I actually have no idea what to say about Gene Colan. Clifford Meth knows what to say; you should go read him. Go read him, and thank him.
But me? I’ve been trying to write something about Gene Colan since he died, and I’m still no closer than I was when I started. Here’s a person who had nothing less than a formative effect on me, whose imagination and skill became part of the way I see things. Thrilling, absolutely unique visions; things I return to again and again, when I need their refreshment. I don’t even know why I need them. I mean, I know why they are good…
But I don’t know why I need them. Everything I could possibly say about Gene Colan has been said already, by people with far greater claims on that saying than I’ll ever have, and I don’t like doing obituaries or eulogies on this blog anyway, and yet…there is the stuff I don’t know, you see. The stuff I don’t know about it. I don’t actually know how to eulogize him, when all I ever knew of him was in the pictures that he drew. And I’m not exactly going to run out of opportunities to have this problem, am I?
Every day we are passing through history, and every day it’s later than we think. I suppose the Gene Colan books I remember the most now are the ones where Dr. Strange fights the Devil, and where Howard The Duck goes quietly mad on the bus. These are really deep and soulful things, to me — bottomless as any Hippocrene, art that loses nothing in reproduction except distance. I used to stare at these ones for hours, absorbed in their texture. I could still stare at them that way.
What in the hell are we going to do, without all these old guys?
How in the hell do I imagine I’m going to be able to avoid eulogies?
I didn’t know Gene Colan, nor do I know how to explain how he delighted my youth. He did it, though. I don’t quite know what to say about it. It may be quite some time, before I know what to say.
God bless the fellow.