Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gene Colan Returns Home

Gene Colan, who turns 83 in a few weeks, came home early in the evening yesterday. There’s still medical issues that need to be addressed regularly but Gene sounded nothing short of chipper on the phone this morning and continues to blow kisses and send everyone his love and gratitude for their prayers and support.

Gene and I hope to wrap up interviews for THE INVINCIBLE GENE COLAN this week. To clarify (for those who have been asking or not paying attention), this is largely an art book--a gorgeous art book with lots of previously unpublished art--that will contain a narrative based on my interviews with Gene and many of his peers, including Stan Lee, John Romita Sr., Tom Palmer, Walter Simonson, Marv Wolfman, David Lloyd and Steve Englehart. Tom Spurgeon, the finest journalist covering the comics medium also contributes. The book is designed by Richard Sheinaus, who has done masterful work for Aardwolf Publishing and IDW.

Published by Marvel, all proceeds from the book’s sale will directly benefit Gene.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Gene Colan: The Secret Was the Eraser

As we await Gene's return home tomorrow, let's return to my interview notes with Gene, which were done in preparation of Marvel's forthcoming INVINCIBLE GENE COLAN:

Your Iron Man was more emotional than Steve Ditko's, Jack Kirby's, and Don Heck's earlier versions of the character. Was that difficult to portray?

Gene: I thought the eyes and the mouth were the most expressive part of Iron Man's emotions. I felt something had to be left out [of the mask] because of the fact that his face was mostly metal. He has to see and in order to keep a sort of masculine, heroic look, I would have to put the eyes in.

I played down any protrusion of what would indicate his nose. See, the eyes and nose are the things that complete a face. I didn't want to "complete" the face. So I had to leave something out. By eliminating his nose, the eyes would tell it all: whether he was angry, sad...whatever the emotion, it would be revealed by the eyes and mouth. I left an ever so slight opening on the mouth. Actually (laughing) I no longer remember how I did it! But it certainly was a challenge! And thank God for the eraser! I developed his face with tremendous help from the eraser as I went along with the plot by adding and subtracting facial expressions until I got what I wanted.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Whorehouse Madrigals features Mike Henderson

Mike Henderson, a wild talent and former Kubert School alum, will be doing illustrations for my forthcoming Whorehouse Madrigals (Aardwolf Publishing). I am delighted to introduce this terrific young artist to my readers. As previously noted, the book's cover will be an original by Kelly Freas and Christian Krank.

Gene Colan Update: More Good News

Adrienne Colan writes me this evening, "Good news: Gene is being discharged Monday. The infectious disease doctor has decided to send him home with a 'feed line'. He'll be visited daily by a nurse for one month. She'll inject the antibiotics into the feed and it will go more directly to his heart. This bug typically lies dorment and hides in the heart valves so he's taking no chances and I'm thrilled. His care has been outstanding and we're so grateful. God has been so good to us! Thanking you for your support and prayers...Gene's spirits are up as they had been all along. You've all meant so much to us throughout this ordeal. We take not an ounce of it for granted."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Gene Colan Update: Heading Home Soon

Adrienne Colan tells me that Gene has an infection in his heart. He will be staying at the hospital at least through the weekend but doctors hope to release him on Monday or Tuesday if he continues to improve. The neck pains that he complained of earlier are arthritic. I expect to finalize editorial with him by the end of the month for THE INVINCIBLE GENE COLAN and to turn the book over to Marvel by mid-Sept., just after Gene's 83rd birthday.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gene Colan: Update

This just in from Adrienne Colan: "Gene's developed an infection in his blood. He still can't speak right and hard to stay awake. so much pain in his neck they've gone from percocet every 8 hours to every 6 hours which could be the reason why his speech is off and [he's] tired. They're not sure that the pneumonia is responding to the antibiotic. Fever down, but still coughing and blood infection now. They're not not promising a date as to when he'll be home. His spirits remain happy and enthusiastic."

Adrienne asks that people don't bother her today; she's exhausted and has too much on her plate.

Gene Colan Update

Just hung up with Gene who sends his love to friends and fans who are thinking of him at this time.

Gene is still in the hospital but his spirits are high. He complained of a stiff neck but other than that he's encouraged by his doctors. As usual, he was more interested in hearing about me than talking about himself.

"I had pneumonia once before," he recalled. "Back in the '40s. They filled me up with penicillin and I was coughing so much I kept the whole place awake. But they were very nice to me. One of the nurses brought me a stack of paper and a whole box of pencils." Which, let's face it, is all this man needs.

Gene Colan Hospitalized

Gene Colan is back in the hospital, which is always serious for someone his age. He was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital yesterday morning and may be home by late Wednesday-early Thursday. He has pneumonia in his right lung behind his heart and there's the possibility of infection.

I am announcing this so you can add your prayers to ours, but I must insist that his wife Adrienne NOT be inundated with emails and phone calls right now. Post messages to the Gene Colan board at Yahoo but do NOT start calling her now--she is exhausted and has enough to deal with.

Well-wishes can be sent to Gene Colan, 2240 Burnett Street, #5D, Brooklyn, NY 11229.

I will vigilantly update this blog with further news.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

On the Origins of Adam Austin

An excerpt from my forthcoming THE INVINCIBLE GENE COLAN (Marvel Entertainment):

By the mid-Sixties, both DC and Marvel were vying for exclusivity of Gene's talent. This led to Colan using the pseudonym “Adam Austin” on some of his Marvel work. Legend has it that Stan Lee, who had a penchant for alliteration, invented Colan's nom de plume--after all, Adam Austin was so Peter Parker-like. But Adrienne Colan sets the record straight:

"At the time, I was pregnant with our son Erik," Adrienne recalls. "Gene and I both loved the name Adam and we were considering naming our baby that. But then Gene decided on Erik. So when we felt we needed a name that would allow Gene to work for both DC and Marvel without either finding out, I suggested Adam Austin and that's what we went with.

"Part of the dilemma for Gene was trying to make a living. Gene was trying to hold onto his freelance status by keeping the knowledge that he was working for both DC and Marvel away from each other. Went over like a lead balloon. First crack in our plan was a call from Dean Mullaney. 'Hi Gene. Don't bother trying to fool me with that Adam Austin bit--I'd know your work anywhere just based on your panel design and composition.'

"The Second crack in our plan—and the death knell, so to speak—was when Gene was leaving DC one afternoon having just delivered a job. As he neared the elevator, who should be getting off the elevator? Martin Goodman! 'Hi Gene!' he said. The end!

"Stan [Lee] called the next day and offered Gene a $5 per page raise to come over exclusively. Although unplanned, it was exactly what Gene was praying for. He was dying to work for Marvel."

Adam Austin made his Marvel super-hero debut in Tales to Astonish #70 when he introduced the Sub-Mariner strip to the book.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Bitter Meth?

Fanboy Planet has this to say about my new book BILLBOARDS:

Meth's special blend of bitterness and hope makes his dystopian tale intriguing, disturbing, and vaguely uplifting... In a future where America has fallen to off-shore corporate interests, the best career path for a young man and woman is to be beautiful...Though beauty may be only skin deep, it turns out that the advertising tattoos Meth's protagonists sport go further than anyone knew...Supported by spot illustrator Dave Gutierrez, the writer questions if true love can survive, even flourish, in a society so inundated by messages that everything has become meaningless.
Read the full review here.
And for those interested, I now have numbered copies.