Saturday, May 17, 2008

Please help comics great GENE COLAN

It was reported this week that comic book artist Gene Colan, whose career spans from the late '40s to today, has been reported as being in a serious medical condition. Liver failure and related complications, according to his wife. For the past week the comics community has been reporting on the story, and the call has gone out for assistance for the Colans. Apparantly, they don't have medical insurance (or adequate), and the mounting medical bills are pretty daunting.

Gene has done so much work for the various comics companies over the decades, but I think it's fair to say that his most memorable work includes work on DAREDEVIL, CAPTAIN AMERICA, DR. STRANGE and IRON MAN at Marvel in the 1960s and TOMB OF DRACULA and HOWARD THE DUCK in the 70s. He's worked on BATMAN, SUPERMAN and WONDER WOMAN at DC and also for various publishers such as Dark Horse and Eclipse in the 80s and 90s. He's even done occasional stories for Marvel on DAREDEVIL in the last several years.

When I was started reading comics in the 70s, my older brother gave me a box of his books he had bought in the late 60s/1970. Among those were several books by Colan; DAREDEVIL and CAPTAIN AMERICA, among others. His style stood out (and he was competing with Kirby, John Romita, John Buscema among others!) to my puny little eyeballs even then. His figures would often looks like swooshes of limbs propelling across the panels, the compositions featuring dynamic and innovative angles and perspectives. And when stationary, his characters had a life to them, their body language and facial expressions telling us all we needed to know.

HOWARD THE DUCK was one of my favorite books as a kid, probably because it was so different. A freakin' talking duck in the Marvel Universe! And at the same time Gene was drawing his waddling, cigar-smoking curmudgeon of a duck, he was also drawing the most ungodly horror book of the day, Marvel's TOMB OF DRACULA! Dracula was all flowing cape and billowing smoke, his persona a combination of unrelenting evil and power. Simultaneously drawing a duck and the Lord of the Undead...month after month! And no matter what he drew, Gene made each character believable. Humor, superhero or horror. When Gene drew those characters, they really lived on the page. Beyond it, actually. Unbelievable.....

A couple of things we can do to help: To make a donation to the Colans for help with medical expenses, you can Paypal some funds to Gene Colan's Paypal account at: (I sent a small donation myself the other day)

And/or you can send a card to Gene at:
2 Sea Cliff Avenue, Sea Cliff, NY 11579

A few words of support or appreciation could provide a nice comfort.

Obviously, we all hope that Mr. Colan recovers from his ailment. It was reported yesterday at writer Clifford Meth's blog that Marvel is making arrangements with Colan's wife Adrienne "to provide some immediate and long-term relief". That was wonderful news. Gene has always been there for Marvel, year-after-year, book by book. I applaud Marvel for helping out one of their legendary artists. Gene, in my own opinion, has to rank up there with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Romita and John Buscema as one of the pillars of Marvel classic artists.

Gene 'The Dean' Colan (as Stan Lee used to call him).... We're rooting for you man!

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