A post from my ancient Marvel blog concerning artist Gene Colan coming into the offices for lunch.
Secret plans were hatched around the Marvel offices yesterday to take me out for a special birthday lunch–but I snafued them completely and inadvertently by having previously made arrangements to have lunch with some visiting dignitaries: Gene Colan and Tom Palmer.
If you looked “class” up in the Marvel handbook, you’d find a portrait of Tom Palmer. As is his wont, Tom took a crew of us, including myself, Gene, Molly Lazer and Ralph Macchio, for a fine Italian meal that he insisted on paying for. Lunches with Tom have become semi-regular affairs over the years–we do a couple of them every year. With the closing of our long-time regular haunt Casa Mia a few months ago, we needed to find a replacement–which Tom located shortly thereafter. And during the meal, Tom was as cordial and insightful and elegant as ever. He’s one of the good ones.
It had been something like ten years since the last time Gene Colan had set foot in the Marvel offices, the occasion being warranted by gene bringing in some penciled pages from the CAPTAIN AMERICA annual he’s working on with writer Ed Brubaker. Everyone gathered around to ooh and aah at the penciled pages, produced by a veteran comic book illustrator. How much of a veteran is Gene? Well, yesterday, when I posted all of the books that were on sale the month when I was born, the DAREDEVIL issue had been drawn by Gene–and he wasn’t a newcomer to the business even then! But time and problems with his vision have done nothing to dim Gene’s prowess with a pencil. I’ve attached a scan of one of the penciled pages here, so you can get a sense of the subtlety of the pencilwork that Gene is producing even now.
Gene, as it turns out, is a remarkably spritely guy for a man his age. His eyes positively twinkled as he talked about the people he worked with at Timely/Marvel in the 40s, the old-time radio shows he’s been listening to while he works, and the movies of Jack Palance. And he confirmed the oft-told stories of Stan Lee jumping up atop his desk to act out portions of a story during plot conferences.