the corrected and I’ll delete everything else. Sorry!

  4. Mark Greene says:

    Gene’s early work on the Submariner came to me as a giant reprint when I was ten or so. It was about a series of tests the Submariner had to survive. Gene (under the name Adam Austin) drew this giant seaweed man that just scared the crap out of me. His comic drawings had a sense of reality about them that was about AUTHENTIC MOTION (as well as real physicality.) That seaweed mans spooky underwater motion stays with me forty years later.

  5. Mark Greene says:

    WHOOO HOOOO! Thanks, Scott.

  6. Kurt Busiek says:

    It was X-MEN, actually.

    But DAREDEVIL wasn’t far behind. The Leap-Frog! The Masked Matador! The Stultifying Stilt-Man! The Merely Maddening Menace of Mike Murdock!

    Ah, good times. Colan/Klein, Colan/Palmer…

    • Scott says:

      I really thought it was Daredevil then X-Men. Are you sure?

      (Either way, that picture of the Stilt Man was the first of our game portraits that I did, and that had Gene Colan’s fingerprints all over it).

      • Kurt Busiek says:

        X-MEN first. You had it in two stacks, with the Mekano issue on top of stack two, for the longest time. You were so disappointed when you finally read the Mekano story and he was so utterly unimportant.

        But I sold you on X-MEN because it had science fiction themes. DAREDEVIL I got you to read because by then you were giving comics a chance.

  7. [...] Scott McCloud: “The first full run of a comic book series that I read was Daredevil (lent to me by Kurt Busiek in middle school), including many issues drawn by Gene. The first drawing I made of an established comic book character may well have been based on images he created for that series.” [...]

  8. [...] Scott McCloud: “The first full run of a comic book series that I read was Daredevil (lent to me by Kurt Busiek in middle school), including many issues drawn by Gene. The first drawing I made of an established comic book character may well have been based on images he created for that series.” [...]

  9. Rob Berry says:

    Jack Kirby was my older brother’s comicbook artist. Gene Colan was mine. He opened my eyes to a kind of fluidity of the figure in space, an expressive line work and naturalistic tone that, as a kid reading my brother’s comicbooks, I could feel hit the childhood nerve of who I am, what I am a fan of, as compared to the tastes of my older peers. This identification last through my teen-aged years, so when HOWARD THE DUCK hit the shelves I loved it; it meant I lived in a generation of comic’s beyond the hand-me-downs of a brother six years older. It meant there was something going on at Marvel I wasn’t late for like SPIDER-MAN, but could understand better than my older role-models.
    When I went to art school, Gene’s work came with me. Trying to understand or express ideas of “Baroque Space” in painting made things easier with Colan as your in-road. Don’t believe me? Go to Rome, look at that big-deal ceiling in the Sistine Chapel and tell me what comicbook artist you think about.
    When I was a child Gene’s work inspired me to find my own uniqueness. When I was a painter, he was always my best example to other painters of the unique story-telling power of comics. Now that i finally see myself as a cartoonist, and now that I hear of his passing, i can only think of him as the best possible example of comicbooks become a fertile ground for unique talents that could never express themselves so eloquently in any other medium.
    So they come here and change our childhood and our worlds in ways that very few people outside of fandom could ever understand; his work was the fire in why I want to make comics and kindle for a generation of cartoonists like me.

  10. Scott–Thanks for sharing. Gene was as special a man as he was an artist. Thank you for the nice note.