Monday, May 26, 2008

Gene Colan's Family Needs Your Help!

I just read that Gene "The Dean" Colan is having severe health issues and his family is facing some major financial burdens. This is heartbreaking. I'm all about Gene Colan, have been ever since I was a teeny little kid and picked up How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, with Stan the Man's hyperbolic prose and John Buscema's hyperbolic pencils... plus lots of gorgeous Gene Colan/Tom Palmer panels by way of illustrating just how to make your comics more compelling, more dramatic, flat-out better.

Gene Colan's panels imprinted themselves on my young psyche. They're still there, flashing in my mind as I type these words. Go look at the book again. You have it, right? Of course you do! And go look at Tomb of Dracula, the Essentials version. That's within easy arm's reach, right? Sure it is!

Check them out. In How to Draw Comics, the unusual worm's eye view angles, the dark shadows, the sinister, gothic atmosphere make them stand out even among all the other samples from giants like Jack Kirby, Neal Adams and Buscema himself. Read in its proper sequential context, a Gene Colan panel makes you dream of mystery, horror and noir. The first time I read How to Draw Comics, I didn't know Gene Colan's name, but I recognized his art by sight each time the new comics came out until the day came when I realized I was...

A Gene Colan fan.

After that, I had to possess as many examples of his work as possible. Whenever a new comic graced with his pencils appeared, I thought, "Wow... Gene Colan! Gotta buy it NOW!" Buy on sight, no hesitations, no reservations. Daredevil. Batman. That ever-lovin' Tomb of Dracula, baby. That's my kind of poison. Even John Kricfalusi loves Gene Colan... the proof is on his blog!

You can read more about Gene's troubles on the Journalista! blog, which also gives a couple ways you- yes, you, the comic fan now reading these words- can give a little something back to Mr. Colan and his family in their time of need. Tom Spurgeon has more information at The Comics Reporter. Heidi MacDonald also chimes in at The Beat, and her report comes illustrated with some super-sweet Gene Colan Escapist artwork and a Dracula sequence where the Lord of the Undead's bats attack the Capitol Building you really have to see. Not content with just talking about it, Clifford Meth has organized a super-pro benefit. Check out the names involved. It's a WOWZA! list. Unless I'm mistaken (and I often am but I'm fairly certain I'm not this time out), I think he did something similar for Dave Cockrum. I like this guy a lot!

And Adrienne Colan's letter about her husband's health can be found here. I like this blog post especially because it includes this address, which I'm going to steal and post here in case someone reading this isn't much for clicking links:

Gene Colan
2 Sea Cliff Avenue
Sea Cliff, NY 11579

... where you can send cards and letters and get well wishes. And following that, there are some lovely pro-Gene Colan comments.

All Mrs. Colan is asking for is patience from people who commissioned artwork from her husband (and she mentions some fabulous upcoming projects he was working on before illness struck), but I think we can all do better than that. Journalista! includes a simple way to donate via PayPal to help defray the Colans' mounting medicals costs and another way that's maybe somewhat less simple but no less effective and perhaps nets you some of Mr. Colan's artwork. I already sent something (too little, far too little, I'm afraid) and a note telling the Colans just how much I've appreciated having a life with Gene Colan's shadowy chiaroscuro-filled art in it.

Last, but certainly about as far from least as you can get, Mark Evanier has a personal tribute to Gene Colan. Evidently, Mr. Colan is not only a giant in terms of his art, but also one of the nice ones.

I know this blog doesn't have any juice in the comics world, but if you're passing by and happen to read this- if you love comics, especially the good comics, the ones with gorgeous art- at the very least send a positive thought or a prayer winging its way towards the Colans.

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