Friday, June 24, 2011


Gene Colan, one of the giants of the comic book industry, passed away today. 

One of my first jobs at Marvel Comics was a black and white Hulk story drawn by Colan:  I couldn't believe my good luck.  I didn't know him personally—beyond a short phone chat when we worked on that story—but his art is woven into my consciousness.  Gene's work on Captain America, Daredevil, Doctor Strange and, especially, Howard the Duck and Tomb of Dracula—two of the greatest comics of the 70’s—is Colan at his finest:  radiant with mood, texture, humanity and a reality all its own.  Gene was totally unlike any other artist working in comics at the time—he was a genre unto himself; in the mainstream but with one foot always outside of it—and there’s still no one who can touch him.

My heartfelt sympathies to Gene’s family and friends.


  1. JM,

    I just posted my own memories as a fan of Gene on my website when I noticed your post.

    I love your comment "he was a genre unto himself". Nailed it right on the head. Gene's style is so uniquely singular. The most amazing thing to me is that he's doing Howard the Duck and Dracula at the same time. A horror comic and a talking duck, and each one has it's unique voice, visually. Both Drac and the Duck are very human, in the way only Gene could portray them. An amazing feat, truly a master storyteller and craftsman.

    If you feel so inclined, feel free to read what I had to say:

    Thanks for sharing your own memories. And kudos on the Howard cover you picked! ;)

  2. I read your post, Javier, and thought it was terrific. I hope Gene knew HOW MANY PEOPLE his work touched and just how sad we all are that he's no longer with us.

    But that amazing artwork, those wonderful comic books, remain...and for that we should be very grateful.

  3. I don't usually quote Shakespeare in Love, but "A great light has gone out."

  4. I love TOMB OF DRACULA, and you're right: he has one foot in mainstream sensibilities, and one foot out. The result is timeless. It's my favorite visual interpretation of Dracula.

    Colan did a standalone issue of Captain America a while back--601, I think--that involves Cap fighting vampires during WWII. It's worth checking out. It's great stuff!


  5. Never saw that CAP issue, David...but I'm sure it was great. I think Colan was nominated for an Eisner for it.

  6. I'm just learning about Gene Colan as I click through the various links and items I have found - such as this. Why? My name is Alan Abbey, and I am the author of The Eulogizer, a daily obituraries column on Jewish Telegraphic Agency's website, ( which is also syndicated to Jewish newspapers. So, I saw the NY Times obit and have continued to do research, as my pieces don't simply link to others; plus, I look for Jewish tidbits - if there are any - to the people I write about. No, they don't have to be active/observant/professional or even involved Jews to get into the column.

    Anyway, I was a comics fan as a kid growing up in Brooklyn in the '60s, but I haven't followed the scene much in recent years. So, Gene's work is new to me - and it is quite amazing.

    Two more items: I now live in Jerusalem, Israel, where there is a small (at least so far as I know) alt-komix kulture.

    One for JM: I am a Midwood HS graduate (1971). And the link to work of yours on the Midwood/70 FB page got me following this thread.

  7. Midwood 1971, Alan? The same year I graduated! It is indeed a small universe where the internet is concerned.

    Glad you're enjoying the wonders of Gene Colan's work. GIven our shared past, you might also enjoy my graphic novel BROOKLYN DREAMS, which is about my senior year at Midwood (among other things). It's out of print at the moment but you should be able to find copies on line. Or you can wait till the fall when IDW's new hardcover comes out.

    Thanks for stopping by. All the best - JMD