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Secrets In The Shadows: The Art & Life Of Gene Colan: The Art and Life of Gene Colan Hardcover – 15 Sep 2005

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: TwoMorrows Publishing (15 Sept. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893905462
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893905467
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 2 x 28.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,677,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
Back in the 60s, the big news in comics all came from Marvel and a lot of it was down to the amazing artwork of Jack 'King' Kirby and Steve Ditko. These two guys ruled the roost. Then, in 1965, a guy called Adam Austin started working on Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #73. "The Fury of the Freak!" in issue #75 remains one of my favourite comic book stories of all time, combining superb art with a great Stan Lee script. Right from the start, it was clear that here was a guy whose talent and individual style made him worthy to join the giants of the Marvel Age of Comics. A few issues later, it was revealed that 'Adam Austin' was, in fact, Gene Colan. As well as a brilliant run on Iron Man, Gene also worked on Marvel's romance comics, the Sub-Mariner, Captain America, Doctor Strange and, perhaps most famously, Daredevil, where he produced a remarkable unbroken run of 80 issues.
The 1970s saw Colan provide artwork for the entire first series of Tomb of Dracula, widely regarded as a classic of the horror genre. This series introduced the character of Blade the Vampire Hunter. Also in the 70s, Gene proved his talent for humour when he teamed up with Steve Gerber to produce the funniest satirical comic book of all time, Howard The Duck Omnibus HC. Forget the movie - check out the comics - they are wonderful.
In the 80s, Gene worked on Batman, Wonder Woman and other titles for DC. In the 90s he popped up as guest artist on titles he had helped to make famous in the 60s.
Colan's pencilling style is refreshingly loose while also being highly detailed and realistic. As a pencil artist, he uses a lot of shading and complex cross-hatching, making his work quite a challenge to ink.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book about Gene Colan. An essential book for fans. It shows several images and details of his work. Great analysis of the career of this great artist.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a great book - my partner's eyes lit up on Christmas Day! Great seller and great service - everything was as posted
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars 10 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! 24 April 2006
By R. Gale - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have very little to add to what the other reviewers have already said. If you're a fan of Gene Colan, this book is a must-have. Even if you're not a big Colan fan, you'll learn a lot about the business of comics and how personalities and personal relationships affected the comics we grew up with. It's well written, well documented and contains a tremendous amount of research and (of course) lots of great art. (And if the author happens to read this, that very first New York comic convention was the SCARP Con in 1968 -- I, a geeky 17 year old, attended and met the gracious Mr. Colan who did a sketch of Iron Man for me, and drew dozens of sketches for other fans.) Highly recommended!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant writing and fantastic art! 30 July 2005
By radams36 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Tom Field's latest, "Secrets in the Shadows", is an absolute must-buy for any fan of Gene Colan, or of Silver age comics in general. Tom has put together a treasure trove of rare, sometimes never-before published art, from one of the greatest masters of the comic book art form.

Wonderful insight and candid anecdotes on Gene's personal life and how that impacted his art lend a real depth to the artist's history. Tom's writing style is clear and compelling, making the book very hard to put down.

An able assist from best-selling author Glen Gold adds considerably to the book, along with a terrific afterword from internationally renowned artist Mark Staff Brandl. Interviews with Gene, Stan Lee, premiere inker Tom Palmer, and acclaimed writers Steve Gerber and Marv Wolfman, provide enthralling perspective on how gratifying it was to work with Gene, both in terms of the amazing artwork he did, and in terms of what a fine and gentlemanly person Gene is.

The many illustrations show Gene's advancement as an artist, from early sketches Gene did as a child, to the masterful work he did on such books as Daredevil, Iron Man, Howard the Duck, and Tomb of Dracula. Recent commissions are shown both before and after inking, which lends great insight into how the inker affects the completed page, and how different artists approach Gene's challengingly detailed work.

This book is one great read, and is another terrific addition to the history of the Silver age from TwoMorrows publishing. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE ALL-TIME GREATS 8 Sept. 2005
By Tim Janson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Two characters come to mind when I think of Gene Colan...Doctor Strange and Dracula. They were two of my favorites when I began reading comics in the mid-1970's. I was fortunate to have two stores close to me that sold old back issues of comic books. I was able to put together quite a collection of silver age comics. Among my favorite comics was Gene's run on the original Doctor Strange series beginning with #169. These atmospheric, psychedelic stories were unlike anything I had ever seen. I had sold my collection in the 1980's but recently picked up that complete run all over again because I was still enchanted by the great Colan work on those books.

Secrets in the Shadows is a combination biography and tribute to one of the all-time great comic artists, Gene Colan. Author Tom Field takes on a guided tour through Gene's life, beginning with his upbringing in New York and his first comic book work for Fiction House. Gene tells a story similar to many of his contemporaries such as John Buscema and John Romita, and their mass dismissal from Timely Comics. Gene would go on to DC and then back to what was now Atlas Comics. Atlas would then implode leaving Gene again out of work in the late 1950's and with a lifelong feeling of insecurity about the comic book business. As Gene explains this was a difficult time in his life as he was not only out of a job, but also had just gone through a divorce with his first wife.

Stan Lee would come beckoning again in the early 1960's as the Marvel Age was off and running. Gene quickly became one of Marvel's top artists and perhaps the only one whose style was so unique that he was not asked to pencil over Jack Kirby's layouts the way many other artists were. Field presents several conversations in the book between Gene and some of the people he worked with at Marvel. The first is a lengthy conversation from 2004 between Gene and Stan Lee. They talk about their first meeting at Timely in the 1940's. Gene mentions that Stan was wearing a beanie cap with a propeller...now that's something I'd love to see! They also discuss their creative process and how books were plotted and finished. Other conversations include Gene talking with his long-time inker Tom Palmer with whom he worked on so many great books over the years, and with Steve Gerber, the writer on Howard the Duck.

Gene worked on numerous titles at Marvel over the years, Daredevil, The Avengers, Captain America...But perhaps the title most associated with him was Dracula which had a remarkable 70 issue run in the 1970's. Colan's Dracula was dark and grim and his incredible use of light and shading gave the book a true horrific feel.

Gene would eventually leave Marvel in the early 1980's after several run-ins with then Editor-in-Chief, Jim Shooter. Shooter's tenure was marred by one controversy after another including his shameful treatment of Jack Kirby. Shooter was highly critical of Gene's work and harassed him with constant demands of changes. Gene would migrate to DC along with many other former Marvel staffers who had grown tired of Shooter including Roy Thomas, Len Wein, and Marv Wolfman. To be fair, Tom Field presents both sides in the Colan/Shooter situation. He allows Shooter to give his side of the story in which he feels he was doing what was right for the company and felt Gene was cutting corners with his work. Unfortunately Shooter's credibility is almost nil due to his run-ins with so many other artists and writers.

At DC Gene would work on Batman, Wonder Woman, Detective, and new projects such as Night Force and Nathaniel Dusk. Gene would find himself under attack again for his art, this time by John Byrne who was highly critical of Gene in a Comics Journal interview in 1982. Byrne would basically call Gene a cheat and say that 90% of the time you could not tell what was happening on the page. I credit Field for including this in the book. I would guess he knew that rather than be any kind of indictment against Gene, that it would make Byrne look like a jerk for making an unwarranted attack on a true legend. Cheat? Byrne is still giving every character that same weird looking, rectangular mouth for twenty-five years!

Gene would leave DC some years later after similar criticisms by then Editor Dick Giordano. Gene would strictly freelance from now on and even go back to work at Marvel (shooter has since been broomed himself). Today, Gene has found many new outlets for his work thanks to the internet. He's busy doing commissions for fans who truly appreciate his work.

Tom Field presents a portrait of a man who fits the nickname of "Gentleman Gene". Colan's volume of work over the last sixty years is awe-inspiring. It's great to see Gene finally getting the tribute he so justly deserves.

Reviewed by Tim Janson
5.0 out of 5 stars Gene 'the dean' Colan matters 4 July 2006
By C. Rogers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I grew up on Daredevil in the 1980's. Miller, Mazzucchelli, Romita Jr. But, being the collector I was, I went back and bought up all the old books as well. Even then, as a young teenager, I was really impressed with the artwork in those old books. I had looked at other old comics and was never pulled in. The artwork always seemed so..."old". Gene's work never did. Sure, it was different than the newer books, but it still had a freshness and energy that most of the other old books lacked. So, yeah I've been a fan of Gene's Daredevil work for a long time.

It wasn't however, until I read this book that I truly had a deep appreciation for the work. Gene is a living legend, and deservedly so. Buy this book. Not only is it a testament to Gene, it give the reader a good look behind the scenes of how hard it was for comic artists before the dawning of "Image Comics".

I also HIGHLY recommend you check out Gene's website ([...]) He's still turning out AMAZING artwork. Many of his recent commissions are far and away nicer than most anything being published today.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stuff! 29 Aug. 2005
By Daniel Wamsler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This piece covers the life-span career of GENE "THE DEAN" COLAN. From early drawings he did in his boyhood until his recent commissions. Lots of rare never seen before fotos and original art. From the early days at Timely and Atlas (later known as Marvel Comics), DC (Hopalong Cassidy), Marvel again with SUB-MARINER, IRON MAN, CAPTAIN MARVEL, DAREDEVIL, and of course TOMB OF DRACULA and HOWARD THE DUCK. Conversations with Gene and his collegues Tom Palmer, Marv Wolfman, his wife Adrienne and many others. Even Jim Shooter about the conflicts that lead Gene Colan to leave Marvel for DC, where he did BATMAN and some other series starring WONDER WOMAN and SUPERMAN. What else can I say? If you like superhero comics and want to learn more about the persons behind them, buy this book, read and enjoy! This one is unique. Hopefully publisher TwoMorrows and author Tom Field will continue this with other great comic artist...
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