I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the past few days looking at old Gene Colan issues of Daredevil in search for those perfect moments that would best capture his art. I found the task a nearly impossible one. The moments are too many and too varied to boil down to just a few to represent his whole body of work. In the end, the panels I did select (listed in chronological order at the bottom of the post) are just examples to highlight some of the things that come to my mind when I think of his long stint on Daredevil, which began with Daredevil #20. I could have chosen others that would have served equally well in illustrating my point, however unique each scene and panel is.
During the early years, Daredevil was a hero who clearly very much enjoyed running around town and punching bad guys. This joy and sense of freedom came across perfectly in Colan’s art. It’s like you can see the bounce in Daredevil’s step and the momentum in his swinging at the end of his billy club cable like a pendulum shot out of a cannon.
There was also a lot of humor in the art of these early Daredevil stories. Gene Colan was the man to illustrate the entire Mike Murdock era, for instance, and I can’t even imagine how much fun he must have had thinking up “Brother Mike’s” atrocious wardrobe and breathing life into his larger than life personality. 🙂
Rest in peace, Gene Colan, and thanks for all the good times. You will never be forgotten.
Why walk when you can use the city as an obstacle course?
This panel from Daredevil #26 (written by Stan Lee) sees Daredevil jumping over a statue. Doesn’t it look like the most natural thing in the world?
The red blur
I love this panel, from Daredevil #27. I like the perspective from below, how the scene is broken up into two panels, the movement across the page and, last but not least, how Daredevil spreads his legs to reduce his speed at the end of the arc.
Who’s got time for phone booths?
Does this scene (also from Daredevil #27) look familiar? I think Paolo Rivera must have been channeling some Gene Colan in this piece of preview art. 😉 Anyway, it’s a wonderfully classic high altitude wardrobe change and it definitely has me smiling.
This scene is from Daredevil #31 which saw Matt temporarily lose his radar sense in the middle of the Mike Murdock era. As a result, here is a very blind Daredevil attempting some daring acrobatics.
Daredevil meets the Black Widow
In Daredevil #81, written by Gerry Conway, Daredevil is introduced to the mysterious Black Widow, but he doesn’t know it yet. She rescues him from the bottom of the ocean while he’s unconscious. This scene is interesting enough in that it marks the beginning of the relationship between these characters, but I’ve included it here for the interesting radar effect.
A few decades later…
The vast majority of Colan’s Daredevil work took place during the 60’s and 70’s, but he had more recent contributions on his resume as well. Below is a scene from Daredevil #366, written by Joe Kelly. Again, it was the radar effect of this page that caught my attention.