Gene Colan – Rest In Peace

Famed comic book artist Gene Colan has passed away at the age 84. I was first introduced to Gene’s work when I was a kid, and I “discovered” him on Tomb of Dracula in the 1970s. Although I didn’t know it at the time, Gene was already a seasoned veteran in the comic industry. As a kid, his work on Tomb of Dracula and and Howard the Duck seemed very off and often even unsettling. That’s because Gene’s work didn’t look like any other artist in comics. There was a fluid movement to the way he drew that often gave his work a surreal quality, and his page layouts didn’t look like the layouts I saw in other comics. It wasn’t until I was a little older with a better understanding of comics that I went back and looked at Gene’s older work in books like Daredevil. This was how I came to realize that Gene Colan was an artist who had mastered all the tricks and rules of conventional comic book storytelling, and by the time I had “discovered” his work, he was rewriting the rules and pushing the boundaries in every way imaginable, from page composition to the way he rendered the human figure. To see his work during this transitional phase, without fully understanding the man or the medium, Gene’s work was just a bit strange to me. Years later I was able to recognize his for the true artistic master he was. To call him a legend is a disservice, because legends are like myths, and that is to say a legend exists as a memory passed down from generation to generation, with little to no tangible proof that it ever existed. But Gene Colan did exist, and even in his passing, he leaves behind an incredible body of work as proof of his talent and contribution to the medium, craft and art of comics.

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