Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Many Inkers of Gene Colan!

Judging from comments and emails I have received from previous posts featuring Gene Colan art, I know there are quite a few fans of his who read this here blog! In light of that, I thought it would be fun to show a few examples of Colan's pencils that were inked by various other artists. Luckily, most of the romance stories from Marvel during the runs of My Love and Our Love Story were credited -- making most of these inker identifications straightforward. From what I can tell, most of Colan's 1960s DC romance work (and there is a lot of it!) was self-inked, including the first two examples here. Dig in and enjoy, and be sure to click on the individual pages to get a closer look!

Inks: Gene Colan
 "I Would Never Find Love!"
Girls' Romances #98 (January 1964)

Inks: Gene Colan
"Reach for Happiness!" Episode One
Secret Hearts #110 (March 1966) 

 Inks: Jim Mooney
"The Boy That Got Away!"
My Love #4 (March 1970)

Inks: Frank Giacoia
"You Can't Love Again!"
Our Love Story #4 (April 1970)

Inks: John Romita
"--But He's the Boy I Love!"
Our Love Story #5 (June 1970)

Inks: Dick Ayers
"I Loved You Once -- Remember?"
My Love # 9 (January 1971)

 Inks: Sal Buscema
"How Do We Know When It's Really Love?"
Our Love Story #24 (August 1973)

Out of these examples here, I personally like the Jim Mooney and John Romita inks the best. I am curious to know what you think! Whose inks in your opinion really make Colan's work shine? 


  1. I prefer those inkers who most preserve Colan's style. Romita's inks overpower Colan's pencils; I really don't care for the result at all. The other inking jobs are more faithful to the originals.
    (Not entirely persuaded that the first item is self-inked by the way, but I would defer to others on that.)

  2. Two words---Bill Everett.

    Scott Lovrine

  3. Tom Palmer was always my favorite inker for Gene Colan. Romita did a fine job as well. Bill Everett also.

  4. Tom Palmer was my favorite Gene Colan inker!

  5. Most of Gene Colan's artwork for DC in the 60's was inked by Colan himself (I know one case - BLACKHAWK #211 - which was inked by Chuck Cuidera, and i am unsure on an inking job in SECRET HEARTS #116). Also 3 romance tales done in the 60's for Marvel he inked himself. And I think he himself was his best inker (as it is with most pencillers inking their own work). Bill Everett's inking was nice, as was Dick Ayers' inking on Colan's pencil work.

    Oliver Hock

  6. I'd also choose Gene's own inks. My second choice, and this surprises me, would be Sal Buscema's.

  7. In general, I like Colan's own inks or Tom Palmer best. Out of the examples posted here, however, I have to say I like Sal Buscema's best. Otherwise, I've never seen Sal's inks on Colan's pencils before, and I have to say, it's too bad they weren't put together more often.

  8. No page by Tom Palmer here, but his and Gene's Captain America pages were amazing.

  9. Well, I guess this discussion here is mostly about Gene Colan's romance work. Of course, there are many great inkers who worked over Colan's pencil work. I think Gene Colan's own inks over his work looked best (not only on his romance work, see his work at WARREN, the Howard the Duck comic strip or some later works for MARVEL in the early 90's). But the 70's Marvel romance stuff looked far better than the work Colan did for QUALITY in the 50's. There were really bad inking jobs though it is unknown who inked that work (obviously not Colan).

    Oliver H.

  10. Thanks everyone for visiting and weighing in!

  11. Seeing that Edo also liked Sal's inking in Jacque's examples (and considering I'd never seen any other examples), I turned to the GCD. Turns out there was 1 other example:
    My Love #6 (July 1970)
    "How Do You Find a Boy of Your Own?" (reprinted in
    Our Love Story #22 (April 1973) and in Our Love Story #36 (Oct 1975)).
    It turns out the story in Our Love Story #24 was a reprint from Our Love Story #4 (April 1970).

    I'll be on the lookout for it!

  12. Jacque,

    I'm uncertain if Colan inked those two examples. In the first one the ibks look a little Klein-esque (I'll have to check with Doc V) and the second story also has a somewhat sharper line that Colan's know inking.

    I quite like Sal Buscema's inking over Colan as well. Mooney isn't bad, but I don't find Ayers inks compatible. The lines are too dark and heavy, especially for romnance.

    for those who would like to see more interesting art combinations on romance comics , take a look at my blog post of a few months back, which I recently revised:

    1. Thanks for the link, Nick! Check it out folks!

  13. I cleaned up a few technical errors on my blog post, so this should be an improvement:

  14. This has nothing to do with your main post, but I've started seeing a collection of "romance comics" in the remainder shelves at Half Price Books. I forget the book's title, but the selections looked like a lot of third-rate Charlton reprints, with not one tenth of the artistic variety shown here.

    Obviously someone needs to hire you to edit the ideal romance comics anthology.

    1. I can only concur with your statement, Gene! ;) But really, there definitely is a market for an anthology and I am hoping when that day comes, I can contribute in some way! Until then, I just have to make some things happen on my own!

      Thank you for the kind words!

  15. Gene Colan is his own best inker, but a couple of readers noted the fine work of Bill Everett, and I think he's the best interpreter of Colan in the romance books besides the man himself. It's a wonder Tom Palmer never inked one of the love stories, as much as he and Colan teamed up. Glad to see the props given Sal Buscema, too-- one of the very best on his brother John's pencil art (see early Silver Surfer), and surprisingly versatile, as his inking of Colan attests. Very different from his rough and ready inking of his own art ca. 1980.