On 23rd June 2011, the comic book industry lost a legend: Gene Colan. At 84, he had been in the business for nearly 70 years and influenced numerous artists with his legendary runs on Daredevil, Doctor Strange and Tomb of Dracula (even creating Blade for the latter). With the news of his death, many of the industry’s best and brightest came out to pay their last respects to a man who touched the heart and souls of millions of comic book readers with his stunning artwork. Jim Lee, one of the modern-day masters, had this to say:
“[Gene Colan] was like no other artist of his generation, his ability to create dramatic, multi-valued tonal illustrations using straight India ink and board was unparalleled. The comics industry has lost one of its true visionaries.”
In the mid-40’s, Colan was in a staff position at Timely Comics, the company which became Marvel, learning his trade from art director Syd Shores and writer-editor Stan Lee. Superheroes were fading at the time, and Colan drew the cover for the final issue of the original Captain America series. Other genres would eventually boost sales, notably war stories, westerns, crime, horror and romance, and Colan produced numerous shorts for these anthologies. He was laid off by Timely in 1948, but continued freelancing for them while also finding work wherever he could, contributing to National (later DC) from 1952, where he became the regular artist on the Hopalong Cassidy cowboy comic.
Colan assumed the pen name Adam Austin to hide his moonlighting as a DC artist. He landed an assignment on Stan Lee’s revival of Bill Everett’s 1939 sea-king, Namor the Sub-Mariner. Then, under his real name, he joined Lee and took over Iron Man and Daredevil. Together they created the alien Captain Marvel as well as Captain America’s long-time partner Falcon.
He was a truly gifted man, leaving his mark on some of the most popular characters and stories in comic book history. He is survived by this two children and their three grandchildren, and will be sorely missed.
Gene Colan (1926-2011)
With San Diego’s Comic-Con just around the corner, news has surfaced that there will be a protest against the DC Comics relaunch that is taking place in September. On Saturday 23rd July, possibly the busiest day of the Con, 130 fanboys (so far) are planning a protest walk around the halls. This is an interesting way of uniting against the reboot, and it certainly beats moaning about it on message boards, but will it make a difference? I severely doubt it, as the relaunch will bring in more new readers, even if it loses a few!
Also, it’s worth noting that Marvel Studios have decided to attend the Con after all, so we might finally see an Avengers teaser trailer. Fingers crossed.
They recently revealed that Thor will be returning to the big screen in his own sequel. At the moment, Marvel have the film pencilled-in for 2013, but without Director Kenneth Branagh. Sources are saying that the split is “mutual and amicable”, which says to me that either he wanted more money, or that the studio envisioned a different film. Personally, I am rather disappointed as I felt that Branagh was one of reasons the film worked as well as it did! It will be interesting to hear who they get to replace him.
We also heard that Russell Crowe has been cast in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Superman movie Man of Steel. Crowe is playing his father, Jor-El, a role made famous by the iconic Marlon Brando. Is this a good move for Snyder’s rehash? It’s an interesting, oddball choice, and pretty far removed from Brando’s portrayal of the character. However, considering the other names being tossed around for this movie – Sean Penn and Viggo Mortensen – Crowe isn’t the most inspired choice. Henry Cavill as Superman wasn’t my first choice, either, so it will be interesting to see how Man of Steel pans out when it hits cinemas late next year.
We’re entering a difficult period for DC Comics on film.
After a series of scathing reviews, and a disappointing box office take, the rumour that Warner Bros. are pushing ahead with a Green Lantern sequel is absurd. The blame for the failure of the film has been laid at the feet of Director Martin Campbell and DC Comics guru Geoff Johns. Warner are hoping that by tackling some of the first flick’s issues, namely the script and the pacing, that they may boost critical and public reaction to the sequel and turn it into the hit that both DC and Warner need. It also plays into the idea that they have a trilogy story arc in mind.
This is a very risky move for the studio, although there’s still a chance they can salvage the Green Lantern brand. Their desire to make a second film is understandable when you consider all the money they spent marketing the first (somewhere around $100 million), so this could be the only way to recoup some of that cash. Don’t be shocked if Green Lantern 2 is a much cheaper affair. It will either succeed or stamp the final nail into the franchise’s coffin.
Staying on the subject of the emerald warrior, DC have announced Green Lantern: The Animated Series for later in the year. Such a development isn’t surprising given that Marvel are releasing Iron Man, Avengers, Spider-Man and X-Men cartoons in the not too distant future. From famed cartoon producer Bruce Timm, it will follow Hal Jordan’s tenure behind the mask, with appearances from more modern characters, like Saint Walker and the Red Lantern Corps, stars of DC’s 2010 event ‘Blackest Night’. Check-out the trailer below.
It looks like Wolverine 2 has finally found a director in James Mangold, who made Walk the Line and 3:10 to Yuma. Fox have been trying to get the sequel off the ground for ages, due to Hugh Jackman’s persistence that a quality filmmaker take the reins. You’ll remember that Darren Aronofsky was attached at one point. Is Mangold up to the task? I think so, since he has some solid films under his belt and has worked with big(ish) stars before, so coaxing a decent performance from Jackman shouldn’t be too difficult. It’s all on the writers, who have the rather sizeable task of trying to translate Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s acclaimed graphic novel to the screen. The film, when it finally gets made, will follow Wolverine’s time in Japan.
At the moment, it’s impossible to escape commercials for Game of Thrones, on television or at your local bookstore. Now you won’t be able to escape it at comic shops either, since Dynamite Entertainment – the home of Battlestar Galactica, Green Hornet and Army of Darkness – are bringing the epic to comic book shelves. The first issue due for release in September, with Daniel Abraham given the task of adapting the fantasy tale, and Tommy Patterson is providing the artwork. I am currently reading the first novel in the series and really enjoying it, so I may be adding this to my collection.