Friday, September 17, 2010

Yes We Colan

Friday Comic Book Day.

A couple of years ago I wrote an article about Gene Colan for a tribute book that never materialized. It compared his work for Stan Lee at Timely/Atlas in the fifties to his work for DC in the late fifties and early sixties. For years Gene had been one of the best things in Stan Lee's books. His often scrachy style was bold, weird and impressive. When page prices dropped in the late fiftes, Lee allowed Colan to work on a smaller size paper and his inking style changed. At the same time he started working for DC, where he was not allowed to ink his own work (after a few false starts). In the next few years at DC his own unique style was buried under the work of house inkers such as Sy Barry and Joe Giella. Both very nice people, but what they did to the work of Colan and others was terrible. One of the results was that Gene Colan got the impression that his own inking was not up to scratch or worse, that his pencils were uninkable. The work that he was doing at Timely/Atlas, cheap and easy though it may have been, was proof of the opposite.

I hope the article will someday be published somewhere. I might even put it up here. Until then, here are a couple of samples of this forgotten period of Gene Colan's career. I have added two samples of the even lesser seen romance work he did for DC in the early fifties.

From Andventures Into Terror #21:

From War Comics #46:

From Our Army At War #8 (typical Colan pose can be seen on page three):

From Hopalong Cassidy #92:

From Girls' Love Stories #101:

From Heart Throbs #87:


Ollipin said...

Hi Ger, nice article. Though the DC romance work you posted was from the early 60's, not 50's. I am not yet aware of any DC romance work Gene did in the 50's. He did romance work for Quality Comics though. That stuff was usually inked badly (by inkers unknown to me) but shows some nice layout work.


Ger Apeldoorn said...

You are right Oliver, the DC romance work was later in his DC years. Still, it suffered from the same drive to slickness. I even believe this was the period he started using photo's, which he later regretted even himself.