Friday, October 21, 2005

Secrets in the Shadows: Art & Life of Gene Colan


My wife Kat gave me this nifty biography for my birthday. Colan is one of the truly underappreciated greats of the funnybook business and it’s nice to see him get the bio treatment. The nicely packaged book runs chronologically through Colan’s life and career. Highlights include in depth looks at his Tomb of Dracula and Howard the Duck days, including interviews with his collaborators. The section I found the most interesting dealt with the highs and lows of Colan’s transition to DC. I had no idea that it was such a controversial move and that fellow creators (mostly John Byrne – what a dick!) were highly critical of his work. The DC experiment ends badly and Dick Giordano has to play the role of executioner.

My main criticism of the book is the layout. While things are organized chronologically, some of the sidebars are badly placed and the examples of artwork are not always relevant to the matters being discussed on the page. In addition, there is often repetition between the articles and the text of interviews – I would have rather those sections of the articles be deleted to remove the redundancies. I would have also like to focus more on Gene’s pre-60s work as well as some of the more minor project in the 70s.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable read and the artwork reproduces very well in black & white. It is good to see Twomorrows putting together these books, but I must say that their shipping rates are out of this world and they do not package books properly. I don’t mind my copy of Alter Ego being a bit dinged up – but not a book I plan on keeping on my bookshelf.

1 comment:

Tom Field said...

Scott:

Thanks so much for the kind words about my book! Your criticisms are fair, but I'm so glad you enjoyed the package overall. The Colans will be thrilled, too.

best,
Tom Field