Monday, October 06, 2014

Hop Colan Cassidy

Sunday Colan-o-scopie.

In the second half of the fifties, Gene Colan bean working for DC. That was a major achievement. He had been working for Stan Lee and Timely since the late forties, with sidesteps to Quality in the early fifties and 1955. At Timely, he was allowed to ink his own work. At Quality he was assigned house inkers, most of which obliterated his personal style. At DC, the Quality practice was continued. When he was working for Stan Lee, the later Daredevil artist was allowed to ink his own work. He had always had a very personal and distinct pencil style. Finding a way to ink that, was a major effort, even for Colan himself. At DC he was allowed to ink some of his first war stories by himself as well, but the result was uneven. When he was promoted to solo artist on the new Hopalong Cassidy book (a franchise DC had taken over from Fawcett with issue #86, when they stopped doing comics) he was assigned an array of slick house inkers. They slicked up his style so much that nowadays we can't even always see that it is his work. At the same time, he found a way to ink his own work at Timely, when Stan Lee allowed him to do his original art on smaller paper. Strangely enough even Gene Colan himself didn't like these late fifties Timely stories and the style they represent. He felt, like DC, that his work wasn't really every good and that it was better when it was inked by someone else. To me, these late fifties Timely stories represent the best of his work and prove that his pencilling can be inked. Later in life, Colan solved the problem by not having his pencils inked at all, but I prefer the start black and white inking he did himself. Anyway, here is the second story from DC's Hopalong Cassidy. The first story is probably by Colan as well, but there his style is buried so far that I can only see his hand positively in one panel. In this second story, he is a bit more visible. I will try and show more of this run of Colan's forgotten DC work in the next couple of months.

I have added the first story of this book as well. No Colan to be seen until suddenly on panel 6 of page 6 the guy looking back on the horse comes along. A more typical Colan figure I can't imagine. So what's the story here? Did Gene Colan draw the book from the start ad was his style obliterated from the start or did someone else do that first story and am I imagining things. Maybe we'll find out more in the next couple of months as I go through this 40 issue run of forgotten work by one of comics' masters.

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