Yesterday the Illustration world lost a great innovator in Gene Colan aged 84. Best known for his horror stories in the 70’s–namely Tomb of Dracula, Colan is a master of balancing light and dark to set mood and carry tone throughout a work. As he continued through his Daredevil run for Marvel and then a very lengthy stay on Detective Comics, Colan only got better with progressive techniques and innovative camera angles to set the stage for his heroes. He was also the co-creator of two of the most popular African American characters at Marvel comics, The Falcon (the first African American ever printed in a mainstream comic and the vampire hunter Blade.
While legends like Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby made their styles the Marvel staple, often Gene embraced the anatomical abstraction and spread energy across his pages like no one else before him. His penciling techniques were of such a high quality that often publishers would print just his pencils–most notably his miniseries Nathanial Dusk. As we lose more and more of the artists that shaped the modern world, only now to look back upon them and realize they were guiding us this whole time, it is with great respect and gratitude that we do so. Thank you Gene and like the others that have gone on before you I will personally remember you and your work through my own illustrations.
Below I’ve gathered some recent articles and images of Gene’s art. If you have time and are interested, please look at them and see just how much Gene gave us so you can really reflect on the fact that he can no longer give us the joy that filled him with each page of a comic he drew.
Newsarama article where industry artists and writers reflect on Gene’s contributions:
Gene Colan’s webpage:
Wikipedia’s Gene Colan article: