13 COVERS: An ERNIE CHAN Birthday Celebration

The late Bronze Age stalwart was born 80 years ago…

The late Ernie Chan (aka Ernie Chua) — born July 27, 1940 — is one of those Bronze Age artists who has something of a cult following. He wasn’t a superstar, but he was a journeyman who had an indelible style remembered fondly by fans of the era.

It’s been a few years since we’ve done a 13 COVERS birthday salute to Chan featuring his voluminous Batwork, so here’s a selection from Detective Comics and Batman Family. No particular reason we’re leaving out Batman. Just ‘cuz.

Dig it.

Vince Colletta inks

Colletta inks


— 13 COVERS: An ERNIE CHAN Birthday Celebration — 2018 EDITION. Click here.

— Dig This Groovy New Bronze Age BATMAN Statue. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I’ve got all of those Detective covers. I loved those! The weakest of the bunch is the last BATMAN Family but I blame that on the Joker’s Daughter. I never liked that character.

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    • Oh, I LOVE the Joker’s Daughter! Complete implausible but so kitschy. I loved those stories!

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      • Ditto, the modern JD, no, but the original Duela Dent was as charming as she was silly, and that’s a great cover!

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  2. Chan was a great inker, especially on Conan, but his pencil work never impressed me. I thought DC made a huge mistake in the 70s making him their primary cover artist.

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  3. As a 9 year old in 1976, Ernie Chan was a perfect “gateway” artist to Batman for me. His Batman wasn’t too scary, wasn’t too cartoony- he just looked like a cool super hero.

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  4. Fun Fact: He also went by the name Ernie Chua, because of a pay voucher typing error at either DC or Marvel. Some of the covers above are signed “Chua”.

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    • Yeah, I was surprised when after years of Ernie Chua it was suddenly, and consistently Chan… I think I saw the change referenced in a comic, most likely an Answer Man column.

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  5. Whatever did happen to Tim Trench?

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    • I once did a one-man (one-boy) play in middle school that adapted one of those Tim Trench stories!

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  6. Lovely piece, and weirdly timed, I only just tweeted out that #454 cover today, suggesting that the lady cop is Lady Cop!

    But how about some non-Batman covers, he did so many great ones. Heck, you could probably get 13 covers from his JLA work alone, but I’d rather see a feature spanning the DC line.

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      • Oh, splendid! When I read your intro it has seemed to me there’d been just one previous salute, and that was more Battiness! Off to look for superheroes in a zoo…

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      • Loved his JLA covers too. I especially fond of issue 124 with the ghost of the Earth-2 adult Robin. Great Bronze Age memories.

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  7. Great covers and great memories! I started re-reading BATMAN, DETECTIVE COMICS and BRAVE AND THE BOLD (with BATMAN FAMILY coming up) about six months ago and am about to reach this “period.” I really look forward to it.

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  8. Signalman is one of my favorite C-List villains I was pleased when Len Wein brought him back along with the smooth art of Ernie Chan in Detective
    Comics #466.

    Also it was awesome that Gerry Conway used Signalman in the annual JLA/JSA crossover.
    Justice League of America #195-197 with art by George Perez.

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