Gene Colan, R.I.P.

Steve’s longtime collaborator Gene Colan passed away yesterday.  Words about him can be found on my site and every other one that cares about great comic artists.

There will be a tribute panel for Gene at the Comic-Con International in San Diego this year.  It will be on Friday, July 24 at Noon.  I’ll be moderating and we’ll have many of Gene’s collaborators there.  Wish we could have Gerber among them as I know how much he enjoyed their creative partnership.

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24 Responses to “Gene Colan, R.I.P.”

  1. BobH Says:

    I first saw the Gerber Colan team on the last of their collaborations, the 1982 PHANTOM ZONE mini-series. An excellent comic, playing intelligently with years of Superman history and with a great understanding of the character, really brought to life by Gerber’s dynamic layouts and designs. Later on, of course, I went back to get Gerber’s HOWARD THE DUCK series, and while Gerber wasn’t the first artist on the character, I don’t think there’s any question in my mind that he was the definitive one, really up to the challenge of drawing whatever crazy thing the script would call for. More recently I finally got a copy of their STEWART THE RAT book done in 1980 through Eclipse, thanks to the 2003 About Comics reprint, and really enjoyed it.

    Looks like they also did a few more things together at Marvel, including some DAREDEVIL, which I should probably take a look at some time.

  2. BobH Says:

    Really should have proofread that. Of course I meant “Colan’s dynamic…” and “Colan wasn’t the first…”.

  3. J. McCrackan Says:

    Colan’s blacker-than-black style was absolutely perfect for both ‘Howard’ and ‘Tomb of Dracula’, my two favorite titles. Colan’s work underscored the gloom and doom–and, ultimately, the horror–that was as much a part of ‘Howard’ as was the comedy.

  4. Roger Green Says:

    Extraordinarily talented and creative.
    Professional.
    And from all I can gather, a joy to work with.

  5. hardtravelinghero Says:

    Mark, thank you for continuing to post on Steve’s blog and helping keep his memory alive as well as paying tribute to those he collaborated with.

  6. Kevin J. Maroney Says:

    Colan apparently based the image of “Howard the Human” on Richard Dreyfuss, but I’ve always thought that Peter Falk looked more like a Gene Colan character than any human alive. I’m deeply sorry that both are gone.

  7. Richard Says:

    I thought the same thing, Kevin.

    That PHANTOM ZONE book was just so terrific — Superman, Wonder Woman, and the other marquee name DC superheroes looked so right and natural in Colan’s unique style — but I always felt his work on the later issues of HOWARD pointed the way to a whole alternate direction comics might have taken. Imagine comics where a page of regular people sitting around talking could have all the visual interest and energy of an action scene; imagine the kind of stories a writer could then tell, freed from needing to drop in an explosion or fistfight every few pages to keep everyone awake. When he was working with Gene Colan — or Jim Mooney — Gerber wasn’t restricted to just imagining those things, he got to do them for real. I’m glad we got to read those comics. I wish there had been a lot more of them, and I wish more creators would try to do those sort of comics.

  8. Justin Crouse Says:

    Mark, you’re tops.

    I don’t remember where I read it, but I think it was pretty much common knowledge that Gene considered his work with Steve a highlight of his career. It really is amazing to flip through issues of Howard the Duck that Gene drew, and realize just how believable he made everything. Those guys were a great team. I hope they’re making funnybooks together in the Great Beyond, because if not, they might as well stop callin’ it “Heaven”.

  9. David Dennis Says:

    Gene Colan was the best. Daredevil, Tomb of Dracula, Howard the Duck, Batman, Night Force, and everything else, Colan was the Ultimate artist in terms of creating the perfect mood and atmosphere. I look at his work with Steve on Howard and am just amazed at how well those two meshed. I am lucky that I got to revel in Gene Colans’s work for as long as I did.

  10. gordon Says:

    I still think of Steve often, but I haven’t checked this site in quite a while… thank you, Mark, for continuing to maintain it — it’s almost like a living monument…

  11. beth Says:

    Echoing gordon’s comment. Thanks, Mark, for keeping this going.

  12. Claudio Piccinini Says:

    Mark, thank you, I have discovered this by chance just now.

    I fondly remember, in particular, the story “Madhouse!” and “Demon, Demon–Who’s Got the Demon?” from Marvel Spotlight. The first chapter of that story, in my opinion, is quintessential Steve and quintessential Gene Colan, an unique atmosphere, art in the highest sense of the term.
    R.I.P. to Gene as well, I must also remember Steve more often in my prayers…

  13. gordon Says:

    I may be mistaken, but would this not be Steve’s birthday? If so, Happy Birthday, Steve…wherever you are I hope you are getting to enjoy all the your vices…

  14. Jason Says:

    Happy Steve Gerber Day, everybody!

  15. Charles H. Bryan Says:

    Phil Winslade’s facebook page has a little tribute to Steve: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000779359593&sk=wall

    And there’s a little remembrance by Ty Templeton:
    http://tytempletonart.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/comics-of-yesterday-and-comics-of-tomorrow-literally/

    Miss you and your work, Mr G. And also my thanks to Mark for maintaining the site.

  16. Charles H. Bryan Says:

    And Gail Simone as well:

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=672811777&sk=wall

  17. Jürgen A. Erhard Says:

    Woah. I just came here because I finally recalled that Nevada was called Nevada. :D Read a short christmas story (where, I can’t recall) years ago, that totally stuck in my mind.
    And now I come here and learn that Steve is an ex-Steve. :( And… even though I don’t really know his work (except for of course having heard of Howard, and Omega, and all that), I’m sad. Sadder than I should have rights to be.

  18. Jürgen A. Erhard Says:

    Addendum: was I sort-of pleasantly surprised when the first posting (this very one) was sign “Mark Evanier”. Seems I’m running into ME on occasion. Mark, what’s it with with you, is there anyone you don’t know or, as the sad case may be, knew? ;-)
    (That sort-of refers to the occasion not really being pleasant… doesn’t refer to ME).

  19. Beth Says:

    Thinking of Steve today.

  20. Andy E. Nystrom Says:

    Marvel has announced a new three-issue Man-Thing mini-series actually written years ago by Gerber. Kevin Nolan will be the artist. I hope that other lost Gerber tales will surface over the years.
    http://marvel.com/news/story/18299/infernal_man-thing

  21. David Allen Says:

    Great news about the Gerber/Nowlan Man-Thing story finally being readied for publication. The character at the keyboard in the main art looks a lot like SG to me!

    I logged on here to note that the letters page of the latest Daredevil (No. 13) publishes one by me in which I mention Gerber’s run on the comic back in the ’70s, in the context of a current, creepy Mark Waid story that I didn’t care for.

    After saying that my first issue was 114 (October 1974), I point out that it took place in the Florida Everglades and guest-starred Man-Thing (see, everything ties together!), and that Death-Stalker was introduced the next issue — “both part of Steve Gerber’s warped and underappreciated run. As you’ve shown throughout an otherwise-exemplary run, Daredevil and his backdrops, like those of a certain grim character over at DC, are more malleable than many latter-day readers might suspect or prefer.”

    Gerber flailed around on DD early on, a view he shared with remarkable candor in a letter column or two midway through as he began to find his footing. He hit his stride, I’d say, from issue 108 through 117, when he left to do Defenders — in retrospect, a great move. His DD work might not be to the taste of those who prefer the relentlessly grim Miller era, but if you’re broad-minded, the stint was better than anything for some years prior or immediately after.

    (Issues 97, 98, 100, 110, 112 and 116 were by Gerber and Colan, by the way.)

    I’m a Permanent Marvelite Maximus, but in putting Gerber’s name before the public again in the pages of a Marvel comic, I felt more like a Keeper of the Flame — in this case, Steve’s.

  22. Mike Spitzer Says:

    I was reading an old issue of Man Thing from the 70s where a pet dog in the swamp dies trying to save it’s owners from an evil spirit.

    It states “this story is dedicated to Margo’s Napoleon”

    I was curious if this was Steve’s then wife’s pet of some sort

    Thank You

  23. Mark Kusenberger Says:

    browsing at Comic Book Resources, I was floored to see a new Man Thing comic (“The Infernal Man-Thing”) written by Steve Gerber! on the opening page, Marvel’s Ralph Macchio explains this was a project in progress when Gerber was at a brief peace with Marvel, and artist Kevin Nowlin (who painted every page) had to put it on the backburner. only recently has Nowlin been able to complete it.
    the first issue (of three) was terrific, making me miss Steve all the more.

  24. David Allen Says:

    In other good news, DC says the remaining Hard Time issues will be collected in TPB this fall. And I think there’s a Man-Thing Omnibus out now or out soon.