FW Presents: Showcase Gene Colan: ZATANNA

Kicking off a brand new feature within FW Presents, Ryan Daly brings you SHOWCASE GENE COLAN. This review series will examine the long career of Ryan's favorite comic book artist, "Gentleman Gene Colan", by reviewing the various characters and series he worked on, with a different guest host every episode. This time, Ryan flies solo introducing the concept for this podcast as well as looking at Colan's one Zatanna story from WORLD'S FINEST #274.

Throughout his life, Gene Colan brought his truly unique art style to the pages of Batman, The Tomb of Dracula, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, The Avengers, Howard the Duck, Doctor Strange, The Spectre, and so many others. What issues will Ryan chronicle on this podcast? You'll have to tune in to find out!

Let us know what you think! Leave a comment or send an email to: RDalyPodcast@gmail.com.

This podcast is a proud member of the FIRE AND WATER PODCAST NETWORK.

Or subscribe via iTunes as part of the FIRE AND WATER PODCAST: http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-fire-and-water-podcast/id463855630

Support the FIRE AND WATER PODCAST NETWORK on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/fwpodcasts

Intro: Gene Colan interview from "The Men Without Fear"; "The Vampire Hunters" by Wojciech Kilar.

Additional music: "Do You Believe in Magic" by The Lovin' Spoonful.

Thanks for listening!

18 responses to “FW Presents: Showcase Gene Colan: ZATANNA

  1. Very exciting to see this series start, because I know it’s been percolating for some time. I will admit, as a kid, I was kind of hot and cold with Gene Colan. But then I was hot and cold with Kirby and Ditko too. Colan’s art is challenging for a young reader. It’s ethereal and not easily contained by thick, solid ink lines. It asks the reader to really look over each panel and interpret the action and movement.

    I had come around to Colan some, and certainly respected his status in the industry, but when I finally got the black and white Essential Tomb of Dracula TPBs, that REALLY sold me on Colan. I honestly think his stuff works best in black and white, due to comics’ limited coloring abilities during the bulk of his decades of work. Now a watercolor treatment over Colan, man that would be sweet, I think!!!

    Is this where Zatanna established her “fishnets for performance, bughead for super heroing” rule? It seems to be. Makes sense to me. Well, going fishnets all the time makes more sense, but…

    Great show! Looking forward to more!


    1. I’m pretty sure this is what firmly established that the tuxedo look was part of Zee’s day job, her stage show, while the superhero costume was for her superhero-ing. And it makes sense because Gerry Conway wrote this to be in line with what he was doing in Justice League of America.

    2. Did you see Colan’s Nathaniel Dusk work, shot straight from his pencils, I think it was tried to see what advantages DC’s New Format/Mando paper could bring? It was fascinating to look at, though I prefer him with an inker, someone who can add the swathes of black that suit his work so well.

    3. Ryan’s show and Chris’s post really capture what’s great about Colan. I also appreciated him once I got older. I remember someone showing me an issue of ToD when I was like 8 and it scared the poo out of me. I wonder if that’s why I didn’t come back and start collecting comics til I was 14? Gee, Gene! Haha

  2. Love the idea behind this show.

    Colan was one of those artists who I didn’t appreciate until later in life. Yes, I bought stuff he drew but always wondering why it looked awful (back then).

    Later I saw all the dynamism you described. I usually say ethereal when I describe his work. Things look fluid, smoky, moving.

    My favorite works of his are Night Force and the Phantom Zone mini series. As you say, his stuff isn’t perfect for superheroes. But PZ is absolutely bonkers. In fact, if you plan on covering that mini I volunteer Mart Gray to be the co-host (and hope I can be part f the three man booth).

    Zatanna looks great here. The story works well. Love her acknowledgement of her use of the stage costume in honor of her dad.

          1. As someone who’s defended Jose Delbo against FWPodcasts in the past and who has had the opportunity to commission his work at two shows in the past half-year… I haven’t commissioned his work. And he never had a line, and Joe Giella had a good long one a table over. And speaking of inkers, Delbo had some fine ones. Oy.

  3. Surprising no one, I had an opposite track from most on Gene Colan. His art was always around when I was a kid, from my uncle’s Dr. Strange copies to my own Tomb of Dracula purchases. I enjoyed his moody tales and readily accepted him when I still struggled with Kirby, Ditko, and Kane. It wasn’t until I got into my teens and started closely studying drawing techniques in hopes of being able to produce my on art that are started becoming disenchanted with Colan. I started to see it as more muddy, blobby, and uneven– like his “camera” was permanently out of focus and distorted. I also gained greater access to the “Adam Austin” and other super-hero stuff. I would attempt to do a marathon read on a book like Captain Marvel only to abandon it thinking of other artists better suited to the material. He’s done good super-hero work, in particular on Wonder Woman and Batman, but my appreciate was usually helped by his either being appropriate to the material or his competition being especially dire (hack*cough*heck*cough*). So ultimately, I want to see Colan do stuff like Nathanial Dusk* but stay the hell away from Black Panther.

    *Hear more about Nathanial Dusk on the episode of Comic Reader Résumé I’m working on while listening to that show getting plugged!

  4. Thanks for a great new Fire and Water Presents strand. Colan is a total master, a one-off. That opening quote was intriguing… he worked to look like no one else (and succeeded) but thought he could fool DC by ‘signing’ his work Adam Austin when he moonlighted at Marvel. Perhaps it was just a thing to stop DC editors feeling they had to tell their higher-ups.

    I love your passion, and well done on finding something little known for show one that’s also a nice nod to your other work. I must read this story. Zee is definitely standing on the stage, not floating; remember, she took pride in her stagecraft – if there were paying customers, it was all skill, no ‘cheating’.

    An old Colan interview has just dropped at Word Balloon, it’s bound to be worth a listen.

    Oh Ryan, a show taking a close look at the work of Gene Colan and you somehow resisted calling it Colanoscopy?

    1. “A show taking a close look at the work of Gene Colan and you somehow resisted calling it Colanoscopy?”

      There aren’t enough GIFs of people banging their heads onto their desks to adequately convey what I’m feeling right now.

  5. Impressive pod cast. Most impressive. Ever find something ya didn’t know you wanted. But, now you know it’s out there you want more of it? Gene drawing Zatana is that for me. Sad that he passed away before he did more of these. I’ve seen her drawn with many great artists, but some how this is the best look for her. Would have worked even better with her in the gray suit. Er the one with the red cape. Any way this creepy style that keeps Zatana sexy, but gives her a bit of a creepy look. ind of like Vampira. Or Vamparilla.

    At any rate this works for her character better than any other artist I’ve ever seen. To bad it was just a back up.

  6. Nicely done, Ryan. Perhaps you think you lack the artistic acumen and vocabulary to describe Colan’s art, or any art, but you do an excellent job in conveying YOUR responses to the art work. You don’t need to speak of Colan’s technique or which kind of brush he used. We listeners enjoy hearing your reactions to his work. You certainly have he comic-reading experience to know when and how a page works, and you can accurately, and incisively, describe those pages. I am eager for future episodes of the Colan-cast!
    Should it happen that you ever plan to discuss an issue of Silverblade, and you need someone to talk with about it, I am one of the few who bought this unappreciated series. And enjoyed it!

  7. Thanks for the show, Ryan. I wonder if Conway came up with the fishnets for performance and the other outfit for super-heroics because he was the writer that took Zatanna out of the fishnets in the first place. My first exposure to Zatanna was the issue where she joined the JLA and wore that awful pony-tail and pixie boots costume…still my choice for one of the worst super hero outfits ever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *