Gene Colan has died at the age of 84 at a Bronx, NY hospice "following a broken hip and complications from liver disease," reports his friend Clifford Meth.
Considered to be one of the premier Silver Age Marvel artists, Colan illustrated some of the world's most famous comics characters, from Captain America and Doctor Strange to Daredevil and Blade.
He co-created the latter with writer Marv Wolfman and, in 1969, created the Falcon with Stan Lee. A regular partner of Captain America, the Falcon was the first African-American superhero to feature in mainstream comics.
In the 1970s, Colan drew all 70 issues of Marvel's horror series The Tomb of Dracula, and much of the Steve Gerber-written satire Howard the Duck. During his stint on Tomb of Dracula, Colan and writer Marv Wolfman created Blade, a character that went on to inspire three films starring Wesley Snipes and a television series.
Colan worked extensively for DC Comics in the 1980s, including multiple issues of both Batman and Detective Comics. At DC, he also reunited with Wolfman for the 14-issue supernatural series Night Force, and experimented stylistically with two Nathaniel Dusk miniseries.
-- Albert Ching for Newsrama
As a reader, I loved Gene's work. There was a credibility about it: No matter how outlandish the premise or plot, Gene somehow made you believe it. His pencil art was magnificent...in many ways, too good for the assembly line production process and the flimsy printing that it usually received. As good as his work looked in your comics, it was always probably better.
-- Mark Evanier
This man was my introduction to Marvel Comics. There was a little drugstore at the end of time in Lawrence, KS. I went to elementary school in that town. For some reason the drug store stocked comics that were 5, 6 or 7 years old on its spinner rack. I bought Daredevil Special #1, in like-new condition, for its cover price of 25 cents. A major investment! My first Marvel comic book.
The energy in those drawings as Daredevil fought his enemies ("Electro and his emissaries of evil") was captivating. Colan had a dramatic style that seemed cinematic.
In the 1970s, my peak Marvel-geek years, I would buy ANYTHING Colan: DD, Howard the Duck, Tomb of Dracula, Captain America and the Falcon. Even after I stopped buying comics, I hadn't outgrow Colan. I'd buy his later projects, like Nathaniel Dusk, and be in awe just like I was when I was a tot in Kansas.
He was my Jack Kirby. Through his work, I got into the Marvel Comics line.
He will be missed.