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Colan came to prominence as an artist at Marvel Comics in the 1960s and 70s on such superhero titles as Daredevil, Doctor Strange and others. He also worked for DC Comics.
Born in The Bronx, New York City, NY, Colan was interested in drawing from early childhood. 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.
Colan drew his first published works, some war comics, before joining the army near the end of World War II. He continued to draw while stationed in the Phillipines.
Returning to the States, Colan got a job as a staff artist for Marvel Comics' precursor Timely Comics from 1946-1948, working on crime and other comics. In 1948 there was a downturn in the industry which led to virtually all of Timely's staff being let go. He then freelanced for DC Comics' predecessor National Comics, working on war and western stories throughout the 1950s.
He returned to Marvel in the 1960s and began his foray into the superhero field, where he would truly make his mark as one of Marvel's premier "Silver Age" artists. His work started on such titles as Tales to Astonish, featuring the Sub-Mariner, and Tales of Suspense, featuring Iron-Man. It grew to include popular runs as series artist on Captain America, Doctor Strange, and his signature work on Daredevil.
At Marvel, Colan would also become known as the primary artist on the horror series The Tomb of Dracula and on the satirical series Howard the Duck, which was also co-created by fellow Predator-comics contributor, artist Val Mayerik.
After a falling out with Marvel in the 1980s, Colan worked primarily for DC Comics on titles such as Batman, Detective Comics, Wonder Woman, The Specter and others.
Colan also began contributing to independent comics companies throughout the 1980s and 1990s. This included his work for Dark Horse on stories for the company's Predator and Buffy The Vampire Slayer lines.
In the 2000s, Colan was still contributing artwork to comics from DC, Marvel and other companies.
The winner of numerous comics industry awards over the course of his career, Colan was inducted in the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2010, Colan was awareded the prestigious Eisner Award for his cover to an issue #601 of Captain America, his last work for Marvel Comics.
On the personal side, Colan's wife Adrienne passed away in June 2010. The artist's business affairs are now run by his son and daughter, Eric and Nanci. He still resides in New York. Colan passed away in 2011 following complications from cancer and liver disease.
Gene Colan's personal website: http://www.genecolan.com/