Gene Colan, one of Marvel Comics most prominent artists, passed away late last night following complications from liver disease and a broken hip received in a recent fall. He was eighty-four years old.
During his long career Colan regularly posted lengthy runs on series such as Daredevil, the cult-hit series Howard the Duck, and perhaps his best known title, The Tomb of Dracula, which he illustrated for its entire seventy issue run, and which is still considered one of the horror genres most classic series. While penciling Captain America, he co-created "The Falcon", one of the first African-American superheroes in mainstream comics. His other significant Marvel work includes The Avengers, Doctor Strange, Strange Tales, Tales of Suspense and Tales to Astonish.
Colan was no stranger to the "distinguished competition", having provided art for runs on DC Comics titles like Batman, Detective Comics, Wonder Woman and terrific work on several early to mid-1980’s mini-series: Jemm, Son of Saturn 1-12; Nathaniel Dusk 1-4 (plus a four-issue sequel); Night Force 1-14; Silverblade 1-12; and The Spectre 1-6.
His distinct art-style, instantly recognizable, made him one of the premier artists within the industry. I’m very glad that I at least got to meet him once at a convention appearance in Charlotte, NC several years back. The Catacombs extends its sincerest condolences to his family, friends and fans.
Portrait illustration (above) by Michael Netzer.
I thought his interpretation of Doctor Strange was the best. He completely captured all the mysticism and LSD-tinged surrealism of the series. One of the greats!
Less than a day ago, I remarked to my fiancée that I was glad that Colan was still with us.
You didn't mention BLADE, the movie version of which featured a co-creator credit for Mr. Colan, which was (I believe) unprecedented for a Marvel Comics adaptation (and may be largely due to the tireless legal wranglings of the character's other co-creator, Marv Wolfman, who obviously loved working with Colan).
I know Mr. Colan's illness was prolonged and, though I was sad to read that he'd lost the struggle, at least he no longer suffers. And his work lives on.
-P. Ryan Anthony
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