passing of artist Gene Colan.
Much of why I was hit hard was that...well, he might not have been one of my favorite artists in my younger comic days (not a knock - I was just too young to really appreciate talent), but his was the art that seemed to affect me the most.
I wish I had a first Gene Colan story, but quite honestly, I don't remember when I first saw his work - maybe it was Daredevil. Or Iron Man. Or Tomb of Dracula. Or even a blue-masked Doctor Strange in a large, holiday-themed Marvel "treasury edition". I do know it definitely was not Jemm, Son of Saturn.
But what I do remember - it affected me. Seemingly dark, moody, mysterious....great use of shadows....almost noirish, to overuse that term. It had a great power - I may not have adopted him as a favorite, but I knew his work because it was so distinctive, so unique, and quite frankly - so damn good.
So good, I'm willing to wager, that Colan's "off" days were better than most current artists' best days, and that Mr. Colan might not have had too many off days. His artwork has a definite personality about it - almost as if it were another way of speaking for Colan. It showed aspects of his own personality with a distinct humility, and unfortunately, that is a quality that is currently all too rare in our personality-driven comics culture.
I didn't know the man personally, so let me link to Clifford Meth's blog entry, which is much more articulate, heartfelt, and honest than I could ever hope to be.
Although any passing is sad, when a "classic" artist passes, I often feel that a part of our shared history is slipping away, and that a gateway to the past is closing. Hopefully, Mr. Colan's passing may result in people taking the time to reacquaint themselves with his work.
I know I will, and Gene Colan will be missed.