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Gene Colan

Gene Colan

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Encyclopedia
Eugene Jules "Gene" Colan (September 1, 1926 – June 23, 2011) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 comic book artist
Comic book creator
A comic book creator is someone who creates a comic book or graphic novel.The production of a comic book by one of the major comic book companies in the U.S...

 best known for his work for Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics
Marvel Worldwide, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics and formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, is an American company that publishes comic books and related media...

, where his signature titles include the superhero
Superhero
A superhero is a type of stock character, possessing "extraordinary or superhuman powers", dedicated to protecting the public. Since the debut of the prototypical superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes — ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas —...

 series, Daredevil
Daredevil (Marvel Comics)
Daredevil is a fictional character, a superhero in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett, with an unspecified amount of input from Jack Kirby, and first appeared in Daredevil #1 .Living in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood...

, the cult-hit satiric
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 series Howard the Duck
Howard the Duck
Howard the Duck is a comic book character in the Marvel Comics universe created by writer Steve Gerber and artist Val Mayerik. The character first appeared in Adventure into Fear #19 and several subsequent series have chronicled the misadventures of the ill-tempered, anthropomorphic, "funny...

, and The Tomb of Dracula, considered one of comics' classic horror
Horror fiction
Horror fiction also Horror fantasy is a philosophy of literature, which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten its readers, inducing feelings of horror and terror. It creates an eerie atmosphere. Horror can be either supernatural or non-supernatural...

 series. He co-created the Falcon
Falcon (comics)
The Falcon is a fictional comic book superhero in comic books published by Marvel Comics.Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Gene Colan, and introduced in Captain America #117 , the character is mainstream comics' first African-American superhero...

, the first African-American superhero in mainstream comics, and the non-costumed, supernatural African-American character Blade
Blade (comics)
Blade is a fictional character, a superhero/vampire hunter in the Marvel Comics universe. Created by writer Marv Wolfman and penciller Gene Colan, his first appearance was in the comic book The Tomb of Dracula #10 as a supporting character.The character went on to alternatively star and co-star...

, which went on to star in a series of films starring Wesley Snipes
Wesley Snipes
Wesley Trent Snipes is an American actor, film producer, and martial artist, who has starred in numerous action films, thrillers, and dramatic feature films. Snipes is known for playing the Marvel Comics character Blade in the Blade film trilogy, among various other high profile roles...

.

Colan was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2005.

Early life and career



Born in The Bronx
The Bronx
The Bronx is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City. It is also known as Bronx County, the last of the 62 counties of New York State to be incorporated...

, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, the son of parents who ran an antiques business on the Upper East Side
Upper East Side
The Upper East Side is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, between Central Park and the East River. The Upper East Side lies within an area bounded by 59th Street to 96th Street, and the East River to Fifth Avenue-Central Park...

, Gene Colan began drawing at age three. "The first thing I ever drew was a lion. I must've absolutely copied it or something. But that's what my folks tell me. And from then on, I just drew everything in sight. My grandfather was my favorite subject". He attended George Washington High School
George Washington High School (New York City)
George Washington High School is a public high school located in the Fort George neighborhood of the Washington Heights section of Manhattan in New York City, New York....

 in the Washington Heights
Washington Heights, Manhattan
Washington Heights is a New York City neighborhood in the northern reaches of the borough of Manhattan. It is named for Fort Washington, a fortification constructed at the highest point on Manhattan island by Continental Army troops during the American Revolutionary War, to defend the area from the...

 section of Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

, and went on to study at the Art Students League of New York
Art Students League of New York
The Art Students League of New York is an art school located on West 57th Street in New York City. The League has historically been known for its broad appeal to both amateurs and professional artists, and has maintained for over 130 years a tradition of offering reasonably priced classes on a...

. His major art influences are Syd Shores
Syd Shores
Sydney Shores was an American comic book artist known for his work on Captain America both during the 1940s, in what fans and historians call the Golden Age of comic books, and during the 1960s Silver Age of comic books....

, Coulton Waugh
Coulton Waugh
Frederick Coulton Waugh was a cartoonist, painter, teacher and author, best known for his illustration work on the comic strip Dickie Dare and his book The Comics , the first major study of the field.His father was the marine artist Frederick Judd Waugh, and his grandfather was the Philadelphia...

, and Milton Caniff
Milton Caniff
Milton Arthur Paul Caniff was an American cartoonist famous for the Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon comic strips.-Biography:...

.

He began working in comics in 1944, doing illustrations for publisher Fiction House
Fiction House
Fiction House is an American publisher of pulp magazines and comic books that existed from the 1920s to the 1950s. Its comics division was best known for its pinup-style good girl art, as epitomized by the company's most popular character, Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.-History:-Jumbo and Jack...

's aviation
Aviation
Aviation is the design, development, production, operation, and use of aircraft, especially heavier-than-air aircraft. Aviation is derived from avis, the Latin word for bird.-History:...

-adventure
Adventure
An adventure is defined as an exciting or unusual experience; it may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome. The term is often used to refer to activities with some potential for physical danger, such as skydiving, mountain climbing and or participating in extreme sports...

 series Wings Comics. "[J]ust a summertime job before I went into the service", it gave Colan his first published work, the one-page "Wing Tips" non-fiction
Non-fiction
Non-fiction is the form of any narrative, account, or other communicative work whose assertions and descriptions are understood to be fact...

 filler "P-51B Mustang" (issue #52, Dec. 1944). His first comics story was a seven-page "Clipper Kirk" feature in the following month's issue.

After attempting to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 but being pulled out by his father "because I was underage", Colan at "18 or 19" enlisted in the Army Air Corps
United States Army Air Corps
The United States Army Air Corps was a forerunner of the United States Air Force. Renamed from the Air Service on 2 July 1926, it was part of the United States Army and the predecessor of the United States Army Air Forces , established in 1941...

. Originally scheduled for gunnery school in Boulder, Colorado
Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is the county seat and most populous city of Boulder County and the 11th most populous city in the U.S. state of Colorado. Boulder is located at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of...

, plans changed with the war's sudden end. After training at an Army camp near Biloxi, Mississippi
Biloxi, Mississippi
Biloxi is a city in Harrison County, Mississippi, in the United States. The 2010 census recorded the population as 44,054. Along with Gulfport, Biloxi is a county seat of Harrison County....

, he joined the occupation forces in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

. There Colan rose to the rank of corporal
Corporal
Corporal is a rank in use in some form by most militaries and by some police forces or other uniformed organizations. It is usually equivalent to NATO Rank Code OR-4....

, drew for the Manila Times
Manila Times
The Manila Times is the oldest existing English language newspaper in the Philippines. It is published daily by The Manila Times Publishing Corp. with editorial and administrative offices at 371 A...

, and won an art contest.

Upon his return to civilian life in 1946, Colan went to work for Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics
Marvel Worldwide, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics and formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, is an American company that publishes comic books and related media...

' 1940s precursor, Timely Comics
Timely Comics
Timely Comics, an imprint of Timely Publications, was the earliest comic book arm of American publisher Martin Goodman, and the entity that would evolve by the 1960s to become Marvel Comics....

. He recalled in 2000,

Comics historian Michael J. Vassallo identifies that first story as "Adam and Eve — Crime Incorporated" in Lawbreakers Always Lose #1 (cover date Spring 1948), on which is written the an internal job number 2401. He notes another story, "The Cop They Couldn't Stop" in All-True Crime #27 (April 1948), job number 2505, may have been published first, citing the differing cover-date nomenclature ("Spring" v. "April") for the uncertainty.

Hired as "a staff penciler", Colan "started out at about $60 a week. ... Syd Shores was the art director
Art director
The art director is a person who supervise the creative process of a design.The term 'art director' is a blanket title for a variety of similar job functions in advertising, publishing, film and television, the Internet, and video games....

". Due to Colan's work going uncredited, in the manner of the times, comprehensive credits for this era are difficult if not impossible to ascertain. In 2010, he recalled his first cover art being for an issue of Captain America Comics; Colan drew the 12-page lead story in issue #72, the cover-artist of which is undetermined. He definitively drew the cover of the final issue, the horror comic Captain America's Weird Tales #75 (Feb. 1950), which did not include the titular superhero on either the cover or inside.

After virtually all the Timely staff was let go in 1948 during an industry downturn, Colan began freelancing for National Comics, the future DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic books and related media. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment a company of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner...

. A stickler for accuracy, he meticulously researched his countless war stories for DC's All-American Men at War, Captain Storm, and Our Army at War
Our Army at War
Our Army at War was the title for a comic book published by DC Comics that featured war themed stories and was the first appearance for popular heroes such like Sgt. Rock and Enemy Ace. The series started in August 1952 and ended in February 1977....

, as well as for Marvel's 1950s forerunner Atlas Comics
Atlas Comics (1950s)
Atlas Comics is the term used to describe the 1950s comic book publishing company that would evolve into Marvel Comics. Magazine and paperback novel publisher Martin Goodman, whose business strategy involved having a multitude of corporate entities, used Atlas as the umbrella name for his comic...

, on the series Battle, Battle Action, Battle Ground, Battlefront, G.I. Tales, Marines in Battle, Navy Combat and Navy Tales. Colan's earliest confirmed credit during this time is penciling and inking
Inker
The inker is one of the two line artists in a traditional comic book or graphic novel. After a pencilled drawing is given to the inker, the inker uses black ink to produce refined outlines over the pencil lines...

 the six-page crime fiction
Crime fiction
Crime fiction is the literary genre that fictionalizes crimes, their detection, criminals and their motives. It is usually distinguished from mainstream fiction and other genres such as science fiction or historical fiction, but boundaries can be, and indeed are, blurred...

 story "Dream Of Doom", by an uncredited writer, in Atlas' Lawbreakers Always Lose #6 (Feb. 1949).

He would rent 16 mm movies of Hopalong Cassidy
Hopalong Cassidy
Hopalong Cassidy is a fictional cowboy hero created in 1904 by the author Clarence E. Mulford, who wrote a series of popular short stories and twenty-eight novels based on the character....

 Westerns
Western (genre)
The Western is a genre of various visual arts, such as film, television, radio, literature, painting and others. Westerns are devoted to telling stories set primarily in the latter half of the 19th century in the American Old West, hence the name. Some Westerns are set as early as the Battle of...

 in order to trace likenesses for the DC licensed series, which he drew from 1954 to 1957.

Silver Age


While freelancing for DC romance
Romance (genre)
As a literary genre of high culture, romance or chivalric romance is a style of heroic prose and verse narrative that was popular in the aristocratic circles of High Medieval and Early Modern Europe. They were fantastic stories about marvel-filled adventures, often of a knight errant portrayed as...

 comics in the 1960s, Colan did his first superhero
Superhero
A superhero is a type of stock character, possessing "extraordinary or superhuman powers", dedicated to protecting the public. Since the debut of the prototypical superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes — ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas —...

 work for Marvel under the pseudonym Adam Austin. Taking to the form immediately, he introduced the "Sub-Mariner" feature in Tales to Astonish
Tales to Astonish
Tales to Astonish is the name of two American comic book series and a one-shot comic published by Marvel Comics.The primary title bearing that name was published from 1959-1968...

, and succeeded Don Heck
Don Heck
Don Heck was an American comic book artist best known for co-creating the Marvel Comics character Iron Man, and for his long run penciling the Marvel superhero-team series The Avengers during the 1960s Silver Age of comic books.-Early life and career:Born in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, New...

 on "Iron Man
Iron Man
Iron Man is a fictional character, a superhero in the . The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee, developed by scripter Larry Lieber, and designed by artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby, first appearing in Tales of Suspense #39 .A billionaire playboy, industrialist and ingenious engineer,...

" in Tales of Suspense
Tales of Suspense
Tales of Suspense is the name of an American comic book series and two one-shot comics published by Marvel Comics. The first, which ran from 1959 to 1968, began as a science-fiction anthology that served as a showcase for such artists as Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Don Heck, then featured...

.

Shortly afterward, under his own name, Colan became one of the premier Silver Age
Silver Age of Comic Books
The Silver Age of Comic Books was a period of artistic advancement and commercial success in mainstream American comic books, predominantly those in the superhero genre. Following the Golden Age of Comic Books and an interregnum in the early to mid-1950s, the Silver Age is considered to cover the...

 Marvel artists, illustrating a host of such major characters as Captain America
Captain America
Captain America is a fictional character, a superhero that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Captain America Comics #1 , from Marvel Comics' 1940s predecessor, Timely Comics, and was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby...

, Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange
Doctor Stephen Strange is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was co-created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, and first appeared in Strange Tales #110 ....

 (both in the late-1960s and the mid-1970s series), and his signature character, Daredevil
Daredevil (Marvel Comics)
Daredevil is a fictional character, a superhero in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett, with an unspecified amount of input from Jack Kirby, and first appeared in Daredevil #1 .Living in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood...

. Operating, like other company artists, on the "Marvel Method
Marvel Method
The Marvel Method is a form of comic book writer-artist collaboration in which the artist works from a story synopsis, rather than a full script, creating page-by-page plot details on his or her own...

" — in which editor-in-chief and primary writer Stan Lee
Stan Lee
Stan Lee is an American comic book writer, editor, actor, producer, publisher, television personality, and the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics....

 "would just speak to me for a few minutes on the phone, tell me the beginning, the middle and the end [of a story] and not much else, maybe four or five paragraphs, and then he’d tell me to make [a 20-page] story out of it," providing artwork to which Lee would then script dialogue and captions — Colan forged his own style, unlike that of artists Jack Kirby
Jack Kirby
Jack Kirby , born Jacob Kurtzberg, was an American comic book artist, writer and editor regarded by historians and fans as one of the major innovators and most influential creators in the comic book medium....

 and Steve Ditko
Steve Ditko
Stephen J. "Steve" Ditko is an American comic book artist and writer best known as the artist co-creator, with Stan Lee, of the Marvel Comics heroes Spider-Man and Doctor Strange....

, whom Lee would point to as exemplars of the Marvel style:
Colan's long run on the series Daredevil encompassed all but three issues in an otherwise unbroken, 81-issue string from #20-100 (Sept. 1966 - June 1973), plus the initial Daredevil Annual (1967). He returned to draw ten issues sprinkled from 1974–79, and an eight-issue run in 1997. Colan admitted relying upon amphetamines in order to make deadlines for illustrating the series Doctor Strange.

In Captain America #117 (Sept. 1969), Colan and writer-editor Stan Lee
Stan Lee
Stan Lee is an American comic book writer, editor, actor, producer, publisher, television personality, and the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics....

 created the Falcon
Falcon (comics)
The Falcon is a fictional comic book superhero in comic books published by Marvel Comics.Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Gene Colan, and introduced in Captain America #117 , the character is mainstream comics' first African-American superhero...

, the first African-American superhero in mainstream comic books. The character came about, Colan recalled in 2008,

Dracula and Batman


Colan also in the 1970s illustrated the complete, 70-issue run of the acclaimed horror
Horror fiction
Horror fiction also Horror fantasy is a philosophy of literature, which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten its readers, inducing feelings of horror and terror. It creates an eerie atmosphere. Horror can be either supernatural or non-supernatural...

 title The Tomb of Dracula, as well as most issues of writer Steve Gerber
Steve Gerber
Stephen Ross "Steve" Gerber was an American comic book writer best known as co-creator of the satiric Marvel Comics character Howard the Duck....

's cult-hit, Howard the Duck
Howard the Duck
Howard the Duck is a comic book character in the Marvel Comics universe created by writer Steve Gerber and artist Val Mayerik. The character first appeared in Adventure into Fear #19 and several subsequent series have chronicled the misadventures of the ill-tempered, anthropomorphic, "funny...

.

Colan, already one of Marvel's most well-established and prominent artists, said he had lobbied for the Tomb of Dracula assignment.
Back at DC in the 1980s, following a professional falling out with Marvel, Colan brought his shadowy, moody textures to Batman
Batman
Batman is a fictional character created by the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. A comic book superhero, Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 , and since then has appeared primarily in publications by DC Comics...

, serving as the Dark Knight's primary artist from 1982–1986, penciling most issues of Detective Comics
Detective Comics
Detective Comics is an American comic book series published monthly by DC Comics since 1937, best known for introducing the iconic superhero Batman in Detective Comics #27 . It is, along with Action Comics, the book that launched with the debut of Superman, one of the medium's signature series, and...

 and Batman during that time. He was also the artist of Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman is a DC Comics superheroine created by William Moulton Marston. She first appeared in All Star Comics #8 . The Wonder Woman title has been published by DC Comics almost continuously except for a brief hiatus in 1986....

 from early 1982 to mid-1983. Helping to create new characters as well, Colan collaborated in the 1980s with The Tomb of Dracula writer Marv Wolfman
Marv Wolfman
Marvin A. "Marv" Wolfman is an award-winning American comic book writer. He is best known for lengthy runs on The Tomb of Dracula, creating Blade for Marvel Comics, and The New Teen Titans for DC Comics.-1960s:...

 on the 14-issue run of Night Force
Night Force
Night Force is the name of two comic book series published by DC Comics. The first series, written by Marv Wolfman, and illustrated by Gene Colan debuted in a special insert in The New Teen Titans #21...

; with Cary Bates
Cary Bates
Cary Bates is an American comic book, animation television and film writer.-Biography:Bates began submitting ideas for comic book covers to DC Comics at the age of 13, and a number of them were bought and published, the first as the cover to Superman #167...

 on the 12-issue run of Silverblade
Silverblade
Silverblade is a supernatural fantasy comic book limited series, published in the United States by DC Comics in 1987. The maxi-series ran for twelve issues. The book was written by Cary Bates with the art drawn by Gene Colan; it was edited by Dennis O'Neil...

; and with Greg Potter
Greg Potter
Greg Potter is an American former comic book writer best known for co-creating the DC Comics series Jemm, Son of Saturn with artist Gene Colan.-Biography:...

 on the 12-issue run of Jemm, Son of Saturn
Jemm
Jemm is a fictional alien that has appeared in various comic book series published by DC Comics. The character exists in DC's main shared universe, known as the DC Universe...

. As well, he drew the first six issues of Doug Moench
Doug Moench
Douglas Moench , better known as Doug Moench, is an American comic book writer notable for his Batman work and as the creator of Black Mask, Moon Knight and Deathlok.-Biography:...

's 1987 revival of The Spectre
Spectre (comics)
The Spectre is a fictional character and superhero who has appeared in numerous comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in a next issue ad in More Fun Comics #51 and received his first story the following month, #52...

.

Colan's style, characterized by fluid figure drawing and extensive use of shadow, was unusual among Silver Age comic artists, and became more pronounced as his career progressed. He usually worked as a penciller
Penciller
A penciller is an artist who works in the creation of comic books, graphic novels, and similar visual art forms.The penciller is the first step in rendering the story in visual form and may require several steps of feedback with the writer. These artists are concerned with layout to showcase...

, with Klaus Janson
Klaus Janson
Klaus Janson is a German-born American comic book artist, working regularly for Marvel Comics and DC Comics and sporadically for independent companies...

 and Tom Palmer
Tom Palmer (comics)
-Biography:Although Palmer has done a small amount of pencilling work , the vast majority of his artistic output since the 1960s has been as a comic book inker...

 as his most frequent inkers. Colan broke from the mass-market comic book penciller/inker/colorist
Colorist
In comics, a colorist is responsible for adding color to black-and-white line art. For most of the 20th century this was done using brushes and dyes which were then used as guides to produce the printing plates...

 assembly-line system by creating finished drawings in graphite
Graphite
The mineral graphite is one of the allotropes of carbon. It was named by Abraham Gottlob Werner in 1789 from the Ancient Greek γράφω , "to draw/write", for its use in pencils, where it is commonly called lead . Unlike diamond , graphite is an electrical conductor, a semimetal...

 and watercolor on such projects as the DC Comics miniseries
Miniseries
A miniseries , in a serial storytelling medium, is a television show production which tells a story in a limited number of episodes. The exact number is open to interpretation; however, they are usually limited to fewer than a whole season. The term "miniseries" is generally a North American term...

 Nathaniel Dusk
Nathaniel Dusk
Nathaniel Dusk is the name of a fictional private investigator and the two mini-series by DC Comics in which he appeared. The mini-series, both of four issues each, appeared in 1984 and 1985. Don McGregor wrote and Gene Colan provided pencils for both series....

 (1984) and Nathaniel Dusk II (1985–86), and the feature "Ragamuffins" in the Eclipse Comics
Eclipse Comics
Eclipse Comics was an American comic book publisher, one of several independent publishers during the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1978, it published the first graphic novel intended for the newly created comic book specialty store market...

 umbrella series Eclipse #3, 5, & 8 (1981–83), with frequent collaborator Don McGregor
Don McGregor
Donald Francis McGregor is an American comic book writer best known for his work for Marvel Comics, and the author of one of the first graphic novels.-Early life and career:...

.

Independent-comics work includes the Eclipse graphic novel
Graphic novel
A graphic novel is a narrative work in which the story is conveyed to the reader using sequential art in either an experimental design or in a traditional comics format...

 Detectives Inc.: A Terror Of Dying Dreams
Detectives Inc.
Detectives Inc. is a series of two original graphic novels written by Don McGregor and published by Eclipse Enterprises in 1980 and 1985.The first, Detectives Inc.: A Remembrance of Threatening Green, featured black-and-white art by penciler-inker Marshall Rogers...

 (1985), written by McGregor and reprinted in sepia tone as an Eclipse miniseries in 1987, and the miniseries Predator: Hell & Hot Water for Dark Horse Comics
Dark Horse Comics
Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent American comic book and manga publisher.Dark Horse Comics was founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson in Milwaukie, Oregon, with the concept of establishing an ideal atmosphere for creative professionals. Richardson started out by opening his first comic book...

. He contributed to Archie Comics
Archie Comics
Archie Comics is an American comic book publisher headquartered in the Village of Mamaroneck, Town of Mamaroneck, New York, known for its many series featuring the fictional teenagers Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, Reggie Mantle and Jughead Jones. The characters were created by...

 in the late 1980s and early 1990s, drawing and occasionally writing a number of stories. His work there included penciling the lighthearted science-fiction series Jughead
Jughead Jones
Jughead Jones is a fictional character in Archie Comics who first appeared in the comic in December 1941. He is the son of Forsythe II; although in one of the early Archie newspaper comic strips, he himself is identified as Forsythe Van Jones II...

's Time Police #1-6 (July 1990–May 1991), and the 1990 one-shot To Riverdale and Back Again, an adaptation of the NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 TV movie about the Archie characters 20 years later, airing May 6, 1990; Stan Goldberg
Stan Goldberg
Stan Goldberg is an American comic book artist best known for his work as a flagship artist of Archie Comics and as a Marvel Comics' 1960s colorist, who helped design the original color schemes of Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and other major characters.-Career:Stan Goldberg began work in the...

 and Mike Esposito
Mike Esposito (comics)
Mike Esposito , who sometimes used the pseudonyms Mickey Demeo, Mickey Dee, Michael Dee, and Joe Gaudioso, was an American comic book artist whose work for DC Comics, Marvel Comics and others spanned the 1950s to the 2000s...

 drew the parts featuring the characters in flashback as teens, while Colan drew adult characters, in a less cartoony style.

Back at Marvel, he collaborated again with Marv Wolfman on a new The Tomb of Dracula series, and with Don McGregor on a Black Panther
Black Panther (comics)
The Black Panther is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics universe. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and penciller-co-plotter Jack Kirby, he first appeared in Fantastic Four #52...

 serial in the Marvel Comics Presents
Marvel Comics Presents
Marvel Comics Presents was an American comic book anthology series published by Marvel Comics originally from 1988 to 1995; it returned for a second volume in 2007-2008.-Volume 1:The first volume was released on a biweekly basis and lasted for 175 issues...

 anthology.

Later life and career


Colan did some insert artwork on Hellbilly Deluxe
Hellbilly Deluxe
* Danny Lohner - Additional Guitar on Meet the Creeper.* Tommy Lee - Drums on Meet the Creeper.-Chart positions:AlbumSingles...

 (released August 1998), the first solo album of Rob Zombie
Rob Zombie
Rob Zombie is an American musician, film director, screenwriter and film producer. He founded the heavy metal band White Zombie and has been nominated three times as a solo artist for the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.Zombie has also established a career as a film director, creating the...

, credited as Gene "The Mean Machine" Colan.

In the 2000s, Colan returned to vampires by drawing a pair of stories for Dark Horse Comics
Dark Horse Comics
Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent American comic book and manga publisher.Dark Horse Comics was founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson in Milwaukie, Oregon, with the concept of establishing an ideal atmosphere for creative professionals. Richardson started out by opening his first comic book...

' Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight is a comic book series published by Dark Horse Comics. The series serves as a canonical continuation of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and follows the events of that show's final televised season. It is produced by Joss Whedon, who wrote the...

 series. At various points, Colan taught at Manhattan's School of Visual Arts
School of Visual Arts
The School of Visual Arts , is a proprietary art school located in Manhattan, New York City, and is widely considered to be one of the leading art schools in the United States. It was established in 1947 by co-founders Silas H. Rhodes and Burne Hogarth as the Cartoonists and Illustrators School and...

 and Fashion Institute of Technology
Fashion Institute of Technology
The Fashion Institute of Technology, generally known as FIT, is a State University of New York college of art, business, design, and technology connected to the fashion industry, with an urban campus located on West 27th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues in the Chelsea neighborhood of...

, and had showings at the Bess Cutler Gallery in New York City and at the Elm Street Arts Gallery in Manchester, Vermont.

He penciled the final pages of Blade
Blade (comics)
Blade is a fictional character, a superhero/vampire hunter in the Marvel Comics universe. Created by writer Marv Wolfman and penciller Gene Colan, his first appearance was in the comic book The Tomb of Dracula #10 as a supporting character.The character went on to alternatively star and co-star...

 vol. 3, #12 (Oct. 2007), the final issue of that series, drawing a flashback scene in which the character dresses in his original outfit from the 1970s series The Tomb of Dracula. That same month, for the anniversary issue Daredevil vol. 2, #100 (Oct. 2007), Colan penciled pages 18–20 of the 36-page story "Without Fear, Part One"; the issue additionally reprinted the Colan-drawn Daredevil #90-91 (Aug.-Sept. 1972).

On May 11, 2008, Colan's family announced that Colan, who had been hospitalized for liver failure, had suffered a sharp deterioration in his health. By December, he had sufficiently recovered to travel to an in-store signing in California. He continued to produce original comics work as late as 2009, drawing the lead feature in Captain America
Captain America
Captain America is a fictional character, a superhero that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Captain America Comics #1 , from Marvel Comics' 1940s predecessor, Timely Comics, and was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby...

 #601 (Sept. 2009). He subsequently won the Eisner Award
Eisner Award
The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, commonly shortened to the Eisner Awards, and sometimes referred to as the Oscar Awards of the Comics Industry, are prizes given for creative achievement in American comic books. The Eisner Awards were first conferred in 1988, created in response to the...

 for Best Single Issue (together with writer Ed Brubaker
Ed Brubaker
Ed Brubaker is an Eisner Award-winning comic book writer and cartoonist. Brubaker first early comics work was primarily in the crime fiction genre with works such as Lowlife, The Fall, Sandman Presents: Dead Boy Detectives and Scene of the Crime...

) for his work on that issue.

Personal life


Gene Colan was married twice: first to Sallee Greenberg, with whom he had children Valerie and Jill before the couple divorced, and Adrienne Brickman, with whom he had children Erik and Nanci. He and his second wife moved from New York City to Vermont
Vermont
Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state ranks 43rd in land area, , and 45th in total area. Its population according to the 2010 census, 630,337, is the second smallest in the country, larger only than Wyoming. It is the only New England...

 late in life before returning to New York. Adrienne Colan died on June 21, 2010.

Death


Colan died on June 23, 2011, aged 84, following complications from liver disease and a broken hip received in a fall.

DC Comics

  • Batman
    Batman (comic book)
    Batman is an ongoing comic book series featuring the DC Comics hero of the same name. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #27, published in May 1939. Batman proved to be so popular that a self-titled ongoing comic book series began publication in the spring of 1940...

     #340, 343-345, 348-351, 373, 383 (1981–1985)
  • Batman: Gotham Knights
    Batman: Gotham Knights
    Batman: Gotham Knights was a monthly, fictional comic book series published by DC Comics. The original intent of this book was to feature the exploits of Batman and his extended family - Alfred Pennyworth, Batgirl, Nightwing, Robin, Oracle, Catwoman, etc...

     (Batman Black and White) #15 (2001)
  • DC Challenge
    DC Challenge
    DC Challenge was a 12-issue comic book series produced by DC Comics from November 1985 to October 1986, as a round robin experiment in narrative...

     #1 (1985)
  • DC Comics Presents
    DC Comics Presents
    DC Comics Presents was a comic book published by DC Comics from 1978 to 1986 featuring team-ups between Superman and a wide variety of other characters of the DC Universe...

     (Wonder Woman preview
    DC Comics insert previews
    DC Comics insert previews were 16-page comic book stories inserted into issues of existing DC Comics series to promote new series usually debuting the next month. Running from 1980 to 1985, they consisted of a front cover, 14 pages of story, and a back cover that depicted the cover of the actual...

    ) #41 (1982)
  • DC Science Fiction Graphic Novel
    DC Graphic Novel
    DC Graphic Novel was a series of graphic novel trade paperbacks published from 1983 to 1986 by DC Comics.DC also published from 1985 to 1987 a second, related line called DC Science Fiction Graphic Novel. Rather than being original stories, the graphic novels of this line were instead adaptations...

     Nightwings
    Nightwings
    Nightwings is a science fiction novella by Robert Silverberg. It won the Hugo Award for Best Novella in 1969 and was also nominated for the Nebula Award in 1968. Nightwings is the first in a trilogy of novellas, the next two being Perris Way and To Jorslem...

     (1985)
  • Detective Comics
    Detective Comics
    Detective Comics is an American comic book series published monthly by DC Comics since 1937, best known for introducing the iconic superhero Batman in Detective Comics #27 . It is, along with Action Comics, the book that launched with the debut of Superman, one of the medium's signature series, and...

     #510, 512, 517, 523, 528-538, 540-546, 555-567 (1982–1986)
  • Elvira's House of Mystery
    House of Mystery
    The House of Mystery is the name of several horror-mystery-suspense anthology comic book series. It had a companion series, House of Secrets.-Genesis:...

     #11 (1987)
  • Fury of Firestorm #19, Annual #4 (1984-1986)
  • Jemm, Son of Saturn
    Jemm
    Jemm is a fictional alien that has appeared in various comic book series published by DC Comics. The character exists in DC's main shared universe, known as the DC Universe...

     #1-12 (limited series) (1984-1985)
  • Just Imagine Stan Lee With Jim Lee Creating Wonder Woman
    Just Imagine...
    Just Imagine Stan Lee is a comic book published by DC Comics. It was the first work by Stan Lee, co-creator of numerous popular Marvel Comics characters, for DC Comics, in which he reimagined several DC superheroes including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and The...

     (backup story) (2001)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes
    Legion of Super-Heroes (1958 team)
    The 1958 version of the Legion of Super-Heroes is a fictional superhero team in the 31st century of the . The team is the first incarnation of the Legion of Super-Heroes, followed by the 1994 and 2004 rebooted versions...

     vol. 2 #311 (1984)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3 #27 (1986)
  • Little Shop of Horrors movie adaptation #1 (1987)
  • Nathaniel Dusk
    Nathaniel Dusk
    Nathaniel Dusk is the name of a fictional private investigator and the two mini-series by DC Comics in which he appeared. The mini-series, both of four issues each, appeared in 1984 and 1985. Don McGregor wrote and Gene Colan provided pencils for both series....

     #1-4 (1984)
  • Nathaniel Dusk II #1-4 (1985-1986)
  • New Teen Titans (Night Force preview) #21 (1982)
  • Night Force
    Night Force
    Night Force is the name of two comic book series published by DC Comics. The first series, written by Marv Wolfman, and illustrated by Gene Colan debuted in a special insert in The New Teen Titans #21...

     #1-14 (1982-1983)
  • Phantom Zone
    Phantom Zone
    The Phantom Zone is a fictional prison dimension featured in the Superman comic books and related media published by DC Comics. It first appeared in Adventure Comics #283 , and was created by Robert Bernstein and George Papp...

     #1-4 (1982)
  • Secret Origins
    Secret Origins
    Secret Origins is the title of three American comic book series published by DC Comics.The title began in 1961 and for one issue, all reprints. The title Secret Origins of Super Heroes went onto a second series, also reprints, which ran for seven issues from 1973-1974...

     (Crimson Avenger
    Crimson Avenger (Lee Travis)
    The Crimson Avenger is a masked crime fighter in the and the first to use the name "Crimson Avenger." He first appears in Detective Comics #20 and was created by Jim Chambers.-Fictional character biography:...

    ) #5 (1986)
  • Silverblade
    Silverblade
    Silverblade is a supernatural fantasy comic book limited series, published in the United States by DC Comics in 1987. The maxi-series ran for twelve issues. The book was written by Cary Bates with the art drawn by Gene Colan; it was edited by Dennis O'Neil...

     #1-12 (1987-1988)
  • Spectre
    Spectre (comics)
    The Spectre is a fictional character and superhero who has appeared in numerous comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in a next issue ad in More Fun Comics #51 and received his first story the following month, #52...

     (vol. 2) #1-6 (1987)
  • Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe
    Who's Who in the DC Universe
    Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe is the umbrella title for a number of comic book series which DC Comics published to catalogue the wide variety of fictional characters in their imaginary universe, the DC Universe.-History:Who's Who was the creation of Len Wein, Marv...

     #2, 11, 16-17, 25 (1985-1987)
  • Wonder Woman
    Wonder Woman
    Wonder Woman is a DC Comics superheroine created by William Moulton Marston. She first appeared in All Star Comics #8 . The Wonder Woman title has been published by DC Comics almost continuously except for a brief hiatus in 1986....

     #288-305 (1982-1983)
  • World's Finest Comics
    World's Finest Comics
    World's Finest Comics was an American comic book series published by DC Comics from 1941 to 1986. The series was initially titled World's Best Comics for its first issue; issue #2 switched to the more familiar name...

     (Zatanna
    Zatanna
    Zatanna Zatara is a fictional character in the DC Comics universe. Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Murphy Anderson, Zatanna first appeared in Hawkman vol. 1 #4...

    ) #274, (Superman and Batman) #297, 299 (1981-1984)

Marvel Comics

  • Amazing Adventures
    Amazing Adventures
    Amazing Adventures is the name of several anthology comic book series, all but one published by Marvel Comics.The earliest Marvel series of that name introduced the company's first superhero of the late-1950s to early-1960s period fans and historians call the Silver Age of Comic Books...

     (Black Widow) #3-5; (Killraven
    Killraven
    Killraven is a fictional freedom fighter in several post-apocalyptic alternate futures of the Marvel Comics universe. He first appeared in Amazing Adventures #18 , created by co-plotters Roy Thomas and Neal Adams, scripter Gerry Conway, and penciller Adams...

    ) #26
  • Astonishing Tales
    Astonishing Tales
    Astonishing Tales is an American anthology comic book series published by Marvel Comics originally from 1970-1976. Its sister publication was Amazing Adventures vol. 2...

     (Dr. Doom) #7-8
  • Avengers
    Avengers (comics)
    The Avengers is a fictional team of superheroes, appearing in magazines published by Marvel Comics. The team made its debut in The Avengers #1 The Avengers is a fictional team of superheroes, appearing in magazines published by Marvel Comics. The team made its debut in The Avengers #1 The Avengers...

     #63-65, 206-208, 210-211
  • Captain America
    Captain America
    Captain America is a fictional character, a superhero that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Captain America Comics #1 , from Marvel Comics' 1940s predecessor, Timely Comics, and was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby...

     #116-137, 256, 601
  • Captain Marvel
    Mar-Vell
    Captain Marvel is a fictional character owned by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and designed by artist Gene Colan and first appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes #12 Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell) is a fictional character owned by Marvel Comics. The character was created...

     #1-4
  • Daredevil
    Daredevil (Marvel Comics)
    Daredevil is a fictional character, a superhero in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett, with an unspecified amount of input from Jack Kirby, and first appeared in Daredevil #1 .Living in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood...

     #20-49, 53-82, 84-100, 110, 112, 116, 124, 153-154, 156-157, 363, 366-368, 370
  • Daredevil, vol. 2, #100
  • Doctor Strange
    Doctor Strange
    Doctor Stephen Strange is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was co-created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, and first appeared in Strange Tales #110 ....

     #172-178,180-183
  • Doctor Strange, vol. 2, #6-18
  • Dracula Lives #6, 8
  • Howard the Duck
    Howard the Duck
    Howard the Duck is a comic book character in the Marvel Comics universe created by writer Steve Gerber and artist Val Mayerik. The character first appeared in Adventure into Fear #19 and several subsequent series have chronicled the misadventures of the ill-tempered, anthropomorphic, "funny...

     #4-20,24-27,30-31
  • Howard the Duck Magazine #1-5, 7-9
  • Iron Man
    Iron Man
    Iron Man is a fictional character, a superhero in the . The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee, developed by scripter Larry Lieber, and designed by artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby, first appearing in Tales of Suspense #39 .A billionaire playboy, industrialist and ingenious engineer,...

     #1, 253, Annuals #10, 13, 15
  • Iron Man and Sub-Mariner
    Iron Man and Sub-Mariner
    Iron Man and Sub-Mariner is a one-shot comic book published by Marvel Comics in 1968. It is notable for being the first Marvel title to be intentionally published for only one issue, as it existed to use up two half-length stories left over after Marvel began its expansion and the characters were...

     #1
  • Marvel Comics Presents
    Marvel Comics Presents
    Marvel Comics Presents was an American comic book anthology series published by Marvel Comics originally from 1988 to 1995; it returned for a second volume in 2007-2008.-Volume 1:The first volume was released on a biweekly basis and lasted for 175 issues...

     #13-37, 101-108, 112
  • Marvel Preview
    Marvel Preview
    Marvel Preview was a magazine-sized black-and-white showcase comic book published by Curtis Magazines, an imprint of Marvel....

     #8, 16, 23
  • Marvel Super-Heroes #12-13 (Captain Marvel), 15 (Medusa
    Medusa (comics)
    Medusa is a fictional superhero that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics.-Publication history:Medusa first appeared in Fantastic Four #36 , and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.-Fictional character biography:...

    ), 18 (Guardians of the Galaxy)
  • Marvel Super Special
    Marvel Comics Super Special
    Marvel Comics Super Special was a 41-issue series of one-shot comic-magazines published by Marvel Comics from 1977 to 1986. They were cover-priced $1.50 to $2.50, while regular color comics were priced 30 cents to 60 cents, Beginning with issue #5, the series' title in the its postal indicia was...

      (Meteor
    Meteor (film)
    Meteor is a 1979 science fiction Technicolor disaster film in which scientists detect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth and struggle with international, cold war politics in their efforts to prevent disaster. The movie starred Sean Connery and Natalie Wood.It was directed by Ronald Neame...

     movie adaptation) #14
  • Marvel Team-Up
    Marvel Team-Up
    Marvel Team-Up is the name of several American comic book series published by Marvel Comics. The series featured two or more Marvel characters in one story...

     #87
  • Savage Sword of Conan
    Savage Sword of Conan
    The Savage Sword of Conan was a black-and-white magazine-format comic book series published beginning in 1974 by Curtis Magazines, an imprint of Marvel Comics, and then later by Marvel itself. Savage Sword of Conan starred Robert E...

     #33
  • Silver Surfer
    Silver Surfer
    The Silver Surfer is a Marvel Comics superhero created by Jack Kirby. The character first appears in Fantastic Four #48 , the first of a three-issue arc that fans call "The Galactus Trilogy"....

     (The Watcher
    Watcher (comics)
    The Watchers are a fictional race of extraterrestrials that appear in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the first Watcher - named Uatu - appears in Fantastic Four #13 .-Fictional history:...

    ) #1-3
  • Strange Tales
    Strange Tales
    Strange Tales is the name of several comic book anthology series published by Marvel Comics. It introduced the features "Doctor Strange" and "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.", and was a showcase for the science fiction/suspense stories of artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, and for the...

     (Brother Voodoo
    Brother Voodoo
    Brother Voodoo is a fictional character, a supernatural superhero in the Marvel Universe. Created by writer Len Wein and artist Gene Colan, he first appears in Strange Tales #169...

    ) #169-173
  • Sub-Mariner #10-11, 40, 43, 46-49
  • Tales of Suspense
    Tales of Suspense
    Tales of Suspense is the name of an American comic book series and two one-shot comics published by Marvel Comics. The first, which ran from 1959 to 1968, began as a science-fiction anthology that served as a showcase for such artists as Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Don Heck, then featured...

     (Iron Man) #73-99
  • Tales to Astonish
    Tales to Astonish
    Tales to Astonish is the name of two American comic book series and a one-shot comic published by Marvel Comics.The primary title bearing that name was published from 1959-1968...

     (Sub-Mariner) #70-77, 79-82, 84-85, 101
  • The Tomb of Dracula #1-70
  • Tomb of Dracula Magazine #3-6
  • Tower of Shadows
    Tower of Shadows
    Tower of Shadows was a horror/fantasy anthology comic book published by Marvel Comics under this and a subsequent name from 1969-1975. It featured work by such notable creators as writer-artists Neal Adams, Jim Steranko, Johnny Craig, and Wally Wood, writer-editor Stan Lee, and artists including...

     #3-4, 6
  • What If
    What If (comics)
    What If, sometimes rendered as What If...?, is the title of several comic book series published by Marvel Comics, exploring "the road not traveled" by its various characters...

     (Fantastic Four
    Fantastic Four
    The Fantastic Four is a fictional superhero team appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The group debuted in The Fantastic Four #1 , which helped to usher in a new level of realism in the medium...

    ) #21

Awards and honors


Colan won for the Shazam Award for Best Penciller (Dramatic Division) in 1974. He received the 1977 and 1979 Eagle Award for Favorite Comic Book (Humor), for Howard the Duck
Howard the Duck
Howard the Duck is a comic book character in the Marvel Comics universe created by writer Steve Gerber and artist Val Mayerik. The character first appeared in Adventure into Fear #19 and several subsequent series have chronicled the misadventures of the ill-tempered, anthropomorphic, "funny...

, and was nominated for five Eagle Awards in 1978.

In 2005, Colan was inducted into the comics industry's Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame.

The Cartoon Art Museum
Cartoon Art Museum
The Cartoon Art Museum is a California art museum that specializes in the art of comics and cartoons. It is the only museum in the Western United States dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of all forms of cartoon art...

 in San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California
San Francisco , officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland...

 presented the retrospective "Colan: Visions of a Man without Fear" from November 15, 2008, to March 15, 2009.

Colan was the recipient of the 2008 Sparky Award, presented December 4, 2008. He also won the Comic Art Professional Society's Sergio Award on October 24, 2009.

Audio


Further reading

  • Meth, Clifford
    Clifford Meth
    Clifford Lawrence Meth is an American writer and editor best known for his dark fiction. He has said that his work is often "self-consciously Jewish."-Early life:...

    , ed. The Invincible Gene Colan (Marvel Entertainment
    Marvel Entertainment
    Marvel Entertainment, LLC , formerly Marvel Enterprises and Toy Biz, Inc., is an American entertainment company formed from the merger of Marvel Entertainment Group, Inc. and Toy Biz, Inc....

    , 2010) ISBN 978-0-9797602-6-6
  • Field, Tom, Secrets in the Shadows: The Art & Life of Gene Colan (TwoMorrows Publishing
    TwoMorrows Publishing
    TwoMorrows Publishing is a publisher of magazines about comic books, founded in 1994 by John and Pam Morrow out of their small advertising agency in Raleigh, North Carolina...

    , 2005) ISBN 1-893905-45-4

External links