Sunday, June 26, 2011

REPRINTED FROM JANUARY, 2007: R.I.P. GENE COLAN

I find it interesting that Jack Kirby and Gene Colan both served in the armed forces. Jack Kirby drew the incomparable Fantastic Four, Captain America, the Hulk, the Eternals, etc. Gene Colan drew Doctor Strange and Submariner and Daredevil and Howard the Duck. Jack Kirby turned Delancey Street, NYC, where he was beaten up with some frequency, into Yancy Street, NYC, where the Thing beat up young punks when provoked. Gene Colan sat in the seat of a tank in order to draw a schematic of its control panel and noted that he sunk so deep into the seat that he couldn't imagine how soldiers could see. "That's simple," said his commanding officer, "you weren't wearing a parachute, were you?" He wasn't. Jack Kirby served at Normandy ten days after D-Day. Gene Colan served in the Philippines and never saw action. Gene Colan wanted to work for DC, but ended up working, at first, for Marvel, then known as 'Timely Comics.' Later he would draw the Dark Knight. Gene Colan was called 'Gentleman Gene' by Stan Lee. Jack Kirby was called Jack 'The King' Kirby by Stan Lee. Jack Kirby was born Jacob Kurtzberg. His father was a garment factory worker. Jack Kirby was Jewish. Gene Colan was Jewish. Stan Lee was Jewish. Gene Colan's favorite movie is 'The Treasure of Sierra Madre.' Jack Kirby went to Pratt, for one week. Gene Colan would trace stills from Hopalong Cassidy for reference. Gene Colan has file cabinets filled with pictures. "What use is it," he now asks, "to have a series of photographs of WW II destroyers?" Gene Colan was known for his extensive use of tints and shadows and hatchwork, a technique which drove early colorists crazy. Jack Kirby invented the 'Kirby Dot' - swirling images of vast cosmic planetry and debris, as real as anything you can find anywhere. Gene Colan knows how to turn a computer on and off. Jack Kirby quit Pratt, saying "They wanted people who would work on something forever. I didn't want to work on any project forever. I intended to get things done". Gene Colan drew under the name 'Adam Austen.' Jack Kirby penciled under the name 'Jack Curtiss.' Gene Colan was born in the Bronx. When Jack Kirby met Joe Simon, he was quite impressed. He had never seen a comic book artist wearing a suit before.

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