The GeeksverseLeaving Proof 30 | Gene Colan (1926–2011)

Leaving Proof 30 | Gene Colan (1926–2011)
Published on Friday, June 24, 2011 by

Legendary comic book artist Eugene “Gene” Colan passed away yesterday, from complications arising from liver disease and cancer, at the age of 84. “The Dean,” as he was nicknamed in the industry, is perhaps best known for his 81-issue, seven-year (1966–1973) run on Daredevil that saw the blind vigilante-cum-lawyer become one of Marvel Comics’ most recognizable characters, and the distinct, high-contrast, tonally lush, and shadow-laden style he employed during his time on the title would be a strong influence on later Daredevil artists, including Frank Miller, David Mazzucchelli, and John Romita, Jr.

With Stan Lee, he co-created the character Falcon in 1969, the first African-American superhero in mainstream comics (Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Gabe Jones and Black Panther were created before Falcon—1963 and 1966, respectively—but the former was not a superhero and the latter was African, not African-American).

For my money though, I think Colan’s best output was his mid-to-late seventies work on Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula comics, and later, the non-Code approved Tomb of Dracula Magazine. His collaborative work with inkers Tom Palmer and the late Dave Simons stand-out as some of the industry’s most consistently solid horror comics art in a decade populated by great horror comics artists.

Colan would go on to work for Marvel’s crosstown rival, DC Comics, in the 1980s, serving as the regular artist on Batman and Detective Comics. He would continue to work regularly well into his seventies and eighties on titles as diverse as Archie Comics’ Jughead and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures and Dark Horse Comics’ Predator: Hell & Hot Water and the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff, Tales of the Slayers. In 2010, he (together with writer Ed Brubaker) won an Eisner Award for Best Single Issue for his work on Captain America #601.

Colan was a versatile and outstanding artistic talent whose influence on the medium of comics will continue to be felt for generations to come. RIP.

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