Gene Colan; Daredevil, Tomb of Dracula and other comic masterpieces by a living legend
Earlier last week it was reported that comics legend Gene Colan’s liver was failing him. His wife, Adrienne sent a an email to Ohdannyboy.com, a comic blog on blogspot.com, detailing her husband’s failing health.
“My darling, sweet, handsome and brilliantly gifted husband’s liver is failing. The complications are very nasty. This week it’s fluid retention and encephalitis. He’s on powerful meds now to diminish the symptoms. He sleeps a lot and has very little energy”
As of yet there have been no further reports on Mr Colan’s condition but his wife has asked that his fans take the time to write him a short message of encouragement and appreciation for his incredible body of work. All messages can be sent to:
2 Sea Cliff Avenue
Sea Cliff, NY 11579
After serving two years in the Philippines with the Army Air Corps during WWII Gene Colan returned to his home city of New York where he began his comics carrier in 1944 drawing “Wings Comics” (1945, Fiction House, $340 in Near Mint). After a long stint working on War comics for both Timely (who would become Marvel Comics) and National (who would become DC) Colan’s first superhero work would be for Marvel Comics under the pseudonym Adam Austin in “Tales to Astonish” #70 (1965, $200 in Near Mint condition) where he penciled the Submariner back up story. While Colan’s bibliography of work is far to long to list here he is perhaps best remembered for his work on Marvel Comics “Daredevil”, “Tomb of Dracula” and my favorite cover of all time, “Iron man” #1.
Colan began his run on Daredevil with issue #20 (1966, $115 in Near Mint condition) and would stay on the book until issue #100 (1973, $40 in Near mint) penciling all but three issues in that time. Colan’s art on Daredevil changed the tone of the book adding a gritty crime-noir element that would define the character of Matt Murdock as we know him today.
It was Colan’s use of shading in layers of blacks and grays that gave each of his books a distinctive feel. While interviewing Colan for “Alter Ego” Magazine Inker Roy Thomas recalls having to wash his hands several times due to the sheer amount of graphite left on the page. Colan was also one of the first Silver-Age pencilers to defy the strict paneling of classic comics and allow his fight scenes to spill over the pages free of borders which further accentuated his kinetic art-style.
Colan’s Silver-Age comic art showed a depth and realism unparalleled by his peers and nothing better illustrated his raw penciling talents than his work on Marvel’s “Tomb of Dracula”. Years after being turned down by EC editor-in-chief Harvey Kurtzman who published comics like “Tales from the Crypt” and “Vault of Horror”, Colan illustrated 70 issues of TOD that would later be considered one of the most influential horror comic runs in comic book history. Tomb of Dracula #1 (1972) was the first appearance of Dracula in Marvel Comics and currently guides for $200 in Near Mint condition. Colan, along with writer Marv Wolfman also created Blade the Vampire Slayer and introduced the character in “Tomb of Dracula” #10 (1973, $325 in Near Mint condition). To truly appreciate Colan’s work on T.O.D. I would recommend picking up the “Essential Tomb of Dracula”, a black and white reprint series that highlights his amazing black work and use of shading.
I’m ashamed to admit that the only Colan work I own is a few issues of his “Daredevil” and even fewer of his “Tomb of Dracula” in recent years fans of Marvel Silver-Age books have been hording Colan’s work on both these titles making next to impossible to complete a run without spending considerable amounts of money. And not without good reason. Gene Colan is a giant of the comics industry who’s name will become legendary along side greats like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko as more and more and more fans learn who inspired their current favorite artists. Here’s to your health and an amazing body of work Mr. Colan. No matter what happens next your legendary art will live on in the collections of your fans.
You can visit Gene Colan’s Website “here” to read more about one of comics most beloved creators.
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