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 Gene Colan  (1926 - )

About: Gene Colan


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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: comic strip illustrator-adventure, penciler and inker

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BIOGRAPHY for Gene Colan
1926 (The Bronx, New York City)
New York

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comic strip illustrator-adventure, penciler and inker

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following was written and submitted by Nick Caputo, January 2004.

Born in New York on September 1, 1926, Gene Colan was influenced by the popular comic strips of the time, notably the work of Milton Caniff (Terry and the Pirates, Steve Canyon.)  He studied at the Art Students League under artists Frank Riley and Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and got his first job at Fiction House in 1944, drawing Wings Comics.  Under the editorship of Stan Lee, Colan began working for Timely Comics in 1947, honing his skills at composition and mood on a variety of crime, horror, western and war stories.  At DC he drew the western feature Hopalong Cassidy.

In the late 1950s-early 1960s Colan drew many war and romance stories for DC, returning to work in 1963 for editor Stan Lee and the former Timely (now Marvel) Comics, first on short western and fantasy features and, by 1965, devoting most of his time plotting and penciling popular super-hero features such as Sub-Mariner, Iron-Man and Daredevil.

Colan brought realism to the genre through the use of expressive features on the characters, coupled with a cinematic storytelling style that brought a sense of motion to the page.  In 1968 Colan brought his vivid imagination to Dr. Strange, where he continued to experiment with the structure of the comics page, using slanted panels to give elements of the page weight and movement.  Colan also worked in wash to great effect on evocative horror stories in titles such as Creepy and Eerie for Warren Publications.

In the 1970s Colan settled for a long run on the Gothic thriller Tomb of Dracula; his use of lighting, characterization, body language and cinematic effects contributed to a moody, atmospheric strip.  Colan was also skilled at humor, drawing the satirical comic book and syndicated strip, Howard the Duck.  In the 1980s Colan once again worked at DC comics, drawing Batman, Wonder Woman and new series such as Night Force and the crime thriller Nathaniel Dusk, reproduced from the artist's pencils.

Gene Colan continues to work in the comics field and outside projects such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hellboy and Michael Chabon's The Escapist Book II, as well as producing commissioned work and painting.

Source note form Nick Caputo
The information "has been culled from various comics related publications, books and interviews with the artist.  I am a comic book fan/historian who has researched many of these artists and have had articles published in various trade magazines (Comic Book Marketplace, Comic Book Artist, Alter Ego)".

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