Gene Colan, one of the true giants of the comic-book industry, passed away June 23 from complications of liver disease. He was 84.
Colan was one of the few artists – along with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Jim Steranko – whose work I actively sought out as a youthful collector. His mastery of mood - primarily through a skillful deployment of photographic imagery and shadows – made Colan’s comics seem so much more sophisticated than the standard fare of the time.
His work on Howard The Duck, Tomb Of Dracula and Daredevil are definitive. Colan’s version of Doctor Strange and Batman rank among the very best. How many other artists can stake such a claim?
Mark Evanier has posted an excellent obituary on his site. The best tribute I can offer is an example of Colan’s work itself.
The following story has garnered some attention over the years for its use of The Beatles. The real attraction, in my eyes, is Colan’s typically gorgeous art. Not only does he do fine caricatures of The Fab Four and other contemporary celebrities, but the great artist also ably conveys the protagonist’s excessive fantasy life – and the resulting soap-operatic anguish – with seemingly minimal effort.
From Girls’ Romances #109, DC Comics (June, 1965), here’s “When My Dreams Come True!”