| Scott Edwards is primarily known as Gil Kane
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The Avengers #134 Human Torch and Mad Thinker Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1975).
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Eli Katz, who worked under the name Gil Kane and in a few
instances Scott Edwards, was a comic book artist whose career spanned
the 1940s to 1990s and every major comics company and character.|
Kane co-created the modern-day versions of the superheroes Green
Lantern and the Atom for DC Comics, and co-created Iron Fist with Roy
Thomas for Marvel Comics. He was involved in such major
storylines as that of The Amazing Spider-Man #96–98, which, at the
behest of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, bucked
the then-prevalent Comics Code Authority to depict drug abuse, and
ultimately spurred an update of the Code. Kane additionally
pioneered an early graphic novel prototype, His Name is...Savage, in 1968, and a seminal graphic novel, Blackmark, in 1971.
In 1997, he was inducted into both the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame and the Harvey Award Jack Kirby Hall of Fame.
Kane was born to a Jewish family that emigrated to the U.S. in 1929,
settling in Brooklyn, New York City. When he was in junior high
school, he collaborated on writing projects with Norman Podhoretz,
later a prominent writer and editor. At the age of 16, while
attending the School of Industrial Art (later named the High School of
Art and Design), he began working in the comics studio system as an
assistant, doing basic tasks such as drawing panel borders.
During his 1942 summer vacation, Kane obtained a job at MLJ, working
there for three weeks before being fired. As Kane recalled,
"Within a couple of days I got a job with Jack Binder's agency.
Jack Binder had a loft on Fifth Avenue, and it just looked like an
internment camp. There must have been 50 or 60 guys up there, all at
drawing tables. You had to account for the paper that you
took". Kane began pencilling professionally there, but, "They
weren't terribly happy with what I was doing. But when I was
rehired by MLJ three weeks later, not only did they put me back into
the production department and give me an increase, they gave me my
first job, which was 'Inspector Bentley of Scotland Yard' in Pep
Comics, and then they gave me a whole issue of The Shield and Dusty, one of their leading books". Kane soon dropped out of school to work full-time.
During the next several years, Kane drew for about a dozen studios and
publishers including Timely Comics, a predecessor of Marvel Comics, and
learned from such prominent artists as Jack Kirby and Joe Simon.
He interrupted his career briefly to enlist in the Army during World
War II, where he served in the Pacific theater of operations. In
the post-war years, on his return to comics, he used pseudonyms,
including Pen Star and Gil Stack, before settling on Gil Kane.
In the late 1950s, Kane freelanced for DC Comics. There he contributed
to seminal works in what fans and historians call the Silver Age of
comic books, when he illustrated a number of revitalized superhero
titles (loosely based on 1940s characters) — most notably Green Lantern,
for which he pencilled most of the first 75 issues, and also the
Atom. Kane also drew the youthful superhero team the Teen Titans,
and in the late 1960s tackled such short-lived titles such as Hawk and
Dove, and the licensed-character comic Captain Action, based on the
action figure. He briefly freelanced some Hulk stories in Marvel
Comics' Tales to Astonish, under the pseudonym Scott Edwards.
Due to financial setbacks at the time, Kane began accepting as many art
assignments as possible, and with the increased workload often had to
hire fellow artists to finish his rough pencil artwork. Eschewing
the Scott Edwards pseudonym, Kane freelanced in the 1960s for Tower
Comics' T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, a superhero/espionage title, as
well as the "Tiger Boy" strip for Harvey Comics. Kane then found
a home at Marvel, eventually becoming the regular penciller for The Amazing Spider-Man,
succeeding John Romita, in the early 1970s, and becoming the company's
preeminent cover artist through that decade, a position that helped him
achieve financial stability.
During that run, he and editor-writer Stan Lee produced in 1971 a landmark three-issue story arc in The Amazing Spider-Man
#96-98) that marked the first challenge to the industry's
self-regulating Comics Code Authority since its inception in
1954. The Code forbade mention of drugs, even in a negative
context. However, Lee and Kane created an anti-drug storyline
conceived at the behest of the U.S. Department of Health, Education,
and Welfare, and upon not receiving Code Authority approval, Marvel
published the issues without the Code seal on their covers. The
comics met with such critical acclaim and high sales that the
industry's self-censorship was undercut, and the Code was soon
afterward revamped. Another landmark in Kane's Spider-Man run was
the arc The Night Gwen Stacy Died in issues #121-122 (June–July
1973), in which Spider-Man's fiancée Gwen Stacy, as well as the
long-time villain Green Goblin were killed, an unusual occurrence at
With writer Roy Thomas, Kane helped revise the Marvel Comics version of
Captain Marvel, and revamped a preexisting character as Adam
Warlock. Kane and Thomas co-created the martial arts superhero
Iron Fist, and Morbius the Living Vampire.
Gerry Conway, Kane's collaborator on the death-of-Gwen-Stacy storyline
and elsewhere, described Kane in 2009 as "...a marvelous draftsman and
an idiosyncratic storyteller. I quickly learned that working with
him Marvel-style (that's when a writer gives the artist a plot and the
artist breaks down the story, panel by panel and page by page) could
sometimes result in lopsided storytelling; the first two-thirds of a
story would be leisurely paced, and the last third would be
hellbent-for-leather as Gil tried to make up for loose storytelling in
the first half. So after doing a few stories with him in my usual
loosely plotted style, I began giving him tighter plots, indicating
where the story had to be by such-and-such a page. He seemed to
prefer this, and I'm generally happier with the later stories we did
together than the first few."
Kane's side projects include two long works that he conceived, plotted
and illustrated, with scripting by a pseudonymous Archie Goodwin: His Name is... Savage (Adventure House Press, 1968), a self-published, 40-page, magazine-format comics novel; and Blackmark (1971),
a science fiction/sword-and-sorcery paperback published by Bantam
Books. Some historians consider the latter, sold in bookstores
and related outlets rather than newsstands, as arguably the first
American graphic novel, a term not in general use at the time; the
back-cover blurb of the 30th-anniversary edition (ISBN 1-56097-456-7)
calls it, retroactively, "the very first American graphic novel."
Whether or not this is so, Blackmark is, objectively, a
119-page story of comic-book art, with captions and word balloons,
published in a traditional book format. It is also the first with an
original heroic-adventure character, conceived expressly for this form.
Sometime in the late 1960s, Kane temporarily acquired the publishing
rights to Robert E. Howard's pulp magazine barbarian, Conan, with the
intent of reviving the character in a magazine format, à la
Savage. However, he was unable to gain financing for the project,
and the rights reverted to the Howard estate. When Marvel Comics
licensed the character in 1970, writer Roy Thomas initially considered
having either Kane or John Buscema draw the comic book, and Kane
actively campaigned for the assignment, but editor Lee considered Kane
too valuable as the company's premiere cover artist to allow him to
devote large amounts of time to a commercially uncertain project.
Kane would later provide art for the Conan comic book, which by then
was one of Marvel's hits.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Kane did character designs for various
Hanna-Barbera and Ruby-Spears animated TV series. In 1977, he
created the newspaper comic strip Star Hawks with writer Ron
Goulart. The daily strip, which ran through 1981, was known for
its experimental use of a two-tier format during the first years.
In the early 1980s, he shared regular art duties on Superman with Curt
Swan, and also contributed to the 1988 Superman animated TV
series. In 1989 Kane illustrated a comic-book adaptation of
Richard Wagner's mythological opera epic The Ring of the Nibelung.
He remained active as an artist until his death of complications from
lymphoma. He was survived by his second wife, Elaine; children
Scott, Eric and Beverly; and two granddaughters. His final home, where
he was buried, was Aventura, Florida.
Kane received numerous awards over the years, including the 1971, 1972,
and 1975 National Cartoonists Society Awards for Best Story Comic Book,
and the group's Story Comic Strip Award for 1977 for Star Hawks.
He also received the comic book industry's Shazam Award for Special
Recognition in 1971 "for Blackmark, his paperback comics
novel". Kane was named to both the Eisner Award Hall of Fame and
the Harvey Award Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1997.
Wikipedia: Gil Kane
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