Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gene Colan, R.I.P.

From Hero Complex --

Gene Colan, the comic-book artist best known for The Tomb of Dracula and his work with characters such as Daredevil, Batman, Iron Man and Howard the Duck, died Thursday in New York after battling liver disease and cancer.

The work of the Bronx, N.Y., native spanned 67 years and crossed multiple comics universes, with credits for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Eclipse and even Archie. His moody, atmospheric style stood in stark contrast to, say, the cosmic bombast of Jack Kirby or the kinetic realism of Neal Adams.

Colan will be most remembered for an era-defining achievement in 1970s horror comics; he drew 70 issues of The Tomb of Dracula,” written by Marv Wolfman, creating the vampire-hunter character Blade that would lead to the first Marvel film franchise. (“Howard the Duck” also made history in 1986 as the first Marvel feature film, although its achievements beyond that are debatable.)

In 2009, Colan illustrated a Captain America issue titled “Red, White and Blue-Blood,” written by Ed Brubaker. The book won the 2010 Eisner Award for best single issue.

“Gene Colan was like no other artist of his generation,” said Jim Lee, comic-book artist and co-publisher of DC Comics. “His ability to create dramatic, multi-valued tonal illustrations using straight India ink and board was unparalleled. The comics industry has lost one of its true visionaries today.”

A post on Colan’s website said the artist was “a fighter to the end, making plans on leaving the hospice” and pricing a VW Beetle.

Writer Clifford Meth wrote about his friend Colan’s death on his blog.

“He was a gentle and deeply spiritual man, a bright light in every context, and those who knew him at any level were enriched by his warmth and generous nature,” Meth wrote. “He was exactly the type of man who should be drawing superheroes for young people to marvel at. Exactly and precisely.”

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