13 COOL ERNIE COLÓN WORKS: A Birthday Salute

JIM BEARD: The late artist was born 91 years ago…


True story: For a while, I knew Ernie Colón’s name, but didn’t really know who he was or what he did in comics. That changed in 1985.

See, one day I was reading Ambush Bug #3 and there was this one-page gag about what if Keith Giffen had blown his deadlines and they had to get other artists to fill in. Each panel was done in the style of those artists—and one of them was Ernie. And that panel had Ambush Bug looking like Richie Rich. You know, the “poor little rich boy” from Harvey Comics.

A light went off in my head. I was and am still a huge Casper the Friendly Ghost fan—was I being told that this Colón guy was a Harvey artist? Had he drawn some of my beloved childhood Casper comics?

Turns out he had. A lot of them, in fact, and so many with the aforementioned Richie Rich. Suddenly, Ernie went from being just a name to one of my comic book heroes, all thanks to Giffen & Co. over at Ambush Bug Central.

For this birthday tribute to Ernesto Colón Sierra, aka Ernie Colón, I wanted to dig deep into his catalog to illustrate the length, breadth, and sheer diversity of his work throughout his career. Penciller, inker, letterer, writer, editor; the guy did it all. And he is missed today on the 91st anniversary of his birth (July 13, 1931).

Thanks for all those journeys into the Enchanted Forest, pal.

Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom #24 (July 1968). Now, in terms of Gold Key, I was more of a Turok and Magnus kid myself, but isn’t it cool that Ernie worked on a few issues of one of the company’s bigger original properties?

Casper Space Ship #2 (Oct. 1972). This is where I come in, one of my most favorite Casper comics, a story about a writer who literally conjures up anything he writes on his typewriter. I wonder if that played any part in my choice of vocation?

(By the way, I recognize that in some instances Ernie’s Harvey credits aren’t fully documented, but please accept this in the spirit of this birthday article and my love for the character.)

Spooky #133 (Nov. 1972). Ernie’s credited for the Casper back-up story in this one, a fun jam with a World War I pilot and his quest for something to do. Funny how these Harvey stories have stayed with me for 50 years now.

Jackie Jokers #1 (March 1973). A brief fling in expanding the Richie Rich Universe with a stage comedian character, and Ernie was front and center with it, cover and interiors.

The Grim Ghost #1 (Jan 1975). The short-lived Atlas/Seaboard era can be a real treat if you let it into your heart. Ernie teamed with writer Michael Fleisher for this one, and even did the cover. It lasted for three whole issues before the entire company crumbled under its own weight.

Tiger-Man #1 (April 1975). Ernie also contributed art to this Atlas/Seaboard superhero book, along with writer Gabriel Levy. It also lasted just three issues.

Arak, Son of Thunder #1 (Sept 1981). So, Ernie, Roy Thomas, Dick Gordano, Tony DeZuniga, et al come together to create a sword and sorcery book for DC but turn the genre on its head by making the titular character a Native American who ends up among Vikings. It’s as amazing as it sounds.

The Brave and the Bold #179 (Oct 1981). This may seem like an oddball team-up, but our guy and writer Marty “Pesky” Pasko made it fun and engaging. This wouldn’t be the first or last time Ernie brushed up against the Legion in his career, too.

Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld #1 (May 1983). Yes, Ernie co-created Amethyst for DC, aided and abetted by writers Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn.

DC Graphic Novel #3: The Medusa Chain (Oct 1984). This one here is 100 percent Ernie from top to bottom. If you’re not familiar with it, hunt a copy down and jump right in.

Legionnaires 3 #1 (Feb. 1986). A four-issue miniseries that kind of flew under the radar in the post-Crisis world of DC Comics. Shame, because it’s not bad at all and features fan-favorite Legion big baddie the Time Trapper.

Damage Control #1 (May 1989). I’m not sure if I can explain my love for this series, brought to the Marvel Universe by Ernie and writer Dwayne McDuffie. It was pitched as a “sitcom” and it is that, but it’s also so much more, especially when endowed with the visual Colón charm.

The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation (Aug 2006). Yep, basically a graphic novel of the 9/11 Report. It’s by Ernie and writer Sid Jacobson. They did a follow-up, too. Don’t ask, just buy it!


— 13 COVERS: An ERNIE COLON Salute. Click here.

— 13 Groovy TELEVISION COMIC BOOKS of the 1970s. Click here.

JIM BEARD has pounded out adventure fiction since he sold a story to DC Comics in 2002. He’s gone on to write official Star Wars and Ghostbusters comics stories and contributed articles and essays to several volumes of comic book history. His prose work includes his own creations, but also licensed properties such as Planet of the Apes, X-Files, Spider-Man, Kolchak the Night Stalker and Captain Action. In addition, Jim provided regular content for Marvel.com, the official Marvel Comics website, for 17 years.

Check out his latest releases: a Green Hornet novella How Sweet the Sting, his first epic fantasy novel The Nine Nations Book One: The Sliding World, Running Home to Shadows about Dark Shadows, and the most recent Batman ’66 books of essays he’s edited: Zlonk! Zok! Zowie! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Essays on Batman ’66 – Season One, Biff! Bam! Ee-Yow! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Essays on Batman ’66 – Season Two and Oooff! Boff! Splatt! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Guide to Batman ’66 – Season Three.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. An excellent showcase! And thanks for the background on the “Jackie Jokers” comic! When I saw that cover illustration, I had a moment where I thought it was potential a “Beetles Babies” comic. (C’mon! There’s a shade of the animated Paul McCartney in there!)

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  2. I had the pleasure of knowing Ernie, and working with him on a few occasions—a wonderful man and an amazingly talented artist. I always used to annoy him in an amusing way when he’d show me his latest work: “Yeah, it looks great, Ernie, but I mean, it’s no Grim Ghost…”

    I surprised him once when I told him how I could tell when he’d drawn a Harvey comic, since the stories had no credits: his backgrounds had a little more detail (e.g., extra linework) than Warren Kremer’s. Look at the Casper page posted above—the extra lines that detail the shingles were the sort of tipoff to me that he’d drawn it.

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