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Commando Adventures #1-2 (June-Aug. 1957).
Gene Colan (September 1, 1926 – June 23, 2011) was an American comic book artist best known for his work for Marvel Comics, where his signature titles include the superhero series, Daredevil, the cult-hit satiric series Howard the Duck, and The Tomb of Dracula, considered one of comics' classic horror series. He co-created the Falcon, the first African-American superhero in mainstream comics, and the non-costumed, supernatural African-American character Blade, which went on to star in a series of films starring Wesley Snipes.
Colan was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2005.
Born in The Bronx, New York City, New York, the son of parents who ran an antiques business on the Upper East Side, Gene Colan began drawing at age three. "The first thing I ever drew was a lion. I must've absolutely copied it or something. But that's what my folks tell me. And from then on, I just drew everything in sight. My grandfather was my favorite subject". He attended George Washington High School in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, and went on to study at the Art Students League of New York. His major art influences are Syd Shores, Coulton Waugh, and Milton Caniff.
He began working in comics in 1944, doing illustrations for publisher Fiction House's aviation-adventure series Wings Comics. "Just a summertime job before I went into the service", it gave Colan his first published work, the one-page "Wing Tips" non-fiction filler "P-51B Mustang" (issue #52, Dec. 1944). His first comics story was a seven-page "Clipper Kirk" feature in the following month's issue.
After attempting to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II but being pulled out by his father "because I was underage", Colan at "18 or 19" enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Originally scheduled for gunnery school in Boulder, Colorado, plans changed with the war's sudden end. After training at an Army camp near Biloxi, Mississippi, he joined the occupation forces in the Philippines. There Colan rose to the rank of corporal, drew for the Manila Times, and won an art contest.
Upon his return to civilian life in 1946, Colan went to work for Marvel Comics' 1940s precursor, Timely Comics. He recalled in 2000, "I was living with my parents. I worked very hard on a war story, about seven or eight pages long, and I did all the lettering myself, I inked it myself; I even had a wash effect over it. I did everything I could do, and I brought it over to Timely. What you had to do in those days was go to the candy store, pick up a comic book, and look in the back to see where it was published. Most of them were published in Manhattan, they would tell you the address, and you'd simply go down and make an appointment to go down and see the art director". Al Sulman, listed in Timely mastheads then as an "editorial associate", "gave me my break. I went up there, and he came out and met me in the waiting room, looked at my work, and said, 'Sit here for a minute'. And he brought the work in, and disappeared for about 10 minutes or so... then came back out and said, 'Come with me'. That's how I met [editor-in-chief] Stan [Lee]. Just like that, and I had a job".
Comics historian Michael J. Vassallo identifies that first story as "Adam and Eve — Crime Incorporated" in Lawbreakers Always Lose #1 (cover date Spring 1948), on which is written the internal job number 2401. He notes another story, "The Cop They Couldn't Stop" in All-True Crime #27 (April 1948), job number 2505, may have been published first, citing the differing cover-date nomenclature ("Spring" v. "April") for the uncertainty.
Hired as "a staff penciler", Colan "started out at about $60 a week. ... Syd Shores was the art director". Due to Colan's work going uncredited, in the manner of the times, comprehensive credits for this era are difficult if not impossible to ascertain. In 2010, he recalled his first cover art being for an issue of Captain America Comics; Colan drew the 12-page lead story in issue #72, the cover-artist of which is undetermined. He definitively drew the cover of the final issue, the horror comic Captain America's Weird Tales #75 (Feb. 1950), which did not include the titular superhero on either the cover or inside.
After virtually all the Timely staff was let go in 1948 during an industry downturn, Colan began freelancing for National Comics, the future DC Comics. A stickler for accuracy, he meticulously researched his countless war stories for DC's All-American Men at War, Captain Storm, and Our Army at War, as well as for Marvel's 1950s forerunner Atlas Comics, on the series Battle, Battle Action, Battle Ground, Battlefront, G.I. Tales, Marines in Battle, Navy Combat and Navy Tales. Colan's earliest confirmed credit during this time is penciling and inking the six-page crime fiction story "Dream Of Doom", by an uncredited writer, in Atlas' Lawbreakers Always Lose #6 (Feb. 1949).
He would rent 16 mm movies of Hopalong Cassidy Westerns in order to trace likenesses for the DC licensed series, which he drew from 1954 to 1957.
While freelancing for DC romance comics in the 1960s, Colan did his first superhero work for Marvel under the pseudonym Adam Austin. Taking to the form immediately, he introduced the "Sub-Mariner" feature in Tales to Astonish, and succeeded Don Heck on "Iron Man" in Tales of Suspense.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.