Saturday, July 2, 2011


Gene Colan pencilled like no other--I seriously believe that every inker who ever opened up a package from him with a job to do had to ask themselves just how in hell could they convey the subtleties of his shading in ink. How could they emphasize the drama as much as the graphite before them? How to interpret these images more clearly than Gene had for him, the inker. Few probably could.

Gene Colan passed away last week. One more of the old greats gone, some say. The end of an era, say many. Gene Colan was in the comic book industry churning out pages for about seven decades. Longer than most people in the world live, he was sitting at a drawing board, creating drama, adjusting lighting, designing action sequences, timing a comedy bit and, in general, entertaining the hell out of a bunch of readers who would rarely know his name. He was old school--always about the work, always on time, always good. Here's to you Mr. Colan. We hardly knew you--we'll never forget your art.

Marv Wolfman: "Gene's strength comes from his expressive faces and their innate humanity. He has the ability to make something look photographic and yet still illustrated with the power of both."

Tom Palmer: "What makes Gene different? -- his approach to pencilling was illustrative rather than "comic book" -- his influences were cinema and illustrators of his day!"

Stan Lee: "I'll never forget one Captain America story Gene did where he had Cap just walking in the street for a lot of panels. No action. No stunts. Just walking. If most other artists had done that it would probably have looked dull-- but Gene managed to make those "walking" panels as compelling as possible. It was like watching a scene in a beautifully directed, beautifully lit movie."

Don McGregor: "When I was working on staff at Marvel comics around about 1973 and 1975, one of the first Upsides I experienced was the privilege of seeing Gene's original art arrive in the office, and have time to see and study the incredibly textured pencilled art before it was inked. I often thought it a shame that readers never had the chance to see Gene's art before it was interpreted into various inker's sensibilities, even though some, especially Tom Palmer, did a terrific job on the shadowy subtleties of Gene's art."

Dave Simons: "Gene is unique, his universe is unique, and we've all been very priviliged to to be allowed a glimpse inside that shadowy, misty, mysterious realm. I long for another visit to it."

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