Saturday, January 24, 2004

Talking with a legend: (no chortling, please) interviews comics legend Gene Colan, who talks about his early inspirations, artistic technique, his lengthy career and, um, playing Eric Roberts' stand-in:

"... Many years ago there was a film being shot in New York called The Ambulance. The original title was Into Thin Air. Eric Roberts was in it, James Earl Jones, Red Buttons ... It was a story about a comic book artist and Stan knew the director, Larry Cohen, and so Stan was in the film, very briefly. They needed an artist to fill in for Eric Roberts because he can't draw. I was picked to do the artwork. I went down, showed my work to them and I got the job. So, I had a brief time with the film, making the picture. I had to wear Eric Roberts' ring because there was going to be a close-up of him sketching, not showing anything but his hands and I was considerably older than him so they had to put a little makeup on my hands. They did other things with my work in it."

Colan also touches upon his problems with Jim Shooter, which led to the artist's departure from Marvel:

"He found fault with too much of what I did whereas prior to him coming aboard nobody found fault. I mean occasionally Stan would correct something but it was so occasional it was hardly worth mentioning. But this was a different story and I could see it coming. I had to go out to Connecticut once with him for a radio broadcast and we drove, he drove the whole way and I just knew that by his absolute silence in the car and the same thing coming back that he was not a friendly fellow.

"Then of course it escalated once Stan left it escalated into bad stuff and finally it came to the point where I felt like I had to make a decision about staying on or not staying and I decided with my wife's help certainly to make that decision to leave. They called me down to the office, the VP, Shooter, and myself to try thrash it out. The company wanted me to stay but Shooter was in charge of the art dept. He was the Editor-in-Chief and I knew that he was not going to let go of his point of view he was pretty dogmatic about it. And although he said little at the meeting, hardly anything, I just knew that he was not going to change or make my life any better than it was. His very silence at that meeting proved that. I decided to make that jump. Fortunately there was somebody over at DC, the writer of Tomb of Dracula who had I've been associated with for quite a while he called me over to DC because he was no longer working with Marvel and he asked me over. So, I got over there. I literally walked across the street for another job."

It's a pretty decent interview, once you wade through the initial, excruciating "so, where were you born" questions.