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Saturday, 22 April 2017
THE INVINCIBLE GENE COLAN...
Images copyright MARVEL COMICS
Here's a great book I acquired recently. It's a great
book that really should have been even greater, but I'll get
to that presently. If you're a genuine comics fan, you'll know
of GENE COLAN. Gene was a master of light and shade, and
one of the finest contributors ever to freelance for MARVEL.
IRON MAN,SUB-MARINER, DAREDEVIL,HOWARD
The DUCK, andDRACULA are just a few of the titles he
drew for 'The House Of Ideas' in the '60s & '70s.
There are some great images in this 132 pager, but,
alas, also some not-so-great ones. It's always somewhat
disappointing to read what a sublime artist someone is, and
then see art which doesn't quite bear that out. Case in point is
the example below. Nice pencil work, superb texturing, but that
apart, it's a dreadful drawing. The figure is too squat, the head's
too big, the body's too small, and the legs aren't right in any way.
And the fact that ol' DOOM's left arm appears to be sprouting
from the middle of his torso all result in a less than perfect
illustration. (And the right arm is seriously dodgy as
well. Where exactly does the elbow bend?)
For all the excellent examples of Gene's artistic ability,
there's a few I wish they'd just left out, because they don't
do his reputation any favours at all. It's not the first time I've
found myself wishing that compilers of books like this had been
just a little more discerning in their choices, and, unfortunately,
this is another such occasion. It also suffers from several areas
of over-printing, where one caption has been printed on top of
another, resulting in something that's practically unread-
able. Don't they have proofreaders any more?
However, it would be remiss of me not to put things in
context by mentioning that Gene suffered from glaucoma
for many years (being almost blind in one eye and having tun-
nel vision in the other), and had to draw with his face practically
pressed up against the page. This no doubt explains the instances
when his art wasn't at its best, and makes it all the more amazing
when it was. So despite its few shortcomings, this tome should
be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of any devoted fan of
'The Dean'. Published in 2010, it may yet be available.