Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gene Colan: Trying to Top Jack Kirby

Everyone's back from SDCC now. The phone keeps ringing. Where were you, they ask?

Gene Colan, who arrived home Monday, says he felt Hollywood had encroached too much on the con for his taste. "Kind of takes away from the whole experience," he said. "They trot in stars and it's no longer about comics... But I still had a great time!"

Gene's new Captain America #601 has apparantly sold out. This was the first comic I've bought in many years. Really brought me back. Gene may be 80+ years old now but he's never looked better on paper.

Recently, I promised more of Gene's unedited thoughts on the characters/books that he worked on. Here's Gene on Captain America:

Cliff: Was it particularly challenging following Jack Kirby on Captain America?

Gene: I certainly admired Jack Kirby's work tremendously. I really was weaned on his work. His work prepared me for the comic book world in a significant way. His action was very compelling and dynamic and I wanted to use it as a springboard to do even more--to see how much further I could take my action... beyond where Kirby took his. Certainly, it was a big challenge. Like if he had bricks and rocks coming at the reader, which he did very often and very dynamically, I tried to will the rocks to actually hit the reader (laughs). I wanted the reader to actually feel the blow from the rocks and fists... Of course, I couldn't really do that, but I tried.

I was intimidated by Jack's work, yes, but it made me a better artist. I became more of an artist and less of a cartoonist by trying to top Jack.


Lloyd said...

Glad to hear Gene's issue of Cap sold out--a lot of artists today could really learn a thing or two from him about creating a totally credible reality, even when involving brightly costumed heroes & villains, monsters, and so on.

Mike P said...

Thanks for this, Cliff! Great insights from Gene.
Couple things:
Any chance you could make the type more readable? The red on gray is hard on the peepers. Can you make it black?

There was a variant cover for Cap 601 that is just Gene's uncolored pencils. That is REALLY nice. My shop tells me they were allocated (one copy for every X thousand ordered) dealer at SD was selling them for 15 bucks, but Craig Rogers was able to snag two at a local shop for cover price (and gave one to Gene, thankfully).

The art is amazing by itself, let alone when considered he's drawn the character over a 50 year span! (The only other to do that was Jack himself.)

Mike Pascale

Elayne said...

Lucky you - wish OUR phone would ring! Seven months and counting since we've been a one-income family.

Pete P. said...

I bought one copy of the regular & one copy of the variant at my FLCS. I've read the regular issue because I want to get the variant auto'd & graded.

Cliff, I know that the Guardians of the Galaxy are minor characters compared to Gene's other work (Daredevil, Cap, Dracula, etc.) but it would warm my heart if you can ask Gene his recollections on creating GotG w/ Arnold Drake.


Elayne! How are you lady? Be thankful there's at least one income. Many of my friends are down to zero.


Pete P--

I recall buying that copy of Marvel Super Heroes with the Guardians of the Galaxy on the cover at the newstand. As a small boy, I could immediately distinguish the signature styles of my favorite artists, among them Gene Colan, Jim Aparo, John Buscema, Neal Adams and Jim Steranko.

I'll ask Gene tomorrow.
about the Guardians and Arnold Drake.

Note that I'm finishing a book for Marvel entitled THE INVINCIBLE GENE COLAN. You can search for other references to Gene on this blog--there's plenty!

Mike P said...

I enjoyed his work on Guardians as well! Though I have to admit when I first saw it as a teen, I thought the fat guy's head reminded me of a layer cake. :-)
(Hey, artists have received inspiration from stranger places!)
Vance Astro was my favorite character in the group...I am currently looking for that issue to read.