Legendary comics artist Gene Colan has passed away, aged 84.
In the 1980s, when we had first moved to Australia, my folks took me and my brother Gavin to see the Royal Melbourne Agricultural Show. My brother and I were each allowed to choose a showbag, and my brother went for the Horror one. I don’t even remember what I bought. Showbags were basically full of sugar and cheap toys, but Gav’s had a piece og actual treasure in it: a Tomb of Dracula omnibus reprinting some Gene Colan stories from the seventies.
I didn’t have a lot of comics as a kid, but I remmember them well–and one (technically my brother’s)? Mindblowing. Dracula vs Elizabeth Bathory, a newly-resurrected Vlad Tsepes laying siege to a castle in his native lands… heady stuff, breathtakingly gruesome. I wasn’t then much of a horror fan, but I read that comic a million times and when I did start to get into the horror genre a couple of years later it was because that book had slowly ensnared me. (And also because my brother got into sharks and marine life, so horror could be mine, all mine).
It was indirectly through Gene that I made the connection to Dave Gutierrez, my good friend and inker of McBLACK. Dave was often Gene’s inker in the 2000s and you have no idea how amazing it felt to work with somebody who knew and worked with the great man.
RIP Gene Colan. Always and forever one of the greats.