Wednesday, 15 April 2015


Back in 2008, three years before he passed away, MARVEL
COMICS, in conjunction with The HERO INITIATIVE, released
a hundred page Special called A TRIBUTE TO GENE COLAN.  As
everybody and their brother knows, Gene Colan was an artistic master
of light, shade and atmosphere.  True, sometimes his figures looked as
though their limbs were sprouting from odd points on their torso and,
in his later years, his perspectives could be a little wonky, but, those
weaknesses (and banana fingers) aside, Gene was, in his heyday,
 one of the undoubted comicbook greats of all time.

Doubtless his occasional lapses were down to the glaucoma
which impaired his sight for the latter part of his life and made the
act of pencilling difficult.  In fact, given that he was virtually blind in
one eye and suffered tunnel vision in the other, it should have been im-
possible, so it's all the more remarkable that he drew as well as he did.
It's almost akin to a paralysed man being an accomplished gymnast,
but Colan turned out page after page of incredible art for decades,
much to the delight of his many fans across the globe.

Anyway, if you're a fan of great comicbook art in general, or
Gene (the Dean) Colan in particular, this ace mag is one you
might want to have in your collection if you don't own it already.
Five great tales of Mighty Marvel Magnificence at it's finest.  So
what more can be said, apart from "Face front", " 'Nuff said"
 and "Excelsior!"?   Oh yeah - "Make Mine Marvel!"


jim said...

Gene Colon was "magic" on every comic book he touched.

Particularly remember his Doctor Strange (as beautiful as it was different from the classic Ditko)
and his Captain America with the saga of the Red Skull & the Cosmic Cube.

Amazing artist. Well deserving of any & all tributes.

Phil said...

Colan was not only a master of light and dark, he was one of the few artists who could draw non white people well. He did studies of all kinds of people.
I have the book he put out a few years ago and you can see his portraits in them.
You can see what a good job he does in the Vietnam splash page you posted.

Colin Jones said...

What, no Dracula in that line-up ? He drew every single issue of Tomb Of Dracula. A few months ago I was reading a graphic novel called 'Deadpool: Dracula's Gauntlet' which I enjoyed but it was disappointing that Dracula looked nothing like Gene Colan's classic '70s version.

Kid said...

Unfortunately not, CJ - it must've been sunrise when the mag was being compiled. Gene Colan based his Dracula on Jack Palance, who played the Count (gotta be careful typing that word) in a movie. Worth seeing.

John Pitt said...

I didn't know about the problems with his eyesight. My respect for the man has increased even more.
The cover is based on Iron Man #1 (which I bought on release and stupidly sold in 1980!)

Kid said...

I assume that a stat of the cover of IM #1 was used for the tribute mag, JP. I think changes were made before IM #1 was published 'though. Not only do I have the mag you sold, I've got his first appearance in TOS #39.

Dunsade Dave said...

I have two emails from Gene Colan from about 10 years ago saved on my pc, he seemed to be a genuinely humble and lovely person. In the second email, he mentioned how he had an affection for Scottish people and hoped to visit Scotland one day! I don't know if he ever made it, but this Scottish person certainly has a lot of respect for Gene Colan.

I've always wondered about the work he done for Marvel using the pseudonym Adam Austin because he was under contract at DC at the time- did the fake name really fool anyone? Gene Colan was,after all, probably the most instantly recognisable comic artist there's ever been- there's no way you'd ever mistake his work for anyone elses.

Something I've seen discussed from time to time is who was Gene Colan's best inker. I'd probably say Tom Palmer or Syd Shores (although I think Palmer would be anyone's best inker, to be honest), but- since Kid says we're allowed to post links- check this out. Gene Colan as inked by Sal Buscema- it first sounded to me like a slightly jarring combination, but it works really well:

Kid said...

I checked out the link, DD, and Sal's inking looks really good on Gene's pencils. However, he was a Buscema, so he knew what he was doing.

As for the pseudonym of 'Adam Austin', like you say, I doubt it fooled anyone, but it probably allowed him to tell DC that someone was ripping off his style if he ever got pulled up over it.

Phil said...

I had the Adam Austin comic, now long since turned to dust. I loved the soap opera aspect Colan gave the work. When Pepper Potts is dragging Iron Man on the ground and thinking what a louse Tony Stark was for sending Iron Man out on dangerous missions while he stayed home in his penthouse... It really got me! I missed that aspect of the whole Iron Man/ Stark/Pepper relationship in the movies.
I also remember being mightily impressed by the art.

Kid said...

I remember reading those stories in a comic called Terrific back in '67. Of course, I didn't know who drew them because Odhams Press, who published it, deleted the credits. I really liked Gene's Iron Man - he looked powerful, a quality that Ditko didn't manage to impart to the character.

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